The National leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has reportedly pleaded with all party leaders in Ondo state to rally round governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s second term ambition and victory in the interest of the party ahead of the 2023 general election.
The former Lagos state governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu paid a surprise visit to Ondo State to reconcile aggrieved party members.
Tinubu who was accompanied by the former interim national chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, former governor’s of Ogun and Ekiti states, Segun Osoba and Niyi Adebayo, arrived the Akure Airport at exactly 1:48 pm and was received by Governors Rotimi Akeredolu and Kayode Fayemi of Ondo and Ekiti states respectively alongside other notable leaders.
They included former party chairman, Isaac Kekemeke, Olusola Oke, Ali Olanusi, among others.
Tinubu who held a pre-conference meeting with the two governors and a few selected party leaders was quoted to have impressed on those present at the meeting to “behave themselves”, even as Akande said peace in Ondo APC was sacrosanct.
At the meeting which lasted for about two hours, Tinubu was said to have pleaded with all aggrieved leaders to sheath their sword and support the Ondo State governor for another term come 2020.
But as the leaders went into the closed door meeting at the hotel a mild drama ensued at the hotel venue of the meeting.
Loyalists of the former Lagos governor who hitherto, had fallen out with Akeredolu as a result of the 2016 governorship primary which produced the governor as candidate of the party expressed reservations about the modalities adopted for the admission of members into behind-the-camera session.
Prominent among those who were stopped from meeting were former Osun State commissioner for Regional Integration, Bola Ilori, former member of the House of Representatives, Afe Olowookere, as well as the immediate past commissioner for physical planning and urban development, Solagbade Amodeni.
A prominent leader of the party who was at the meeting told a team of reporters on the condition of anonymity that Tinubu’s trip to Ondo State was not unconnected with the 2023 presidential race.
“The whole aim of the meeting is about the 2023 presidency; we have all seen that with the way things are going, the southwest can only survive the struggle if we put our house in order ahead of that crucial election.
” Within our party, it is almost becoming a north south battle and with seeming intention of our leader to have a shot at the presidency, we can only survive if we all swallow our pride and give concessions where necssary.
” So the meeting analysed the whole scenarios around the 2023 politics and concluded that we must be one to be able to confront other contenders from outside.
For one, unless we get the ticket of our party, the people of the southwest will stone us that we sold out.
“If on the other hand we go into the battle divided, we will end up not achieving anything. So in looking at the Ondo scenario, various question are begging for answers. Who is running first? The governor, of course. It sounds bitter but that is truth and we understand the feelings of all those who the tide does not support.
“Therefore, it will be better for us to forgive ourselves and still have our party in place than forcing a sitting governor out for him to do damage to the party at the governorship poll because he has nothing to lose then.
The implication will be that the opposition PDP will carry the day, God forbid”, he said.
Speaking with newsmen after the closed door meeting, Asiwaju Tinubu said “the meeting is to promote the interest of the All Progressives Congress. We discussed how we shall win the next election resoundingly.”
He noted that the differences and age long grievances among the leaders, especially against Akeredolu, had been amicably resolved. “You can see all our leaders coming out together, laughing and happy.
“APC in Ondo is one now, we have asked all our leaders to go back and bring peace and unity to Ondo state. We applied conflict resolution mechanism to smoothen the edges. ” Tinubu said. (Roving Reporter)