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APC Lagos rally: I cannot be killed, Tinubu declares

By Seye Olumide (South West Bureau Chief), Muyiwa Adeyemi (Politics Editor), Adamu Abuh (Abuja) Kehinde Olatunji and Eniola Daniel (Lagos)
27 November 2022   |   4:37 am
The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, yesterday, burst the bubbles of those who fantasise with the morbid fascination of seeing him dead.

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu (left); All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and his running mate, Kashim Shettima at the APC Presidential/Lagos State Governor campaign flag off … yesterday. (inset)Party faithful at the rally PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

• Promises Investment In Education, Health, Infrastructure
• Urges Nigerians To Reject PDP

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, yesterday, burst the bubbles of those who fantasise with the morbid fascination of seeing him dead.

At a rally in support of his presidential bid, organised by the Lagos State government, at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, the former Lagos State Governor assured his supporters that, “I cannot be killed.”

As he has done of late, he seized the opportunity to knock his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, urging would-be voters to once again reject the “selfish Atiku Abubakar, who has been running for the Presidency since 1999.”

He, however, promised to form a progressive government with massive investment in education, health, infrastructure, and job creation if elected as president, even as he assured Nigerians of better days ahead.

Also yesterday, The Asiwaju Progressive Movement (TAPM), one of Tinubu’s support groups, while reacting to a statement credited to former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, stated that the 2023 general election will not be about religion, but about competence in leadership.

An insight into why the ruling APC zoned its presidential slot to the South, was also offered yesterday, by Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State, while receiving hundreds of supporters of the PDP into the APC fold.

According to him, the decision was based on the need to entrench equity and fairness in the country. Addressing a large group of party faithful at the stadium, which included the governors of Kano, Kastina, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kwara, Jigawa, Ekiti, Ogun, Osun as well as members of the National Assembly and Ministers of Works and Housing; Information and Culture; Sports and Youth, Tinubu expressed delight that his presidential bid is being fortified by the APC functionaries at all levels.

Tinubu, whose speech was interlaced with Yoruba songs said his mother always sing a song, which he cherished so much, “Dagunro o se pa, ipa te pa tete, e ma pa dagunro, dagunro o se pa,” which literarily means, “Dagunro is unkillable. The manner of death you rained on Spinach, never visit it on Dagunro.”

The APC presidential flag bearer, again, used the opportunity of the rally to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to the development of Nigeria and Lagos State.

He said, “I specially thank President Muhammadu Buhari for the unprecedented federal support and commitment to Lagos State. We have come a long way from Presidents whose sole obsession was to capture or conquer Lagos in do-or-die fashion, to a President who loves the state greatly and is keen to see it do very well.

“Lagos has benefited tremendously in terms of infrastructure development, whether it is the Lagos-Ibadan Railway line, or the Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonsoki Expressway, the revamped National Theatre, the new International Airport Terminal or the support that has made the Lekki Deep Sea Port possible and the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Plant, as well as the Red Line of the Lagos Metro, which is sharing part of the Federal corridor,” he said.

Underscoring the importance of sustaining the progressive governance in Lagos State, Tinubu urged Lagosians to vote for Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, for second term.

“Dear Lagosians, my appeal to you today, is to ask you to renew the mandate of Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Kadiri Obafemi Hamzat for another four years. Do not let the execution and implementation of the bold vision of more than two decades be aborted or suspended.”

For the stability of Lagos State, Asiwaju Tinubu called on the youths and students to vote for Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat.
Tinubu also urged the electorate to reject the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, noting that the party failed to deliver dividends of democracy to Nigerians for 16 years it governed the country.

The former Lagos State governor said: “I know one selfish man who has been running since 1999, that’s, Atiku. He contested on the PDP platform and also contested on the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) platform. He is ungrateful and now it is time you tell him through your vote that he should go and rest.

“Use your Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) to flog and retire him. He said he’s in PDP, don’t listen to him, I read what he said this morning and he claimed he’s running to better Nigeria’s future, whereas they were there for 16 years; they gave you estimated billing, they didn’t remember Badagry Road, they forgot the East-West road, they forgot Kafanchan, Sokoto, Kaduna roads. They forgot the Second Niger Bridge. They paid evil for good gestures, they are traitors.” 

Expressing satisfaction at the large turn out of Lagosians at the rally, the national chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu urged Nigerians to vote for the APC presidential candidate, noting that “It is not over until it is over. For what we have seen, Asiwaju Tinubu is the president in waiting.”

The Director General of the APC presidential campaign council and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong said with the turn out of people at the rally, he was convinced that Lagosians are solidly behind Tinubu.
He said, “The election is as good as won, we are looking forward to February 25, 2023, when we would have the victory and we are praying to God for that.

“On behalf of the campaign council, we thank you Lagosians for giving us the best candidate and the most suitable person to succeed President Muhammdu Buhari in May 2023 by the grace of God.

“Among those who are seeking to govern the country, Asiwaju stands taller than all of them. His record of performance in Lagos stands him out as a good manager of people and resources who can make something out even in the most difficult situation. He has demonstrated that he can take Nigeria to greater heights through ideas and assembling of best brains.”

Canvassing votes for Tinubu, the chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) and Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu disclosed that 22 governors of the ruling party are behind Tinubu and will ensure his victory.

According to him, “I urge all of us to vote for him for the right reasons. Our party believes in Tinubu. Nigeria in the last seven years has been challenged by the pandemic and international economic downturn. Our party battled two recessions and COVID. All governors have had a taste of what it is to battle a challenging economy but Tinubu had battled a similar challenge before and he has proven capable on how to take us out of the challenges.

“He left a better Lagos State after his tenure as governor, it was more developed and more internationally renowned. He gave more opportunities to many. I remember when I used to live in Surulere and I know how it was a challenge to cross Apogbon bridge, area boys would knock on vehicle doors but when Tinubu took over the governance of Lagos, he saw the humanity in them and built them to be useful for the society.

“Today the country is facing challenge in banditry and Tinubu will include everyone as he has done before in Lagos. The 21st century needs leaders who can incorporate others. There is no presidential candidate that will come anywhere near the qualities of Tinubu and Kashim Shettima. That is what Buhari and our party saw in him. We urge you to take the message home so that he can emerge as the president in 2023. “We are here to energise the base, to rally the base, this is not the real campaign. Everybody here is Batified, we are here to showcase ourselves. There is a small group outside in any election, they are called the undecided voters, they are called the swing voters. I want to talk to those swing voters through you our members because once you are energised, they will be energised, they will ask you lots of questions, there is something called frequently asked questions.

For the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who pleaded with the electorate in the South east and South-south to reciprocate the gesture of Tinubu by voting for him.

Gbajabiamila also provided APC supporters with answers to what he called, “Frequent asked questions about Tinubu.”He said, “When they ask you who is Tinubu, tell them,” Gbajabiamila said, “Tinubu is the greatest politician in modern day Nigeria politics. How old is he? Tell them that he is the age his mother said he is and if they doubt it, they should go and meet his mother to confirm. If they ask about his education? Tell them that I said he is more educated than all the contestants put together.

“If they say he is wanted in America? Don’t argue with them, tell them that the America have said repeatedly that they don’t know what they are talking about. On Corruption? Tell them he is the most investigated presidential candidate in the history of Nigeria and nothing has been found on him: On Muslim-Muslim ticket: Tell them God is moving mysteriously in ways that they cannot understand, that God is about to do something in Nigeria. Tell them in Shettima, God is about to deliver the scripture of the rejected stone that became the cornerstone.

“What has he done to develop Nigeria? Tell them he has developed men and women who in turn have developed Nigeria. Tell them to give you one name of any other candidate that has developed men and women of consequence in today’s Nigeria socio-economic development.”

Welcoming dignitaries, Sanwo-Olu thanked Tinubu for the foundation he laid in the state and the legacies he left behind as governor, saying he is the right man for the presidency in 2023.

REACTING to Lawal’s criticism of the APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket when he appeared on a television programme last week, TAPM in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Joshua Owoyomi, said that Tinubu, is not in the race as candidate of any religion, but as a national candidate who is out for unification and not division.

“Tinubu is out to unite a nation, not to divide it along religious lines. Mr. Lawal and his crew had better waken up and smelt the coffee, this election is not about religious differences, but national unity,” it said.

The group, which expressed concerns at the activities of a group, the APC Northern Christian Leaders, led by Lawal, stressed that the former SGF’s position was as a result of his failure to get the vice presidential slot.

“We understand the disappointment of Mr. Babachir Lawal after being overlooked for the position of the vice presidential candidate of the APC. He is free to be disappointed and lick his wounds. However, it is disappointing and disturbing that someone who (with his mouth) on many occasions spoken of how Muslims had helped his life positively is now the same person raising religious issues and trying to fan religious intolerance all because of politics and election.

“It is unfortunate that Mr. Lawal is still in the class of politicians who think that they can use religion to manipulate the people. How does he and his likes think they can use religion to de-market a man who, as a Muslim is proudly married to a Christian pastor, who is freely practising her Christianity without intimidation from her husband? How come Mr. Lawal and his group are not thoughtful enough to know that it is difficult to use religion to truncate the ambition of a man who, as governor, had many Christians in his inner circle and never used religion as a factor to choose who worked with him or not? It is sad that anger, bitterness and frustration have blinded Mr. Lawal and Co, and made them unable to see that a man who started a Christian thanksgiving service to open the working year as governor in Lagos State cannot be classified as an enemy of the Christian community now because some peoples’ personal interest and ego has been bruised.

GOVERNOR Matawalle while receiving the decamping PDP members urged them to work towards ensuring that APC and all its candidates in the 2023 poll emerge successful. 

Some of the groups that switched camps are the Atiku Support Organisation; PDP Transformation Ambassadors; Atiku Abubakar Kawai, PDP Mobilisers Initiative, Kasa Daya Al’umma Daya; Atiku/Okowa Frontier Movement; G7 Business Community; Katsina Biyayya Poop; Atiku Women and Youth Initiative, and Atiku Nigeria Transformation Ambassadors.

Flanked by the APC National Vice Chairman, North West, Salihu Lukman, the governor said: “The APC is the only party that upholds the principles of power rotation. The highest justice to be done to the people of the South is to be able to shift power to their region so that justice and equality can be ensured.

“These are groups who were committed to support the PDP and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to win the 2023 Presidential elections, but were not given the deserved recognition by both the PDP and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

“These are groups that invested heavily in the Atiku project since 2015, but poor relationship with both the PDP and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar compelled them to leave both the PDP and its presidential candidate and declare their support for APC and its Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”

Other APC chieftains at the rally include Vice Presidential candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima, Governors Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq (Kwara) and Abiodun Oyebanji (Ekiti).

Also present were Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare; and former Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi among others.