2023 election: Former speakers of Ekiti, Ondo deny endorsing Tinubu

Former speakers from the Southwest states of Ekiti and Ondo have denied endorsing National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the 2023 presidential election.

Some sitting speakers and former speakers of Houses of Assembly from the Southwest geo-political zone had on January 13, 2021 converged in Ibadan on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, to drum up support for the Bola Ahmed Tinubu 2023 presidential ambition.

But in a statement jointly signed by Rt. Hons. Victor Olabimtan, Oluwasegunota Bolarinwa, Agbomuserin, Abdusalam Olawale Taofeeq, Kenneth Olawale (Ondo), Ajigbolamu and Kola Adefemi (Ekiti) and made available to journalists on Friday, while confirming their attendance at the meeting, former speakers from the two states disclosed that there was no form of endorsement for the aspiration of the former Lagos State governor, stressing that no communique was issued to that effect.

The former speakers said the meeting was at the instance of Rt. Hon. Titi Oseni, the Coordinator of the Southwest forum of the Conference of Former Speakers of House of Assembly of Nigeria, under the national chairman of Governor Simon Lalong.

According to them, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa was present at the meeting to solicit the support of the ex-speakers, as automatic national delegates, for the aspiration of his mentor, Bola Tinubu.

They said when the issue was discussed they spoke in unison during the meeting and maintained that they would rather wait for the directive of the leader of their respective states who in this case are Governor Akeredolu of Ondo State and Governor Fayemi of Ekiti State.

They told the gathering that all candidates from the zone, including Tinubu had legitimate right to aspire to lead the country.

The statement reads, “As much as the issue of national politics is concerned, we are of the opinion that every eligible aspirant deserves equal right and opportunity. As a member of the All-Progressives Congress, APC, we are not against the aspiration of any member of the party from the Southwest Region. Every State in the Southwest, be it Lagos, Ondo, or Ekiti is qualified to produce a candidate and whoever that the leadership of the Party supports, we will support”.

“It is a well-known fact that, our Governors are the leaders of our party in every State, and we will never do anything that is contrary to their interest. If Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is interested in running for the 2023 Presidency, and Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State is also gunning for the position, they are both qualified to run. However, none of them has openly declared interest or intention to do so. Therefore, the issue of drumming support for any particular “aspirant” as being circulated is out of place and we are not a party to that.

“These positions were said to have been canvassed at the meeting by members from Ondo and Ekiti States, and now re-echoed in a joint press statement issued by the aforementioned ex-speakers.

“We hereby dissociate ourselves from such endorsement when the purported gladiator has not informed the Conference of his interest to run for the exalted position in the Country. We are party men, and will support the interest of all our leaders wherever they go.”

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