It was another massive show of support and solidarity for the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, as admirers on Saturday turned his campaign rally in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, into a street carnival.
This came about 48 hours after a similar spectacle was recorded in Ibadan, Oyo State, where the APC rally brought the former headquarters of the defunct Western Region to a standstill.
In Maiduguri, major streets of the city especially those leading from the Borno State Government House to the palace of the Shehu of Borno and those leading to and from El-Kanemi Stadium, venue of the campaign rally, were filled with jubilant supporters bearing placards and banners expressing their support for the APC candidates.
The heavy campaign train brought human and vehicular movements to a halt in major parts of the city as most attendees abandoned their vehicles to trek long distances to catch a glimpse of the APC presidential candidate.
It took concerted effort of the security personnel on ground for the campaign motorcade to have access to both the Shehu’s palace and the venue of the rally.
Speaking at both the palace and later at the rally, key stakeholders assured Tinubu of victory at the February 25th election.
The rally witnessed the coming together of key players in Borno politics including all its former governors who expressed commitment to APC’s victory.
In his address at the palace, the state governor, Prof Babagana Zulum, thanked Tinubu for picking a son of the state as his running mate.
“You have done all for us and now it is for us to deliver APC in Borno State,” he said.
Zulum said Tinubu is more than a political ally for the state as he had shown concerns for the difficult times the state went through during the peak of the Boko Haram insurgency more than anyone else.
“During our trying time he has always been with us. He has visited us between seven and eight times in the last eleven years. There is nobody else that has done anything like that for us.”
Speaking at the rally, Zulum charged the people of Borno State to troop out on Saturday, as they did for the rally, to show appreciation to Tinubu by casting their votes for him.
Taking turns to address the rally, former Borno State governors, Maina Ma’aji Lawal, Ali Modu Sheriff and Kashim Shettima, said Borno’s faith in APC has been strengthened with Shettima’S nomination as the vice presidential candidate of the party.
They assured Tinubu that the state would fulfill its part by giving overwhelming votes to him.
Governors Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa and Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state, challenged residents of Borno State to not allow any state overtake them in giving the APC more votes in view of the party’s magnanimity to them.
In his speech, Tinubu promised to re-activate oil exploration in the Lake Chad Basin and recharge the drying lake to generate jobs and boost agricultural production in the area.
“Security is top on our agenda and Nigeria will see peace and stability. The Borno people and their neighbours will witness prosperity and happiness,” he said.
Tinubu assuaged the feeling of those who are facing difficulties at the moment, saying ease would soon come their way.
The presidential candidate paid tribute to his running mate who, he said, he knew very well, saying the two of them share attributes that would be used to make Nigeria greater.
He said just like he did in Lagos, Shettima has also done the same in Borno by laying a good foundation and ensuring good leadership succession.
“Zulum is a symbol of continuity. Shettima is a representation of achievement,” he said.
The rally was attended by the National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and other members of the National Working Committee of the party, Governors Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa) and Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger).
Others were Minister of State for Agriculture, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, member of the National Assembly, former chiefs of army staff, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd) and Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (rtd), among other members of the party.