By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah, Ejike Ejike, Abuja and TOPE FAYEHUN, Akure
President Muhammadu Buhari declared yesterday that all necessary measures have been put in place to ensure the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State is peaceful, transparent and credible.
President Buhari also assured the electorate in Ondo of adequate security to forestall any breach of the peace by unscrupulous elements.
In a video message to party supporters at the grand finale of the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign for the Ondo governorship election, the president urged the electorate to turn out en masse to vote on Saturday without fear of molestation.
He expressed confidence that party supporters will vote in accordance with the laws guiding the electoral process.
Urging the electorate to vote for continuity and progress, President Buhari explained why the APC candidate, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, deserves re-election, saying he is better brand for the APC to market to the people of the state.
He said, ”I have no doubt that our candidate is a good brand for the APC to market. I am particularly delighted by his ingenious approach to governance.
”His performance within the limits of available resources is endearing, just as he has taken the state to an enviable level and on the path of prosperity.
”Having had the privilege of commissioning some of his projects, which I consider enduring legacies, I join you here today to declare that Governor Akeredolu deserves to be re-elected to consolidate the good work he commenced in his first term.
”I am not just proud of his achievements; I am confident he will enjoy the mandate of the good people of Ondo State for the second term”.
On the party’s campaign, the president said he was encouraged by the large turnout at the grand finale, noting that he had keenly followed events in the state as regards the governorship election.
”I have taken a special interest not necessarily because my party is involved but because my focus and attention have been to ensure that we maximize every given opportunity to raise the bar in our collective desire to deepen democracy,” he stated.
President Buhari also commended the party’s national and zonal leadership, as well as the APC family in Ondo State for upholding internal democracy and ensuring a hitch-free party primary.
The president noted that internal democracy, regarded as a major ingredient in the electoral process, was not merely encouraged in Ondo State but zealously nurtured.
He continued: ”I salute the courage and the demonstrated capacity of the National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee under the leadership of His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni. I thank you for conducting a hitch-free party primary in Ondo State.
”I congratulate the APC family in Ondo State on this uncommon display of brotherliness, candour and doggedness.
”May I, therefore, salute all other governorship aspirants who accepted the outcome of the primary election and decided to work for the success of the candidate and incumbent, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN. Their patriotic and selfless conduct shall serve as an enduring reference point in party politics.
”I must not fail to equally acknowledge the efforts made by Party Leaders, especially from the South West, who spared time to manage the post-primary period ahead of today,” he said.
On his part, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who also spoke through a video message said Governor Akeredolu has achieved so much with little.
He highlighted the achievements of the governor to include the Ore interchange bridge, christened “Redemption Bridge”, the Oke-Alabojuto road and the various roads that have been constructed across the three senatorial districts of the state.
Give Us Free, Fair, Election, PDP Tells President
In a related development, national chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to provide a level playing ground for the people of the state during the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State.
Secondus who also appealed to the people of the state to vote out the ruling APC in the forthcoming governorship election, asked the president to replicate what happened in the recent Edo State governorship election.
Speaking during the PDP grand finale campaign, held yesterday in Ondo City, the headquarters of Ondo West local government Area, Secondus said his party had already mobilised strongly to defeat APC in the forthcoming governorship election in the state because the ruling party has failed Nigerians woefully at all levels.
He blamed the APC and its supporters for the recurring violence in the state, adding that Governor Akeredolu and his supporters are jittery of the growing popularity of the PDP candidate, Eyitayo Jegede.
On how to curtail the pockets of crises threatening the Saturday election, he advised that INEC and security agencies should be allowed to do their duties professionally without interference.
Secondus further appealed to the people to protect their votes and resist any attempt by the ruling party to rig the election.
He urged them to come out en masse to vote for the PDP and defeat the APC and its candidate, Akeredolu, who is seeking a re-election.
I Am Confident Of Victory – Ajayi
Meanwhile, deputy governor of Ondo State and candidate of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Hon Agboola Ajayi, boasted yesterday that he will defeat other candidates to emerge the next governor of Ondo State.
Ajayi who spoke at Owo, in Owo local government area of the state during his campaign tour said he has all it takes to defeat other candidates in the election.
He told the residents not to panic during Saturday’s election but go out and cast their votes, stressing that threats of violence before, during and after the election would be to no avail because security agencies would be on ground to protect lives and properties.
The deputy governor regretted the violence that claimed lives during the clashes among rival political parties.
He advised his supporters not to take arms against anybody but should go out, vote and make sure their votes count.
His words: “We are here to campaign. We are not here to fight anybody. Please, don’t allow anybody to provoke you. Vote and protect your votes.”
IGP Cautions Politicians Against Violence
For the umpteenth time, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, yesterday warned politicians against actions and utterances that could be inimical to a free, fair and credible election in Ondo State.
Force PRO, Frank Mba, in a statement last night, said the IGP warned that the full weight of the law will be meted out to anyone, no matter their status in society, who engages in any electoral fraud such as political violence, vote buying, ballot box snatching, hate speeches and all other unwholesome practices capable of undermining the peace and stability of the electoral process.
Similarly, the IGP charged all police officers and other law enforcement agents deployed for the election to act in accordance with the Electoral Act and other extant laws guiding their overall conduct before, during and after the elections.
He warned that police officers and officers of other law enforcement agencies found acting contrary to their oaths of office or in aid of illicit electoral practices will be strictly and personally held liable with dire legal consequences.
The IGP also reassured the people of the state that adequate security measures have been emplaced to ensure their safety throughout the period of the gubernatorial election and beyond.