Ahead of the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state on Thursday, flagged-off its campaign, with the National leadership of the party asking the people of the state to join the mainstream politics.
Notable leaders of the party including President Muhammadu Buhari, his Vice, Yemi Osinbajo, the National leaders of party, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande and all the South West APC governors, except Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, were conspicuously absent at the rally.
Also absent at the flag off ceremony included: Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Senator Ajayi Boroffice and other four lawmakers representing the state at the House of Representatives, except Hon. Bode Ayorinde..
The first runner up in the party’s September 3 primary election, Dr. Olusegun Abraham and most of the aspirants who contested the ticket with Akeredolu were not part of the flag off activities.
However, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engr. Babachir Lawal and some APC governors from Bauch, Sokoto, Borno and Kebbi and ministers from the federal cabinet were present at the ceremony.
The absence of Tinubu and other leaders of the party might not be unconnected with the crisis rocking the party over the choice of the party’s candidate which produced Aleredolu.
Tinubu’s preference in the election, Abraham, who lost Tinubu alleged that the election was fraught with irregularities but was overruled by the party’s leadership who submitted Akeredolu to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the party’s candidate.
Speaking during the rally, the National Chairman of the party, Chief Odigie Oyegun, expressed optimism that the November 26 governorship will be won by the party and solicited for the support of the people of the state to vote for the party’s flagbearer, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu.
Oyegun urged the people of the state to vote out ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to join the progressives of the South west to create room for regional integration to ensure Socio-economic development of the region.
He said: “The quality of people who are here today will let you know the quality of governance Akeredolu is bringing to the state. Let’s move with the progressives and let’s put our hands together to transform the state”
Also speaking the Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, called on members of the party to bury their differences and work towards the success of the party in the governorship election.
He said: “The people of the state have tried PDP government and know their capacity, we know what they can do and what they have done. They have done their best but there best is never enough for the people of the state.
“Let’s forget our differences and if there is any, we must resolve and go into this election as one family. Those who are angry should please forget the past and should not allow the differences within us to give the PDP the opportunity to win back this state, so if there’s any disagreement, we must find a way to resolve it.”
The candidate of the party in the election, Akeredolu, pledged to turnaround the state within a short period if elected as the governor of the state in the forthcoming governorship election.
Akeredolu said his government will give priority to payment of workers salaries and employment of youths in the state saying his government would explore agriculture to create job opportunities for the unemployed youths in the state.
The APC candidate who solicited for peoples support through their votes said ” I have answered the call of the party twice, and I a, very sure we will be victorious this time around. I want the good people of Ondo state to join hands with me to liberate the state with our votes and free Ondo state from its bondage”.
In his welcome address, the state chairman of the party, Isaacs Kekemeke, said the state would soon join the progressives of the state west saying Ondo people have resolved that the next governor of the state will be an APC governor.
He said The APC in the state is indivisible and working towards the same goal of installing an APC government in the state and we are counting on your support to chase out the PDP government in Ondo State”