The nationwide presidential campaign rallies of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Tuesday, 21 February, 2023, peaked in Lagos State – the political base of the ruling party’s presidential standard bearer, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The metropolis witnessed what appeared to be its largest political parade; elegantly dressed residents and party supporters trooped into streets with various shades of campaign banners, dancing and chanting APC slogans. They walked to the rally ground – Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere – to wait for the presidential candidate and members of the campaign council.
Tinubu, who flew into Lagos from Abuja, was received by a tumultuous crowd of residents, and rode in a large motorcade from the airport through the city. The crowd grew stronger as the political procession moved from Ikeja to Oshodi, Mushin and Ojuelegba.
The physical presence of President Muhammadu Buhari sent a message of reassurance to the crowd of party supporters that thronged the rally ground.
The campaign’s grand finale was attended by all APC Governors, Senate President, Sen. Ahmad Lawan; House of Representatives Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; APC National Chairman, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu; members of Lagos State Executive Council, party leaders in Lagos and other States in the Southwest.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, while declaring the rally open, said the sight of a massive crowd that accompanied APC Presidential Candidate’s motorcade to the stadium further demonstrated Lagos remained a stronghold of the progressives, thanking Lagosians for supporting and keeping faith with the party.
Sanwo-Olu said Tinubu had not only traversed the country to canvass for the support of all Nigerians, the Governor said the candidate had shown his commitment to lead the country on a new path to peace, stability and prosperity.
He said: “From Ikeja down to this rally, we witnessed overwhelming show of support and love for Asiwaju on the streets, which is an acknowledgment of the love Lagos people have for the City Boy (Tinubu). Thank you Lagosians for believing in the progressives party and for rising to receive our leader.
“On Saturday, we have another opportunity to consolidate the support which you have shown our party. I urge you all to troop to your polling stations and massively vote for the man who has the capacity to bring the country to another level of development. With your support, I have no doubt APC will be victorious.”
Tinubu, apparently moved by the massive turnout at the rally, said he heard the message from the electorate “loud and clear”. He expressed his readiness to offer his intellectual ability to lead the country and chart a new future for the youth.
The APC Presidential Candidate described the level of support he received throughout the electioneering “as extremely remarkable”, pledging to deploy his physical and mental energy to work out his vision for Nigeria and renew the citizens’ hope.
He said: “I am coming to give Nigerians renewed hope, because there is hope in the country. The level of support I have received throughout the campaign is extremely remarkable. I assure you all that, as you work hard for my victory, I will work hard for Nigeria.
“I will sustain that hope by prioritising your wellbeing at all times. Those who are feeling helpless today will have their expectations revalidated. All the agenda set out in our manifesto will be pursued vigorously with all our energy.”
Explaining why the choice of his running mate, Tinubu said Sen. Kashim Shettima stood out among the list of qualified party members he had in mind. Aside possessing knowledge, attitude and capacity, Tinubu said Shettima faced Boko Haram crisis as Borno State Governor with perseverance, determination and grit to overcome the challenge, while protecting citizens of his State from the effects of terrorism.
The APC Presidential Candidate expressed gratitude to Buhari for allowing internal democracy within the party and freedom to choose the party’s flag bearer.
Tinubu said: “Mr. President, thank you in a million time. You set our feet on the path to the future, to work on and achieve greatness because it is desirable for Nigeria to be great.
“You said, for anyone to succeed you, he or she must work and follow the guidelines for nomination and that the primaries must be very transparent. You said our party will be a shining example like dew on the mountain.”
Buhari raised the hands of Tinubu and Shettima in demonstration of his commitment to APC victory at the election.
Director General of APC Presidential Campaign Council and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, hailed Lagosians for trooping out for the rally, saying: ”The crowd that welcomed us looked like we were already celebrating the victory of our party.”
Lalong said a new president was already in place, adding that the country was only waiting for the presidential election to ratify the party’s victory.
He thanked Nigerians in advance for electing Tinubu.
APC chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, said the party and its standard bearer traversed the length and breadth of the country, and organised successful campaigns.
“By the feelers we got across the country, we are sure of victory. I believe by this time on Saturday, we would be celebrating. The die is cast; Tinubu will be sworn in May 29, 2023,” Adamu said.