Ondo speaker, 15 lawmakers endorse Aiyedatiwa’s governorship bid

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No fewer than 15 members of Ondo State House of Assembly have declared support for the incumbent governor of the state, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, to clinch the ticket of the All Progressives Congress and win the November 2024 governorship election.

The lawmakers, led by the Speaker, Olamide Oladiji, disclosed that Aiyedatiwa has so far impressed them by continuing with the legacies of late Governor Rotimi Akeredolu despite being in office for only a short period.

The endorsement comes one week after some members of the state Assembly passed a vote of no confidence on the speaker after he openly assured Aiyedatiwa of getting the support of about 18 lawmakers during the governor’s formal declaration to enter the race a few weeks ago.

But Oladiji told newsmen during a visit to the APC national secretariat in Abuja on Monday that the governor has done more than enough to warrant the endorsement.

The Speaker, who came with a delegation of 15 state lawmakers, said the governor had prioritsed payment of their salaries, begun the recruitment of about 2,000 health workers and maintained a cordial relationship with the legislature, judiciary and the executive arms of government in the state.

He said, “We are here to tell you that as far as we are concerned, those of us here and our members who are on their way, are fully in support of continuity of the APC-led government. We are in support of continuity. We believe it will work out and we are giving them 100 per cent assurance that the primary elections will be peaceful.

“In respect of the letter that a few members of the House of Representatives wrote to Mr. President (concerning Aiyedatiwa’s endorsement). Our members here disagree with the letter. That’s also because we are honourable members in our various state constituencies.

“We have almost 15 of us here present. Do you know what it means? We have 22 APC members in the House of Assembly. We are 13 here now and another two are on their way coming. So that makes 15 of us. And we are telling you that the state under the leadership of Mr. Governor is at peace.

“Maybe I should put the question to my members. Do we have anyone of you who want to contest against Aiyedatiwa? His achievements, the achievements of the incumbent governor are out there. Presently, he has started the recruitment of 2,000 workers in the academic sector, and at the same time, he has worked at the ODRS (Ondo State Revenue Service). The most important thing is that he did not stop the legacy started by the late governor. He directed all the contractors to go back to the site which everybody in the state applauded. There is a synergy now between the executive, the judiciary, and the legislature.”

While welcoming the delegation, National Chairman of the party, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, assured that the ruling party would provide a level playing field for all governorship aspirants ahead of the APC primaries in the state.

Ganduje also recalled how he, alongside President Bola Tinubu, was compelled to wade into the political impasse between the lawmakers and Aiyedatiwa shortly before Akeredolu died.

He said, “We can’t disconnect legislators from the office of the party here in Abuja because there is always a relationship between you and the office. I call upon you to cooperate with us as we conduct the primary election.

“In this year’s election in Ondo, there are many things that must happen according to our programme, starting with verification of members, screening of aspirants, purchase of expression of interest and nomination forms, and the primaries to pick candidates.

“Ondo state is an APC state and will continue to maintain it. We need your cooperation to conduct free and transparent primaries. We believe our members are equal to the task. What we are seeing here is that there would be cooperation and good synergy with state Assembly members. We have planned a well-articulated programme for the primaries to produce a candidate.”

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