By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The governorship candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC) for Ondo election, Rotimi Akeredolu, who is also the incumbent Governor of the state, has cautioned his estranged deputy, Agboola Ajayi, not to jump to another party, but to be faithful to the candidate of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Eyitayo Jegede, and also make him Ondo Governor.
Briefing journalists yesterday at the APC Secretariat in Abuja, Akeredolu who said he hopes his Deputy Governor will not defect to another party, said he has shown by his defection that he truly belongs to the fold of PDP.
According to Akeredolu, who was in the party Secretariat to answer to allegations made against his victory at the party primary by two of his opponents, said since his Deputy whom he accommodated into the APC has told people that he made him Governor, let him stick to the PDP candidate and also make him Governor.
He said “For me, the Deputy leaving the APC to return to the PDP is good radiance to bad rubbish. We thought we could accommodate him at the APC but since he returned to where he truly belongs, it is all well and good. I always wish people the best I can.
“From what I have been told, he has lost the ticket and I pray he will not jump to another place but if he does, all well and good. However, for his own sake and as a big brother, I will advise him to stay with Jegede, support him very well.
“He has made a case that he helped me to win, let him help him to win and we will confirm that he is popular. What I know is that he is of no importance, he has no hold on any local government, I can assure you that during the election, I will defeat him in his local government and he will never recover from it.
“He is of no influence anywhere and we picked him because we felt we have someone from PDP coming to join us. We picked him to join us but he felt and tells people that he is grassrooted. Let me advise him again to stay with Jegede and let us see what happens.
“Jegede is my friend. We are colleagues and both members of Inner Bar, I don’t have anything against him and I just pray that our campaign should be issue based without violence and I know that he knows that it will not be easy for him.
“Yes, it may not be easy for me to win, but by His Grace, I am going to win. I can assure you that as it was in the beginning, so it shall be now and forever more. We will win this election by the grace of God.”
Speaking on the efforts he has made to integrate the aggrieved members of the party, who contested against him at the primary, the Governor said he had visited the homes of some of the opponents, saying there is need to move the party as a united front to ensure it wins the election.
According to him, “As you would have noted in my speech where I made it clear that to ensure that I reach out to all the aspirants that contested with me. I have already been to the houses of few of them. I am meeting with the leaders to call stakeholders meeting for us to move ahead on this matter.
“I believe that there must be reconciliation and good enough that the committee headed by the Niger state governor is making great effort to ensure that there is genuine reconciliation. I am ready for it. I want people to come so that we can reconcile and work together.”
Meanwhile, he said he is in the party Secretariat because people lodged an appeal against his election and emergence from the party primary, saying “That is why I came around to answer to the appeals. I was told that two aspirants had approached the committee to file two appeals against me and my mission here is to reply to the appeals.
“If some of them claim that the process that produced me is fraudulent, they have right to make such claims, but they should take it to the Appeal Committee and I will respond to it. They have to prove their claims before the committee and until they prove that convincingly before the Appeal Committee, then I don’t need to talk about their claims.”