Tinubu/Shetima: Signed, sealed and delivered By Yakubu Dati
The Director General of the Tinubu/Shettima APC Campaign Council, Gov Simon Lalong has against all odds, successfully delivered Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Sen Kashim Shetima, respectively as President-elect and Vice President-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The DG who led a 10,000 member strong workforce comprising of 70 vibrant Directorates was efficiently supported by a team of notable personalities like Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Hadiza Bala Usman as Deputy Directors coordinated by the workaholic James Abiodun Faleke and Christopher Tarka to secure the people's mandate.
While the National Chairman of APC, Dr. Abdullahi Adamu and the National Working Committee of the party, also worked in unison with the campaign council to deliver the ticket.
The undoubtedly free and fair elections however came with bits of surprises, where the key drivers of the campaign experienced minor setbacks in their strongholds of Lagos, Nassarawa, Kano, Kebbi, Katsina and Plateau States.
Notwithstanding, the team gave the opposition parties a bloody nose in the final tally resulting in the landslide victory for the APC.
The difference in campaign strategy was that while the opposition elements exploited the fragile sentiments of ethnic and religious fault lines to hoodwink some unsuspecting members of the public, the APC concentrated on issues that unite the country.
Fortunately, a greater majority of voters saw through the divisive agenda of the opposition and voted rather for what is in the best interest of the country: that power shifts from the North to the Southern part of Nigeria to keep the country one.
It was Gov Lalong as Chairman of Northern States Governor’s Forum, who led his colleagues to insist that power must shift to the South for justice, fairness and national integration.
With the emergence of the duo of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and Sen Kashim Shetima as flagbearers of the APC however, the opposition saw what they thought was a loophole to exploit primordial sentiments but the APC quickly blocked that avenue by strategically appointing Gov Lalong as DG of its presidential campaign, a move which effectively doused the mischief of the opposition as it balanced the configuration in the top hierarchy of the campaign and cured the perceived religious imbalance of the APC ticket.
Sensing imminent defeat on account of that, the opposition continued with divisive campaigns meant to confuse the public from the germane issue of power shift from North to South, but again, Nigerians saw through their deception and rejected them for a candidacy that enthrones national integration.
With this, the familiar antics of the opposition parties to plunge the largest country in Africa into crisis by resorting to self help failed woefully while the imperative of peace and unity prevailed as championed by the ruling party held sway.
It was a beautiful sight thereafter as Gov Lalong, the Director General of the campaign council led the President-elect Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Vice President-elect, Sen Kassim Shetima, to receive their Certificates of Return from the electoral umpire, INEC, and later to Daura to present same to the Chairman of the APC Campaign Council and President of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari.
While the DG like other APC leaders of the winning party have accepted the temporary losses in their respective states as part of the hiccups of the game and have moved on, the opposition elements especially in Plateau, the homestead of Gov Lalong are busy gloating over this temporary setback, not minding the capacity of Gov Lalong to recover from such.
Close followers of history will acknowledge that Gov Lalong has in the course of his political journey experienced such setbacks but they have never kept him down as he typifies the aphorism 'a good man cannot be kept down.'
That was how he survived an attempt to illegally remove him as Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly when he refused to impeach the then Gov Joshua Dariye and got detained in tow. He survived another attempt to recall him from the House of Assembly and instead defied the odds to bounce back and become a 2-time governor of Plateau state, Chairman of Northern Governors Forum and DG of his party’s Presidential campaign that has today, delivered the President-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In spite of the fact that the former Governor of Plateau state he labored to protect in office is currently leading the onslaught against him, Gov Lalong is set to deliver Plateau in the next round of elections to the APC.
The Governor's sterling qualities and peaceful disposition is already working in his favour, as he projects the state to national preeminence in the next dispensation for the obvious benefits the state is bound to derive by being on the same page with the party at the center.
As the nation prepares for the governorship and House of Assembly elections on March 11, it has become imperative to advise that for Plateau State to remain in the mainstream of national politics, it is important the state sustains its alliance and cordial relationship with the Federal Government which was started by Gov Lalong, by strategically identifying with the ruling party at the national level.
Such alliance will accelerate the needed development and serve the interest of the people of the state, who are in dire need of infrastructural and other socio-economic interventions, as the state can no longer afford the luxury of needless opposition.
For further progress, let’s vote to maintain Plateau as an APC state due to the inherent benefits derivable from being in harmony with the center.