With few days to the governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress in Ondo State, the Presidency has waded into the crisis over alleged plans by the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to impose an aspirant (Segun Abraham) on them.
The Presidency which specifically said President Muhammad Buhari and the APC-led government had no preferred candidate in Ondo State, warned that “government will come hard on anyone that does anything that in anyway jeopardises the peace and security of Ondo State.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, made the clarification in Abuja, after a closed-door meeting with the 24 aspirants of the party in his office, which lasted about four hours.
The SGF also demanded that 10 of the aspirants who had yet to sign an undertaking with the Department of State Services to be of good conduct would do so.
He said, “We wish to reiterate that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has no preferred candidate among the 24 aspirants and the government will do all in its powers to provide a level-playing field for all the 24 APC governorship aspirants. We expect that every one of the aspirants will work hard to be in the favour of the delegates. We expect there should be no inducement of delegates and there will be no violence during the election.
“I will like to also assure the people that all the security agents will be properly briefed and properly deployed to guarantee the safety and security of lives and property of the people of Ondo State, delegates and aspirants alike. The President wishes each and every one of you the best of luck. For whoever emerges as the successful candidate on Saturday, be rest assured that you have the full support of the machinery of the party behind you.
“We like to reassure the people that as a government, there is no preferred candidate and as a government, we will work hard to ensure that everyone is given a level-playing field so that anyone that God has ordained as the preferred candidate will so emerge. All the other aspirants have agreed to line-up behind whoever emerges so that we move forward. I want to assure you that soon, Ondo State will become an APC state.”
The National Secretary of the APC, Mai Mala Buni, also restated the position of its leadership to provide a level-playing field for all aspirants.
“This party (APC) is committed to providing free and fair election because the members that we are sending to conduct this primary election are up to the task.
“As for the question of either camping or inducing delegates, I am sure our delegates are people that no one can control their minds. Nobody at any level will influence their decisions”, he stated.