15 Ondo lawmakers, Speaker endorse Aiyedatiwa’s gov ambition

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Gov. Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa

No fewer than 15 members of the  Ondo House of Assembly have officially 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 had so far impressed them by continuing with the legacies of the 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 in 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.

The aggrieved members, who distanced themselves from the show of partisan politics, included the Majority Leader, Oluwole Ogunmolasuyi; Parliamentary Secretary, Moyinolorun Ogunwumiju; Chief Whip, Oluwarotimi Fasonu, Minority Leader, Olajide Oguntodu and Deputy Minority Leader, Raymond Daodu.

Others were Akinsuroju Nelson, Akomolafe Temitope, Ifabiyi Olatunji, Agbulu Akeem, Christopher Ayebusiwa, Atinuke Witherspoon, Biola Oladapo and Afe Felix.

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

The Speaker, who came with a delegation of 15 state lawmakers, said the governor had prioritsed the payment of their salaries, begun the recruitment of about 2,000 health workers and had maintained a cordial relationship with the legislature and the judiciary 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 the 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 few members of the House of Representatives wrote to Mr. President (concerning Aiyedatiwa 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 wants 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, the APC National Chairman, 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 next month.

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’s death.

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 a free and transparent primary. We believe our members are equal to the task. What we are seeing here is that there would be cooperation, good synergy with state Assembly members. We have planned a well-articulated programme for the primary to produce a candidate.”

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