Tinubu: South-west govs affirm presidential ambition

Ayodele Olalere

Bola Ahmed Tinubu received governors of the South West at his residence in Bourdillion, Ikoyi, Lagos last week.

The governors, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State; Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) of Ondo State; Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State; Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State; Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; Engr. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State,  represented by his deputy, made the visit after a meeting held earlier the same day at Lagos State House, Marina.

However, suspicion was raised when, Governor Fayemi hurriedly left after the meeting at Lagos State House and was not part of the photo session with fellow colleagues as well as during interaction with State House Correspondents. He was also absent when his colleagues later visited Tinubu at his residence.

His absence at the Tinubu residence was seen by political watchers, as an indication that the outcome of the earlier meeting was not favourable to him in terms of his alleged presidential ambition.

Though he is yet to officially declare his ambition, it is no secret that Asiwaju Tinubu is bidding to contest in the 2023 presidential election, especially with the recent grand inauguration of a political group, South West Agenda for Asiwaju, SWAGA, in Lagos, led by Senator Dayo Adeyeye, which witnessed the presence of the state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.  Therefore, the alleged ambition of Governor Fayemi is seen as a direct confrontation with Tinubu’s.

Though the chairman of the South-west Governors Forum, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, downplayed the absence of Gov. Fayemi at Tinubu’s residence, saying the latter had a flight to catch to Port Harcourt for another engagement.

The defence seemed not to hold water, as Governor Fayemi is yet to respond to insinuation that his absence was deliberate, giving an indication that all may not be well among the South-west political leaders on who the region should present as its consensus candidate for 2023 polls.

The visit to Tinubu’s residence was not the first of such. In May this year, Tinubu met with the governors elected on the party’s platform in the South-west. The meeting was convened by the APC pioneer national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, to address major national issues, including the agitation for the Yoruba nation by some groups in the region. At the meeting held at the State House, Marina, Lagos, the APC chieftains also deliberated on how to boost the party’s fortunes in the South-west ahead of the 2023 election. Also at the meeting were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and some party stakeholders in the region.

It is also recalled while he was away in London on medical treatment, the governors, among several top politicians from the South-west also visited London on a solidarity visit to Tinubu on his ill health as well as converse with him on the 2023 election.

During the latest visit, Governor Akeredolu gave a hint on where the governors stand as per the choice of the South-west for 2023.  According to him, “Bola Tinubu is capable of leading Nigeria,” adding that Tinubu is doing his best as leader of the South-west.

Akeredolu, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said the governors in the region believe in the leadership of the former Lagos State governor.

“We held the South-west Governors’ Forum meeting. After the meeting, we deemed it fit to come over and visit our leader, who has returned home successfully and is hale and hearty. We have come to show our love for him and thank God on his behalf. He has been receiving visitors. This place has turned into Mecca. We are here as part of the pilgrims. Most of us in the Southwest believe in his leadership of the National Leader of APC. It shows that he’s doing his best to lead us. He is not only the leader of the South-west but also the National Leader of the APC in Nigeria. But we in the South-west first lay claim to him as our leader,” Akeredolu had said.

Their visit was also a confirmation of the earlier statement of former Minister of Works and National Chairman, South-west Agenda for Asiwaju, SWAGA 2023, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, who revealed that 16 All Progressives Congress, APC, governors are covertly supporting the presidential aspiration of Tinubu.

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“APC leaders and members across board are using their personal money to fund SWAGA. Members are not after money. Let me tell you this, 16 governors are now backing Tinubu for president and they are no longer afraid after Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State openly supported us when we did the flag-off in Lagos,” Adeyeye had said.

The visit of the governors reinforced the stand of the Southern Governors Forum, SGF, after a meeting held in Lagos this year. The meeting, which had in attendance governors from the South-south, South-east and South-west, was convened to make the position of the South known on where the presidency should swing in 2023. The governors had insisted the South must produce the president in 2023 irrespective of the political party.  As at now, Tinubu’s ambition seems to be the only one gaining momentum in the South.

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