ABEOKUTA – The second runner up in the 2019 governorship election in Ogun State, Abiodun Akinlade has revealed that Governor Dapo Abiodun will, as a sitting Governor, have the right of first refusal in the All Progressives Congress (APC), ahead of the 2023 elections in the State.
Akinlade, who tussled for the APC ticket with Governor Abiodun before later joining the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), where he contested the election said his decision to contest the 2023 election will depend on the national leadership of the Party.
Akinlade, who lost the election to Abiodun with less than 20,000 votes before later rejoining the Party, revealed that some issues were being resolved with the National Leadership of the Party, the outcome of which, he said, will determine if he will contest the seat in 2023.
Akinlade, who was the candidate of the then sitting Governor Ibikunle Amosun revealed this after a meeting with the leaders of the APC in Ogun West on Tuesday.
“It is very clear that a sitting governor in any party has the right of first refusal, and His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun has that right in 2023. But there are salient issues being resolved presently in the party. If those issues are resolved favourably and there is the opportunity for someone from Ogun West, I will contest.
“But if the party chooses to return the governor regardless, there’s nothing we can do. We have to stand with the party. That’s what I came to tell our leaders today that we should pray, because this is not the time to start selling everybody out that we want to contest, no!.
“We need to come together as a team in Ogun West, and pray that the party will consider the merit of a petition before it. If it does, then we all can come out,” he said.
Asked if the followers of the former House of Representatives member would not be demoralised by his decision, Akinlade said he owed his followers truthfulness, adding that politics shouldn’t be about deceit.
“Politics is not one that you need to deceive people. I need to let my people know the truth. If people had worked with me, people died supporting me in 2019, I owe them that much to be truthful to them. Though it’s a difficult word, but one I needed to tell them myself; not that somebody has to speculate.
“I need to come and tell my people that if what we are looking at goes through and there is opportunity, I will come out to mobilise my people and I will run. But if the petition is jettisoned by the party and the party decides otherwise, we will stand with the party. That is the directive of our leader, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.”
Earlier at the meeting, Akinlade had called on Ogun West leaders to drop their support for any gubernatorial aspirant in 2023, asking them to join hands in getting the coast clear first.
He admonished the leaders to come together and reach out to the National Chairman of APC for favourable consideration of the petition before him.
It was gathered that a leader of the party in Ogun State had submitted a petition before the APC National Working Committee, highlighting why the incumbent Gov Abiodun should not be allowed to be the party’s candidate in 2023.