Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

Ondo State Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, on Tuesday, formally declared his intention to contest the November 16 governorship election in the state.

Aiyedatiwa, surrounded by his loyalists and supporters, made the declaration at the Gani Fawehinmi Arcade, Akure, amid fanfare.

Aiyedatiwa, who became the governor of the state on December 27, 2023, following the demise of his principal, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, will be contesting the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress at a primary coming up in April.

His formal declaration was graced by some elders and leaders of the Ondo State APC, including former Ondo North Senatorial District senator, Ajayi Boroffice; a member of the House of Representatives, Mr Abiola Makinde, members of the state House of Assembly, representatives of the State Working Committee of the party, among others.

Speaking at the event, Aiyedatiwa said he sought to retain the governorship seat to continue from where his late principal stopped, particularly in the area of welfare of the people, infrastructural development and security of the state.

He said, “Distinguished citizens and party faithful, I must reecho what our late leader had always wished for in his lifetime. It was his wish that I succeed him, not in death though, as the next governor of the state.

“He (Akeredolu) was a courageous and visionary leader who had no time for pretense and so he expressed this wish at different fora in both public and private. All was with one conviction and implicit confidence in me to carry on the torch of accelerated development which he lighted first in 2017 and later renewed under a joint ticket for both of us in the 2021 gubernatorial election.

“My dear people of Ondo State, the gubernatorial primary election is at hand. Your vote is a potent weapon that must be wisely used. We must reject those who seek to buy our conscience with money. We must stop those who seek to govern this state with muscles. That is not what our late legends and founding fathers, who once governed this state, handed to our generation.”

In his remarks, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr Olamide Oladiji, who spoke on behalf of the majority members of the Assembly, said 18 of of the 26 state lawmakers were ready to support the governor.

“We have about 18 members of the Ondo State House of Assembly here with Governor Aiyedatiwa. The Ondo House is for Aiyedatiwa, even those who are not APC, they are in the same struggle with us. My advice to our leaders across the 18 local governments is, go back to your local governments and do the needful. Let the reconciliation continue; come April 24 ( primary), we will deliver for Honourable Aiyedatiwa. On behalf of the honorable members of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Mr Governor, congratulations in advance.”

A member of the House of Representatives, representing Ondo East/Ondo West Federal Constituency Mr Abiola Makinde, said all the members of the House of Representatives from the state had endorsed Aiyedatiwa as the governor.

“This is my second time as Rep; it’s not easy to hold a public office. Aiyedatiwa is the right man to govern our state for the next four years. He has done well in the few weeks of taking over the office. He will do well in four years. We, members of House of Representatives from Ondo State, have endorsed Governor Aiyedatiwa.”

At the APC governorship primary scheduled for April 24, Aiyedatiwa will be slugging it out with other aspirants, such as a former Commissioner for Finance, Mr Wale Akinterinwa; a former member of the House of Representatives, Mayowa Akinfolarin; a former Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Oladunni Odu; and a former Special Adviser to Governor Akeredolu on Health, Prof Francis Faduyile.

Others include a former governorship aspirant of the APC, Chief Olusola Oke; a former Chairman of the Ondo State Oil-producing Areas Development Commission, Mr Gbenga Edema; Senator Jimoh Ibrahim; Dr Paul Akintelure and Brig. Gen. Olamide Ohunyeye (retd.).

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