Current and former Speakers of various legislative houses in the south-western part of Nigeria have agreed to unite in support of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The meeting, which was organised by the BAT Foundation, held in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo state, late Wednesday with the participants concluding that they all need to collectively project Tinubu ahead of 2023.
Those in attendance at the meeting included: Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa of Lagos, his colleague in Ogun, Rt. Hon. Olawale Oluomo.
Other Speakers and former Speakers present at the meeting also include: former Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji (Lagos), Rt. Hon. Suraju Adekunbi (Ogun), Rt. Hon. Muyiwa Oladipo (Ogun), Rt. Hon. Asimiyu Alarape (Oyo), Rt. Hon. Prof Mojeed Alabi (Osun), Rt. Hon. Victor Olabimtan (Ondo), Rt. Hon. Kenneth Olawale (Ondo), and Rt. Hon. Kola Adefemi, pioneer Speaker of Ekiti state.
Others included: Rt. Hon. Taofiq Abdulsalam (Ondo), Rt. Hon. Oluwasegunota Bolarinwa (Ondo), Rt. Hon. Patrick Ajigbolamu (Ekiti), Rt. Hon. Adejare Bello (Osun), Rt. Hon. Jokotola Pelumi (Lagos), Rt. Hon. Gunju Ojo (Oyo), Rt. Hon. Titi Oseni (Ogun), Simeon Olufemi Popoola (Ondo Dep Speaker), and Wale Afolabi.
Speaking at the meeting, Speaker Obasa said there was need for the body of Speakers and former Speakers to begin the move aimed at projecting the political and humanitarian sides of Tinubu ahead of 2023.
“He has made a lot of people and brought up a lot of leaders politically. So, some of us agreed that outside politics, there should be something that is more humanitarian. That is why we came up with the idea of BAT Foundation,” he said.
The Speaker said the foundation is primarily created to touch lives, adding in the same vein that the BAT movement is aimed at supporting Tinubu politically.
While clarifying that Tinubu is not involved in the mobilisation, he noted that the motivation was that each of the attendees at the meeting had personal and beneficial relationships with the political leader.
“When you have a benefactor who is well known for his benevolence, it is a duty that you must act on his behalf in a way you feel you can compensate such a man for what he is still doing.
“So we are here to interact in respect of what you all believe is around the corner and that is the 2023 ticket to galvanise support in the south-west,” Speaker Obasa said adding that there are plans to replicate the movement in all states in the zone.
He said talks were also ongoing with leaders from the north-central and a meeting would soon hold in Abuja for further discussions.
Contributing, Titi Oseni, who was the only woman at the meeting, described Tinubu as a generous man. She recalled how Tinubu supported her when she aspired to contest an election for the Senate.
On his part, former Ogun Speaker, Bashorun Muyiwa Oladipo, said in politics, no level of support is disregarded.
He also noted that currently across the country, it is difficult to see anyone who can match Tinubu politically.
Speaking also, former Lagos Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, urged for more support for Tinubu and argued in favour of zoning.
According to him, the country is not ripe for to jettison power shifts.
A top official of the BAT movement and former ambassador, Aliyu Saulawa, said it was only just to support Tinubu the way the leader assisted to make the election of President Muhammadu Buhari successful in 2015 and 2019.