In what looked like a veiled response to the diatribe by his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, President Bola Tinubu, yesterday, said irrespective of the cashless policy or not, his victory at the last presidential election was bound to happen.
According to him, he was hopeful and optimistic about achieving victory in the election, despite the ineffective cashless policy implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He made this known in separate remarks at the palace of the Paramount ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, in Ijebu-Ode, and in Abeokuta at the palace of Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, during a thank-you visit to the royal fathers in Ogun State.
Reflecting on the challenges in the build-up to the 2023 presidential election, President Tinubu recounted his concerns about the confiscation of funds and failure of the cashless policy, and how he had previously sought wisdom and guidance from Oba Adetona during his visit to the palace.
Recall that former President Buhari on Monday, broke his silence on the continued discussions following the petrol subsidy removal ‘challenge’ that he left for his successor, saying that had the policy been implemented, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Tinubu would have lost the last general election.
Clarifying the issue through his spokesman, Garba Shehu, Buhari, however, commended the steps taken so far by the new administration in implementing the removal of petrol subsidy and attempt to unify the Naira exchange rate.
Shehu explained that the clarification was in response to persistent queries by some critics, who have questioned why it took Tinubu only weeks to remove the petrol subsidy whereas Buhari didn’t do so in eight years.
According to him, successive polls indicated that the ruling party would have lost the 2023 election, if the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), containing the petrol subsidy removal, was implemented before then.
But in response, President Tinubu said he invoked the spirits of freedom and determination, symbolised by ‘Baba Emi l’okan,’ to overcome the obstacles in the election.
“Our money was confiscated. The cashless policy didn’t work, it was terrible then. I realised that, I came to Ogun State to invoke the spirit of freedom, which we are noted for.
“I invoked that spirit twice. The spirit of Baba Emi l’okan. That’s Baba. Being blunt, being decisive, that’s him, he will tell you. The second spirit is that, money or no money, we will do the election and we will win,” he said.
Tinubu is notably credited for the coinage of the famous ‘Emi l’okan’ and ‘Olule’ in an address to party delegates in the run-up to the APC presidential primary last year. He also openly upbraided the CBN policies and petrol scarcity during his last visit to the state in January, when his presidential campaign train stormed Ogun.
The President acknowledged that these spirits had been the driving force behind his service and expressed his gratitude to Oba Adetona, all the Obas, elected officials, particularly his ‘personal friend’, Senator Gbenga Daniel, the Senator representing Ogun East.
He thanked them for their loyalty and commitment during those crucial times in the 2023 election.
He also acknowledged the presence of Chief Mike Adenuga, billionaire businessman, and expressed pride in his contributions to the Nigerian economy.
During his visit to Abeokuta, President Tinubu thanked the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, for receiving him, describing him as a great leader.
He expressed his commitment to fulfilling his promises and appealed for prayers from the citizens of the state to ensure progress and stability in the country.
“I have redeemed my pledge that I will come back with victory and the crown. The hope is recharged; the hope is here. That hope will never fail. That hope will recharge your lives in a positive manner.
“By the grace of Almighty God, we shall reap the fruits of our labour, Nigeria will see positive change, just endure these baby steps of pain.
“This country is the only one we have. I have been a refugee and I know what it means to be a refugee and my green passport is what I still have now.”
Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State thanked the President for the visit, describing him as a man of uncommon grace and a living testimony of resilience.
Chronicling the President’s antecedents as a visionary politician, the governor said the pronouncement of President Tinubu in the first few weeks in office had defined him as rightly prepared and qualified for office.
Oba Adetona and Oba Gbadebo, in separate remarks in their palaces, commended President Tinubu for his leadership, acknowledging him as an instrument of God chosen to rectify past shortcomings.