PDP govs accuse APC of plot to rig poll
From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure, Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja and Linus Oota, Lafia
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong disclosed, yesterday, that President Muhammadu Buhari has endorsed Chief Rotimi Akeredolu as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Lalong disclosed this to State House Correspondents, after he formally presented Akeredolu to Buhari, in his office, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
This was even as Akeredolu assured that his rift with National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has been resolved.
Lalong, who chairs the APC Campaign Committee for the Ondo governorship election, said the party will win, just as it did in Kogi and Edo states.
The governor disclosed that all internal issues within the party that may affect it in the election have been resolved.
“A few weeks ago, I was given the responsibility, of leading the campaign, on behalf of the National Executive, for Ondo election and the candidate, since the primary, has not been presented to the leader of our party; that is Mr. President.
“So, today (yesterday), we came in with the candidate, to confirm to the president that APC has only one candidate, unlike other parties fighting over who is the candidate. We have only one candidate and that candidate is Akeredolu.”
Asked what the president’s response was, Lalong replied: “Well, Mr. President is a loyal party man, so, he is answerable to the party although he is the president of Nigeria. He has also confirmed that he has seen the candidate and is also praying for a successful election in Ondo.”
In addition, Buhari and his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, will lead Akeredolu’s campaign in Ondo.
Akeredolu is expected to flag-off his campaign on Thursday, in Akure, from where he will move to other parts of the state.
APC Publicity Secretary in the state, Prince Abayomi Adesanya said Buhari will lead other top politicians to the state, including members of the Federal Executive Council from the South-West.
He also disclosed that APC governors in the South-West, (Oyo, Osun, Ogun and Lagos) will join Buhari in the campaign and added that National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, will present the party’s flag to Akeredolu at the ceremony.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum has alleged that the APC is plotting to rig the November 26 governorship election with the connivance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The forum, in a statement by its Secretary, Patrick Okon, yesterday, alleged the ruling party is bent on getting Ondo by all means and called for an overhaul of the electoral body. “We are aware of the plan of APC to get Ondo by all means. We are warning that we will not fold our arms to watch this impunity and day time robbery. INEC is an umpire and should play its role very well so that the electorate will have confidence in it. INEC should conduct itself very well in this forthcoming governorship election.
Also, a senator representing Nasarawa South, Solomon Adokwe has said INEC cannot determine for the PDP its candidate in the Ondo poll.
Adokwe told newsmen in Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, yesterday that “PDP is not going into the governorship election divided.”
The lawmaker warned INEC it has no powers to decide a candidate for a political party.
“If the PDP in the course of its primaries decided on who should be party’s candidate, INEC has no right in this matter. In fact, I was a member of the Senate Electoral Amendment Act Committee and we completely removed all powers from INEC because, it is the party that decides who can be its candidate and not INEC,’’ he added.
Adokwe wondered why INEC abandoned its statutory responsibility and “now meddles in party affairs” and stressed that “the Act which established INEC does not give it power to choose candidate for political parties.”