Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has opened up on a conversation he had with President Muhammadu Buhari on the choice of his running mate.
Tinubu disclosed this at the residence of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, leader of Afenifere, Yoruba Socio-cultural group, on Sunday in Akure, Ondo State capital.
Tinubu said that the visit was in fulfilment of an earlier promise he made to the Afenifere leader before the APC primaries.
“I promised to come back after winning the APC ticket. I am here to thank all Yoruba leaders and also ask them to thank Buhari and northern governors for their steadfastness and for being promise-keepers.
“The North proved to me Nigeria can survive its unity. Some people wanted President Muhammadu Buhari to announce someone, but the President said no. He insisted the process must go on democratically. The President said that anyone that would mess up the APC process would see his other side.
“He remained upright to the end. Northern APC Governors resolved that the presidency must go to the South and, especially, South West. Governors Nasir El-Rufai, Abdullahi Ganduje and others supported me to the end.
“The battle was tough and, at a point, I was in doubt. There were many rumours and I became confused over what to believe. Buhari told me I promoted his name with the way I won the primary election because the process was clean and transparent and nobody could accuse him of manipulating it.
“The president said I gave him credibility and I deserved to be President. When I asked him to nominate the Vice Presidential candidate, he said I should pick whoever I wanted and it is the reason I chose a competent man in Kashim Shettima who has never lost any election. I particularly went for him because he had protected Christians in time of trouble in his state,” he stated.
Immediate past General Secretary of Afenifere, Chief Seinde Arogbofa, tasked Tinubu to be a leader that would unite Nigeria and work for the progress and development of the country.
“You are not just a Yoruba man but a Nigerian. When you become president, take Nigeria into consideration in all you do, but never forget home.
“Our demands are what you know already – restructuring, security and the economy. Our country is no longer safe. We want state police so that the country will be safe,” he said.
Ondo State Deputy Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, who received Tinubu and his delegation on behalf of Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu, said Ondo State people were ‘Afenifere’ and would support Tinubu to win.
“Asiwaju has the reach, the competence to lead Nigeria,” Ayedatiwa said.
In his remark, Gov. Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti assured the Yoruba leaders that all the governors of South West and people were solidly behind Tinubu.
“We are happy to receive our leader, Asiwaju Tinubu, today. I want to assure him and our fathers that we will support him to the end,” he said.
Chief Olu Falae, former Secretary of the Government of the Federation and an Afenifere leader, asked the APC presidential flagbearer to work to fix the economy.
Chief Falae decried the falling value of the Naira, adding that he spent his life serving Nigeria and would not be happy if such efforts went in vain.
“When you become president, please work to fix this country. We are here to offer advice. I am old and no longer looking for job. We need to fix security, fix our economy.
“Our naira is almost becoming useless and will soon become N1000 to a dollar. We must change that. I know your ability. We will always be here to support and I wish you well.
“We will be here when you bring the trophy home by the grace of God,” he said.
NAN reports that leaders of Afenifere from the six South-West States, including Kwara and Kogi, were present at the Akure residence of the Afenifere leader to offer support to Asiwaju Tinubu. (NAN)