Despite the early shower of the first rain in the year 2015 in Lagos State, last Friday would continue to remain memorable in the political heart of members and supporters of All Progressives Congress (APC) who filled the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere to its brim, for what it called carnival for charge. Ayodele Samuel was there.
They defied the heavy traffic that took over all roads leading to the stadium; they thronged out in their thousands, with pomp and pageantry to receive the All Progressives Party (APC) presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari who had came to inform them of his plan if elected into office.
At about 8:10am, party members arrived the venue with various party branded attire waving their brooms and dancing to live music supplied by King of Fuji music, Wasiu Ayinde (Kwam 1) and other musicians who delighted supporters in the drizzling rain.
The crowds were also entertained by comedians, Nollywood artists, including Adebayo Salami, Jide Kosoko, Yinka Quadri, Davido, Olaminde, Mevins Crew, Fathia Balogun, Femi Adebayo Afonja Sanyeri among who also endorsed the APC candidates.
Food hawkers, petty traders also made brisk businesses at the venue as they sold food, drinks ,brooms, T shirts and APC branded hats to party members and supporters.
Not missing in action were representatives of the physically challenged persons who expressed displeasure over none signing of the physically challenged bill into law by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Their message reads: "Nigerians should vote Buhari and Osinbajo because Jonathan refused to assist us on the physically challenged bill. Adding that they went to Abuja twice but the president did not assist them on the bill to be passed into law."
Kick starting the rally, Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign and governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi lampooned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of being afraid of going to the election because the APC is fully ready, insisting that election must hold on February 14th. He said Nigerians will defend their votes.
"Any governor or president that cannot show what he has done for people should not be allowed to come back. PDP is afraid of election. They have seen that the people are with us, if they rig the election, we will stand by our election without leaving the polling unit. Our prayer is that Jonathan should not come back.
"When the President came to Rivers, he admitted that did not do anything in the state. When he comes, he should point out one thing he has done and I would point out many things that I have done. He made a promise to the people of Rivers in 2011 and he failed. We don't want a man who cannot fulfill his promises and that is why he cannot return as president," Amaechi told the crowd.
In his speech, a former governor of Lagos and the national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu said that Buhari was chosen as the candidate of the party because he has been very consistent.
According to him, "Gen Buhari would have chosen to sit back and relax at home and not bother about what is happening in the country, but it is patriotism that has made him to agree to contest. It is about the future of the country so we should not play the politics and tribe of religion. Buhari was chosen not because I was not interested in becoming the president. I am very capable, intelligent, honest and richer. But Buhari was chosen because he has remained consistent and he is the change that Nigeria needs right now.
"In the past 16 years of democracy, we have seen all sorts of political games, but Buhari has remained steadfast and consistent. He is an advocate of change and a voice for the poor. I pray that those who talk about his age will live as old as he is.
"We are in great crisis in this country and we have faced a lot of challenges and we need someone with the will to effect change. When South Africa was about to disintegrate, Nelson Mandela, who was 75 years old was called to rescue it. When America was in crisis, they called a 70 years old Ronald Reagan to come and rescue America.
"When Britain was in crisis, they didn't call a man who is in the parliament, they called Winston Churchill who was 75 years old then and who was a retired general to rescue it.
"When we started the APC, people thought that the merger would not work, but I told them that there was a storm coming and we have appealed to Buhari to step in and rescue the country."
"One man that has been consistent and steadfast, courageous and advocate of the poor is Buhari". Tinubu said that he knows Nigeria will get better with his kind of leadership.
Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on his part, stressed the need to create a producing industry rather than consuming what is not produced in the country.
"Jobs cannot be created by wrong policies. We need to revive the industries, to ensure that we begin to produce and not consume alone. Rather than creating jobs, they created fraud. It is time to bring in the trusted person. For us to fight corruption, we need someone who hadn't stolen before."
However Rochas Okorocha, the Imo State Governor, in his own words, said politics should not be based on religion or tribe. "We must not play politics of religion and tribal issues."
Chief John Oyegun, national chairman of the APC, admonished that people should go and collect their PVCs, without which they may not be able to vote leaders of their choice.
"I have seen people's sweat of change. My prayer is that no one should be stupid enough to ignore this momentum of change. I urged you to obtain your PVC."
Not taking the back stage, Mrs Aisha Buhari, wife of the APC presidential candidate, said the electorate must be educated on how to thumb print. "As we are all yearning for change, and for change to be actualized, we must educate the electorate on how to thumb print," she said.
On his part, General Buhari however stressed that his party has identified three major problems to tackle if elected, saying that the issues identified are insecurity, the dwindling economy, bribery and corruption, while promising that the issue of the dwindling economy and the devaluation of the naira will soon be a thing of the past.
The former Head of state said "my party has identified three major aspects in dire need of solutions which are insecurity, the dwindling economy, bribery and corruption. When I become president, these things will become a thing of the past.
"What is happening in the North-eastern part of the country is unacceptable. I know that the Nigerian Police and the military are capable of restoring peace in the country and it is very important that they are well equipped to do that.
"In terms of corruption, whatever my administration is able to save when all the leaking holes are plugged will be diverted to the building and equipping of schools.
"The Nigerian Airways is no more, our railway system is moribund and the level of power supply we have is not more than what was inherited in 1999, so we need to vote the PDP out for the change we need to take place," Buhari said.