One of the frontline support groups that aided the victory of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the February 25, 2023 presidential election is the Tinubu Support Group (TSG). It was one of the earliest to emerge on the scene and remains the most visible after Tinubu’s election as Nigeria’s President.
Its formation predates Tinubu’s formal entry into the presidential race by a couple of years. And after the election, TSG staged a grand event in Abuja, lasting for over a month, to celebrate, defend and protect the mandate as well as offer free empowerment opportunities to needy and available Nigerians.
TSG was founded in 2019, four clear years to the 2023 elections, by Hon. James Abiodun Faleke, former member of the House of Representatives representing Ikeja Federal Constituency, with friends and likeminds. It was formed with a full-fledged secretariat at Abuja from day one to coordinate the activities of supporters of the APC National Leader.
Its aim was to draw support for and encourage Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to contest the 2023 Presidential election. Eventually when Tinubu declared his aspiration, TSG was in the forefront, engaging in activities geared towards propagating the Tinubu agenda and achieving its objectives.
Since then, the Maitama, Abuja, headquarters of TSG has become the rallying point for hundreds of thousands of Tinubu loyalists and support groups involved in mobilizing support for Bola Tinubu across the federation.
The group opened registers for members and volunteers and began mobilization of members to join.
Ahead of the APC presidential primary election in 2022, TSG mobilized delegates for the emergence of Bola Tinubu as the party’s presidential candidate. It did this by way of establishing channels through which names and contacts of delegates across the federation were compiled for onward permutations ahead of the primary.
Also, through Tinubu Support Group, other support organizations were mobilized across the federation which enabled the Tinubu camp to have links to all the nook and crannies of the country.
These groups, in turn, canvassed and mobilized votes during the 2023 presidential election for APC. TSG provided the template for incursion into grassroots structure in Northern Nigeria.
Faleke, who was then the Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, and his friends, provided the needed financial and moral support for TSG to operate.
In between the declaration of Tinubu as president-elect and inauguration on May 29, TSG staged an event incorporating a series of activities to mobilize Nigerians and lovers of democracy to defend the popular mandate given to Tinubu. It was a daily sit-out programme at the Unity Fountain, Abuja, lasting for over a month, aimed at countering forces moving against the inauguration of the president-elect on May 29.
The event featured a dancing competition, musical display, and quiz competition on the personality of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Other side attractions included drama, and cultural dancers representing about 10 different languages such as Kanuri, Tiv, Sua, Igbo, Yoruba, Nupe, Hausa, etc. as well as medical outreach for everyone at the Unity Fountain.
It also featured an open discussion on the topic: “Actualization and Sustainability of the Renewed Hope: Expectations and Desirability” with different participants assessed by panellists. In addition, a skill acquisition and empowerment programme was organized from early May through the Pre-Presidential Inauguration Hangout. The training and empowerment programmes included Baking & Catering, Videography, Basic Vehicle Diagnosis/Sewing and Phone Repairing. Other Skills include Hair Styling, Barbing, Nail Fixing and Polishing, General Makeup and Body Therapy, Throw Pillows and General Interior Decoration, Shoe Making/Repairing, Vulcanizing, Tying and Dying, and Corporate Humidity/Multi Print.
The skills acquisition programme was free and open to anyone who was willing to learn any of the skills.
Born in Ekinrin Adde of Ijumu Local Government in Kogi State on 25th December 1959, Hon. James Abiodun Faleke got his O’levels from Abdul-Azeez Attah School, Okene, in 1979.
He graduated as best student at Kaduna Polytechnic with a Higher National Diploma in Purchasing and Supply Management, with Upper Credit in 1986. He proceeded to Imo State University, where he got his Masters Degree in Business Administration (NBA).
Briefly after his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Orientation programme in Lagos State, where he was the parade commander for the entire NYSC members at the orientation camp, he served with National Orthopedic Hospital in Igbobi and did his NYSC community Service with Ikeja LGA. During the period, from his meager NYSC allowance, he constructed and donated dustbins to many households within the LGA of Ikeja LGA towards ensuring cleaner environment.
He was recognised and given the NYSC Merit Award for his leadership roles and community service as a Corper in 1987.
Hon. Faleke wrote his professional examination of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) London and passed with the Final Diploma of the great Institute. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration (FIPA).
After his Youth Service, Faleke worked with various companies in many capacities of Procurement, Clearing & Forwarding, Warehousing and Distribution in Kayo Foods Ltd, Tate and Lyle Industries PLC, Alumaco PLC and the famous Crown Agents of Nigeria, a Training and Procurement company, owned and funded by the British Government.
Hon. Faleke later veered into politics and was elected Pioneer Executive Chairman in Ojodu LCDA on the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD) where he served for two consecutive terms from 2004 to 2011. He was the Chairman of Conference 57, the Forum of Executive Chairmen of Local Governments/LCDAs in Lagos State.
In 2011, he was elected as a Federal legislator, representing Ikeja Federal Constituency, in the House of Representatives on the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
He was duly re-elected in 2015 on the platform of APC and then for a third term in 2019 on same platform. As an opposition member in 2011, he was Chairman of the House Committee on Anti Corruption, National Ethics and Values. He became Chairman of Customs and Excise Committee in 2015-2019 and was the Chairman, House Committee on Finance in the 9th Assembly of the House.
Hon. Faleke was one of those who also moved for the Increase in Federal Allocation to States and Local Government.
He presented many Motions and Bills amongs which were the NYSC Act amendment Bill to Provide Life Insurance for Corp members, Establishment Bills of the Nine Federal Universities set up by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Several motions such as: the improvement of Security, by ensuring the monitoring of the over 1400 illegal border routes within the country; Motion on the ban on sales of Alcohol at motor parks; Motions on the ban on sale of Army Uniforms in the open market, etc.
In December 2014 to April 2015, James Abiodun Faleke was the Lagos State Campaign Coordinator for Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign Group, whereby, Lagos State was delivered for APC.
He organized the famous “WALK FOR BUHARI” in Lagos which brought the whole Lagos to a stand still and saw several dignitaries, which includes the National leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, amongst many other party leaders, and members, who walked from Maryland to Onikan Stadium to shore up support and solidarity for the Presidential candidate of APC.
As a grassroots politician, he formed the Asiwaju Grassroots Development Association (AGDF) in Ojodu LCDA as a non-profit organization, which involved charity work for widows, orphans and the less privileged. They also provided public health and gender mainstreaming.
He has attended many international and local courses and Seminars too numerous to mention here.
In recognition of James Abiodun Faleke’s educational achievements, philanthropic gestures and result-oriented services to humanity within and outside his political constituency, he has received several worthy Awards from corporate bodies, NGOs, various communities associations, the media, groups, and many more.