‘Emi Lokan’: I Invoked The Spirit Of Freedom In Ogun, Says Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu says he invoked the spirit of freedom and determination in Ogun State when he faced some hurdles before the February 25, 2023 presidential election.

He spoke on Thursday in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, when he visited the palaces of the paramount ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona; and the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, in Abeokuta, the state capital.

Tinubu said he remained hopeful and optimistic about achieving victory in the last presidential election despite the ineffective cashless policy implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Reflecting on the challenges in the build-up to the 2023 presidential election, Tinubu recounted his concerns about the confiscation of funds and the failure of the cashless policy, and how he had previously sought wisdom and guidance from Oba Adetona during his visit to the palace.

According to the President, he invoked the spirits of freedom and determination, symbolised by “Emi lokan” to overcome the obstacles in the election.

“Our monies were 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 Emilokan. 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’s Epochal Emi Lokan Speech

Prior to the election, Tinubu, who led Lagos from 1999 to 2007 and help to form his party, the APC in 2013, had to navigate controversial issues enrolee to becoming President-Elect.

Being a Muslim, his choice of another Muslim and former governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, sparked outrage and drew strong criticism.

Questions about his health were constant throughout the campaign and there were allegations of crime and corruption, claims which he and his team repeatedly denied.

There was no respite for him and his campaign. Prolonged fuel scarcity and the Naira redesign policy of the apex bank which led to scarcity of the currency and hardship for Nigerians in the final months of the campaign left him and his team with more questions to answer. After all, his party was the ruling party.

The Naira redesign policy in particular pitted him and close allies within the party against the Muhammadu Buhari administration, creating division in the party weeks before the election.

“They want to provoke you to violence, so that election will be disrupted and postponed, and they can cunningly introduce an interim government, that’s their plot. But this will backfire because we are wiser,” the former Lagos governor said early February in what was seen as a direct attack on the Buhari administration and the President who endorsed and defended the Naira redesign.

Frustrated with the seeming lack of support from the President and reported opposition by key members of the Presidency, he would go on to make his now famous “Emi lokan (It is my turn)” speech on June 2, 2022.

“It is the turn of Yoruba, it is my turn,” he said while addressing party delegates at the Presidential Lodge in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

In the speech, he narrated how Buhari lost presidential elections repeatedly until he (Tinubu) helped him to win in 2015. He would later issue a statement declaring his respect for the President.

Finally Tinubu’s Turn

On March 1, 2023, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, announced the former Lagos governor’s victory, minutes past 4am at the National Collation Centre in Abuja, a hall packed full of journalists, party agents and observers.

Tinubu came out tops in 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states, and secured significant numbers in several other states to claim the highest number of votes — 8,794,726, almost two million votes more than his closest rival — former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Abubakar, 76, who has now run for president six times, got 6,984,520 votes, while the candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, who, in less than a year, galvanised young voters in a manner some have described as unprecedented finished the race with 6,101,533.

About a week after his inauguration as Nigeria’s President on May 29, 2023, Tinubu suspended CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele and introduced radical reforms including the unification of foreign exchange rates.


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