A tumultuous crowd Thursday in Abeokuta, Ogun State witnessed the start of the campaign of the Allied People’s Movement (APM), a political party preferred by some aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the aftermath of the APC primary election crisis.
However, the highlight of the campaign was the adoption of President Muhammadu Buhari as its presidential candidate for the 2019 elections.
The governorship candidate of the APM, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade, also shed more light on why he and a few others left the APC, saying it was as a result of the injustice meted out to them by people he described as desperadoes in the APC.
Consequently, no fewer than 60 other political parties in the state also adopted Akinlade as their gubernatorial candidate for the 2019 election as the APM formally presented Akinlade and his running mate, Princess Adepeju Adebajo, to the Ogun electorate.
Speakers at the event confessed that they had never seen such a huge crowd at the Moshood Abiola Stadium just as many groups and associations took turns to deliver goodwill messages, while announcing their adoption of Akinlade as their gubernatorial candidate for the 2019 election.
Some of the groups were the Progressive Obas of Ogun Central Senatorial District, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), National Union of Roads Transport Workers (NURTW), the Association of Commercial Motor Cycle Riders of Nigeria (ACCOMORON), representatives of 60 political parties as well as the Hausa, Igbo and non-indigene associations.
The traditional rulers, in their message, said as leaders of Ogun Central Senatorial District, they supported a governor of Yewa extraction in 2019, because it would promote unity and fairness in the state.
Members of the NURTW and ACCOMORON expressed support for APM because its government would continue the infrastructure development programme of Governor Ibikunle Amosun, which they claimed has enhanced their businesses in the state.
The students, on their part, said they support Akinlade, because he and his running mate represent the faces of youths in the government.
Akinlade, in his speech, expressed joy at the massive turnout for the kick-off and expressed his commitment to continue the Mission to Rebuild Ogun State started by the Amosun administration.
The APM candidate said his government would continue the infrastructure development programme of Amosun and identified what would be priorities of his government to include quality free education, healthcare service delivery, value-chain agriculture, integrated rural development and youth development driven by ICT, skills acquisition and entrepreneurship.
He boasted that a government headed by him and his running mate, Adebajo, would ensure even development and unity of all parts of the state.
Tracing the origin of the APM in the state to the injustice meted to him and other winners of the primary elections in the APC by “some forces outside Ogun State,” whom he said were desperate to hijack the government of the state and use it for their selfish purposes, Akinlade said the APM move was to salvage the situation.
He, therefore, singled out Buhari as a leader, who stood for truth and justice, adding that same forces in the party frustrated all efforts at making the choice of members of the party in the state count.
He said the achievements of President Buhari, which included removing Nigeria from the list of pariah states due to corruption in official circles among others, account for the decision of the APM in the state to adopt him as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2019 election.
Confident about his victory, Akinlade said members of the party in the state would knock at every door to campaign for the president as they would campaign for other candidates of the party in the state.
To this end, he urged members of the party and their supporters to prosecute the campaign in peace and avoid violence regardless of the provocation from any quarters.