A group of former senators, House of Representative members and some other politicians across Southwest states have launched the ‘Bola Tinubu for President’ campaign for the 2023 election.

They started the campaign with visits to the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji and Alaafin of Oyo Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III last Monday. They conveyed their agenda to the leading monarchs.

Chaired by former Senator Dayo Adeyeye from Ekiti State, the group christened Southwest Agenda (SWAGA), said members came together to actualise the agenda for the Southwest to produce the next president in 2023. Other members of the group include Senator Adesoji Akanbi (Vice Chairman), Bosun Oladele (Secretary), Rotimi Makinde, Otunba Abayomi Ogunnusi. Mrs. Kafilat Ogbara, Oyetunde Ojo, Deji Jakande and Ifedayo Abegunde (aka Abena).

Tinubu is the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He championed the formation of the party and the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as the presidential candidate in 2014.

Adeyeye told the two monarchs that SWAGA was aimed at ensuring that an electable political leader from the Southwest is supported to succeed Buhari in 2023. He pointed out that Tinubu possesses all the qualities and experience needed to lead Nigeria as the next president. Besides, Adeyeye revealed that there was an agreement among APC leaders during the 2015 election that presidential power will rotate to the South after Buhari’s eight-year tenure.

His words: “We are here for politics. Politics has started. We Yoruba believe that it is our right to produce the next president. It has been an agreement that presidential power will rotate from the North to the South. May God preserve President Buhari. After his tenure, power will shift to the South. Yoruba will be part of the contest. We want the best candidate to emerge as the presidential candidate. As the media adviser to Abiola, I know what Yoruba want. Except a thorough-bred Yoruba person becomes president, we can’t get it. We saw that we have a very capable hand in Asiwaju Tinubu. He is so capable. I’ve tried a bit in Nigerian politics. No one has a bigger political stature than Tinubu in Nigeria today. He has not told us he would contest. We as true Yoruba sons and daughters just decided to embark on this to ensure that we push forward a good candidate. He is sellable all over Nigeria.

“We are having our inaugural meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) in Ibadan. Ibadan is the political headquarters of Yoruba. All Yorubas are represented in Ibadan. Hence, we chose Ibadan. As Yoruba children, we have come to seek your blessings for the meeting and the agenda.”

He said they will continue to consult elders and traditional rulers in the land. Responding, Oba Adetunji commended members of the group for taking the bold step to advance the interest of Yoruba. He said it is not out of place for people to press for their rights in Nigeria.

The monarch said Yoruba played key roles in the struggle for Nigeria’s independence and development, stressing that they deserve top roles in government, particularly those eminently qualified citizens of Yoruba extraction.

As a traditional ruler, Adetunji said his door is open to all political parties. He assured them of open arms, stressing that they were free to visit him at any time. He blessed their agenda thereafter.

At Alaafin’s palace, Adeyeye told Oba Adeyemi that all regions want the presidential slot but having had an agreement, written or unwritten, there should be no alteration.

He said: “We have a joker that others don’t have. That is Asiwaju. He has no peer in Nigeria today. That’s why we are confident that Yoruba will produce the next president. Tinubu is not only qualified, he offered good governance in Lagos. Prior to that, he was an active member of NADECO. After Abiola, the next eminently qualified candidate we have is Tinubu.”

Expressing belief in the group’s mission, Oba Adeyemi recalled the leading roles which Yoruba people have been playing in Nigeria’s development. He said it was right for Yoruba to aspire to be president, adding that it is a noble cause for all Yoruba to consider.

The monarch said for Nigeria to progress, the country must practise true federalism. He said: “We must have true federalism. If we don’t run true federalism, it will be difficult to move forward. Yoruba has been at the forefront of exploits and development efforts of Nigeria but there has been no sincerity in Nigerian politics.

“We need a leader who understands Nigeria very well and able to offer purposeful leadership.

I think your agenda is well thought out. I believe in your mission. In this journey, don’t entertain any fear no matter the situation. You will attain your goal.”