By Dayo Johnson, with Agency Reports,
Former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has maintained that he reserves the right to back whoever he likes to emerge as candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Ondo State governorship election.
This came as a governorship aspirant of the APC in the state, Mr Niran Sule Akinsuyi, over the weekend, defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and thereafter picked the governorship nomination form.
Tinubu, who reacted to an open letter by Tunji Abayomi, an APC aspirant in Ondo, said Abayomi would not have attacked him if he had endorsed his ambition.
Abayomi had described Tinubu as a “man who frustrates the democratic aspirations of Nigerians through his dictatorial tendencies.”
Tinubu, who denied the allegation, said he has always been a democrat and would remain one.
In a statement, the National Leader of the APC, faulted Abayomi’s remarks saying “You have been a friend and will continue to be. Thus, I can dispense with needless formality so that we can get to the crux of the issue. Your career is that of a lawyer and activist. I appreciate all that you have done in the pursuit of a more just and democratic Nigeria.
”However, your letter to me is an impetuous display unbecoming a man of your status and a man seeking the highest leadership position in his state. And as a lawyer you well know that one cannot seek equity without having done equity.”
APC gov aspirant defects to PDP
Meanwhile, Akinsuyi, who was a former Special Duties Commissioner under the Governor Olusegun Mimiko-led administration, said he dumped the APC to get a viable political platform.
Submitting his nomination form at the Ali Modu Sheriff PDP faction secretariat in Akure, Sule said that “it is a function of where the interest of the people of Ondo State lies and how to achieve it.”
He noted that “as individuals, we believe that moving forward, as far as the 2016 election is concerned, we need a platform will allow us to shoulder common responsibilities and progress and development to our people.”
He said that “the leaders of the APC today are the same people who left PDP some years ago. So all we need to do is to be sensitive to see where our interest as a people and as a state can be better protected. Tinubu stated that “in writing the letter, you appear to have been bitten by a bug that often blinds the objectivity of a man. You have been bitten by an ambition that you fear you shall not be able to realize. In your pursuit of office, you have sought my support and influence.
When you sought that support, you thought it proper and democratic to do so. If I had signalled my support for you, I am sure that you would never have written this letter alleging that I was undermining the democratic will of the people. You would have been pleased with me, I suppose.
“You said I seek to deny your democratic right. It is you who seeks to grab mine. If not mistaken, I believe I am a member of the APC. I reserve the right to support any candidate I wish because no one has the right to take this away from me. What your letter is really saying is that if I don’t support you I should keep my mouth shut.”
Tinubu, however, advised Abayomi to channel the energy being used to “fight” an individual to “fight for votes in the primary”.
He said if the aspirant ends up winning the ticket of the party, he would congratulate him and work for the progress of the party.
Tinubu also denied the allegation that Abayomi convinced him to support President Muhammadu Buhari in the election, saying if the aspirant has such influence, how come he is struggling to get his own attention in Ondo.
“Instead of fighting me who is but one man with no vote, you should be fighting for votes and support,” he said.
“I have participated in elections for decades for myself and others. Some have been won. Some lost. Never, however, have I asked a friend for support than condemn for giving the very support I sought of them to another person. To do so is not to stand on principle but on bruised pride.