Amidst the scramble for state and national assemblies tickets in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has dismissed reports that he has anointed candidates for the 2023 elections.
The governor, who spoke on Friday in Akure, the state capital, said he would not impose any candidate on the party.
This is contrary to the information being fed to stakeholders of the party who have been in conflict over which candidates would emerge.
There were earlier reports indicating a disagreement between the governor and his deputy over some of the candidates to be supported for the House of Assembly elections.
Only Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly seats will be contested in Ondo State next year.
Mr Akeredolu is not known for openly declaring support for a particular candidate, even though governors often push through their loyalists.
In April, while meeting with over 200 aspirants for the House of Assembly, Mr Akeredolu advised serving lawmakers to do self-evaluation before contesting for the party’s tickets again.
He had promised to provide a level-playing field, but noted that they don’t have to all enter into the race in such a large number.
Richard Olatunde, the chief press secretary to the governor, said in a statement Friday that the governor has not endorsed any aspirant.
He blamed the “rumours” on people trying to sow discord and undermine democracy within the party.
According Mr Olatunde, the governor would rather guide and provide leadership than engage in imposition of candidates on the party.
“This is a clear attempt by those with tainted party loyalty to box the APC into a state of helplessness in order to whittle down the supremacy of the party,” Mr Olatunde said.
“Blackmail cannot stop the resolve of the party to enforce individual and collective discipline through democratic processes as enunciated in the various stakeholders’ sessions in the last three weeks.
“As an incurable democrat, Governor Akeredolu has always preached and supported fairness, equity and justice even in playing his leadership role in the affairs of the party in the state and at the national level.
“Governor Akeredolu is a loud voice in the struggle for fairness and the need for the party to walk the path of equity in the forthcoming elections. He will not lead any struggle that will defeat his beliefs and strong convictions.
“Succinctly, Governor Akeredolu shall crave for justice, equity and fairness even as the business of politicking within the APC in the state ahead of the forthcoming primaries has long been ceded to the party,” Mr Olatunde stated.
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