GOVERNOR-elect of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu and his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, to thank him for his support over the just concluded gubernatorial election in the state.
Akeredolu, who was led to the president’s office by the chairman of All Progressive Congress (APC) Ondo State campaign committee and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, told State House correspondents that he had never shunned APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
His assertion followed speculation that while he acknowledged the contributions of the president and APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun after his election, he neglected to mention Tinubu.
The governor-elect said Buhari was the only national leader of the party and since he had thanked him and Odigie-Oyegun as the national chairman, he had by extension, thanked all leaders of the party.
Asked why he did not mention Tinubu in his victory speech, Akeredolu said: “On the names that were mentioned in my speech when expressing gratitude and that I didn’t specifically thank Bola Ahmed Tinubu: I thanked the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the leader of our party profusely for the leadership which he showed leading to this election. I also thanked our indefatigable chairman for standing by the truth and for his position on this matter that led to this election. I have no reason to do otherwise.
“You see, party structures to the best of my knowledge is very clear. You have the leadership of the party and that is represented by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. And after the election, a chief executive emerges, he becomes a leader of the party. You don’t have to personalise and be looking for leaders all over the place. If we have to do that then I will have to mention 36 or 37 leaders.
“So, I believe the leadership as represented by the president covers all leaders and that tells me it would include Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it would include even Baba Akande, Onu, so many leaders. But president Buhari is the leader of the party. So, that is my position there.”
He explained that he had a robust relationship with the former Lagos State governor who he noted had already sent him a congratulatory message.
He said: “The relationship with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has always been the same. I don’t think we have any strain relationship.
“For me as a person, I believe he is one of the leaders of the party and I don’t see any strain relationship between us. And you would observe that he has sent in his congratulatory message after the election.
“So what else do you expect? I mean all of us see this as victory for the APC, not for Akeredolu, not for as an individual but for the party as a whole.”
Akeredolu insisted that he would not go all out to probe the outgoing administration of Governor Olusegun Mimiko in the state but would not hesitate to apply the full weight of the law any time wrongdoing was discovered.
He explained: “At the center, the government of the President Muhammadu Buhari said we must look back in order to move forward. He has been there for over a year now. Jas he instituted a probe?
” Looking bad is not a probe and I maintain that I will not probe any regime. This is responsible leadership. I’m elected to lead the people.
“The task ahead of us is enormous than for us to start instituting probes.
“My own is not to institute any probe of last regime and that is what president Buhari has done. But if we find out that wrongs were committed, we have enough laws of the land to take care of people who have committed wrong.
“As we start our work, as we go ahead, if there is any semblance of Dasukigate at the state, the law will take its course. That is different from probing. We will follow what Mr. President is doing at the centre.”