By Dele Alake
President Bola Tinubu on Thursday in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, said he remained hopeful and optimistic about achieving victory in the last presidential election, despite the ineffective cashless policy implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The President spoke in separate remarks at the palaces of the Paramount ruler 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.
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.
“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.
President Tinubu acknowledged that these spirits had been the driving force behind his service and expressed his 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.
The President, 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.”
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, President Tinubu thanked the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, for receiving him, describing him a great leader.
He expressed his commitment to fulfilling his promises and appealed for prayers from the citizens of the state to ensure progress and stability in the country.
“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, Nigeria will see positive change, just endure these baby steps of pain.
“This country is the only one we have. I have been a refugee and I know what it means to be a refugee and my green passport is what I still have now.”
In separate remarks at the palaces of the Paramount ruler of Ijebuland and Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, in Abeokuta, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State 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.
Oba Adetona and Oba Gbadebo, in separate remarks in their palaces, commended President Tinubu for his leadership, acknowledging him as an instrument of God chosen to rectify past shortcomings.
They 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 need 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 is 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.
Views exclusive rights: Dele Alake, Special Adviser to the President, Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, June 29, 2023.