President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday handed over the All Progressives Congress’ flag to Ondo Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, at the State House, Abuja, and also gave him support for the October governorship poll.
In a speech at the brief ceremony, Buhari said he was confident of Akeredolu’s victory at the poll.
He charged the party’s campaign committee for the election to ensure that the party retained the state.
Persecondnews reports that the Chairman of the APC’s National Caretaker Committee and Yobe Governor Mai Mala Buni led a delegation which included the Chairman of the the APC Campaign Committee for the election, Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor of Plateau State, Mr Simon Lalong; the Kebbi State governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu and Ondo Deputy Governorship candidate, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
Briefing State House correspondents after the visit, Buni hoped that the ruling party would carry the day in the Ondo election, saying the candidate has proven to be an “excellent administrator’’ in his first term as governor.
“As I have earlier said, Mr. President has endorsed him and he commended him for his efforts in the last four years as he is aware of the transformation and the development he has made in the last four years.
“APC is the only party that can win election in Ondo, not only because APC as a party is the only party but because the governor there is performing and has performed, the people of Ondo state have seen themselves and have agreed to themselves that yes, he is the only man they can trust for the next four years.
“So Mr. President has made it and has endorsed him. That is what we have been looking for, his blessing, his endorsement, his encouragement and his support and we have gotten that already
“We are here today to present our candidate to Mr. President being the leader of the party for his blessing. That has always been the practice, we cannot kickstart our campaign without his endorsement and that is what we have just done.
“Well I am optimistic because the product we are selling has sold himself already because he has performed in the last four years. We are all products of our choices and the people of Ondo State are wise now to choose him to continue the good work he is doing,’’ Buni said.
“So I am very much optimistic that the good people of Ondo State will renew their mandate and the governor of Ondo state will continue and they will give him the mandate again for another four years.”
Also speaking Sanwo-Olu, promised that in spite of the chances of Akeredolu returning as governor because of his development strides, the campaign organization would not take the people for granted as it will reach out to everyone.
He said: “When you have a good product and people have seen and have agreed. It makes our job easier. Our good friend and brother, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, has not only done well, he is a progressive and he is a man that has stood over the last four years, carrying his people along and doing all to ensure that good governance continues in Ondo State.
“So for us, it is really about ensuring that we do not take anybody for granted, that’s why we are not going to rest on our oars even when we know that he has done very well, we will still go through the entire gamut of campaigning, ensuring that we go into all the nooks and crannies of the state to reassure them that their governor, our candidate will continue on the good job that he is doing and also solicit for their votes to ensure that they come out en mass and vote and re-elect him.
“So we will be starting our campaign tomorrow by the grace of God and we will ensure that he goes round all the senatorial, local governments and wards in the state so that we do not take anybody for granted and continue to ensure that the good work that he is doing they can see it and they can continue to work with him.’’
In his comment, Akeredolu said the party would not take the task of delivering the state for granted.
“All of us, we are not taking things for granted and we know that by the grace of the Almighty God, success is ours. When we got to the President like the Chairman has said, we received his blessings, he spoke to us, he encouraged us to move on and do our best and make sure that we win Ondo State for APC.
“Ondo State is an APC state and we are certain that it is not going to get out of our hands. Whatever it will take, by the power of the Almighty God, using all civil means, appealing to our people,” he said.
On what he would do differently if re-elected, Akeredolu said: “I have a lot of projects that are not completed. Today we speak to the people of Ondo State that we are determined to add Port Ondo. That will be the port that will service the whole of Western people. It is a determination and the people of Ondo are waiting. We have had problems in the past that a governor starts a project and somebody comes in and abandons it.
“I am appealing to the people of Ondo State to let us see these projects to fruition, Port Ondo, that is a new thing entirely for us. The bitumen exploration is a totally new thing, bitumen has been there for years, today we have to extract bitumen… and the federal government has said we won’t be importing bitumen at a point in time.
“So, we need to be there to steer the affairs of State to ensure that bitumen comes on board from Ondo state that is where you have the largest deposit of bitumen, second largest in the world.’’