Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
No fewer than 26 associations under the platform of the Unity Forum have purchased Expression of Interest and Nomination forms for Olusola Oke, an All Progressives Congress (APC) aspirant for governor hoping to contest in the Ondo State gubernatorial election.
Speaking during the formal presentation of the forms to him in Abuja, Oke boasted that only him possess the right qualities to stop the APC from sliding into opposition in the state, promising to unite and open up rural areas.
‘Let me thank God that brought this mission to fruition. About a few days ago, leaders of the Unity Forum and about other 26 associations raised N22.5 million to enable me to purchase these forms. They also travelled to Abuja to collect the forms themselves. I thank the leadership of the Unity Forum for this honour done to me and assure all that my candidature will bring the APC together in Ondo state.
‘We are all aware that the party has been going through a trying period with the centre not holding. Our experience in the last election shows that there is a need to have new leadership, a new face and new APC in the state. I represent that new face of APC in Ondo state. I will unite everybody and my mission will be to protect APC.
‘Unless there is a change in the leadership of the APC in the state, the party may slide into opposition. I have to come out because we don’t want it to happen. During the general election, we lost two senatorial seats, five House of Representatives and the presidential election in the state. It is not in our character, in our strength and that is not the APC Ondo state, but because of leadership issues.
‘I have, therefore, stepped forward with confidence to have the party ticket to deliver. As at today, I am the only person that will have the ticket and there will be no PDP in Ondo state. In serving as governor, I will make all leaders very relevant, the state resources will be dedicated to the people of Ondo and there will be no capital flight in the state.
‘I want to thank the leadership of the party because I am aware of the trying period the party is going through now both at the state and national levels, it is a passing phase to produce light at the end of the tunnel. Under my watch in Ondo, we will reduce poverty. The state is not meant to be poor at all with the abundant natural, agricultural resources and longest coastline. I will bring back those good old days.
‘We will generate employment, create wealth to our people and return them to the pride people they used to be. There will be a new lease of life and Ondo will rise again and the sun will shine again. We are going to engage in massive opening up of the rural areas for the first time so that our people can access our wealth. It has been our major problem since the creation of the state. The rural dwellers have never been touched or given the opportunity,’ he promised.
Speaking while presenting the nomination forms, the Director-General of the Olusola Oke Campaign Organisation, Olariwaju Kazeem, insisted that the party members have settled for a direct mode of primary and will not accept any other form.
‘Members of APC in Ondo state and friends of Olusola Oke pulled funds together to purchase nomination forms for the party primary next month. I have the singular responsibility to present them to contest and win. We want to make it clear that party members in the state will not accept any other mode of primary other than direct. There are two sets of APC state executives and adoption of the direct primary will be better,’ he said.