Despite picking Kassim Shettima as the running mate to presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, youths in Southeast and South-South geopolitical zones have thrown their weight to the Asiwaju.
A coalition of youth groups in the two regions expressed their support to Tinubu/Shettima ticket in the 2023 election, saying furore over Muslim-Muslim ticket unnecessary.
The Southsouth, Southeast Coalition for Tinubu (SSET) said his records in public office make him better than others in the race for 2023 presidency.
SSET, therefore, vowed to work towards the former Lagos State governor’s victory in the poll by mobilising 10 million votes for him in the Southsouth and Southeast.
Deputy Youth Leader of the coalition, Mark Mark, Nnamdi Ofonye, Victor Sorokwu, and Akiba Ekpeyong, stated these in Port Harcourt, Asaba and Calabar.
Also yesterday, a former Ondo State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Femi Adekanmbi, said the composition of the APC Presidential Campaign Council was a pointer that Tinubu would win the presidential election with a wide margin.
APC National Vice-Chairman (Northwest) Salihu Lukman said in Abuja that Tinubu’s “consistency, integrity, and trust” put him ahead of his opponents in the promotion of democracy in the country and in the 2023 presidential race.
Mark told The Nation that Tinubu’s competence, experience, support for youths and penchant for discovering and empowering talents were the reasons the coalition decided to support him.
He added that SSET had already embarked on house-to-house sensitisation to dispel lies and misinformation against the APC candidate.
Mark said despite the activities of “ethnic bigots and religious fundamentalists,” Tinubu remains the best for the Presidency at “this critical moment of our history”.
His words: “Tinubu’s foundation in Lagos and his economic blueprint are visible even to the blind. We can recall how he stood against the military and fought for the democracy we are enjoying today.
“Tinubu is a man of courage and we know that he is the only one that will tackle the insecurity currently ravaging the country. Tinubu is the only one that has the best interest of youths at heart. He knows how to create enabling environment for youths to have jobs.
“Our coalition is currently penetrating the grassroots to preach the gospel of Tinubu to people. Our membership is increasing every day and our target is to give the APC Presidential candidate at least 10 million votes in the Southsouth and the Southeast”.
Ofonye, whose group, Anioma Youth Forum (Worldwide), is a member of the coalition, said that the Tinubu/ Shettima ticket would solve the mounting security challenges and unlock the nation’s economic potential.
His words: “The Tinubu/Shettima Presidency is one some of us have been looking forward with great anticipation. Bola Tinubu has the capacity to make Nigeria great.
“When you look at his past records as former Lagos State governor, he has, despite being out of power since 2003, exerted considerable political clout and played a huge role in national development. He continues to mentor leaders in strategic positions of governance. He is a man with foresight and does not lack the courage to take tough decisions”.
Ofonye argued that the controversy over Muslim-Muslim ticket would not in any way impact negatively on the chances of the APC presidential candidate in the 2023 election.
He said: “We are not moved by the outcries. I am a staunch Catholic but a nation in dire need of development needs a capable leader like Bola Tinubu.
“We must downplay these sentiments. Tinubu has shown himself to be a liberal-minded man. There is no further validation of this than the fact that he is married to a Christian who is a pastor.”
Also, Sorokwu of the Anioma Solidarity Movement, said that Tinubu’s presidency would be an opportunity for a national rebirth.
He added that Tinubu’s administration would guarantee economic prosperity and equitable distribution of power to all ethnic groups in the country.
He said,” Tinubu’s presidency portends a national rebirth. Tinubu is a tested and proven leader. He is a maker of leaders and believes in mentoring others for leadership roles.
“Tinubu is synonymous with excellence in public governance.”
Ekpeyong, who is the secretary of the Niger Delta Youths Front (NDYF), Cross River chapter, described Tinubu as a builder of youths.
He said: “On Tinubu’s track record, you’ll agree with me that nationally, Tinubu has built many youths, who are occupying different leadership positions.
“Tinubu stands out as a man, who had invested so much in others across political, religious, and tribal divides. His footprints of empowerment are everywhere. As youths in the Niger Delta, we are supporting Tinubu because he represents capacity, development, and prosperity.”
In Akure, former Ondo State Culture and Tourism Commissioner Adekanmbi said the APC campaign council ‘ will lead Tinubu “ to a resounding victory in February 2023″.
“Tinubu is the man to beat in the Presidential election. Tinubu is destined to dance on the stage of history. He is a man among men,” he added.
APC National Vice Chairman (Northwest) Lukman said yesterday that the consistency of the party’s standard bearer stood him shoulder high above other presidential candidates.
He noted that, unlike other major presidential candidates jumping from one political party to another every election circle, Tinubu has remained politically stable.
Lukman told reporters in Abuja that Tinubu’s steadfastness, commitment, and consistency are the worthy virtues Nigerians can invest in in the 2023 general elections.
The APC chieftain noted that the country’s democracy was being challenged by some politicians he described as “election merchants.”.
He said: “The experience so far and I think that is the challenge of our democracy, is that people who are more or less like election merchants, every election cycle team-present themselves as candidates or as aspirants and if they don’t become candidates, they dispute every process that produced the candidate.
“The only exception is our candidate. He is not an election merchant. And he had every reason to have aspired in 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019 but he didn’t. That cannot be said of the other candidates like Atiku (Abubakar), (Rabiu) Kwankwaso, or Peter Obi.”
Also, yesterday, traditional religion worshippers in Osun State said the uproar over same-faith ticket was unnecessary
They said that Nigerians should be more interested in the integrity, capacity, and purity of hearts of individuals seeking to lead the country.
“We keep on talking about Muslim-Muslim, Muslim-Christian, and Christian-Christian tickets without remembering that Nigeria is a circular nation. What we should be more interested in is the integrity, the capacity of individual, the purity of heart of individual and above all, irrespective of your religion we all belong to a traditional society in Nigeria,” Dr. Oluseyi Atanda, president of Traditional Religious Worshippers Association, Osun State chapter said.
Atanda, a medical doctor and Ifa-priest, spoke at the third anniversary of Peers of Heaven Societal Group(Egbe Emere Onitesiwaju) in Osogbo, at the weekend.
He counseled Nigerians to go back “to our traditional oath for a better society.”