Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) kickstarted his presidential campaign in Jos, Plateau state, on Tuesday.
The occasion saw Tinubu, 70, restate the reasons he wants to succeed Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
“Hope is back, Nigeria will be well. They thought they could bury the hope. Nigeria will not sink. We hereby reaffirm our commitment to progressive good governance,” he told the crowd.
“February 2023 is more than an election. It is a fight to define the soul of the nation and to determine our collective fate whether we will follow constitutional democracy or we will go to sleep and surrender our rights to the jackals and looters.”
The APC candidate promised to continue on the path Buhari on which Buhari has set Nigeria.
Tinubu called his political rivals ‘dead fish’ that ‘can’t be sweet inside soup’. He also threw jibes at challenger Peter Obi whom he described as ‘disobedient,’ a mockery of the name of the ‘OBIdient’ movement that supports the Labour Party candidate. He also described the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate Atiku Abubakar’s manifesto as ‘wrong theory’.
Things took a wrong turn after a mob turned violent towards the end of the programme which was held at the Rawang Pam Township Stadium. Videos shared online showed organisers urging for calm as some in the crowd hurled objects at others. Critics claimed that Tinubu was booed off stage.
Before yielding the podium to Buhari, Tinubu almost prayed for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in an apparent slip of tongue. “God Bless PD…,” he said to the dismay of his supporters before correcting himself to say “God bless APC”.
As political opponents began mocking Tinubu online, reports of the death of an APC lawmaker hit the airwaves.
Sobur Olawale, alias ‘Omititi,’ the lawmaker representing Mushin Constituency II at the Lagos State House of Assembly, slumped and died while returning from the campaign ground.
“Sadly, we lost him and that is all I know,” Lagos APC spokesperson Seye Oladejo said.
“It happened in Jos; he was hale and hearty when we departed for Jos this morning on a chartered plane from Lagos. Unfortunately, we lost him in Jos, he did not make the trip back with us.”