Dayo Johnson Akure
FORMER Speakers of the House of Assembly in Ondo and Ekiti states have dissociated themselves from the purported endorsement of a National Leader of the All-Progressive Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to contest the 2023 presidential election.
Recall that former speakers of Houses of Assembly in the Southwest geo-political zone had met in Ibadan, Oyo state to draw massive support for the candidacy of Tinubu for the 2023 presidential election.
The meeting which was at the instance of the Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa endorsed Asiwaju Tinubu for the 2023 president.
But former Speakers from the two states in the region noted that although they attended the said meeting, there was no endorsement for the candidacy of Tinubu and no communique was issued to that effect.
Their position was contained in a statement signed by five former Ondo speakers Rt. Hons. Victor Olabimtan, Oluwasegunota Bolarinwa, Ayo Agbomuserin, Abdusalam Olawale Taofeeq, Kenneth Olawale (Ondo), and Patrick Ajigbolamu from Ekiti state.
The former Speakers said the meeting was at the instance of Rt. Hon. Titi Oseni, the Coordinator of the Southwest forum of the Conference of Former Speakers of House of Assembly of Nigeria, under the national chairman of Governor Simon Lalong.
“Rt. Hon. Obasa came to the meeting to solicit the support of the ex-speakers, as automatic national delegates, for the aspiration of his mentor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
They said when the issue was discussed they spoke in unison during the meeting and maintained that they would rather wait for the directive of the leader of their respective states.
According to them, “Governor Akeredolu of Ondo state and Governor Fayemi of Ekiti State are in the best position to speak for their states.
” We told the gathering that all candidates from the zone, including Tinubu, had legitimate right to aspire to lead the country.
“The ex-speaker from Ekiti State also informed the gathering that his Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi is equally interested in the presidency and eminently qualified.
“As much as the issue of national politics is concerned, we are of the opinion that every eligible aspirant deserves equal right and opportunity.
“As a member of the All-Progressives Congress, APC, we are not against the aspiration of any member of the party from the Southwest Region.
“Every State in the Southwest, be it Lagos, Ondo, or Ekiti is qualified to produce a candidate and whoever that the leadership of the Party supports, we will support”.
“It is a well-known fact that our Governors are the leaders of our party in every State, and we will never do anything that is contrary to their interest.
“If Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is interested in running for the 2023 Presidency, and Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State is also gunning for the position, they are both qualified to run.
“However, none of them has openly declared interest or intention to do so.
“Therefore, the issue of drumming support for any particular “aspirant” as being circulated is out of place and we are not a party to that”.
“We hereby dissociate ourselves from such endorsement when the purported gladiator has not informed the Conference of his interest to run for the exalted position in the Country.
They added that We are party men, and will support the interest of all our leaders wherever they go”.