Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo state governor-elect, yesterday explained why he did not mention Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in his victory speech, adding that the All Progressives Congress, APC has now set its sight on taking over the governorship of Ekiti State next year.
Mr. Akeredolu’s assertion was quickly rebuffed by the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose who affirmed that back-to-back victories of the APC in Edo and Ondo had made him wiser on his succession plan. Rotimi Akeredolu Mr. Akeredolu gave his explanation for not acknowledging Tinubu in his speech, following a thank-you visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Earlier in the day he had received his Certificate of Return in Akure. Speaking to State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with Buhari, Akeredolu explained that all the leaders of the APC, including Tinubu were generically acknowledged in his victory speech. He stated that it was pointless mentioning their names specifically. Akeredolu had praised Buhari and national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun in his victory speech last Sunday. The development had elicited reactions, giving the impression of a deepening rift between him and Tinubu who allegedly laboured in futility to replace his candidacy with his godson.
Akeredolu, flanked by deputy governor-elect, Agboola Ajayi, governorship national campaign committee, Governor Simon Lalong and the Minister of State for Niger Delta, Claudius Daramola explained that all party leaders were acknowledged in his speech.
He said: “I thanked the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the leader of our party profusely for the leadership which they showed and which led to this victory. I also thank our indefatigable chairman for standing by the truth and for his position on this matter that led to this victory. I have no reason to do otherwise. “You see, party structure, 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. After the election, a chief executive emerges, he becomes a leader of the party. You don’t have to personalize 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, (Ogbonnaya) Onu, so many leaders. But President Buhari is the leader of the party. So, that is my position there”.
On his relationship with Tinubu, he said: “The relationship with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has always been the same. I don’t think we have any strained 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 will observe that he has sent in his congratulatory message after the election, so what else do you expect?
Asked whether he would probe the Olusegun Mimiko administration, the governor-elect said it was not necessary. “The task ahead of us is enormous for us to start instituting probes. My own is not to institute any probe, 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 wrongs.