Winner of the Ondo State governorship primary election conducted by the All Progressives Congress, APC, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), has described Senator Bola Tinubu as the party’s respected leader, whose blessings, he is anticipating.
This is just as he denied a report that he said Tinubu would be shocked on the outcome of the result of the primary held at the weekend.
Prior to the primary, there were speculations another aspirant, Segun Abraham, had been endorsed by Mr. Tinubu, a national leader of the APC, who wields unrivaled influence in the politics of the Southwest geo-political zone.
But that influence appeared to have whittled down a little bit with the defeat of Mr. Abraham, who went into the primary election as favourite to clinch the APC ticket.
Mr. Abraham garnered 635 votes to place second behind the party’s candidate, who got 669 votes.
Speaking with reporters following his announcement as winner of the primary, Mr. Akeredolu, a former National President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), said he was surprised to read such report credited to him, adding that going through the content of the report, there was nowhere he said the APC leader would be “shocked” by the outcome of the contest.
He reiterated his respect for Tinubu as the party’s leader and expressed optimism that the former Lagos Governor will give his blessings to his governorship ambition.
He said: “I never said so. If you read that interview, you will never see where I used such word.
“Tinubu is the leader of the party and I have respect for him.
“He was here in Ondo State during the last governorship election and which I contested as the candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
“He spent his money and his time and I am sure this time around, he will also be here to support me.
“I always believe that he is somebody that I am waiting to see his blessing on who will emerge from free and fair primary and God has endorsed me”.
The candidate was, however, confident that the APC would go into the poll as a united family.
He also hailed the APC Primary Election Committee headed by Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, for providing level playing field for all the contestants.
“We have witnessed the most transparent, free and fair primary poll.
“We have been talking about you and your electoral committee. I mean all of us – the aspirants – particularly your approach to us sir. It is been wonderful. You are respectful and you gave us the opportunity to be part of this primary. You are accommodating and you listen to us and there was no any time you try to force.
“Today is a great day in the anal of this state. We are 24, who contested in this exercise.
“They are great men and a woman, and who are eminently qualified to be governor of this state.
“I want to appreciate all the aspirants for the wonderful relationship we had throughout the campaign.
“We are looking forward for all of us to work together.
“I have said it over and over that when politics is on competition for position, it will raise a lot of dust.
“It is normal but when the dust is settled, we must work as one family and I know all the aspirants are going to work together as one family so that we can win during the poll.
“We don’t need to give any signal to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or the incumbent governor. He knows that we have come and on undoubtedly, we will produce the next governor.
“APC will be united for this campaign, we are going to carry everybody along”, Akeredolu said.