By Omololu Ogunmade
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja threw his weight behind the re-election of the Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, at the forthcoming Oct. 3 governorship election in the state.
The president gave his nod for Akeredolu’s re-election when the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker Committee and the governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, along with some party leaders presented Akeredolu as the party’s candidate for the forthcoming poll.
Answering questions from journalists after the endorsement, Buni said the president’s blessing must be secured ahead of the take-off of APC campaign in Ondo State today.
“We are here today to present our candidate to Mr. President, being the leader of the party for his blessing. That has always been the practice. We cannot kick-start our campaign without his endorsement and that is what we have just done,” he said.
According to him, Buhari endorsed Akeredolu because he was aware of the level of his performance in the last four years in Ondo State.
Buni who claimed that APC was the only party that could win election in Ondo State because Akeredolu had performed, also claimed that the people of the state could trust him with their mandate for another four years.
Furthermore, he said what they looked forward to had been the president’s endorsement, support and encouragement which he said they eventually got.
“Like I have earlier said, Mr. President has endorsed him and he commended him for his efforts in the last four years as he is aware of the transformation and the development he has made in the last four years.
“APC is the only party that can win election in Ondo, not only because APC as a party is the only party but because the governor there is performing and has performed, the people of Ondo State have seen themselves and have agreed with themselves that yes, he is the only man they can trust for the next four years.
“So, Mr. President has made it and has endorsed him. That’s what we have been looking for, his blessing, his endorsement, his encouragement and his support and we have got that already,” he said.
Also speaking, the governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who accompanied Akeredolu to the State House, said seeking the president’s endorsement was necessary to ensure that nothing is taken for granted in the quest for Akeredolu’s re-election.
According to him, Akeredolu is a good product who had carried the people of Ondo State along in his pursuit of good governance in the last four years.
“When you have a good product and people have seen and have agreed, it makes our job easier. Our good friend and brother, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has not only done well, he is a progressive and he is a man that has stood over the last four years, carrying his people along and doing all to ensure that good governance continues in Ondo State. So, for us, it is really about ensuring that we do not take anybody for granted,” Sanwo-Olu said.
In his own submission, Akeredolu who said he had received Buhari’s submission, added that the president noted that he was more comfortable about his re-election now than the situation in 2016 when he was seeking election for this first term.
He said he was more relaxed now because he had no incumbent governor to contend with unlike the situation then, disclosing that the president encouraged them and tasked them to deliver Ondo State to the party.
“When we got to the President like the Chairman has said, we received his blessings. He spoke to us. He encouraged us to move on and do our best and make sure that we win Ondo State for APC,” he said.
He said one of the projects he would execute if he was re-elected was the creation of a port in Ondo State that would serve the entire South-west region.