2020 Guber: Oshiomhole endorses Akeredolu, silent on Obaseki

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•Adams Oshiomhole and Godwin Obaseki

ABUJA – The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has tacitly endorsed the reelection bid of Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredeolu, keeping mum on his Edo state counterpart, Godwin Obaseki.

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Speaking to newsmen after several hours meeting with the APC Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja on Monday, Oshiomhole noted that even though the electorate have become more sophisticated, Governor Akeredeolu has done well in Ondo that the party does not entertain any fear about him.

While commenting on the contentious mode of primaries for the Edo governorship election, he quipped that the national leadership of the party is yet to officially receive formal complaint from Governor Obaseki rejecting the proposed primaries.

Apparently commenting on the reelection bid of the governors, Oshiomhole said: “You know that Governors are assets to our party and once a candidate emerged we all work and ensure that we do our best to persuade the people in the respective States to favour us with their votes.

“I am sure that by the special grace of God, the Ondo Governor is here, he did well and electorate are more sophisticated now so we have no fear about that. Obaseki is not here but issues of primaries are well spelt out in our constitution and we are following it as strictly as possible. So nothing to worry about at all,” he noted.

Asked if the party leadership will reconsider the mode of primaries following complaints from the Edo governor, he replied: “You are speculating, I don’t have any letter or document to that effect. These are very formal matters. So stop spreading rumours that the governor is against the primaries.”

He insisted that the party will go ahead with direct primaries, adding that apart from releasing the guidelines, the party has also notified INEC on the date for the primaries.

“We are honoured to host APC governors to discuss as we have always done internal issues of the party which are basically to exploit ways and means of strengthening the party and ensuring that we continued to remain the most favoured party in Nigeria.

“We and a very helpful conversation, you know it is one APC, there are no two APC, so interacting and interfacing with our Governors is something that is part of our tradition, it is not something we are just invented and today discussion was particularly helpful.

“So, we are very grateful to the chairman and members of the Progressive Governors Forum who have come all the way. What binds us together is so strong that coronavirus cannot out asunder. I was particularly excited.

“We have since published our time table because under the law we are required to give INEC at least 21 days’ notice to monitor our primaries and to State the mode of our primaries and of course NWC had approved direct primaries for Edo. That of Ondo has not been discussed because that will come much later, because Edo will come about three weeks before Ondo.

“We have commenced the sale of forms, I think as of last Friday to my knowledge three people had picked the forms. I think by today more people have picked the forms. So we’re selling forms to all those who wish to buy based on the guidelines and of course as the Chairman of the Progressive Governors rightly said, we have ensured in our letter to INEC and even this morning we had a virtual meeting with INEC leadership we will conduct primaries taking into account the protocols on Covid-19 by the PTF and NCDC. I think everything has been going fine,” he assured.

In his own comment, PGF chairman, Atiku Bagudu, said that the meeting became necessary to resolve many outstanding issues since the resolution of the crisis that almost consumed the party.

“Let me join the national chairman, Comrade Oshiomhole in saying that the meeting between the national leadership of our party with the PGF was to discuss issues that have piled up especially between March 14 when the forum last met and agreed to meet with the National Working Committee (NWC) under the able leadership of Comrade Oshiomhole to discuss issues of interest to our party.

“Within the intervening period, many things have happened. We had a virtual conference where we commiserated with Mr President because of the challenges caused by the COVID-19 situation. We also undertook that the delegation will visit Lagos to express sympathies with the Lagos people and our colleague for the able leadership provided by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and also meet with our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to discuss on the development in the polity particularly as affects our party.

“So, yes, a delegation was in Lagos. This meeting was not a continuation of that meeting. This meeting with the national leadership of our party to discuss issues between the Governor’s Forum and party leadership that will lead to the progress of our party.

“On Edo, Ondo elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rolled out a time table and the national chairman is in a better position to speak on that,” he said.

In attendance include Bagudu; Plateau governor, Simon Lalong; Lagos State, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Gombe State, Mohammed Inuwa; Kano State, Umar Ganduje; their Ondo State counterpart, Oluwarotimi Akeredeolu, among others. (Daily Sun)

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