Loyalists of a former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, on Monday stormed Ibadan and Oyo town to seek the support of the traditional rulers in the two towns for the candidature of Mr Tinubu ahead of the 2023 presidential polls.
The politicans said they have started mobilising youth, women, market leaders among others in the South-west ahead of 2023.
President Muhammadu Buhari will be completing his second and final term in 2023 and it is expected that political power at the presidential level would shift to the south of Nigeria.
Mr Tinubu, who is a national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress has not formally declared he would be contesting in 2023. The electoral commission, INEC, has also not declared campaigns open for the 2023 election.
The leader of the group canvassing for a Tinubu presidency in 2023, Dayo Adeyeye, said the group named, ‘The South West Agenda (SWAGA ’23),’ is a group of politicians from the South-west who are “championing a common front for the Yoruba race”.
Mr Adeyeye, a former Ekiti senator and minister, was accompanied to the palaces of two traditional rulers on Monday by Soji Akanbi, a former senator who represented Oyo South between 2015 and 2019, and others.
Other politicans in the group included Oyetunde Ojo, believed to be an in-law to Mr Tinubu; Bosun Oladele, a former member of House of Representatives and Rotimi Makinde, also an ex-lawmaker.
Others are Ifedayo Abegunde, immediate past Secretary to the Ondo State Government, Kafilat Ogbara, Toba Oke, Deji Jakande, Gboyega Okegbemi and Ahmed Olaofe.
Mr Adeneye said “The South West Agenda (SWAGA ’23), a group of rainbow coalition of like minded politicians of South West extraction on Monday stormed the palaces of Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji and the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi.
The tour is not a political campaign but a sensitization drive.
“The agenda of the group is to call out all well meaning South-Westerners to encourage, market and support the candidature of their Principal, His Excellency Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (the Jagaban Borgu) for the office of the President of Nigeria in 2023.
“Their goal is driven by desire for a common front to push the Yoruba Agenda for leadership of Nigeria.”
Mr Adeyeye, at the palace of the Olubadan, said Mr Tinubu “is the only politican who has what it takes to succeed Buhari in 2023”.
“What we are here to do is to seek the support of the Olubadan. Everyone is lobbying. We are here to tell the monarch that we are have interest in 2023 presidency.
“2023 is approaching, we have someone who can succeed President Muhamadu Buhari in 2023. He is Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. It is time for the South to succeed Buhari. This is why we say that the Yoruba has someone who is capable. I have been in politics for many years. I worked with Chief MKO Abiola and late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, there is no other person that has what it takes to succeed Buhari in 2023 except Tinubu. We are here to seek the support of the monarch.”
The Olubadan, in response, said, “the doors of his palace are opened to politicians in the region”.
He said, “Nigeria is a country where if you don’t ask for your right, they will not give you. You will prosper.
“Let me tell you that my doors are open. Anyone who is interested, my doors are widely opened for you to come.”
Group visits Alaafin of Oyo
The group also visited the Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi.
The group also sought the monarch’s support for Mr Tinubu.
“There is no way we can do this kind of a thing without coming here. Politicking has started. What we are here to do is that who is next after Buhari?. We have someone who is capable. He is Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“There is an arrangement, there is an agreement, it may not be written. But, we know that after North, then South. In the South, we have Tinubu in South-west.
“Tinubu has done it in Lagos State, even before he became the governor during NADECO days,” Mr Adeneye said.
The monarch also responded to their demands.
He urged the group “not to fear but to ensure that they fulfill the promises made to the citizens when the person they were campaigning for gets to power.”
“I am in support of your cause. We can’t continue with this. Boko Haram is killing people all over. The blood we are shedding in this country is too much.”