Ahead of Saturday’s governorship primary election of his party in Ondo state, President Muhammadu Buhari has exonerated himself from the crisis of confidence rocking the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress APC.
Locked party secretariat by the group Locked party secretariat by the group Mr Buhari spoke Monday in Abuja through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir David Lawal who met with the 24 aspirants of the party.
Briefing journalists at the end of the parley which lasted four hours, Mr Lawal said discussions were peaceful and fruitful. “The government of President Muhammadu Buhari wishes to reiterate that it has no preferred candidate among the 24 aspirants and that government would do all in its power to provide a level-playing field for all the aspirants. “We expect that all the aspirants will work hard to win the votes of delegates.
In the tradition of APC, we expect that there will be no inducement of delegates or coercion”, he said. Lawal also assured of adequate deployment of security operatives for the primaries, warning that government would deal decisively with anyone who breaches the peace. He also added that as a government, the President Buhari-led administration has no preffered aspirant. He urged the aspirants to unite behind whoever emerges as the candidate saying, “soon, Ondo state would become an APC state”. “We understand that tension is high due to some underlying factors.
The National Working Committee NWC of the party has assured the government and we believe them that everything will be done to ensure that elections are free and fair and we know that no official of the party would do anything to give undue advantage to any aspirant over others. “We will like to once again reassure you that as a government, we have no preferred candidate. “Government will come hard on anyone that does anything that in anyway jeopardises the peace and security of Ondo state”, he warned.
He equally told the aspirants that 10 of them were yet to sign an undertaken with the Department of State Services DSS to be of good conduct, urging them to so do. National Secretary of the party, Mai Mala Buni also restated the position of its leadership to provide a level-playing field for all aspirants. He said, “This party is committed to providing free and fair election because the calibre of members that we are sending to conduct this primary election are up to the task. “The question of either camping or inducing delegates, I am sure our delegates are people that no one can control their minds. Nobody at any level will influence their decisions”.
Responding on behalf of the aspirants, Mrs Jumoke Anifowoshe: thanked the president for the reassurances, saying the aspirants are now satisfied and comfortable with the response of the government that the election would be free and fair. Aspirant and legal luminary, Dr Tunji Abayomi had written a letter accusing a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of endorsing one of the aspirants, Segun Abraham. Since then, the state chapter of the party had been embroiled in crisis. Efforts by the NWC of the party to calm frayed nerves appeared to have recently hit a brick-wall, as the crisis continues to fester.