- Afenifere endorses APC candidate AD alleges plot to clampdown on leaders, members
James Sowole in Akure and Ugo Aliogo in Lagos
The Ondo State All Progressive Congress (APC) governorship candiate in the November 26, gubernatorial election, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has respond to insinuations from quarters that the APC is divided due to perceived cracks caused by some aggrieved members in the party.
This came as the Afenifere Renewal Group, a pan-Yoruba social cultural organisation, has thrown their weight behind Akeredolu, saying he is the best man for the job.
Fielding questions from journalists shortly after paying a courtesy visit on Akeredolu in Lagos to endorse him, the Chairman Afenifere Renewal Group, Chief Wale Oshun, said the group had always kept its tradition of endorsing the most competent candidates in all elections held in the South-western part of the country.
Oshun said: “Certainly we are here to endorse him. Akeredolu has been one of us, he is one of us, he is an activist, a tested progressive and he strongly believes in the welfarist principles of the founders of the Afenifere.
“What is important at this stage is that he is the one that believes in the ideology of the political philosophy of Yorubaland. One that believes in the principle that had been laid down by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
“He is not just claiming it, we can identify and affirm it. He had been one of us and his party had deemed it fit to allow him to run as the candidate and because he is the best in the circumstance to rule the state. We believe we should give him our open support.
“We have played this critical role in many elections held in South-western, Nigeria and we believe this should not be an exception. And we wish him well and we are praying for him. He has worked hard and we hope almighty God will answer our prayers for him.”
He said given the fact that the position of a state governor is a highly exalted position, there is bound to be a stern opposition in the race, urging the electorate to use their votes to install the best candidate as their governor.
Oshun said the APC is already providing purposeful leadership in the states they are ruling in the region, saying “ that is why we will want to have APC added in Ondo State to the four we have before in Lagos, Ogun, Osun and Oyo States.”
Also speaking, the APC candidate in Ondo State, Akeredolu said his party is working as one political family in the state to clinch victory in the gubernatorial polls scheduled to hold on Saturday.
The former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) said contrary to insinuation that some chieftains shunned his mega rally they are working together.
He said: “All of us in APC are working together now. We all working together as a party. Even Segun Abraham has come out to ask his supporters to come and work for APC He said so without mincing words that he has not left APC. The only thing he said which he has a right to it is that he has a matter in court and its alright the only any judgment in that regard can bring forth any fruit is for APC to win general election. He is with us.
“ The only person for instance who left is Olusola Oke and was never a member of our party. He came after we had election for President Muhammadu Buhari. He just rush in thinking he can capitalise on the use of money to swing people to his side when he failed he decided to opt out. And he went to another party. Somebody who spent 16 years in Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), 16 years as a conservative cannot one day wake up and become a progressive. It is not possible. So he has to opt out of the progressive group to be on his own. He is the only person that left no other person joined him.
Harping on the insinuation that some chieftains shunned his mega rally, he said: “I have said we are together and am sure we are still together. Governor Abiola Ajimobi still called me yesterday. He came back into the country yesterday, his deputy was with us at the rally. The deputy came. We also heard information that Bola Ahmed Tinubu is still abroad attending to his health and I don’t believe that because people are not there that they are not part of the party.”
Meanwhile, the Alliance for Democracy (AD) yesterday raised the alarm that a cabal within the presidency had given order to the Department of State Services (SSS), Nigeria Police Force and officers of Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA) to as from today (Wednesday) arrest notable leaders and front liners in Ondo State.
The security operatives according to a chieftain of the party, Akindele Adeyi, had been instructed to arrest some leaders including but not limited to the Director General of the Olusola Oke Gubernatorial Campaign Organisation, Mr Bola Ilori.
“The sad experience of the aftermath of 1983 governorship election in the then Ondo state brings to fore the divisive and violent tendencies been orchestrated by APC.
“We issue a passionate appeal to all Nigerians to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to give free and fair playing ground to the citizens and residents of Ondo state to elect their governor and desist from intentions and motives capable of re-echoing the ugly phrase, “Wild wild West”
“The problems bedevilling the current administration spring from insurgency to terrorism, restiveness and militancy, kidnapping, infrastructure deficit, recession, poor educational standards and the baggage of unfulfilled electoral promises which is enough task worth the attention, commitment and concentration of any serious president who initially has vowed to change the fortunes of all Nigerians within his four year mandate”, he said.