Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, yesterday, promised to commence the process of reconciliation to heal all perceived wounds in the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state.
In his acceptance speech after being declared the winner of the governorship primary, Akeredolu pleaded with the other 11 aspirants to leave the past.
He polled 2,458 votes to win the governorship primary, while Olusola Oke scored 262 votes and Isaac Kekemeke came a distant third with 19 votes.
The governor said: “As a way of engendering unity of purpose and cohesion among all party men and women, in a matter of hours, I shall commence, in an inexorable manner, a process of reconciliation to heal all perceived wounds. We need one another more in the future than now.
“All the same, the campaigns preceding this day have been noticeably fraught with mixed feelings. Relationships in some cases may have been bruised and interests hurt.
“In other cases, methods deployed to run these campaigns may not have been pleasant. I plead with all to leave these in the past and move on.
“This is more so that all aspirants, including myself, were either victims or indirectly responsible for such unpleasant circumstances. We must find spaces in our hearts to forgive one another.”
Less than 24 hours after his emergence as the APC candidate, Governor Akeredolu, yesterday, visited three of his co-aspirants.
Those visited include his first runner up, Chief Olusola Oke, Mr. Isaac Kekemeke and Ambassador Sola Iji.
He was accompanied by the Chairman of the party, Mr. Ade Adetimehin; Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Mr. Temitayo Oluwatuyi and his Chief of Staff, Mr. Gbenga Ale.
Akeredolu, who met with Mr. Oke in a closed-door meeting, said there was need for him to engage and talk to the aspirants so that they can all work together for the success of the APC in the October 10 governorship election.
Akeredolu also noted that “Ambassador Iji was the first person among the other aspirants to call and congratulate him on the outcome of the primary election.”
Also, after a closed-door meeting with Mr. Kekemeke, the governor said: “As you know Kekemeke and I are colleagues. We are not only colleagues but brothers. We have spoken frankly and he was frank. We have had a robust and frank discussion on how to move our party forward and work together, Ondo State must remain APC state.”
Ambassador Iji said the people should expect consistency from him, adding that during his campaigns, he had made it known that he has nothing against the governor.
He said: “Expect consistency from us. When I was campaigning I said I had nothing against the governor. I have contested with him and I see his victory as a victory for our party. Whoever the PDP picks, we will beat them silly.”
On his part, Kekemeke described the visit as a pleasant surprise.
He said: “As the Governor said, we have spoken very frankly and I’m happy that he tolerated my frankness. I have said I will work with him. I shall not be going to any party or court. I will work hard to see that Ondo remains an APC state.”
Meanwhile, the Unity Group in the APC, yesterday, kicked against Akeredolu’s emergence as the party’s governorship candidate.
Former Ondo Deputy Governor and the leader of the Unity Group, Alhaji Ali Olanusi said: “It was obvious that the whole process ab initio was orchestrated in favour of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who compiled the list of the delegates, dictated the mode and determined the pattern to be applied for the conduct of the Primary Election.
“We call on members to be calm as we await further directive after due consultation with the stakeholders.”