In what appeared to be a technical knockout for Adekunle Akinlade, the anointed candidate of Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday in Abuja, threw his weight behind Prince Dapo Abiodun as the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the state.
In expression of his public endorsement for Abiodun, Buhari raised the hand of the APC candidate in his office in the Presidential Villa, promising to visit Ogun State to formally present Abiodun as his only recognised and authentic governorship candidate in the state. Briefing journalists after accompanying Abiodun to the meeting with Buhari in the State House, former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, said Buhari’s formal endorsement of Abiodun yesterday put to rest the hithertho blackmail apparently by Amosun, his protege, Akinlade and members of their new found Allied Peoples Movement (APM) that the president was backing Akinlade against Abiodun, his party’s candidate.
Ironically, Amosun and APM National Chairman, Yusuf Dantalle, had on Monday, presented to the president, the party’s letter of adoption of Buhari as its presidential candidate, and thus fueling insinuations that the president had thrown his weight behind Amosun’s alleged anti-party activities with APM as well as his controversial candidate.
Both Amosun and the National Chairman of APC, had been at loggerheads since October following the refusal of the latter to field the candidate of Amosun as the party’s governorship candidate in Ogun State.
The irreconcilable differences between the duo forced Amosun to enter into a romance with APM, a hitherto unknown political party, to which he had moved his political structure from APC in support of Akinlade as the APM governorship candidate.
But Osoba in his briefing, disclosed that by declaring his open support for Abiodun, the president was only making a bold statement that his unalloyed loyalty to his party and his unflinching support for all APC candidates in all the states of the federation were incontrovertible.
Osoba said, “First of all, I want to wish the president a successful election and 2019 will be a defining year by the grace of God for the president who has always won all the elections which the former Ambassador said sometimes ago.
“Secondly, we have come to present out candidate in Ogun State, the candidate of the president, the candidate of APC and the president has raised his hand and told the world that his candidate in Ogun State is Prince Dapo Abiodun and that he has no other candidate. His party in Ogun State is APC. He has no other party in Nigeria other than APC.
“He has assured us that he will personally come to Ogun State to formally present Prince Dapo Abiodun as his candidate and he assured us that is clearing the air of any ambiguity whatsoever of any name dropping, any blackmail, any misinformation that anybody may be peddling, that in all elections throughout Nigeria, not just in Ogun State, people must vote for APC and no other party.”
In his own briefing, Abiodun said the president left no one in doubt that he (Abiodun) was not only the candidate of APC in Ogun State but also his (president) personal candidate, pointing out that an endorsement of that magnitude could not have come at a better time.
Abiodun who said he was gladdened by the president’s endorsement, added that it was a clear signal to Akinlade, his godfather and his APM which he alleged had been using the name and photographs of Buhari to score cheap political points in Ogun State to now beat a retreat, describing their action hitherto as illegal.
“I want to first of all thank Mr. President for clearing the air as our leader has said and reaffirmed that he is the APC candidate for president and I, Prince Dapo Abiodun, I am the APC gubernatorial candidate in Ogun State and I am his candidate.
“Naturally, APC is his party and there is no any other gubernatorial candidate in Ogun State except me. I think that affirmation could not have come at a better time when there is a lot of ambiguity, when people have attempted falsehood and other kinds of misinformation.
“So, I am very elated, very reassured that the president has stood by the party and stood by me and I believe that this matter will finally be put to rest and all those that are trying to gain by using the president’s picture on their posters, on their vehicles will finally begin to remove it because it is actually illegal for you to be putting the presidential candidate of another party on the face of the poster of another party.
“It is an attempt to confuse and misinform the public.
I believe that after today, that will be put to rest and everybody will know that in Ogun State, the only party to vote for is APC from the presidential election, to gubernatorial, to senatorial to House of Representatives and the House of Assembly,” Abiodun stated.