Thousands of supporters marched in support of the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and his running mate, Kashim Shettima, in Osogbo, the Osun State capital under the direction of the state governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, an action that has pitted the ruling party against the People’s Democratic Party, which chided the state government for wasting the state resources on what it called a worthless event.
Ecstatic members of the All Progressives Congress took Osogbo, the Osun State capital by storm on Tuesday, as they turned out in large numbers to participate in a walk meant to gather support for the presidential candidate of the party in the 2023 general election, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
As early as 8 am, APC members had started gathering at the Oke Fia Government House, from where they took off and moved through major streets in the state capital amidst drumming and dancing, creating awareness of Tinubu’s presidential ambitions among the residents.
The 10km walk led by the state governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, also had in attendance the deputy governor, Mr. Benedict Alabi; the party’s state chairman, Gboyega Famoodun; and a large number of party members dressed in vests with a large portrait of Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima. Lady Crushed By Lebanese Hit-And-Run Driver
As the long procession of participants moved from Oke Fia to Olaiya Junction, then through Oja Oba and back to the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo, where Oyetola and other leaders of the APC addressed them, the traffic situation across the metropolis became chaotic.
Many motorists plying routes through Osogbo had to make a detour to beat the gridlock. Those trapped in the traffic jam had to wait for the procession to ease before they could continue their journey.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party, the party preparing to take over the reins of the state by November 27, having won the last July 16 Osun governorship poll, while reacting to the event, accused Oyetola of expending state resources on the event.
The party, while describing Oyetola as a bad marketer advertising a bad product, told the electorate in Osun to punish APC by voting against all candidates running on the platform of the party in the 2023 polls.
However, Oyetola, while addressing participants at the end of the walk, which took them over two hours at the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo, said the event was a means of reciprocating the kind gestures of Tinubu and expressing Osun’s support as a state for his presidential ambition.
He noted that at this critical time in the history of Nigeria, there was no room for an experiment on the choice of the nation’s next president, and stressed that Tinubu remains the best man for the job, considering his political pedigree and antecedents.
He said, “Asiwaju is a pathfinder and leader per excellence. He is not only a problem solver, a genius, a roadmap designer and an implementer, who, out of little or nothing, turned around the socio-economic fortunes of Lagos State.
“As a state, we declare our unalloyed support for Asiwaju and his candidature because we know that he is the only candidate that is fully prepared with a workable action plan to turn around the fortunes of our dear nation and build a virile economy that we can all be proud of.
“Additionally, he is the only man that has the required capacity and political wherewithal to reposition the country.
“I appreciate our people who took out time to participate in the walk. It shows that we are truly ready for the growth and development we desire as a country.
“Let me urge those who are yet to collect their permanent voters’ cards to ensure they do so, as another window has been made available for collection.
“On Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s mandate, Osun stands. With this crowd, it shows that our party is still the party to beat in Osun. Asiwaju remains the candidate to beat as the presidential candidate.
“Let me give you more assurance that I’ll reclaim my mandate in court. I’m so confident of that. I’ll reclaim my mandate by the grace of God.”
Meanwhile, the PDP, while expressing its displeasure with the event, in a statement titled, “Pocket Your Unelectable Candidate and Prepare Your Handover Notes,” called on Governor Oyetola to prepare his handover notes, calling him a failed governor marketing a bad product for the presidency.
The party, in a statement signed by State Caretaker Chairman, Dr Adekunle Akindele, said the governor insulted the sensibility of Osun people by expending state resources on a walk at a time he should be preparing his handover notes.
Adekunle, who questioned Oyetola after losing to a PDP candidate at the governorship poll, further said, “How long will Oyetola take the people of Osun State for a ride?
“A man soundly defeated at a gubernatorial poll and who has further destroyed whatever remains of his goodwill by his refusal to concede defeat is hosting a rally with taxpayers’ money. Mr. Oyetola’s conduct is reprehensible and his party should be fully punished by the Osun people in the next round of elections.
“Our people must weed out the bad loser and his allies, not only from the governorship seat but at all levels of elected offices. Our people must reproach the likes of the Iragbiji politician to teach a lesson that election is a sport and actors must be sports-like.
“We call on Mr. Oyetola to withdraw to his office and craft his handover notes for whatever it may be worth. He might be able to answer some questions that come up after he leaves the office. Osun people don’t need a futile marketer with unedifying presidential material.”
Responding to the allegation that Oyetola expended state resources on the walk, Osun State Commissioner for Political Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations, Taiwo Akeju, said the claim was untrue.
Akeju, who claimed Oyetola did not use state funds for the governorship election, said he would not use public funds for political projects and challenged the PDP to provide evidence to back up the claim.
He said, “It is not true. Governor Oyetola will never do so. This is a man that did his own election without dipping his hands into state coffers for funds. If he didn’t do that during his governorship election, he would not use state funds to prosecute any other political project.
“I advise the PDP to always verify its claims before coming out with them. We are law-abiding and we know what is ideal and lawful. We are decent, and we do things with a fear of God. Oyetola is our image as a party in Osun and, looking at him, the whole world knows we are decent in Osun APC.
“They should not just be dishing out absolute falsehood because they want to react to the loud ovation that greeted Tuesday march by APC in Osun. We know they are uncomfortable with the large crowd that followed our governor during the march. They should not be afraid yet.”
When asked if Tinubu has a realistic chance of winning the state in next year’s election, given that the APC lost the governorship election in Osun in July, Akeju, full of confidence, said, “By God’s grace, Asiwaju will win handsomely. We have about 80 per cent of voters on our side presently.”