Ondo State governor-elect, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu has said that the reason he failed to recognise a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, during his victory speech on Sunday was because it was not needful doing that.
According to him, having acknowledged President Muhammadu Buhari, as national leader of the party and the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, it could be said that he had recognised every order leader of the party, including Tinubu.
The Ondo State governor-elect disclosed this in response to State House correspondents’ questions in respect to his victory speech, immediately after he and his Deputy, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, finished interacting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
While Akeredolu maintained that he had no tainted relationship with Tinubu, he added that specifically mentioning his name would have meant that he would have also mentioned names of about 37 other leaders of the APC.
“On the names that were mentioned in my speech when expressing gratitude and that I didn’t specifically thank Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I thanked the President and the leader of our party profusely for the leadership which he showed leading to this election.
“I also thanked our indefatigable chairman for standing by the truth and for his position on this matter that led to this election. I have no reason to do otherwise.
“Party structure, to the best of my knowledge, is very clear. You have the leadership of the party and that is represented by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. After an election, a chief executive emerges, he becomes a leader of the party, you don’t have to personalise and be looking for leaders all over the place.
“If we have to do that, then I will have to mention 36 or 37 leaders. So, I believe the leadership as represented by the President covers all leaders and that tells me it would include Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it would include even Baba Akande, (Ogbonnaya) Onu, and so many leaders.
“But President Buhari is the leader of the party. So, that is my position there.
“For me, as a person, I believe he (Tinubu) is one of the leaders of the party and I don’t see any strained relationship between us. And you would observe that he has sent in his congratulatory message after the election, so what else do you expect?
“I mean all of us see this as a victory for the APC, not for Akeredolu, not for us an individual but for the party as a whole. I believe he is a member of the party. Mr. Femi Adesina had issued a release but you journalists just want to put words into our mouths,” Akeredolu said.
By Ebere Ndukwu …
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