By Ezra Odogu
The Presidential aspiration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu got a big boost yesterday.
Tinubu got a rousing reception at the National Assembly and an instant endorsement by the House of Representatives caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The Senate promised to be with him.
Tinubu, a senator between 1992 and 1993, visited his former constituency to seek support for his bid to win the APC presidential ticket.
Tinubu had visited traditional rulers in the Southwest, his geo-political zone and other parts of the country. The endorsement he received was overwhelming.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan told Tinubu: “Your Excellency, once again, all of us wish you well, wish you the best of luck, wish you success in this and in the affair of fighting for APC, to continue to be the ruling party in Nigeria, and justifiably so, Your Excellency, we are with you.”
In an overwhelming voice vote, the House of Representatives APC caucus said ‘aiyes’ to the ambition of the former Lagos State governor when House Leader Ado Doguwa, who is also the Leader of the party in the House, put the question to vote.
Doguwa said Asiwaju Tinubu had supported several Nigerians to either be President, Governors, Senators or House of Representatives members, adding that “this is the time for you to pay back.”
Doguwa said members were fully in support of Tinubu’s candidacy.
He added that many members of the House and the Senate were occupying their position today as a result of Tinubu’s support, saying: “I want to look at you in the face and tell you that this is the time to pay back.
“We will continue to associate with you for the good of Nigeria and our people. We are immeasurably grateful. We will support you to achieve your lifelong ambition.
“Sometime when we interact with some people, they tell you that the President is a former military officer. You are from this institution and we are looking forward to President Buhari handing over to someone with a legislative background so that we can also boost about it.
“You are here preaching to the already converted because of the numerous contributions you have made to the development of Nigeria. You are the only one we know and will support. You have all it takes to run for the office of the President, you have all it takes to be President”.
With the overwhelming endorsement, the scheduled Executive session was shelved. Members insisted that the message was clear enough.”
In his welcome remarks, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, said having put the APC together with like minds, it was time for the party to look inward and give back to those who can lead the country to greater heights after the current government.
He said: “We have looked left and right for the number of people who are running for the Presidency in 2023 and discovered that there is only one person going round the country campaigning and selling himself to Nigerians.
“It does not speak well of us when we boast of being the largest party in Africa and so many other things that we boast of. But few weeks to the party primaries for the nomination of candidates, only one person is going round marketing himself in his agenda.
“We are only having names, but only one campaigning. We should not wait for six weeks to election with only one person campaigning. In advanced countries, once the President is sworn in, the very next day, campaign for the next election starts. Names are being dropped and when you ask them, they tell you that they are just facing their job.
“The current attitude is not good enough and it is not good for Nigerians. We should not take Nigerians for granted. But only one man feels that he will talk to Nigerians, one man who care to speak on why he is running”.
Turning to Tinubu, the Speaker said: “You deemed it fit to honour the parliament both the Senate and the House of Representatives. You felt that this institution which is the centre of democracy all over the world deserve your attention and we will listen to what you have to say.”
While appreciating the visit, Deputy Speaker of the House, Rep. Ahmed Idris Wase, said this was the first time in the history of the parliament that a Presidential aspirant will visit the parliament to sell his candidacy and sought the support of all members
Wase said the former Lagos state governor has paid his dues, describing him as a detribalised Nigerian who has helped built the APC and is still helping in the building of the party.