Hundreds of voluntary goups canvassed support for the victory of Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the February 25, 2023, presidential election. Some were national, others regional, state or local. Some were loud and vocal in the media while others were quiet but working silently in the political battlefield.
The Tinubu Support Movement (TSM) under the leadership of Engr. Aminu Shehu, its National Coordinator,was (and is) one of the Tinubu Support groups which belongs to the latter group. It is a regional support group recognized by the APC at the National and State levels with the objective of promoting the 2023 Tinubu/Shettima Presidency in the 19 Northern States of Nigeria.
It was formed after inauguration of Buhari 2nd term in 2019 after a collection of individuals led by Engr. Aminu, who were united to convince Tinubu for the Presidency under the All Progressives Congress (APC). It opened offices in Nasarawa, Kano, Kaduna, Kwara and Bauchi followed by the appointment Executives Committees in the 19 states, local governments, council wards and polling units in the three geopolitical zones of Northern Nigeria.
“Our mandate is to actualize Tinubu’s presidency because we see in him practical and demonstrable evidence of performance in reference to his tenures in Lagos, which, if allowed to be replicated at the national level will, in the shortest possible time, produce the Nigeria many have dreamt of,” Engr. Aminu Shehu, TSM National Coordinator, explained.
Engr. Aminu Shehu with President Bola Tinubu
To accomplish its mandate, TSM carefully designed a strategy for mobilizing support at the northern regional level as well as at the state level. “We developed our strategy through deliberate research and analysis of the situations in the North,” Engr. Shehu explained. At the general northern level, it identified different demographic groups, their registered voter strengths and campaign messages suitable for each and engaged them accordingly.
For instance, the Students Community was found to have an estimated voting strength of about 10 Million (out of the 26 Million INEC registered nationally) within the 19 Northern states. TSM targeted and secured a significant number of them into its membership. The Movement had a strategic engagement with students leaders and representatives to highlight the BAT manifesto and acknowledge past challenges while highlighting future prospects.
TSM also identified Islamic Minority groups, including the Qadiriya, Tijjaniya Shia and Qur’aniyun Together, they have an estimated voting population strength of about 7 million which TSM strategically engaged and successfully got votes from.
The Movement also targeted Christian Groups in the North comprising the Tarrayar Ekklesiyoy in Kristia Nigeria (TEKAN).TEKAN is a federation of Christian denominations in Nigeria founded in1955, which dominates the Christian body in the 19 Northern states. It has a population of about 5 million. TSM took the gospel of the Tinubu/Shettima campaign and manifesto to the Northern Christians, swaying them to focus on the capacity of the individual candidates instead of their religion.
In addition, TSM’s mobilization strategy also targeted artisans (4.9million eligible voters), farmers (14.7million eligible voters), civil servants (5.2million. eligible voters), house-wives (13million eligible voters), public servants (2.3 millioneligible voters), business class (12.4million eligible voters), traders (7.9million eligible voters), and others (6.6million eligible voters).
The eﬀorts of TSM in mobilizing support and votes from its target groups for the Tinubu/Shettima ticket in all the 19 Northern States included campaigns, rallies, and election-day mobilization. It also actively engaged in grassroots voter education, helping to inform and educate the average voter on how to successfully cast their vote for the APC (Tinubu/Shettima) on election day. TSM also promoted the Tinubu/Shettima campaign through various online social media platforms.
State Coordinators took charge of the implementation of TSM’s strategies, modifying their activities to suit local perculiarities working closely with all APC candidates.
Engr. Shehu described the victory as a great achievement at the polls. “The victory of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was an expected outcome,” he said.
The National Coordinator said TSM’s mandate was not limited to mobilizing of votes for election. “The Movement is a continuous support drive which shall extend to canvass support beyond inauguration, through the period of governance, by enlightening the electorate of the laudable policies of a Tinubu-led administration, as well as responding to criticisms by oppositions and propagandists.”