President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday urged the people of Ondo State to vote for Rotimi Akeredolu, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the November 26, 2016 governorship election in the state.
Mr. Buhari spoke at the grand finale of the governorship campaign of Mr. Akeredolu and his running mate, Ajayi Agboola. Earlier, he had met for about an hour with some members of the party who had contested the party primary but failed to be elected as the governorship candidate. Senate President Bukola Saraki, APC national chairman, John Odigie Oyegun, and some governors joined the president.
Conspicuously absent from the event, which took place at the Democracy Park in Akure, the state capital, were the APC’s national leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and some southwest APC governors, including Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos, and Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo.
President Buhari told the campaign crowd that there was no turning back, adding that the people should mobilize to support the APC candidate. “People of Ondo State, please make up your mind. Those of you that are here, talk to your immediate relatives, your neighbors and all your colleagues in the state that there is no turning back,” said the president.
Mr. Buhari also stated that he and other APC leaders came to the rally to “show our support and solidarity for our candidate. Please don’t disappoint us in this country.”
The president commended the party’s supporters in Ondo State for trooping out en masse to give a rousing welcome to him and members of his entourage. “It shows how disciplined and how committed you are to the party, and I really appreciate that,” he told the crowd. He further expressed happiness at the “transparent” manner in which the party’s September 3, 2016 governorship primary was conducted. He congratulated Mr. Akeredolu for emerging winner of the primary election.
“God willing [Akeredolu] is going to be the winner a week from today,” Mr. Buhari added.
Meeting with the aspirants who lost in the primary, the president urged them to display loyalty and steadfastness to the party by rallying round the party’s flag bearer in next Saturday’s election. “That you lost elections doesn’t mean you should walk away. You must keep trying. I went to the Supreme Court three times in my bid to become the President of Nigeria,” Mr. Buhari told the aspirants.
Tunji Abayomi, one of the failed governorship aspirants, pledged their support for the Mr. Akeredolu.
Earlier, Simon Lalong, the chairman of the APC Governorship Campaign Committee, urged voters to support Mr. Akeredolu. He told the rally that Mr. Akeredolu would ride on the legacy provided by President Buhari to set the state free from the bondage of captivity.
Mr. Akeredolu promised to provide jobs for unemployed residents of the state through agriculture and industrialization. He also promised to revamp many of the abandoned industries that could yield funds and employment for the residents in the state