Ondo Guber: Akeredolu Against Tinubu’s ‘Imposition’ Of Candidate

A governorship aspirant of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), has said though he is against imposition of candidate on the people but not against endorsement.

It will be recalled that a Governorship aspirant, Tunji Abayomi had alleged that National Leader of APC, Bola Tinubu was plotting to ‘impose’ one Segun Abraham as the party’s candidate in the forthcoming primary election.

Akeredolu while addressing Journalists on Friday in Akure, asserted that he was not imposed as the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate in the state in 2012.

He said: “How l emerged as the governorship candidate of ACN in 2012 in Ondo State was not an issue of imposition because all aspirants of the party then submitted themselves to a process.

“At meetings, all aspirants told the party leadership that we were all prepared to abide by whoever they chose as candidate. The party, ACN, did not conduct any primary. We had the leadership of the party who sat and used democratic process to choose who became the candidate.

“The leadership was not Sen. Bola Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande alone, but we had governors and other leaders of the party.

“It was a collective decision of the leadership of the party then and nobody imposed me as the ACN candidate in the 2012 governorship election in Ondo State,’’ Akeredolu said.

23 aspirant will participate in the APC governorship primary in the state scheduled for Aug. 31, ahead of the Nov. 26 election.

The SAN, who was Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state between 1997 and 1999, condemned alleged plans by some APC leasers to impose one of the aspirants as the party’s candidate in the forthcoming primary.

He also said that any of the party leaders could only endorse the candidate that emerged through primary but not impose an aspirant as the candidate before the primary.

“I am against imposition of candidate, but when it comes to the issue of endorsement, I am not against endorsement.

“Let us know how endorsement operates outside. Let us look at the example of Hillary Clinton and Sanders, who ran under the Democratic National Congress in America (DNC).

“Barrack Obama, as the President and Leader of their party, did not endorse Clinton until she became the presumptive candidate of DNC. That is what is expected of any leader.

“As a leader, l will not endorse any aspirant, more so when you have given your word to all the aspirants that you will not endorse anybody, and that anybody that wins the primary, you will support.

“Doing so as a leader, you are betraying the trust people reposed in you and it is condemnable when you are using the party apparatus to impose the aspirant you are supporting,’’ he said.

He said that any of the party leaders could only endorse the candidate that emerged through primary but not impose an aspirant as the candidate before the primary.

The former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) appealed to the party delegates not to be influenced by money or cajoled by some leaders, but to vote according to their conscience.

Akeredolu appealed to the national leadership of the party and told them to be transparent and fair in the primary process. He also said that he was confident of winning the party ticket at the end of the exercise.

“I think the delegates should listen to the voice of the people of Ondo State who are clamouring for Akeredolu as their governor. Akeredolu is a name they do not need to preach about because it is already known by all and sundry in the state,’’ he said.

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