Nigerian traditionalists declare support for Muslim presidential candidate, restate commitment to electoral victory

by Akeem Alao
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Traditional leaders and worshipers in Lagos State, Nigeria, have restated their commitment to support the All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The declaration was made at an event which was organized by Chief Oyinlomo Danmole, the director-general of Lagos Religion Committee of APC-PCC, on Wednesday January 25, 2023.

At the event, the traditionalists also declared their commitment to the victory of the state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu as well as Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly and other candidates of the party at the engagement session.

The event held at the Multipurpose Hall of Lagos Television, Ikeja, was well attended by prominent traditional rulers, leaders and worshippers from across the state which included Chief Ifasegun Opemolua of Ikate Elegushi, Chief Latif Ajose; Opeluwa Onido of Lagos, the Paramount Apena of Lagos, Chief Isiaka Oludare, the Chairman of Ijinla Fraternity; Chief Abu Elemoro Martins, Chief Adebola Dosunmu; Akinsiku of Lagos, High Chief Musbau Durosimi; Oluwo Akola of Lagos, Chief Mrs Folusho Oga, High Chief Alade Pedro and Chief Ibikunle Ibrahim among others.

According to Opemoluwa, the league of traditional rulers and their teeming worshippers decided to throw their weight behind the party especially its presidential candidate in acknowledgment of the progressive leadership in Lagos State and Tinubu’s capabilities.

A cross-section of traditionalists at the event

In a conversational style with other traditional leaders at the gathering, Opemolua explained that, hitherto, the traditional worshipers have been offering prayers and sacrifices to the gods for Tinubu’s victory in the election which is exactly a month away noting that they will not relent in their sincere pursuit of his success and other candidates of the party.

He said, “We the traditional rulers have spoken and what did we say? We said that our father, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is our candidate. We’ve been rooting for his victory before now and we won’t stop. We have been offering sacrifices and we will do that on Sunday.”

He added by expressing his optimism about Tinubu’s success as he prayed to God to keep renewing Tinubu’s strength as he prepares to take over the country’s mantle of leadership.

However, the traditional leaders utilized the medium to renew their demand for the declaration of August 20 as a public holiday for Isese Day.

Talking to the organizers and party leaders in attendance Opemolua said, “We will send you a message and it’s our hope that you will relay it to the governor. We want August 20 to be declared a public holiday for Isese Day. The House of Assembly has passed it. What is left is the governor’s assent.

“Please, tell Sanwo-Olu to answer us. That is our demand. Osun has declared it and we want Lagos state to do the same.”

The organizer, Chief Oyinlomo Danmole commented that the meeting with the traditionalist was a matter of necessity having held similar meetings with the Christian and Muslim leaders for the same course and also in a bid to ensure that the directorate leaves no stone unturned in garnering support for Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu and other candidates.

He charged them not to only come out en-masse on election days but sought their understanding of the forthcoming election which he described as a special for Lagos being the first time it will be producing a presidential candidate.

He stated, “It’s not just coming out en masse is to know that this election is special for people of Lagos State because this is the first time we are having a presidential candidate and for the governorship, it’s a walkover. We are going to win this election in the state, we are going to win nationally. But for Lagosians to be able to ask for what they want.

“We’ve been challenged by other states who do not have so many voters that they are going to have more (votes) than us so that is why out of our over seven million votes we are going deliver. 60% to 70% percent and. That is about 3 million to 4 million votes so that at the end of the day we will show that we are behind our candidate, our leader and mentor who have demonstrated a lot of capacity, vision and intelligence in Lagos”

Responding, the Party Chairman, Pastor Cornelius Ojelabi who led other state executive members to the event commended the traditional worshipers for pitching their tent with the party, especially with their declaration of support for Tinubu and Sanwo-Olu.

He added that their endorsement confirms their acknowledgment of the progressive leadership and governance the party has been offering since 1999.

“I am more than impressed with the turnout and endorsement by traditionalists. It is a clear indication of the acceptability of APC candidates both the presidential and our gubernatorial candidates. They have expressed their joy and willingness to partner with us knowing fully well that they are part and parcel of this particular state and the community and the need for everyone to come on board and be able to contribute to the basket having been satisfied with what this administration has done since 1999 till date,” he said.

He added that their endorsement is also a testament to the progressive governance in the state which has seen Lagos ranking too among the comity of states and growing economies.

Ojelabi referenced some developmental projects in the state which included the recently commissioned Imota Rice Mill, Lagos Deep Seaport, and Blue Line rail among others.

He assured the traditionalist that their demand for a public holiday will be met as he urged them to sustain their support for the party and use their PVCs to do what is expected of them at the polls.

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