By Funmi Branco
The Moshood Abiola Stadium, the venue of the All Prohressives Congress, APC, presidential campaign in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, witnessed unprecedented joyous celebration as the people of Ogun State from all walks of life came in their thousands to be part of epoch-making unveiling of the party’s flagbearers in all the elections that will take place in February and March this year.
Different groups across the state adorned themselves with various “aso ebi” and attires and danced round the venue with enthusiasm, joy and happiness. Many carried various placards, banners, leaflets, eulogising their candidates for various elective positions across the state.
The people’s joy knew no bounds for various reasons. The people were all excited to welcome the party’s presidential flagbearer, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, members of the campaign team, governors, ministers and other major stakeholders to the Gateway State.
The atmosphere this time was quite contrary to the pandemonium that heralded the 2019 presidential campaign, where President Muhammadu Buhari and his entourage were pelted with stones and the then gubernatorial candidate and present governor of the state, Prince Dapo Abiodun, was choked out of the venue by the supporters of the then governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. How time flies!
“Power has changed hands,” and a new sheriff is in town. The controversy and thuggery that characterized the 2019 campaign in Ogun State has gone into oblivion. It is now history.
Truly, the APC in Ogun State has moved ahead. The state, previously known for thuggery, political assassination and the like, has suddenly become a centre of development, peace and progress, thanks to Governor Abiodun, who decided not to wallow in the past, but change the narrative in the best interests of the good people of the state.
It is no wonder, then, that residents from all the 20 local government areas of the state trooped to the MKO Abiola stadium, in Abeokuta, to celebrate with their governor the newfound peace and freedom.
Market women, artisans, students, traditional rulers, drivers’ unions, supporters of various candidates and other party faithful had as early as 7a.m danced into the stadium to catch a glimpse at the APC National Leader and presidential candidate, Senator Tinubu, and his entourage.
Supporters of the three senatorial candidates, Engr. Salisu Suhaib, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola and former governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, were all around the venue singing, dancing through the staduim. Several youths on horses led Asiwaju Tinubu across the street to the venue of the campaign. Streets were also beseiged by residents, who could not be at the stadium to catch a glimpse of the City Boy.
The situation became electrified when the presidential candidate, Asiwaju Tinubu, entered the venue in an open roof bus tagged: “The Nation Builder,” with Governor Abiodun, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and others.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor Abiodun thanked the people of Ogun State for coming out en masse to receive the presidential candidate. He assured the presidential candidate of massive votes in the state. Governor Abiodun said the antecedents of Asiwaju Tinubu in Lagos and how he had been able to make a success story of Lagos, with quality successive governors in the state, would translate to positive government across the country.
Prince Abiodun stated, “A ma d’ibo, O ti wole, Shetima is a goal, Asiwaju is a goal.”
The APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Tinubu, accompanied by other leaders of the party, commended the people of the state for their steadfastness and doggedness in support for APC.
While speaking proverbial, he likened the coming election to a revolution. He lamented the present economic situation in the country, assuring that he would do everything to reduce the cost of fuel and make loans available to students in tertiary institutions.
Tinubu said, “What we are here to ask you today is that you should go and get your PVC,” adding that his visit to the state was historic, recalling his statement on his previous visit to the state, where he said it was his turn to be the flagbearer of APC: ‘Emilokan.’
He said the dream shall be a reality come February 25th, 2023.