PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, has endorsed the candidature of Mr Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), as the standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Ondo State.
Plateau State governor and leader of APC campaign for the election, Simon Lalong, officially presented Akeredolu to the President at the Presidential Villa Abuja, on Monday.
Speaking with State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with the President, Lalong said though Buhari is the President of Nigeria, he is still the leader of the party and loyal party man who was also answerable to the party.
He said the President Buhari has confirmed that he has seen the candidate and was also praying for a successful election in the state.
Lalong disclosed that a few weeks ago, he was given the responsibility of leading the campaign on behalf of the National Executive of APC for the Ondo election.
He noted that since the emergence of Akeredolu as the party’s candidate at the primary, he had not been presented to Mr President in his capacity as the leader of the party.
He said: “So, today we came in with the candidate and to confirm to the president that APC has only one candidate unlike other parties that are fighting about who is their candidate. We have only one candidate and that candidate is Mr Akeredolu Rotimi (SAN),” he said.
On the chances of APC in winning the election, he said: “Well, that is not a problem to APC; since inception, you knew what happened in Kogi; you knew what happened in Edo; we won the elections; it was as if it was going to be very difficult for us, but we won the election.
“Today again, we are going into Ondo; all the mistakes we made in other states, we have corrected them. We are seeing a very smooth election, not only a smooth election but the credibility of the candidate itself is something worth selling,” he said.
Meanwhile, Governor Lalong has criticised the Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, for running to President Buhari to seek help in resolving the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over who becomes the candidate of the party in the election.
He said it was wrong for Mimiko to run to the president over issues concerning PDP since Buhari was not a member of the opposition party.
He said: “Let me say that it was even wrong for them to start running to Mr President to help them solve the problem of PDP. Mr President is the President of Nigeria and he is not a member of PDP. Even when we have problems in APC, we don’t run to Mr President. If he has a problem in his state, he is the governor, let him stay there and resolve the matter.
“It’s a matter between PDP and PDP and those matters are in court. So, why should you run to the President? Is Mr President the chief judge of Nigeria? He is not the INEC chairman, either,” he said.
Also speaking, Akeredolu said he was confidence in winning the election by the grace of God, saying either the Jimoh Ibrahim or Eyitayo Jegede would not pose any threat to him.
He denied any rift with the national leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu, who, according to him, has accepted the results of the primary and the party is moving on.
He said: “I don’t have any rift with him. Since the party primary, you have seen that as leader of the party; he has not said anything about it. He has accepted the primary and we are moving on; so, I don’t have any rift with him at all and we are moving on.
“What the party said in Ondo State is to call on the security apparatus of the state to be up and doing, so that they do not allow miscreants to take over the state.
“This is because, for instance, as a governor you encourage lawlessness, or people in the guise of protest because what the PDP has is a problem within the party. That should not lead to demonstration outside and you know that people are not demonstrating for any reason but because they have been more or less paid to come and do it.