Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), said on Wednesday that, contrary to reports, he was not opposed to the re-election bid of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State but wished him well in his aspirations.
In a refutation statement made available to newsmentitled, ‘Re: Ondo Guber Poll May Lead To Crisis In South-West APC’, signed by Tunde Rahman, his media aide, Tinubu also said he had no anointed candidate in Ondo governorship election, and that he was not seeking to influence the outcome of the primary scheduled to hold on July 20.
According to the former Lagos State governor, all he desired was a free, fair, and credible primary that “is run according to the dictates of internal democracy and devoid of bias for or against any candidate”.
He added: “In the matter of the Ondo governorship race, Asiwaju Tinubu has stated his impartiality. As a leader of the party, he has no favoured or disfavoured candidate in the race. Neither is he trying to influence matters behind the scene in any regard.
“His hope is that all credible and strong party members who seek the nomination will be able to face each other in a fair contest. Let them compete for the party’s banner openly and without imbalance or slant in the contest.
“Whoever reaches the finish line before the others shall be the nominee of the party for the elections later this year. Asiwaju will gladly and actively stand by the party’s candidate to win the general election.
“It is at that point that you will see Asiwaju in strong action in support of a candidate. When you see him in action, there shall be no mistake as to what his objectives are. The APC candidate will have a formidable ally at his side.
“Thus, the suggestion given by the report that Asiwaju has a favourite candidate is a fabrication of great falsity.
“Thus, he will not roil if a candidate is disqualified, provided that the disqualification is based on a non-biased examination of the factual record.
“Interestingly, the party’s Screening Committee led by Alhaji Tumsa has not officially stated that it has disqualified any aspirant. If any aspirant is disqualified, however, such an aspirant has the right of appeal.”
Speaking further, Tinubu said he wishes Governor Akeredolu well and he believes the governor should be given the opportunity to present his scorecard to party members who would then determine if they wanted him to continue in office or not.
While saying primaries promote competition of ideas and programmes, Tinubu added that a primary should not be seen as a form of disrespect to incumbent governors.
“Those who try to pit Asiwaju Tinubu against Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu should also cease their fable rousing. Asiwaju holds good will towards Governor Akeredolu.
“He believes the governor should have the opportunity to set out his record and resume before party members and let them determine if the governor or another one of our able candidates is the person they prefer to lead the state.
“One would expect the governor to have a solid chance in the primaries. Yet, along with the governor, the party has the benefit of numerous capable candidates seeking the nomination.
“Too many people incorrectly see a strong field of candidates as something wrong. They do not understand democracy and are thus behind the times. Allowing those who feel the civic duty free space to run for office strengthens the party and our overall democracy.
“There should be competition of ideas and programmes. Such competition brings vitality. This does not connote disrespect to the incumbent. It merely exalts the democratic ideal.
“In the end, Asiwaju is for the party and the candidate chosen by the party, who that will be, the primary will tell us,” the statement read