7th March, 2011
Thousands of supporters of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN,Â thronged the Tafawa Balewa Square, TBS,Â Lagos, South West Nigeria, on 5 March 2011, for the mega rally towards the re-election of the state Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola.
Roads leading to the TBS were blocked as party faithful parked indiscriminately, leading to a traffic gridlock.
There was tight security at the venue of the rally dubbed ACN Rally for Continuity of Excellence. AtÂ one end, the police anti-bomb vehicles were parked while the two helicopters bought by the state government to boost security in the state were on constant air surveillance. People carryingÂ bags into the venue were searched to ensure that no one cameÂ into the plce withÂ dangerous weapons.
Several large and small banners of ACNâ€™s aspirants for the various elective positions were placed at strategic locations inside the TBS.Â Party supporters carried posters of aspirants pasted in small slates and paraded the length and breadth of the TBS sing and dancing.
Posters of Fashola, Oluremi Tinubu, Yakub Balogun, Dayo Bush-Alebiosu and Ganiyu Solomon, among others were common features at the venue.Â Their supporters wore T-shirts with the aspirants pictures printed on them.
The environment was rowdy as the crowd was on controllable.Â Hundreds of area boys capitalized on the rally to get money from politicians as they eulogized them and asked them for money.
Fuji artiste, Wasiu Ayinde Mashal, popularly known as K1, Noco Gravity and others took time to entertain the crowd and eulogise political the aspirants.
At the event were former Governor of Lagos, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; ACN, National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande; former Governor of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba; ACNâ€™s presidential candidate, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu; Deputy Governor of Lagos, Princess Sarah Sosan and wife of the governor, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola.
Also present were Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, Bush-Alebiosu, Yakub Balogun, Oluremi Tinubu, Henry Ajomale, Tunji Bello, Ribaduâ€™s running mate; Tajudden Fola Adeola and Henry Ajomale, among others.
â€œWe came to Lagos to flag off Fasholaâ€™s campaign for re-election. We have a lot of criminality in PDP. We are asking you to vote for the ACN.Â We are coming back before the election to show you our presidential candidate,â€ said Akande, in his welcome speech.
In his speech, the party’s presidential candidate, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, said change and revolution had come to Nigeria with the changes that have taken place in Lagos State under Fashola, noting; â€œLagos State has proved that Nigeria can change.Â Babatunde Fashola is like me; we have something in common.Â He is a technocrat and a young man.”
he continued: â€œACN is now giving young people the chance to participate and prove themselves.Â I was a police officer in Lagos State several years ago and I knew how Lagos was then.Â It has changed now and it’s now the face ofÂ Nigeria today.â€
â€œWe are going to bring the changes we have seen in Lagos to Abuja.Â We have a team of performers and we are not selfish.Â We are going to change this country.Â Fashola has shown that if given opportunity, the young people of this country can deliver. We have a programme for this nation.Â The PDP will promise and fail. They have failed.Â It is time for them to give us a chance.Â This country has an opportunity now; change is the message,â€ Ribadu added.
Former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu showered encomium on Fashola, saying that he had delivered the dividends of democracy to the people in the last four years and called on Lagosians to re-elect him for continuity.
Tinubu said the PDP had been boasting that they would capture the state, noting that that will never happen as the ACN was solidly on ground to sweep the forthcoming polls in the state.
â€œYou canâ€™t capture anywhere in Lagos State.Â Fashola has a vision for Lagos State and he has served the purpose for which he was elected.Â I am a proud man.Â The PDP has left a legacy of failure, inefficiency, bad leadership and failure in succession. What can they be proud of?
â€œLagos is changing every day.Â The man with the best brain and mind is giving you that service; Fashola is the man,â€ he stated, adding that the PDP, through its former leader, Olusegun Obasanjo, bastardized the country.
â€œWe provided Independent Power Plant, IPP; they took it from us and added it to the national grid.Â They deduct N250 million from our allocations illegally monthly. They are greedy, wicked and selfish.
â€œDonâ€™t let anybody intimidate you.Â In Lagos State, we donâ€™t fear anybody.Â We will give everything to elect our House of Assembly, senatorial and other candidates.Â You have seen the debate and how Fashola floored them from the pretenders to the old ones.Â He has delivered unto you the promise.Â Donâ€™t allow PDP to get five percent votes in Lagos State,â€ he said.
In his speech, Fashola said he had faithfully served the people in the last four years and promised to deliver more dividends of democracy if elected for a second term, promising that he would complete the light rail system, Lekki-Epe Road, Lekki AirportÂ and the Lekki Free Trade Zone that would provide 120,000Â jobs to Lagosians, among others.
â€œWe will accelerate the implementation of the Lagos mortgage scheme and will increase water supply.Â In the last four years, we have added 130 million gallons of water per day to the system.Â We have made progress.Â For those who threaten us, you have seen their performance during the debate.
â€œThey rented generator for three years and fuelled it with N150,000 daily.Â They cannot manage NIMASA.Â They said they want to finish Airport Road four weeks to the election.Â They are offering you carrot.Â PDP will only come here to preach ethnic divide.Â We must avoid them like plague.Â We must win overwhelmingly.Â PDP must lose in the South West.Â We must deliver 14 million votes in the South West,â€ he stated.