The Presidential Candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has admitted that at a point, he was in doubt that he would clinch the presidential ticket of the ruling party when the battle became tough.
Recall that the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdulahi Adamu had during the meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party announced the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan as the anointed candidate of the party, a day to the primary election.
However, his announcement met stiff resistance from other members of the NWC, as well as northern APC governors who insisted that all the presidential aspirants must be allowed to go to the field.
The APC governors also prevailed on some aspirants from the north, insisting that power must shift to the South.
But speaking on Sunday in Akure at the residence of Pa Reuben Fasoranti during an interaction with the leaders of Afenifere, Tinubu said President Buhari and APC northern governors proved to him that Nigeria can survive its unity and challenges.
Tinubu in a statement issued Sunday by his Media Office and signed by Mr. Tunde Rahman said after he won the primary, he asked the President to nominate a running mate for him but the president declined.
He stated: “The North proved to me Nigeria can survive its unity. Some people want President Muhammadu Buhari to announce someone but the President said No. He insisted the process must go on democratically.
“The President said anyone that would mess up the APC process would see the other side of his eyes. He remained upright and saw to the process to the end.
“Northern APC Governors resolved that the Presidency must go to the South and especially South West. Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Abdullahi Ganduje and others supported me to the end. The battle was tough and at a point I was in doubt. There were many rumours and I became confused of what to believe.”
Still speaking on President Buhari’s forthrightness and affirmation of his full support to make sure he wins the election, Tinubu said: “President Buhari told me I promoted his name with the way I won the primary election because the process was clean and transparent and nobody can accuse him of manipulating the process. President Buhari said I gave him credibility and I deserved to be President. When I asked him to nominate the VP candidate for me, he said I should pick whoever I want and it is the reason I chose a competent man in Kashim Shettima who never lost any election and protected Christians in time of trouble in his state.”
Recalling his earlier visit to Pa Fasoranti on March 4th this year while he was on nationwide consultation before the APC primary, Tinubu said he promised the Afenifere leader that he would come back after winning the APC ticket.
The APC presidential candidate said he had come to fulfill his promise and asked Yoruba leaders to thank President Buhari and Northern Governors for their steadfastness and for being promise-keepers.
Also, the General Secretary of Afenifere, Chief Seinde Arogbofa, while welcoming Tinubu and his entourage, charged Tinubu to be a leader that would unite Nigeria and work for the progress and development of the country.
“You are not just a Yoruba man but a Nigerian. When you become President take Nigeria into consideration in all you do but never forget home. Our demands are what you know already. Restructuring, security and fixing the economy. Our country is no longer safe. We want state police so that the country will be safe,” he said.
On his part, the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, who received Tinubu and his delegation on behalf of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said Ondo State people were Afenifere and would support Tinubu to win.
“Asiwaju has the reach, the competence to lead Nigeria,” the Deputy Governor said.
In his remark, Ekiti State Governor Biodun Oyebanji assured the Yoruba leaders that all the governors of South West and Ekiti people are solidly behind Tinubu.
“We are happy to receive our leader, Asiwaju Tinubu, today. I want to assure him and our fathers that we will support him to the end.
Former Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, and Afenifere leader charged the APC presidential flagbearer to work to fix the economy.
Falae decried the falling value of the Naira, adding that he used all his life to serve Nigeria and at his old age he does not want all he used his life for to be wasted.
“When you become President please work to fix this country. We are here to offer advice. I am old and no longer looking for job. We need to fix security, fix our economy. Our naira is almost becoming useless and will soon become N1000 to a dollar. We must change that. I know your ability. We will always be here to support and I wish you well. We will be here when you bring the throphy home by the grace of God.
Leaders of Afenifere from the six South West State including Kwara and Kogi were present at the Akure residence of the Afenifere leader to offer support to Asiwaju Tinubu.
The roll call of the Afenifere leaders in Akure who came to receive Tinubu and offer their full support included; Retired Methodist Bishop, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu, Chief Arogbofa, Chief Pius Akinyelure, Professor Isaac Adewole, Chief Olu Falae, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, General Alani Akinrinade, General Olu Bajowa, Mr. Sola Iji, Dr Kunle Olajide, General Secretary of Yoruba Council of Elders, Senator Cornelius Adebayo, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Chief Bisi Akande, Dare Babarinsa, Chief Pius Akinyelure, Deputy governor of Oyo State, Bayo Lawal who represented Governor Seyi Makinde.
Others were: Chief Segun Adesegun, representing former Governor Segun Osoba, Senator Tony Adefuye, Senator Dayo Adeyeye, State leaders of Afenifere and many others.