By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
One of the governorship candidates for Ondo state election on the platform of All Progressive Congress (APC), Olusola Oke, yesterday disclosed that he is currently reaching out to the incumbent Governor of the state, Rotimi Akeredolu, to step down for him in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
Oke disclosed this to journalists in Abuja when he submitted his nomination and expression of interest forms at the APC National Secretariat, where he said the only way to ensure peaceful election in the state is for the party leadership to ensure fairness and level playing field for all the aspirants.
According to him, his first intention is to prevent APC from sliding into opposition in the state, which he said would be unpalatable if he sits and watch while the state is taken by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He denied that he has intention to defect to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but warned that the incident of 2016 should not repeat itself, recalling how three hundred tags for delegates were handed over to his opponent, whom he said defeated him by one hundred votes despite the fraud and rigging.
“My intervention this time is for two reasons. The first one is to save the APC in Ondo state from sliding into opposition because at the turn of the event in that state today, if there is no intervention, only God will save our party.
“It cannot be said that somebody like me is in that party and in my presence, the party will sleep off. So, I’m intervening to stop the problem. As you are aware in the last general elections, the expectations of Nigerians and people of Ondo state were defeated and by the defeat, the party suffered as a result of directionless leadership.
“We lost two senatorial seats, five House of Representatives seats and above it all the presidential election in Ondo state. We lost it to the dying Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It is unfortunate because that is not our true character, strength and influence. In Ondo state, APC should lose no election because those in the helms of affairs mismanaged the fortune of the party”.
Speaking further, he said the people of Ondo state are looking miserable, because they are not getting their expectations from the incumbent in the state. He regretted that despite all the hopes given as a mantra of change, the people are disappointed and in order for them not to vet their anger against the party, he has to step forward as one that is familiar with the terrain.
On how he will treat party leaders, who seems to have distrust on him, Oke said “I want to put an end to a situation where people of Ondo state will operate and move in command not in love. I want an end to situation where the welfare of the people will not be the priority of the government or where the capital flight or a little resource available will be taken out of the state.
“I want to bring about a new change. For this to materialise, our party must do the right thing. The right thing our party must do is to provide a level playing ground to operate, including the incumbent, be fair to all concern. The episode of the last time where the will of the people was supplanted, we don’t want the repeat of it.
“APC will win election anytime and any day, provided we do the right thing and the right thing to do is a primary that will be free and transparent to all concern. There is no way indirect primaries can take place in Ondo state today. First, there is litigation going on at the executive that was constituted.
“Article 13 of the APC is clear on it that if you want to do an indirect primaries, you must convene a special congress to constitute electoral college to elect the delegates, but because of time constraints, the only option open for our party is to do direct primaries like we have just had in Edo state, which went peacefully.”