What happened to the Southwest during the defunct Second and Third Republics when the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the late business mogul, Moshood Abiola, must not repeat itself next year, the All Progressives Congress (APC) said yesterday.
The party, through its National Vice Chairman (Southwest), Chief Isaacs Kekemeke, took a bold step yesterday by setting up reconciliation committees and high-powered contact team.
The role of the team, under the chairmanship of Ondo State Governor Olurotimi Akeredolu, the APC said, is to present its presidential standard bearer and other candidates in next year’s election to eminent personalities in the region for support.
According to the APC leader, the six other committees would reconcile all aggrieved party members in the region ahead of the elections.
Kekemeke dropped the hint while briefing reporters after its meeting at the Oyo State APC chapter secretariat in Ibadan.
He explained that the decision was taken to ensure Tinubu’s victory and inauguration as the next president, pointing out that Southwest will not lose another opportunity to produce the president after the bitter experience of the late Obafemi Awolowo and Moshood Abiola.
The party leader said: “We are have resolved to change the narrative. What happened to Awolowo and Abiola must not happen again. It is a lifetime opportunity to produce the next president and we won’t let it slip by. Some say we sound sentimental.
Why not, if the best candidate is from your zone, if he is the most experienced and he is a man with antecedent? It is not all just because he is from here but because he is the best. We urge all Southwest indigenes to rally behind Tinubu and ensure that he is
elected the next president.”
According to Kekemeke, the Akeredolu-led special committee will engage eminent citizens who are essentially APC leaders and others that wield influence in their communities and states.
The zonal leader further explained that the party was willing to concede certain demands in its bid to build inclusiveness.
His words: “You can’t rule out give-and-take.
Assurances will be given. We will assure them that no one will be discriminated against. We recognize the sacrifices and the efforts they have made and their efforts in seeking tickets of the party. We will give assurance, plead and offer a proposal that will be a win-win for all of us in the future.”
He said: “We need every leader of the party to participate actively in the process of winning the 2023 elections. Other members of the special committee are the National Secretary, Sen. Iyiola Omisore; Kekemeke, the six state chairmen and the zonal woman leader.”
He also named Industry, Trade and Investment Minister Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo and Chief Pius Akinyelure as chairman and co-chairman of a Zonal Advisory Committee.
Members of the committee, including Prince Tajudeen Olusi, Pastor Bankole Oluwajana, Chief Henry Ajomale, and the zonal secretary Wunmi Bewaji, who will serve as secretary, have a mandate to work with party’s National Working Committee (NWC) for the success of the APC.
In Akure, the Ondo State capital, former Works Minister and National Chairman of the Southwest Agenda for Tinubu (SWAGA), Prince Dayo Adeyeye, led thousands of party faithful on sensitisation walk to project the presidential candidate.
The walk, staged through major streets, had traders and artisans as participants.
Adeyeye told participants that Tinubu remained the best candidate to take Nigeria to loftier heights.
A former Commissioner for Information and Orientation in Oyo State, Bosun Oladele, said no presidential candidate could match the one-time Lagos governor in terms of human and infrastructural
Oladele stated that SWAGA visited traditional rulers in the Southwest to let them know about their agenda.
He said: “We are going to campaign till we win this coming election. Winning the general election, we must give sizeable attention to the entire populate with a lot of concentration on the youths and women. That was why we have Youths Solidarity Walk for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and we have learned people among ourselves and none of us leading this campaign is a candidate in any election.
“We choose Ondo State for the commencement of this campaign in order to perfect our strategy and to let everybody have a sense of belonging and of course Ondo state is one of our home state so if not Ondo state why not.”
Another party chieftain, Oyetunde Ojo, said: “Tinubu as we all know is not a stranger in this country, and we have to believe in his ambition, he is a father, responsible and a straight forward person who can move this country forward.
“So, we are telling the good people of Akure, Ondo state, to vote for their son, Tinubu, he will take this nation to a greater height. The SWAGA is going from ward to ward to campaign for Tinubu because it is our turn in the Southwest and that is why we are appealing to our youths and women to give Tinubu a trial.”