Vice-President Namadi Sambo
By Chuks Okocha, James Sowole and Toba Suleiman
Vice-President Namadi Sambo Monday inaugurated the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national campaign team for the October 20 governorship election, with a pledge that the election in On State would be transparently conducted with one man, one vote.
The vice-president’s pledge, however, came on the heels of an assurance by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate for the election in the state, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, that he would not increase tuition fees currently being paid by students of the state-owned tertiary institutions.
However, the political rivalry in the build up to next year’s governorship election in Ekiti State, Monday took another dimension, as the PDP accused the ACN of defacing posters belonging to the party in the state.
But, Sambo while inaugurating the committee, said: “In line with the promise of President Goodluck Jonathan, the Ondo State governorship election will be transparent. It shall be free and fair. The election shall be on the basis of one man one vote, one woman one vote one youth one vote.”
While noting that the committee, which he heads alongside former president Olusegun Obasanjo, the Senate President, David Mark; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal; and the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, would strive for electoral victory, Sambo said: “And by the grace of Almighty Allah, we are confident of victory by October 20. This committee Insha Allah, we shall succeed.”
According to him, “With the wealth of experience of members of this committee, the PDP will be victorious at the end of the day.”
Speaking in the same vein, the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja, said: “I am confident that by the Grace of God, we shall win, we shall win, we shall win convincingly.”
Tukur said: “Ondo State is a PDP state and a very important one to our great party for that matter. It was therefore, a matter of distress to us when we lost it, not through the polls but through a judicial process. Our resolve to win Ondo State back is the underlying factor for setting up this high-powered committee.”
However, Obasanjo, Mark, Tambuwal and Amaechi were absent at the occasion.
On his part, Akeredolu, while addressing youths, who converged in Akure, the state capital, for a forum, said rather than increase the school fees, the ACN-led government in the state would expand the scope of scholarship and bursary to students of the state origin in higher institutions.
He said the scholarship scheme would not only be for students in the Second Class Upper Division, but would incorporate verified indigent students whose parents cannot afford the school fees while bursary would be for all students.
Endorsing Akeredolu’s candidature, Nollywood actress, Mrs. Funke Akindele-Oloyede (a.k.a Jennifer) said if the youth were the future of tomorrow, their future should be secured.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of the newly created Directorate of Information, Media, Communications and Publicity of the PDP, Mr. Gboyega Aribisogan, alleged that the ACN was influencing the state media to deprive opposition parties access to both radio and television stations for political activities.
But, the ACN chairman in the state, Chief Jide Awe, debunked the allegation, stating that the ACN still remains the party to beat in the state.
Aribisogan who briefed journalists, shortly after he was introduced, also made reference to how the posters of the former Governor of the state, Mr. Ayo Fayose’s posters in Ado-Ekiti prior to a ceremony held in his honour in Afao-Ekiti recently, over his re-admission into PDP were defaced with black paint.
“Even, if it was the Ekiti State Advert and Signage Agency that was behind the defacing of the posters, we expect them to have followed due process. We expect that they should write to us to pay certain fee,” he said.