A governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), on Friday denied a claim by a fellow aspirant that he was imposed on the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) as its candidate in the state governorship election held in 2012.
Mr. Tunji Abayomi, an aspirant on the platform of the APC, had in an open letter he wrote to a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, alleged that the latter “unfairly and unjustly tilted the scale of fairness against all other competitors” by “selecting” Akeredolu as the ACN’s flag bearer.
Mr. Akeredolu, a former National President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, was the ACN candidate in the 2012 poll, in which he came third behind the incumbent, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, who was then of the Labour Party and Olusola Oke, then of the Peoples Democratic Party, who placed second.
Abayomi was reacting to widespread speculation that Mr. Tinubu had ‘anointed’ one of the aspirants – Segun Abraham – as his preferred candidate ahead of the August 31 governorship primary of the APC.
At least 23 aspirants will participate in the exercise scheduled to take place in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The governorship election takes place in the state on November 26.
Speaking to reporters in Akure, Akeredolu said, “How I 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 about Senator 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”.