- Governor-elect: I don’t have to specifically thank Tinubu for my election
- INEC REC: Deal with me if indicted over Ondo poll
- APC sets up committee for Rivers re-run polls
Tobi Soniyi, Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and James Sowole in Akure
The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has enjoined the Governor-elect of Ondo State, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu, to make clearing the backlog of salaries owed the state civil servants a priority of the in-coming administration.
Addressing the governor-elect who came to the secretariat in Abuja to present his certificate of return to the party leadership, the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, restated the position of the party that the process that led to the emergence of Akeredolu was transparent.
Oyegun told the governor-elect to immediately ensue the payment of worker’s salary as soon as he takes over office.
“People who work must be paid and they deserve their pay. I hope that would be your first priority,” Oyegun stated.
Speaking on the controversial primary that led to Akeredolu emergence, Oyegun declared that “the entire process that led to him being our candidate was happened before the camera.”
According to him, Akeredolu was able to convince the APC that he was the right candidate for the people of Ondo State.”
Also speaking, the Kano State Governor Dr. Umar Ganduje, told Oyegun that his team would consult widely with the party leaders in the state, adding that because of the lack of time, he would work 24 hours to ensure victory for the APC.
In his remarks, Akeredolu said he owed his loyalty to the national leadership of APC-led by Chief Oyegun, assuring that he would always abide by his instructions.
Akeredolu who stormed the National secretariat of APC by5.30p.m., also promised that he would ensure that the APC win the next governorship election in Ekiti State.
Akeredolu said: “I remember during my campaign that immediately we win Ondo, we will move en masse to win Ekiti. I want to assure you that people are already rooting for us in Ekiti and I want to assure you that we will win Ekiti.
“I owe you my national chairman a lot. You have done well.”
Meanwhile, the party yesterday inaugurated a special committee made up of five APC governors to plan for the re-run national and state assemblies elections in Rivers State.
APC will be fielding candidates for election in three senatorial district, eight House of Representatives and 16 state House of Assembly seats in the December 10 re-run elections.
However, Akeredolu wednesday said he did not have to mention the leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, in his first speech after he was announced the winner of last Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
The governor-elect, who spoke with State House Correspondents in Abuja after he and his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, met with President Muhammadu Buhari at Aso Rock in Abuja, said in the circumstance, he did not need to mention all party’s leaders in his speech.
He said: “I thanked the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the leader of our party profusely for the leadership which he showed leading to this election. I also thanked our indefatigable chairman for standing by the truth and for his position on this matter that led to this election. I have no reason to do otherwise.
“Party structures, to the best of my knowledge, is very clear. You have the leadership of the party and that is represented by Odigie-Oyegun. And after the election, a chief executive emerges, he becomes a leader of the party, you don’t have to personalise and be looking for leaders all over the place. If we have to do that then I will have to mention 36 or 37 leaders.
“So I believe the leadership as represented by the president covers all leaders and that tells me it would include Tinubu, it would include even Baba Akande, Onu, so many leaders. But President Buhari is the leader of the party so that is my position there.”
When asked how he would amend his strained relationship with Tinubu, Akeredolu said the relationship between him and Tinubu had always been the same.
This is how he put it, “I don’t think we have any strained relationship. For me as a person, I believe he is one of the leaders of the party and I don’t see any strained relationship between us. And you would observe that he has sent in his congratulatory message after the election, so what else do you expect? I mean all of us see this as victory for the APC, not for Akaredolu, not for an individual but for the party as a whole. I believe he is a member of the party. Mr. Femi Adesina had issued a release but you journalists just want to put words into our mouths.”
On the defection of Senator Yele Omogunwa from the Peoples Democratic Party to the APC, Akeredolu said the senator had always been with the APC even before his defection was made public.
Akeredolu said the senator joined him during the campaign and that he merely formalised his defection at the Senate wednesday.
He said: “When you have a party that is already balkanised like the PDP, from bottom to the top they have two candidates, they have two chairmen now. So you don’t have to be sneaking between one chairman and the another you make up your mind to go to a place that is stable. And I believe that he thinks that the APC is stable and he has come to a place he thinks his fortune will be better served and I am sure he took the right decision to join the party of the day.”
He insisted that he would not go out of his way to probe the administration of Olusegun Mimiko.
However, he stated that if anyone violates the law under Mimiko, such person would be made to face the consequence of his or her action.
He said: “I maintain that I will not probe any regime. This is responsible leadership. I am elected to lead the people. The task ahead of us is enormous than for us to start instituting probes. My own is not to institute any probe of last regime and that is what President Buhari has done. But if we find out that wrongs were committed, we have enough laws of the land to take care of people who have committed wrong.
Meanwhile, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the state, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, wednesday said he should be held responsible and be dealt with if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state is found to have connived with any of the 28 political parties that took part in the November 26 poll.
Agbaje stated this at the state headquarters of the commission in Akure, the state capital, during the presentation of certificate of return to Akeredolu.
He spoke while denying the allegations making the rounds that the commission conspired to favour a particular party and its candidate during the election.
“But if at the end of the day it is confirmed that INEC connived to perpetrate illegalities, I offer to be personally held responsible and be dealt with accordingly.
Agbaje said it is the civil right of any aggrieved political party to go to court on the outcome of the governorship. election of November 26.
He advised that the political class must change its do-or-die attitude to good conduct in politics.
The REC enjoined the governor elect “to be magnanimous in victory by carrying everybody along in an all inclusive government that would harmonised the development plans of all the other candidates and transmitting it to good governance for the benfit of the people of the state.”
In his speech, Akeredolu declared that his victory was a call to service and a challenge to perform.
“Today’s victory is of God through the good people of the state. It is not for me or APC alone.
“It is a victory for the people of Ondo State, irrespective of which side of the divide you stood during the election.
“For me it is a call to service and a challenge to perform. Although we all had different points of view before the election but today, as members of one strong, vibrant and indivisible Ondo state family.
“We are all united and resolute with one single objective to save our beloved Ondo State.
“Today you have all voted for change and your foresight has laid a solid platform for the liberation of our people.
“I accept this honour to serve as governor, this call to duty, this divine responsibility to lead you wonderful people. I accept this victory with every sense of humility and responsibility.”