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2024: Political bigwigs, crowd of supporters storm Aiyedatiwa’s declaration

By Babatunde Ayedoju

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Getting a mandate to be the sole candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, in next month governorship primary election of the ruling party in Ondo State is no doubt a herculean task, particularly in a party that parades many aspirants. The jostling for the APC’s ticket is now gathering momentum as the Governor of the State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, yesterday declared his intention to contest at the forthcoming polls.

His declaration was at an elaborate event which took place at the Gani Fawehinmi Arcade in Akure.

The event witnessed sea of massive crowd of residents, notable and heavy weight politicians and their supporters from all the 18 local government areas of the State.

It was a carnival like event which began with a musical prelude, to which scores of the participants could be seen displaying their dancing skills, even as they awaited the official commencement of the event.

The arrival of the Governor was punctuated with cheering from the jubilant crowd all over the venue. As the governor settled on his seat, the programme commenced with the national anthem, Ondo State anthem and the opening prayer.

Immediately after Tayo Oluwatuyi, Secretary to the State Government, welcomed the guests, goodwill messages were delivered by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Olamide Oladiji; Senator Ajayi Borrofice; Abiola Makinde representing Ondo East/Ondo West Federal Constituency;  Omowunmi Olatunji-Ovwovoriole; Tunji Moyero; Awodeyi Apata among other dignitaries, describing Governor Aiyedatiwa as the best man for the job and assuring him of the support of Ondo State people across board.

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There was also a musical interlude by Nollywood actors from the State under the umbrella of Sunshine Nollywood and Ayanbirin, a talking drum exponent.

Also speaking, Alhaji Jamiu Ekungba, on behalf of Elders Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ondo State, assured Mr Governor of support of party elders across the 18 local government areas, describing him as the right man for the job, even as he appealed to all and sundry to support him.

Then came another musical interlude Mabaja (Don’t fight him). Thereafter, the governor mounted the podium, accompanied with drums, singing and dancing from various groups of people. Even the governor himself joined in the dancing.

Having calmed down his audience who could not hide their excitement, Governor Aiyedatiwa welcomed guests from all the 18 local government areas and the 33 Local Council Development Areas (LCDA), wards and units across the state, and all the dignitaries present.

Aiyedatiwa went down the memory lane to remind his audience saying: “Just about this time three years ago, our late leader and former Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and my humble self came to seek your support which you gladly gave.” He noted that the scorecard of that administration on infrastructure and provision of amenities speaks volume, saying, “we parade rich credentials in industrialization, security and welfare. Our greatest asset today is security and peace through the establishment of Amotekun. We cannot but continue to give accolades to our late leader and governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu. He was indeed a courageous leader who shied away from pretence. May his soul continue to rest in peace.”

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Aiyedatiwa equally appreciated the good people of Ondo State for their unalloyed support, adding that they had demonstrated resilience, justice and truth by standing up for democracy and constitutionalism at a critical time in the history of the state.

“We have put the welfare of the people first in several ways, for example in the construction of roads by ordering contractors back to site, payment of salary arrears and gratuity of pensioners, and prompt payment of salaries. Employment into health and educational sectors is also ongoing. I have come to sustain this path of progress.”

While stating that his credentials from both private sector and governance proved him capable for the task ahead, Governor Aiyedatiwa declared, “The people of Ondo State must never find themselves in Egypt. Therefore I stand before you today in humility and with a fierce commitment to the greatness of our state, upon wide consultation, not just to run the race and to continue as Governor, but to be the candidate of our great party in the 2024 gubernatorial race. I am fully prepared to continue the legacy of our forefathers to build Ondo State.”

While stressing that life must be more meaningful for the people of the State, he promised to focus on key development issues and make the state more self-sufficient through employment generation, raising standard of living of the people and eradicating poverty.

His words: “We will continue to encourage growth in rural areas through agriculture, improve the health of the people and provide basic amenities of life, including affordable housing in urban and rural areas.”

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He, therefore, solicited the support of all and sundry to endure so that the aspirations could come to a reality.

Other dignitaries who graced the occasion included the Deputy Governor, Dr Olayide Adelami, former Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Olugbenga Ale, members of the State House of Assembly and many others.

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