There was jubilation in the camp of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Thursday when he returned to the country.
While he was aware, reports were suggesting that Tinubu was ill and could be receiving medical attention in London.
The situation forced the candidate and his handlers to release a series of photographs and videos to dispel the rumour of his ill health.
Elated party chiefs and loyalists were at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on Thursday to receive Tinubu.
They were led by his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima; and a former APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, among others.
The PUNCH learnt that Tinubu will immediately engage in a series of political consultations.
The former Lagos State governor is expected to host members of his Presidential Campaign Council, Progressive Governors Forum and the National Working Committee of the APC in separate meetings to discuss the contentious campaign list.
A former Minister of Communications and Director General of the Asiwaju Tinubu-Shettima Coalition for Good Governance, Adebayo Shittu, told The PUNCH that the wild jubilation that greeted Tinubu’s arrival was enough to make some people cover their faces in shame.
“They probably thought he won’t return to the country. I told you earlier he is coming today, didn’t I?
“Let us even assume he went for medical treatment abroad, should that be an issue? His fitness video and the eventual return have put an end to all their speculations,” he said.
The Director of Media and Publicity for the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga, had earlier told The PUNCH that the previous October 10 selected as the date for the launch of the campaign was no longer feasible.
He said, “Oct 10 date is not certain for the launch of our campaign. It was the date we chose before. It is tentative and not cast in stone.”
When asked about his itinerary, Onanuga said though Tinubu would be busy after his return from London, he is not aware of any nocturnal meeting his principal might be having last night.
Another member of the PCC media team, Biodun Ajiboye, told our correspondent that he didn’t understand what the euphoria and fixation that greeted the candidate’s arrival were about.
“Are they expecting Asiwaju won’t return before?” he asked.
He however acknowledged that being the workaholic that he is, Tinubu would hit the ground running.
“He is going to start his usual busy schedule from this night. Naturally, as the presidential candidate of Africa’s largest political party, he should be busy. What do you think?
“He has missed a few days of work that he is eager to recover. So I don’t think it is anything to worry about,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has promised that Tinubu will tackle the challenges faced by youths, women and other vulnerable people in society.
The governor stated this on Thursday during an event organised by the Asiwaju Grassroots Talk in Oregun, Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu said his endorsement of the AGT advocacy project stemmed from the proven ability of the group to influence and mobilise real voters, noting that AGT had a strong presence across communities in the state.
He said, “We are ready to take the gospel out to the electorate and canvass for their support for the Tinubu presidency. Asiwaju has verifiable track records in good governance and service delivery, which canvassers can use to engage and win the support of potential voters.
“We must talk about the transformative leadership, progressive ideals, and vision possessed by Asiwaju to take this country to another level of meaningful development.
“Tinubu is coming to bring hope, bring about change that will translate to real prosperity.”
He is coming to address the challenges facing the youth, women, and the vulnerable in our country.
“His programmes will touch the lives of traders, artisans, and those in search of legitimate means of livelihood. It is because of our strong belief in Asiwaju’s leadership that we are all coming together to endorse this grassroots movement to ensure Lagos is delivered for APC.”