Concerted efforts to shore up Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s political influence in the Southwest received a boost on Saturday as a self-styled movement, ‘I stand with Tinubu’, staged a walk in Lagos to drum up support for the embattled national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
A spokesman for the group who identified himself as Tijani Oluwadamilare said that the group was out to protect the integrity and stature of Tinubu as a foremost leader of the Yoruba people.
“We all know what happened to past Yoruba leaders such as Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who were subjected to diverse forms of ridicule. We do not want this to happen again, especially not to the person of Tinubu who is a Yoruba leader now,” he said.
Plots to checkmate Tinubu’s overwhelming influence in Southwest Nigeria are no longer secret ever since he led the APC to overthrow the much-maligned government of President Goodluck Jonathan. Forces close to the Presidency and backed by APC national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, are alleged to have schemed his candidate, Segun Abraham, out of the November 10 gubernatorial poll in Ondo State.
There has also been a face-off between Tinubu and President Buhari over who influenced the choice of Professor Yemi Osinbajo as the latter’s running mate in the 2015 Presidential polls. The feud was triggered by Buhari’s biography authored by Professor John Paden.
The Saturday pro-Tinubu walk in Lagos comes on the heel of other solidarity calls led by governor Ayodele Fayose, Femi Fani-Kayode, and pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere.
Political watchers finger political schemings ahead the 2019 general elections as the reason various forces within the ruling APC are jostling for control of the party structure.
However, the Lagos event is seen as a panic move given rumours that former governor of Lagos State, Raji Fashola, is believed to be erecting political structures in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari in the region.