by Emmanuel Oladesu
All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council Co-chairman Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday urged party members in Lagos to intensify the mobilisation for Saturday’s rescheduled presidential and National Assembly elections.
Noting that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was jittery, he said the ruling party will defeat the opposition party at the poll and put it to shame.
The former Lagos State governor also explained why Igbo in Lagos should vote for the APC, saying that the government in the Centre of Excellence has never discriminated against them and other non-indigenes in the distribution of the dividends of democracy.
Tinubu, who urged women leaders to mobilise traders for the crucial poll, also advised youths to heed President Muhammadu Buhari’s advice by shunning thuggery, ballot snatching and other forms of violence.
He advised party faithful to accommodate defectors from the rival PDP, saying that they had become legitimate members of the fold whose cooperation are required for mobiliasation for victory.
Tinubu, who urged them to use their index fingers to thumb print on the ballot paper, advised the party agents and canvassers to be vigilant.
He said: “You agents must report early. Be vigilant. Shine your eyes. If an agent goes to ease himself, the canvasser will take his position. A canvasser is also an agent.”
The party said there will be a meeting of party leaders with council chairmen at his Ikoyi residence today to discuss the preparations for the Saturday election.
Exuding confidence, he said: “We will win on Saturday and we will hold a celebration rally next week.”
Tinubu addressed party members, shortly after the stakeholders’ meeting at the party secretariat on Acme Road, Ogba, Ikeja.
The meeting was attended by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode; his deputy, Dr. Idiat Adebule; Secretary to Government Tunji Bello; governorship candidate Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his running mate Obafemi Hamzat; and APC Governorship Advisory Council (GAC) members – Prince Tajudeen Olusi; party chairman Tunde Balogun; one-time Finance Commissioner Olawale Edun; Prince Abiodun Ogunleye; Chief Busura Alebiosu; Chief M.A. Taiwo; Chief Murphy Adetoro; Chief Mutiu Aare; Alhaji Akanni Seriki; Olorunfunmi Basorun; Dr. Yomi Finnih; Chief Muyiwa Sosanya and Cardinal James Odunmbaku.
Other chieftains included: Former Minister of State for Defence Demola Seriki; former Deputy Governor Olufemi Pedro; Oyinlomo Dammole; Ademorin Kuye; APC Vice Chairman (Lagos West) Funso Ologunde; party secretary Wale Ahmed; publicity secretary Joe Igbokwe; his deputy Abiola Salami; Senators Musiliu Obanikoro; Ganiyu Solomon; and Adeola Olamilekan; Southwest APC Women Leader Mrs. Kemi Nelson; Lagos APC Women Leader Jumoke Okoya-Thomas; Mrs. Fausat Gbadebo; Cornelius Ojelabi; Ayodele Adewale; Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye; Mrs. Yetunde Arobieke; Sanwo-Olu’s campaign manager Tayo Ayinde; Mrs. Kafilat Ogbara; Arewa leader Kabiru Ahmed; Chris Ekwilo and House of Assembly members-Wasiu Eshilokun; Rotimi Abiru and Tunde Braimoh.
Welcoming the chieftains and party followers, Balogun urged them to pass Tinubu’s message to other members who are busy in their local governments with door-to-door campaigns at the wards.
Tinubu, who told the party congregation that he has not slept for three days, owing to his involvement in preparations for the polls, urged members to gird their loins.
He said: “Are you ready for the polls? Go out on Saturday. Don’t’ be discouraged. Take your PVCs. Go and vote and we will win. Who are we fighting? It is the PDP.”
Reflecting on the postponement of the poll, he said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ship ran into turbulence, praying that the ship should land safely and happily on Saturday.
Tinubu, who spoke in English and Yoruba, said: “INEC will land safely and happily on this election and APC will win. They destroyed INEC office and materials in Abia. They are finished on poll day. We will bury PDP. They don’t want you to vote. They don’t want you to be around. Their plot has failed.”
He added: “We are not fighting INEC. There is no nation without obstacles. No leadership without challenges. Leadership must address the challenges. We are in a growing democracy. I was governor during the bomb explosion at Ikeja in 2002. It was very daunting. But, we responded and cared about our people. That is the concern of all of us and President Muhammadu Buhari.
“WE are not fighting INEC. INEC is not our opponent. We are going to compete and we will defeat them. They do not have our strength in the Southwest, Northwest, Northeast, Middle Belt. How will they win?”
Warning against hypocrisy and divisive tendencies in the political family, the party leader said leaders were aware of the allegations against a chieftain from Badagry, Mr. Bamgbose, who has refused to work for the party after benefiting from the party’s slot.
Tinubu, who advised members to mobilise vigorously to demonstrate the strength of the APC in Lagos, said defectors to the party should be carried along.
He said: “You should emulate me. I have accommodated Obanikoro, Demola Seriki and Da Silver. This is a good example of leadership. We are a big party. We cannot but offend ourselves. As you beg God for forgiveness, you should learn to forgive your fellow human beings.”
Turning to the women, Tinubu said: “Don’t rest in your local governments. Go to the markets and stalls. Mobilise them to vote.”
He also said members who have problems and complaints should not hesitate to inform their leaders at the ward and local government levels.
Stressing the importance of grassroots mobilisation, Tinubu said: “Get the attendance register at the ward. Call meetings. You know the number of polling units in your areas. Work hard. You must win. Tomorrow, I will hold meeting with the 57 council chairmen at Bourdillon.”
The former governor admonished youths to shun unruly behaviours on poll day to avoid unpleasant consequences.
He said: “Let me warn our boys. You heard President Buhari’s warning on thuggery, ballot snatching. You heard him. I don’t command an Army. The Permanent Voter Card (PVC) is my Army. We must go out to vote for president Buhari and our National Assembly candidates on February 23 and our governorship and House of Assembly candidates on March 9. The warning is: don’t fight.”
Tinubu also warned some restless youths against the harassment of of esteemed party elders during meetings, saying that anyone who is culpable is an agent of the PDP. He said APC is interested in celebrating democracy and not violence.
Urging Igbo in Lagos to vote for the APC, he said: “We appeal to our Igbo brothers from the East. This is the state where you conduct your business. Your children are in our schools. There is no discrimination against them in WAEC, NECO and tertiary fees. This time, we are asking you to help us. We will look at the votes from Ojo, Alaba, Surulere, Amuwo Odofin, Ajeromi Ifelodun.” Source: The Nation