•Canvasses votes for Akeredolu
For the first time, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday spoke on the September 3, governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State.
Buhari said the exercise which was contested by 22 governorship aspirants but won by Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) was transparent, credible, free and fair.
The President added that the transparency of the primary poll was one of the reasons he was at the grand finale rally of the APC governorship candidate, Akeredolu held in Akure, the state capital ahead of the November 26, election.
It will be recalled that the controversy that trailed the primary election had claimed it first casualty whereby one of the complainant, Chief Olusola Oke, defected to the Alliance for Democracy (AD).
Also, the runner-up of the poll, Mr. Segun Abraham, is currently challenging the exercise in the law court.
But, the President, who openly commended the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party and the Electoral Committee headed by Governor of Jigawa State, Badaru Abubakar at the rally attended by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Oyegun and the Deputy Speaker House of Representatives, Yusuf Lasun urged the people of the state to vote for Akeredolu.
Others dignitaries at the rally included the Chairman of the APC National Campaign Committee, Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, Governors Abubakar (Jigawa), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Rochas Okorocha (Imo) and Tanko Al-Mukura (Nasarawa).
Others were former Governors, Adams Oshiomole, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and Senator Isiaka Adeleke, Gbenga Ogunniya, Kolawole Babatunde, Afe Olowokere, Bode Ayorinde, Friday Olemija, Jumoke Anifowose, Tokunbo Ajasin, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, and Joshua Dariye.
Solid Mineral Minister Mr. Kayode Fayemi, his Information counterpart Lai Muhammed, Niger Delta (state) Cladius Daramola, Health, Isaac Adewole, Segun Oni, Chief Paul Akinyelure, Adetimehin, Isaac Kekemeke among others. Governor Aregbesolan was said to have arrived at the airport after the President had left for the rally venue. The governor then left the airport but did not show up at the rally.
Buhari commended the people for the reception given to him, saying “God willing, we will win this election. People of Ondo State make up your mind and vote for Akeredolu”.
Saraki appealed to the people of the state to join the ruling party at the centre by voting for Akeredolu.
He said majority of the states, which Ondo State shares borders with are currently being ruled by APC.
He added that Akeredolu has the capacity to transform the state.
Okorocha said “we can inform you that Buhari’s presence in Ondo State is a sign of change. Akure must look like a state capital. We the governors are united on the Akeredolu’s candidature.
“Akeredolu loves Ondo State people. Despite we wanted him to serve in Abuja, he said he wants to serve his people in Ondo.
“He is educated and humble. Nobody can challenge the will of God. Akeredolu’s project is divine.”
Oshiomole on his part described the APC candidate as a lover of the masses. He recalled that when he was serving as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Akeredolu was defending the workers free of charge.
Amosun said among those contesting the governorship seat, none is more progressive than Akeredolu.
He noted that as at the time the PDP was rigging elections in the South West, Akeredolu was the lawyer defending he, Amosun, Governor of Oyo, Abiola Ajimobi, Governor Olusegun Mimiko, Rauf Aregbesola of Osun and Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti at the law court on their mandates.
Akeredolu commended Buhari and promised that the people of the state would not vote for a party that has no councillor.
Akeredolu said , if elected he will drive economic and industrial revolution into the state through foreign investors with federal government partnership.
He said jobs will be provided to the teeming unemployed youths through agriculture, industrialization and entrepreneurship
At the occasion, Oyegun received some defectors from the PDP that included serving Commissioner for Agriculture, Segun Ayerin, Femi Ogunjemiyo and Wale Ozogoro.
Meanwhile, President Buhari on his arrival met with APC stakeholders and governorship aspirants in the state at the International Event Centre, Dome in Akure on how to resolve the crisis rocking the party.
He lauded the APC gubernatorial aspirants for their loyalty to the party and supporting the party’s candidate for the November 26 election.
The President, in a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said the unity of the party was crucial for the outcome of next Saturday’s election.
He said: “I am very pleased that those of you who lost the primaries are still very much in the party. That you lose elections doesn’t mean you should walk away, you keep on trying. I went to the Supreme Court three times in my bid to become the President of Nigeria.
“I like your high spirit and your commitment to the party and I hope your constituencies are taking note of that,” the President told the aspirants shortly before departing for the Democracy Park in Akure for the grand finale of the Ondo APC gubernatorial rally.
He assured Nigerians that determined, steadfast and patriotic people in the APC-led government will transform the nation’s ailing economy, which was run aground by the party that governed Nigeria for 16 years from 1999-2015.
In his remarks, the representative of the aspirants, Tunji Abayomi, assured the President that they have resolved to deliver Ondo to APC.
“No single aspirant left the party after the primaries. Those who left the party were not party members; they returned to where they belonged,” he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman of APC Elders Council, Ondo State, Sen. Olorunnimbe Farukanmi, said Akeredolu was eminently qualified to lead the state.
“We have fielded an experienced, informed, hardworking and capable legal practitioner to work with President Buhari to carry out massive industrial development, job creation, eradication of poverty and massive economic improvement in the nation,” he said. (The Nation)