Few hours before the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary in Ondo State, one of the leading aspirants, Ife Oyedele, has withdrawn from the race to support Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s second term ambition.
Declaring for Akeredolu at the Government House, Oyedele said he decided to dump his ambition for the unity of the party.
He said, “In the last few days, our leaders in Abuja and Lagos have been talking to a couple of us, especially the leading aspirants in this race and one of the most important things to them is that we need to ensure a free and fair primary in the state.
“They don’t want a situation where an ordinary primary election within the party will lead to bloodshed or cause crisis in the party and I have resolved to pitch tent with Governor Akeredolu and drop my ambition.
“I want to assure the interest of the people of the state is more than any other and we have together to reunite the party, unite our people so that we can have rapid development.
“I want to call on other aspirants to follow us in this our quest for a better Ondo State. I have willingly struck an accord with the governor and both of us will work together in that election.”
Akeredolu while speaking described the coming of Ife Oyedele as a welcome development and said “As you can see, my brother Engr Ife Oyedele is here with me. When I used the word, brother, I am using it with all sense of responsibility.
“We are brothers for many reasons and we remain brothers for life. As you all know we both indicated interest in the governorship race.
“Since our meeting with the reconciliation committee, a number of us have been talking and a number of our leaders have been talking to us.
“To the glory of God my brother, Engr Ife Oyedele and I felt we can work together for the progress of this state.
“When we discussed about APC and the legacy party that made up APC, you will remember that he was the state coordinator of Buhari election.
“He’s a known figure and he has done his best. We have decided to work together for this election. He’s one of our pride in Abuja.”
However, a source within the governor’s camp informed Tribune Online that another leading aspirant will be declaring support for Akeredolu before the end of the day. The aspirant who also contested in the 2016 governorship primary has spoken to the governor but will officially declare his support for Akeredolu any moment from now.
Meanwhile, the venue of the election has been shifted from the 18 local government areas to Akure, the state capital and all the delegates are expected there on Monday.
Some of the delegates who have arrived in Akure, have been camped in various hotels while some of them are billed to arrive in the early hours of Monday.
It was gathered that the delegates accreditations will be done in three different locations within the town according to senatorial district while the casting of votes will take place at the International Event Centre, Dome.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the APC governorship primary and Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yaya Bello will be meeting with all the aspirants on Sunday night.