Wednesday, November 30

Akeredolu: It wasn’t necessary to mention Tinubu in my victory speech

Akeredolu: It wasn’t necessary to mention Tinubu in my victory speech

Rotimi Akeredolu, governor-elect of Ondo state, says mentioning the name of Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressive Party (APC), in his victory speech was unnecessary.

Addressing reporters at the presidential villa in Abuja on Wednesday, Akeredolu said calling Tinubu’s name would have amounted to him mentioning the names of 36 or 37 leaders of the party.

He said having acknowledged President Muhammadu Buhari for the role he played in his emergence, and John Odegie-Oyegun, chairman of the party “for standing by the truth”, there was no need to be “looking for leaders all over the place”.

“I thanked the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the leader of our party profusely for the leadership that he showed leading to this election,” he said.

“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.

“You see, party structures to the best of my knowledge is very clear. You have the leadership of the party and that is represented by Chief John 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 Chief Bola Ahmed 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.”

Asked to comment on his relationship with Tinubu, Akeredolu said, “The relationship with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has always been the same. I don’t think we have any strain 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.”

Speaking on the defection of Yele  Omogunwa, an Ondo senator to the APC, Akeredolu said the lawmaker did what was right. He said Omogunwa had been a member of the ruling party before the election, but only formalised his defection on Thursday.

He also taunted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over its leadership crisis.

“When you say a defection, Senator Yele  Omogunwa even joined us in the campaign right there in Ondo state. He had joined the APC, he only just formalised it on the senate floor today,” he said.

“I mean when you have a party that is already balkanised like the PDP, from bottom to the top they had 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.”

Akeredolu maintained his stance on not probing Olusegun Mimiko, the outgoing governor, but said should there be semblance of a “Dasukigate” in the state, “the law of the land will take its course”.

“At the centre the government of the President Muhammadu Buhari said we must look back in order to move forward, he has been there for over a year now, has he instituted a probe?” he asked.

“Looking back is not a probe and I maintain that I will not probe any regime. This is a responsible leadership and I’m 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.

As we start our work as we go ahead if there is any semblance of Dasukigate at the state, the law will take its course; that is different from probing. We will follow what Mr. President is doing at the centre.”

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