From Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti
The South West Agenda (SWAGA), a campaign group rooting for the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has expressed that the endorsement of the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, by former President Olusegun Obasanjo won’t slim down the chances of the APC candidate in the February 25 election.
The group which dismissed the endorsement said SWAGA as well as the APC is not in any way disturbed by the former president’s support for the Labour Party candidate, stressing that victory is sure for the former Lagos State governor.
The national chairman of SWAGA, Senator Dayo Adeyeye, who made the statement in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, on Tuesday, during a party organised for members of the campaign group in Ekiti, Ondo, Kogi and other states, restated that Tinubu’s track record, contributions to nation building and the fact that he fought for democracy will stand him out among other contenders.
The APC chieftain who noted that the group has been working tirelessly for Tinubu ahead of the election promised that SWAGA would deliver 14 million votes and even more in the South West for the APC candidate.
Adeyeye who is the director of support groups in the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), while brushing off the endorsement of Obi noted that just as the former president Obasanjo is within his discretion years and has the right to support any of the candidates, SWAGA also has the constitutional right to support and canvass for whoever it liked, insisting that Obasanjo’s endorsement cannot influence the outcome of the forthcoming poll.
Adeyeye said, ” The endorsement of the Labour Party candidate will have absolutely no negative impact on the election of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; we are in the South West here and we know the politics of the region.
” Former president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has the right to endorse any candidate, and it is also our constitutional right to support and canvass for whoever we like. I can tell you that the people of South West, even the people of Egba land where Obasanjo comes from, they will vote massively for Tinubu and he will win.
” Don’t forget as SWAGA, we have promised to deliver 14 million votes, we have not changed our mind on this important promise and we have been working towards fulfilling it, even more than that figure. There is no reason that anybody will not support him because he has done well for the country by fighting for the democracy we are all enjoying today.
” We have met over 300 traditional rulers in Yoruba land, and the candidate himself has done that too and all of them have endorsed him. Afenifere has endorsed him including all Yoruba leaders, I don’t think what Obasanjo has done will have any impact on the chances of Bola Tinubu in the forthcoming election.”
Responding to Obasanjo’s letter where the former president raised the issue of the capacity and competence of each of the presidential candidates, Adeyeye said that Tinubu is fit, competent and has all it takes to lead Nigeria.
“Talking about health, the health of a man is in the hands of God. Let me tell you that many of those who said President Muhammadu Buhari will die in 2015, many of those who said that have died. I don’t think we should play God concerning the health of individuals.
“Who is more hardworking than Tinubu as we approach the election? None of the candidates. You can see he is meeting critical stakeholders day and night. You can be engrossed in rumours and speculations, I can say this man is fit and competent to be the president of our nation.
“I think President Obasanjo will continue to raise issues. Nobody will ever be good in the eyes of the former president, even if Obafemi Awolowo was to be the president, he will see reasons to criticise him. In his eyes, nobody is good and better than him,” he said.
Similarly, a former member of the House of Representatives, Oyetunde Ojo, who also disregarded Obasanjo’s endorsement, stated that the endorsement was his personal opinion and cannot affect the people’s opinion, noting that SWAGA will not be distracted by what he called the antics of the opposition but will remain firm in its resolve and will continue to work for Tinubu till the day of the election.
Ojo said, “Obasanjo’s endorsement is one man’s opinion which is not the whole country’s opinion. He won’t take the majority opinion of Nigerians who are ready to vote for Tinubu for the overall good of the nation.
“We have been on the field as a group canvassing for Tinubu and we will work till the last minute in February because our principal doesn’t believe in laziness, he is everywhere talking to the people
“We are going to units, wards, and local government areas to tell them the benefits of an Asiwaju Tinubu presidency and that is what we will continue to do till the day of the election.”