The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress on Thursday upheld the election of former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Rotimi Akeredolu, declaring him the official candidate of the party for the Ondo State governorship election.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the NWC reached the decision early on Thursday and presented the nomination form to Mr. Akeredolu, who filled it for onward submission to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC
A statement by Mr. Akredolu’s campaign team said the APC National chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun and the Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, endorsed Mr. Akeredolu’s nomination form which was later taken to INEC by the party’s Organising Secretary, Osita Izunaso, at about 5.03 p.m.
Although the camp of Mr. Akeredolu was agog with celebration, claiming that his name had been submitted to the INEC, a source at the INEC headquarters in Abuja said no such name had reached the secretariat at the close of work on Thursday.
“We heard they are submitting a name, but as at today, we have not received it, maybe after I left the office, or maybe they will submit it tomorrow,” the source said.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ondo State, Olusegun Agbaje, told PREMIUM TIMES correspondent that he was yet to receive any briefing on the submission of the name of Mr. Akeredolu from the national headquarters.
“The submission of the name of a candidate is usually done at the INEC headquarters,” he said.
“I have not received any information from the headquarters so I will expect that if they have submitted the name of the candidate today(Thursday), they will inform me tomorrow(Friday).”
Former Chairman of the APC, Ondo Central, Gboyega Adedipe, who also filed an appeal against the primary election, declined to comment on the development.
“I am under authority, I cannot make any comment on that,” he stated when he was reached for his comments.
Mr. Adedipe had resigned his leadership of the party in the central senatorial district once Mr. Akeredolu was declared winner of the September 3 primary election.
Other aggrieved aspirants such as Olusola Oke and Ajayi Boroffice did not pick their calls when reached for their reactions.
Meanwhile, Mr. Akeredolu has described his affirmation as the governorship candidate of the APC for next governorship election in Ondo State as the work of God.
“What can I say than to thank God who has done it again? God does not abandon his projects notwithstanding the challenges that may arise,” Mr. Akeredolu said.
Mr. Akeredolu had won the primary election by polling 669 votes, beating Olusegun Abraham, who scored 635 votes; Olusola Oke, 576 votes; and Robert Ajayi-Boroffice who came fourth with 471 votes.
In upholding Mr. Akeredolu’s election, the NWC struck out the report of the Appeal Committee which had earlier recommended the cancellation of the September 3 election.
The party’s NWC held that Appeal Committee’s report was prejudicial and its conclusions faulty as its decision was based on unsubstantiated allegations and spurious claims of electoral manipulations.
Mr. Akeredolu thanked members of the NWC, especially APC National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, a national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, and President Muhammadu Buhari for making sure that justice was done to all parties in dispute.
“I make bold to say to my co-aspirants in the APC, that we are all winners,” he said.
“None is vanquished. We are all victors. None is a loser. I hold the ticket of party in trust for all of you. I am not perfect. No one is. But I will make up for my imperfections by drawing from your collective strength.
“Together we shall work in one accord to achieve success in the November 26 Governorship Election.
“Now is the time to pool our energy and resources and rescue our state from misery and misrule of the Peoples Democratic Party-led government. United we stand. United we shall be victorious.”
Mr. Akeredolu is expected to be the main challenger to the candidate of the ruling PDP in the state, Eyitayo Jegede.