A group of former senators, House of Representatives members and other politicians across the Southwest geo-political zone has urged the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to contest as president in the 2023 election.
They spoke on Tuesday at the unveiling of the group’s logo in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The group is christened South West Agenda (SWAGA) and led by Senator Dayo Adeyeye.
It comprises politicians including the immediate former Oyo State Deputy Governor Alake Adeyemo, Senator Adesoji Akanbi and former members of House of Representatives, including Bosun Oladele and Rotimi Makinde.
Membership of the group spreads across the six states in the Southwest.
Also in attendance yesterday were former Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji; his Ogun State counterpart, Suraj Adekunbi and Senator Abu Ibrahim (Kastina South) who was represented by Dr. Aliyu Zakari-Diya.
The National Coordinator, Northern Region Support Tinubu for 2023, Hamman Dikko, was also there. They urged Tinubu to contest.
The group started the campaign on Monday with visits to the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji and Alaafin of Oyo Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III during which they conveyed its agenda to the leading monarchs.
The group said members came together to actualise the agenda for the Southwest to produce the next President in 2023.
It has Senator Adesoji Akanbi as Vice Chairman and Bosun Oladele as Secretary.
Other members include Otunba Abayomi Ogunnusi. Mrs. Kafilat Ogbara, Oyetunde Ojo, Deji Jakande and Mr Ifedayo Abegunde (aka Abena), Senators Musiliu Obanikoro and Adeseye Ogunlewe.
Asiwaju Tinubu, who is a former governor of Lagos State, led the formation of the APC and emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as APC presidential candidate in 2014.
Adeyeye told the two monarchs that SWAGA was aimed at ensuring that an electable political leader from the Southwest gets the necessary support to succeed President Buhari in 2023.
He noted that Asiwaju Tinubu possesses all the qualities and experiences needed to lead Nigeria as the next President.
Besides, Adeyeye revealed that there was an agreement among APC leaders during the 2015 election that presidential power would rotate to the South after President Buhari’s eight-year tenure.
He said: “We are here for politics; politics has started. We, the Yoruba, believe that it is our right to produce the next President. It has been an agreement that presidential power will rotate from North to South. May God preserve President Buhari. After his tenure, power will shift to the South. Yoruba will be part of the contest. We want the best candidate to become the presidential candidate. As the media adviser to the late Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, I know what Yoruba want. Except a thoroughbred Yoruba person becomes President, we can’t get it. We saw that we have a very capable hand in Asiwaju Tinubu. He is so capable. I’ve tried a bit in Nigerian politics. No one else has a bigger political stature than Asiwaju Tinubu in Nigeria today. He has not told us he would contest. We, as true Yoruba sons and daughters, just decided to embark on this to ensure that we push forward a good candidate. He is sellable all over Nigeria.
“We are having our inaugural meeting on Tuesday in Ibadan. Ibadan is the political headquarters of the Yoruba. All the Yoruba are represented in Ibadan. Hence, we chose Ibadan.
As Yoruba children, we have come to seek your blessings for the meeting and the agenda.”
Adeyeye said SWAGA would continue to consult elders and traditional rulers in the region.
Oba Adetunji hailed members of the group for taking the bold step to advance the interest of the Yoruba.
The frontline monarch said it was not out of place for people to press for their rights in Nigeria.
He said the Yoruba played key roles in the struggle for Nigeria’s independence and development, adding that they deserve top roles in government, particularly those eminently qualified Yoruba compatriots.
Oba Adetunji said his door was open to all political parties and assured the roup of open arms.
The Olubadan stressed that members of the group were free to visit him at any time.
He blessed their agenda thereafter.
At Alaafin’s palace in Oyo, Adeyeye told Oba Adeyemi that all regions wanted the presidential slot, but having had an agreement, written or unwritten, there should be no alteration.
He said: “We have a joker that others don’t have. That is Asiwaju. He has no peer in Nigeria today. That’s why we are confident that the Yoruba will produce the next President. Asiwaju Tinubu is not only qualified, he offered good governance in Lagos. Prior to that, he was an active member of defunct National Democratic Coalition (NADECO). After Abiola, the next eminently qualified candidate we have is Asiwaju Tinubu.”
Expressing belief in SWAGA’s mission, Oba Adeyemi recalled the leading roles the Yoruba have been playing in Nigeria’s development.
He said it was right for the Yoruba to aspire to be President, adding that it was a noble cause for all Yoruba to consider.
The frontline monarch noted that for Nigeria to make progress, the country must practise true federalism.
Oba Adeyemi added: “We must have true federalism. If we don’t run true federalism, it will be difficult to move forward. The Yoruba have been at the forefront of exploits and development efforts of Nigeria, but there has been no sincerity in Nigerian politics.
“We need a leader who understands Nigeria very well and able to offer purposeful leadership.
I think your agenda is well thought out. I believe in your mission. In this journey, don’t entertain any fear, no matter the situation. You will attain your goal.”