In a reminiscence of his campaign preceding the 2023 presidential election and the accompanying intrigues, President Bola Ahmed Bola Tinubu has said he was hopeful of achieving victory despite the ineffective cashless policy implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The president spoke Thursday in separate remarks at the palaces of the paramount rulers of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, in Ijebu-Ode and Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo in Abeokuta, during a thank-you visit to the royal fathers.
The president was received at the Dipo Dina International Stadium, Ijebu Ode by Governor Dapo Abiodun and a former governor of the state, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, among other All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains.
Reflecting on the challenges in the build-up to the 2023 presidential election, President Tinubu recounted his concerns about the confiscation of funds and the failure of the cashless policy, and how he had previously sought wisdom and guidance from Oba Adetona during his visit to the palace.
According to the president, he invoked the spirits of freedom and determination, symbolised by “Baba Emilokan,” to overcome the obstacles in the election.
Tinubu, who described his visit to Ijebu-Ode as a homecoming, told Kabiyesi: “The way you have taken me, the way you have responded to me, all I can say is thank you. May you live long and may you witness a prosperous Nigeria.”
“Our monies were confiscated. The cashless policy didn’t work, it was terrible then. I realised that, I came to Ogun State to invoke the spirit of freedom which we are noted for.
“I invoked that spirit twice. The spirit of Baba Emilokan. That’s Baba. Being blunt, being decisive, that’s him, he will tell you. The second spirit is that money or no money (we will do the election and we will win),” he said.
“Having achieved the prayer point of ‘Emilokan’, what I ask for is prayer for this country. I am determined to help this our country, to steer the ship of the nation and to deliver on all promises that were made.
“I am here still making that pledge of the campaign promises. There’s no difference between us and any other member of the Nigerian public. I said it in France, that we are children of the same parents, living in the same house, but we are only sleeping in different bedrooms. Just recognise that.
“Let’s be united, no distractions. We will arrive at a positive destination in the country. It’s all in our hands to make history and I will do that. By the grace of God, we shall reap the fruits of our labour. Nigeria will see positive changes”, he added.
The president acknowledged that these spirits had been the driving force behind his service, and expressed gratitude to Oba Adetona, all the Obas, elected officials, particularly his ‘personal friend’, Senator Gbenga Daniel, the Senator representing Ogun East.
He thanked them for their loyalty and commitment during those crucial times in the 2023 election.
He also acknowledged the presence of Chief Mike Adenuga, Nigerian billionaire businessman, and expressed pride in his contributions to the Nigerian economy.
During his visit to Abeokuta, the president thanked the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, for receiving him, describing him as a great leader.
He expressed his commitment to fulfilling his promises and appealed for prayers from the citizens of the state to ensure the nation’s progress and stability.
He maintained that the hope for a better Nigeria had been recharged, assuring it won’t fail.
“I was determined to be here to say thank you to a great leader, Oba Gbadebo and to all of us here present. Aremo (Olusegun Osoba) well done, Dimeji Bankole, well done, (Ibikunle) Amosun, well done. Chairman of our party, I’m grateful, at least, we delivered despite the hardship of no money, no fuel; I credit you.
“This visit, I didn’t know that it will be like this. I only wanted to sneak in and sneak out; now I know exactly what it is to be a president. It is awesome. The hope is recharged right here. That hope will never fail. That hope will recharge your light.
“Please, we need your prayers, we need your supports, we need your interventions so that the economic prosperity of this nation being opened up will affect every one of you positively,” the president further pleaded.
“I have redeemed my pledge that I will come back with victory and the crown. The hope is recharged; the hope is here. That hope will never fail. That hope will recharge your lives in a positive manner.
“By the grace of Almighty God, we shall reap the fruits of our labour. Let’s go through this baby steps of faith. I am taking baby steps as the president. Let’s not be in a hurry. Be ready for this. Maintain an open-door policy. Let the freedom flow. Let the confidence return. This country is the only country we have. I’ve been a refugee and I know what it means to be a refugee, and my green passport is what I still have now,” he said.
Governor Abiodun’s remarks
In separate remarks at the palaces, Governor Dapo Abiodun thanked the president for the visit to the state, describing him as a man of uncommon grace and a living testimony of resilience.
Chronicling the president’s antecedents as a visionary politician, the governor said the pronouncement of President Tinubu in the first few weeks in office had defined him as rightly prepared and qualified for office.
In their remarks, Oba Adetona and Oba Gbadebo commended President Tinubu for his leadership, acknowledging him as an instrument of God chosen to rectify past shortcomings.
Oba Adetona said: “God spoke through you when you said it is your turn (Emi Lokan). With this feat, you are still going to do one more term.
“Me and Asiwaju have been together for a very long time. We both did NADECO – the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) together. Asiwaju, our President was the one, who gave me the titled, ‘Baba NADECO.’
“Many of you may not know where we were both from, but the most important thing is that we are grateful for where we all started; where we are currently; and where God is taking us to. This is the first stage of where we’re going, another stage is coming,” he said.
The monarchs offered prayers for the president’s guidance and good health, urging Nigerians to support his administration.
Also speaking, Oba Babatunde Ajayi, the Akaraigbo of Remoland, who commended the president for starting his administration exceptionally well, noted that the people needed urgent palliatives to mitigate the effects of the current challenges.
He lauded the wise decisions so far taken by the administration, reminding the president of his promise to bring development to Remo.
”I remember when you came to the palace and all we said it’s our dream is for you to go and win the primaries, and that once you win the primaries, I’m sure that God will take us there. I’m glad that God took us there.
”I want to remind you of what you said when you came to Remo. You said with the proximity of Shagamu to Lagos, you were surprised at the level of development in Remo. This is the time Mr President to walk that talk,” he said.
On the president’s entourage were National Security Adviser (NSA) Nuhu Ribadu, Special Adviser(Special Duties, Communication and Strategy) Dele Alake, and Chief of Staff to the President Femi Gbajabiamila.