Aiyedatiwa declares bid to contest Ondo guber, says Akeredolu wanted him as successor

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Governor of Ondo, Lucky Aiyedatiwa has officially declared his intention to contest the November 16 governorship election of the state.

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Speaking on Tuesday at the Gani Fawehinmi Arcade in Akure, Ondo capital, Aiyedatiwa said it was the wish of the late Rotimi Akeredolu, the former governor, that he succeeds him.

He added that the late governor expressed his wish at different times, both in public and in private.

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“Just about this time three years ago, our late leader and former governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, and my humble self as deputy governor, mounted the soap box to seek your support to govern this blessed state,” Aiyedatiwa said.

“In no time upon assumption of office we emplaced transformational policies and programmes which have no doubt impacted positively on the development of the Sunshine state.

“We cannot but continue to give accolades to our deceased leader, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, under whose tutelage and joint partnership we have been able to accomplish these giant strides.

“Distinguished citizens and party faithfuls, I must re-echo what our late leader had always wished for in his life time. It was his wish that I succeed him, not in death though, as the next governor of the state.

“He was a courageous and visionary leader who had no time for pretense and so he expressed this wish at different fora in both public and private.

“All was with one conviction and implicit confidence in me to carry on the torch of accelerated development which he lighted first in 2017 and later renewed under a joint ticket for both of us in the 2021 gubernatorial election.”

Aiyedatiwa said since his assumption of office, the government has prioritised the welfare of the people.

“Today, I have come before you in response to the popular yearnings and aspirations of our people to sustain this path of progress and development in the state,” he said.

“Our people and party faithfuls, through multi-dimensional platforms, have expressed their desire for the continuity of this administration beyond 2025.

“To the glory of God, I parade very rich political credentials and vast experience in governance.

“Without being immodest, the trajectory of my experiences in governance as former representative of Ondo state on the board of NDDC, one-time deputy governor, and three times acting governor under our late sage and now the incumbent governor of Ondo state are is too material to be wished away!

“The poser therefore is whether or not to respect the people’s yearnings for sustainable good governance they have enjoyed in the last seven years.

“The people of Ondo state must not suddenly find themselves in Egypt. Never! Today, I stand before you in all humility and with a fierce commitment to the greatness of our Sunshine 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 PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS in the 2024 gubernatorial election.

“I am fully prepared for this opportunity to re-enact the legacies of visionary, purposeful, competent leadership bequeathed to us by our founding fathers to build the future of Ondo state.”

Aiyedatiwa called on the people of the state to vote for him during the primary election billed to hold in April, and to reject “those who seek to buy our conscience with money”.

“My dear people of Ondo State, the gubernatorial primary election is at hand. Your vote is a potent weapon that must be wisely used,” he said.

“Today, I offer myself to lead, not to rule, to respect your wishes, not to dominate you, and to lead by example of humility, good character and empathy, which I have demonstrated in office since 2021.

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

In January, Wale Akinterinwa, a former commissioner of finance in the state, had said Akeredolu anointed him as his successor before his death.

Akinterinwa said Akeredolu did this after he returned from his medical trip to Germany in 2023.

 

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