Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum yesterday restated its commitment to the victory of the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State, Prof. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), stating that they are united for the victory of their candidate and the party at the October 10 governorship election.
The PDP National Campaign Council for Ondo State Governorship Election also yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to succumb to pressure from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), to rig the governorship election, stressing that any attempt to manipulate the election will lead to a breakdown of law and order in the state.
The PDP governors said that there is no division in PDP Governors’ Forum with respect to Ondo State gubernatorial election.
In a statement issued by the Director-General of the Forum, Hon. Cyril Maduabum, the PDP governors said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP Governors’ Forum is united, strong and primed to do its utmost to elect our candidate in the Ondo governorship election, Prof. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), who has the experience, dynamism and programme of action to return Ondo State to her glory days.”
The governors described the report that they are divided as “the handwork of 5th columnists, who are afraid of the popularity of the PDP candidate and his likely victory, and has devised this means of creating doubts in the minds of Nigerians as a strategy for stopping the march of victory by PDP in Ondo. Nothing can stop the march of progress in Ondo. Indeed, Jegede’s victory is one whose time has come.”
According to the statement, “the forum speaks with one voice and this naked attempt to sow division and discord within its ranks has failed miserably.
“As a matter of fact, the PDP governors just rose from a virtual meeting a few days ago with a firm resolve and commitment to make sure that all hands are on the deck to support and deliver the PDP candidate.
“The PDP governors are fully aware of the importance of the Ondo elections to the image, solidarity and fortunes of the PDP as a political party. The governors are in no doubt that any division in its ranks will be counterproductive to PDP, her candidate and its quest to restore democracy, good governance, and accountability not only in Ondo State but Nigeria at large.
“The PDP governors will in fact storm Akure on 7th October for the grand finale of the PDP governorship campaign to conclude a memorable grassroots-based campaign mounted by the PDP and her candidate in the last few weeks that has seemingly turned the tide in Ondo.
Meanwhile, the campaign council yesterday urged the president not to succumb to pressure from the APC and its governorship candidate, Akeredolu, to rig the governorship election, warning that any attempt to manipulate the election will lead to a breakdown of law and order in the state.
The council further said that it has reviewed the forthcoming election and come to the conclusion that its candidate, Jegede, enjoys the greater support of the overwhelming majority of Ondo people and he is indisputably in good stead for victory on Saturday.”
Addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said this is despite the recourse to violence, threats and hate comments as well as desperation by the APC and Akeredolu, to manipulate government institutions to work against the people and rig the election for them.
The party said it is not Jegede’s fault that Akeredolu failed as a governor, adding that the people identified him (Jegede) as a rallying point in their quest for a new and purposeful leadership.
According to him, “Akeredolu wasted the chance given to him and should have nobody but himself to blame for the electoral loss that would befall him on Saturday.
“Our campaign, therefore, calls on President Muhammadu Buhari not to succumb to pressure by a failed Governor Akeredolu and the APC to renege in his resolve not to interfere in elections, as amply witnessed in the September 19 Edo election,” he said.
The PDP urged Buhari to note the commendations coming to him from all parts of the country and the global community over the non-interference of his presidency in the conduct of a free, fair and credible election in Edo State, a development that allowed the will of the people to prevail.
Speaking on the Ondo poll, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, debunked the report that the governors elected on the platform of the party were divided over the candidature of Jegede as the candidate of the party.
He spoke as Sokoto State Governor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, disassociated himself from the allegation that he is supporting the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) candidate, Mr. Agboola Ajayi in the forthcoming election.
Secondus told THISDAY that the report that the PDP governors are divided is part of the dying kicks of the APC in Ondo State to distract the people from his poor performance in office.
Also disassociating himself from the allegation that he is supporting the ZLP candidate, Tambuwal, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Mr. Mohammed Bello, insisted that the governor is a devoted member and chieftain of the PDP, who has been working conscientiously to swell the ranks of the party and enable it bounce back to its position of being the ruling party in Nigeria and the largest in Africa.
“As it stands, this fabricated news, apparently planted by antagonists of the respected PDP is merely a distraction from what is on the ground.”