Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State is set to pick the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the October 10 governorship election in the state.
Our correspondent reports that the primary election which commenced at about 2:pm yesterday at the Ondo Event Centre, the DOME, Akure, was ongoing as at the time of filing this story.
There was heavy presence of security personnel to check breakdown of law and order. The delegates were accredited with their APC membership cards.
A total of 3,146 delegates drawn from the 203 wards across the state voted in the exercise, according to Mr Alex Kalejaiye, the state’s publicity secretary of the party.
Before the commencement of the primary, three of the 12 aspirants – Ife Oyedele, Abraham Olusegun, who is an ally of the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Jimi Odimayo – stepped down from the race.
Abraham said he stepped down in line with the party decision and respect of party supremacy.
“I hereby announce my stepping down from the APC 2020 gubernatorial primary election of our dear state. This decision was made in support of the candidacy of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, after much consultation across and within party lines,” he said.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the APC governorship primary election committee, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has expressed satisfaction with the election process so far.
Governor Bello told journalists that he had an interactive session with the aspirants on Sunday evening. He expressed satisfaction that the process would be free and fair.
For his part, an APC leader in Ondo, Daniel Orimisan has hailed the withdrawal of Oyedele from the race.
“Ordinarily, it is not in the known character of Engr. Oyedele to chicken out of any cause that he is convincingly committed to. Nonetheless, it would have been uncharitable of him to have forged ahead with the gubernatorial contest and ended up ostracizing himself from the reckoning of the national leadership of APC,” he said.
Ajayi not a threat – Jegede
Meanwhile, the 2016 candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship election in Ondo State, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, has said that the state deputy governor, Mr Agboola Ajayi, was not a threat to his ambition.
Jegede, who is one of the aspirants vying for the ticket of the PDP in this year’s election, said he has the control of the party’s loyalists in the 18 local government areas, having contested on the platform of the party in 2016.
“I contested against his boss, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, in 2016 and I came second. If Akeredolu was not a threat to me in 2016, his deputy cannot be a threat to me or my ambition in 2020,” he said.
Jegede, who was the state Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General during the administration of then Governor Olusegun Mimiko, said PDP will win the governorship election.