The Ondo State governor-elect, Rotimi Akeredolu has explained why he failed to thank the national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu in his acceptance speech on Sunday.
According to him, Tinubu, like other leaders of the party, fall under the leadership of Buhari and Odigie-Oyegun.
Akeredolu made this explanation when he and his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, on Wednesday paid a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
On why he didn’t mention Tinubu while thanking leaders of the party in his speech after winning the election, he said: “I thanked the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the leader of our party profusely for the leadership which he showed leading to this election. I also thanked our indefatigable chairman for standing by the truth and for his position on this matter that led to this election. I have no reason to do otherwise.
“You see, party structures to the best of my knowledge is very clear. You have the leadership of the party and that is represented by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. And after the election, a chief executive emerges, he becomes a leader of the party, you don’t have to personalize and be looking for leaders all over the place. If we have to do that then I will have to mention 36 or 37 leaders.
“So I believe the leadership as represented by the president covers all leaders and that tells me it would include Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it would include even Baba Akande, Onu, so many leaders. But president Buhari is the leader of the party so that is my position there,” he added.
Asked how he was going to amend his strain relationship with Tinubu, he said: “The relationship with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has always been the same. I don’t think we have any strain relationship. For me as a person, I believe he is one of the leaders of the party and I don’t see any strain relationship between us.
“And you would observe that he has sent in his congratulatory message after the election, so what else do you expect? I mean all of us see this as victory for the APC, not for Akaredolu, not for as an individual but for the party as a whole.
“I believe he is a member of the party. Mr. Femi Adesina had issued a release but you journalists just want to put words into our mouths,” he said.
He said: “When you say a defection, Senator Yele Omogunwa even joined us in the campaign right there in Ondo State, he had joined the APC, he only just formalized it on the Senate floor today.
“I mean when you have a party that is already balkanized like the PDP, from bottom to the top they have two candidates, they have two chairmen now. So you don’t have to be sneaking between one chairman and another you make up your mind to go to a place that is stable.
“And I believe that he thinks that the APC is stable and he has come to a place he thinks his fortune will be better served and I am sure he took the right decision to join the party of the day.