Sunday, January 29th, 2023, will remain indelible in the memory of a horde of residents of the acclaimed city of Bronze, Benin. It was the day a townhall meeting was held where the Presidential standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his running mate, Alhaji Kashim Shettima presented themselves for questioning by residents of the ancient city.
The Townhall meeting was held same day that the Asiwaju paid a courtesy visit to the revered Benin monarch, His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare 11, in his magnificent Palace in the city centre.
The coming of the former Governor of Lagos State to Benin was shrouded in some form of secrecy as quite a lot of people were not in the know of it until some few hours to his arrival.
The organisers of the Townhall meeting, whom the MCs continually told the gathering was not APC event, had slated the programme to commence from 12 noon just as the Jagaban Borgu and his entourage were leaving the palace where they were scheduled to be from 11am.
By a few minutes past 11am the venue, Best Western Hotel, situated off Sapele Road, was brimming with attendees made up mostly of stakeholders in the civil society, labour movement, clerics, judiciary, artisans, women groups, politicians from different political parties etc who got in ahead of the proposed 12noon commencement time.
For more than 7 hours the gathering was not depleted as more people trooped in instead as the day progressed. At a stage, the MCs decided to liven up the occasion by championing some activities eg mentioning the presence of some guests who honoured the invite and also some officials of the party in the state.
From the cold response of the crowd to the mention of the names of the state party officials it needed not saying that they are not loved by the majority of those in attendance. But the many times that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s name was mentioned a wild acclaim accompanied the action, a sign that many in attendance at the programme were basically there to hear him and make their decision to cast their votes for him on Saturday, February 25th, 2023 when the Presidential and National Assembly polls would be held irrespective of the shortcomings of the party’s officials.
When the floor was opened for words of commendation from some of the high networth politicians at the gathering, the APC governorship flagbearer in the 2020 poll, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, nailed it all when he described Tinubu as a very detribalised Nigerian who while he was Governor of Lagos State appointed a mixture of non-indigenes in the state’s executive cabinet.
One after the other some other persons including the former Governor of Edo State, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor; the former Deputy Governors of the State, Hon. Pius Odubu and Reverend Peter Obadan; former House of Representatives member, Hon. Samson Osagie who all gave good account of the APC Presidential flagbearer’s ability to deliver on his campaign promises judging from what he did while he was Governor of Lagos State.
Reverend Obadan in his comments went down memory lane on how Tinubu was the financier of the June 12 struggle in the diaspora and how he was the initiator and financier of Radio Kudirat which the June 12 proponents were using to pass out information about the state of the struggle to the world.
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