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Ondo 2024: 18 lawmakers, aspirant back Aiyedatiwa

…as Gov declares ambition

By Jubril Bada & Adedotun Ajayi

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Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo State has officially declared his intention to contest in the forthcoming November 2024 gubernatorial election in the state under the umbrella of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Speaking at the colourful public declaration held at the expansive Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Arcade, Akure, the Ondo State capital, Aiyedatiwa observed that his former principal, late Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, would be proud of his move and desire to succeed him after the end of the current administration.

He outlined his vision and mission for the State, with special focus on economic empowerment, poverty alleviation, infrastructure development, education, health care, youth and women empowerment, and security enhancement.

The Governor unveiled the State Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (SEEDS) aimed at driving economic growth and improving the standard of living for all citizens.

Also at the carnival-like official declaration, one of the APC gubernatorial aspirants, Tunji Moyero, stepped down and declared his support for Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa to pick the party’s ticket.

Moyero further disclosed that he has collapsed his campaign structures for Aiyedatiwa to be the party’s flag bearer in the fast approaching April primary, attributing the development to the political ideology he shared with the Governor.

 He equally called on all including the party executives, leaders and other governorship aspirants to join him by stepping down and collapse their structures to support the governorship aspiration of Aiyedatiwa.

Similarly, the Speaker, Ondo State House of Assembly, Olamide Oladiji, confirmed that a total of 18 lawmakers in the Assembly are in support of Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa to emerge as the party’s candidate in the November governorship election.

Oladiji said lawmakers elected on the platform of other political parties are also in support of Aiyedatiwa.

He said, “Ondo Assembly has agreed to support Aiyedatiwa. Even those who are not in the APC are with us in this struggle and by the grace of God, we will arrive at the Promised Land. I appeal to our leaders to go back to their wards and do the needful. Let reconciliation continue so that we will deliver Lucky as the party’s candidate.”

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The Governor had earlier visited the State Secretariat of APC where he also made his intention known, and was received by the state chairman, Ade Adetimehin, and other party executives.

“Leaders and members of our great party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, it is with regard that I come before you today to humbly and officially express my interest and intention to seek the nomination of our great party to contest for the office of Governor of Ondo State.

“I offer myself, in difference to your popular yearnings and upon wide consultations, not just to run the race, but to be the candidate of our great party, All Progressive Congress in the 2024 gubernatorial election.

“As I begin today this journey to secure, next month, our party’s ticket for the November Governorship Election, I ask you to support me and let us build an APC that respects and promotes members, an APC that cares. Support me to build an Ondo State that works,” Governor Aiyedatiwa declared.

Addressing a crowd of party faithful, stakeholders and citizens, Aiyedatiwa hailed the occasion as another milestone in the democratic journey of the State, emphasizing the importance of consolidating governance and celebrating the vibrancy of democracy under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC.

While acknowledging the unwavering support of party members and stakeholders, the Governor expressed gratitude for their commitment to democratic ideals and the progress of the State.

“A political party is nothing if it cannot win elections. Our party is strong, formidable, and honorable. Our unity of purpose as members of APC have helped our government provide leadership with integrity,” he added.

Recounting the achievements of his administration, Governor Aiyedatiwa highlighted the strides made in infrastructure, education, health care, industrialization, security, and welfare. He praised the establishment of the South West Security Network, popularly known as Amotekun Corps, for enhancing peace and security in the state.

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He paid tribute to the late former Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, whose vision and partnership laid the foundation for the state’s development.

“He chose me as the deputy governorship candidate to contest the 2020 governorship election, and we won. We won because he was a good man, loved and respected by the people. His yes was his yes, his no was his no. He did not pretend nor played to the gallery. He did not like hypocrisy, sycophancy and backbiting.

“He stood for merit and candour. He loved the State and its people. He picked me as Deputy Governor not just because he loved me but because he had a vision for the young to grow. He wanted integrity, humility, confidence and loyalty to be the character of government. He made no pretence of his plan and desire for succession.

“He was deliberate and prophetic. He said it during our inauguration and repeatedly that “Lucky will succeed me. Lucky will carry on the work after me. At not one, not two nor three sessions of the cabinet meetings had he pronounced Lucky as his desired choice to carry the flag after him. He was a man of vision. We will not let him down. We will not waiver. We will not falter. We will succeed. Support me to carry on the work. Work with me to bring the desired goal”, Aiyedatiwa requested.

He listed the administration’s initiatives aimed at improving the lives of citizens, including measures such as salary arrears payment, healthcare workforce expansion, infrastructure development projects, and support for education and agriculture sectors.

“The greatest service to our people is to bring hope, joy and life abundant. Since we came on board, we are pushing the boundaries to do just that. We approved the payment of the January 2017 outstanding salary arrears owed public servants of Ondo State. We approved massive recruitment of health workers to improve health care delivery.

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“We approved immediate release of employment letter for hundreds of our young people into our State’s Internal Revenue Service. We not only returned all contractors to the sites of ongoing infrastructural projects, we approved the construction of more roads in the rural areas in the three senatorial districts of the State, under the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project.

“We directed the release of the sum of N1.2billion for the development of the State owned Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa. We also approved N1billion for our University of Medical Sciences, Ondo. We are purchasing 100 brand new patrol vehicles for our Amotekun Corps to ensure better service.

“We are recruiting hundreds of primary school teachers to fill the personnel gaps in our primary schools. We will be providing not less than N1billion as micro credit loans for our market women and small scale business. We will support agriculture through farm input provision, loan access and agropreneur interventions. We will support the transport unions with better organisation and mass assisted vehicles. We will do even more”, he affirmed.

The Governor further reaffirmed his commitment to servant leadership, pledging to lead by example with humility, good character, and empathy.

“I remain the epitome of Omoluabi that you have always trusted. I urge you to VOTE me as the candidate of our great party,” he added

Earlier, during his welcome address, the Secretary to the Government, Tayo Oluwatuyi, commended the Governor for his determination to run in the November 2024 Gubernatorial election, expressing confidence that the people of the State would wholeheartedly endorse him.

Also present at the event were the Deputy Governor, Dr Olayide Adelami, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Prince Segun Omojuwa, members of the State House of Assembly, led by the Speaker, Olamide Oladiji, members of the State Executive Council, political appointees, and APC supporters.

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