2023 Presidency: Ondo, Ekiti former Speakers disown joint endorsement for Tinubu

Uba Group

BY REBECCA AJANI

FORMER Speakers of the Ondo and Ekiti State Legislatures have said they are not part of a decision said to have been taken to endorse the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, at a recent meeting of present and former Speakers in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.

The Ekiti and Ondo former speakers said though they attended the said meeting, no communique was issued confirming the endorsement of the former Lagos State Governor.

They made their position known in a statement, co-signed by Victor Olabimtan, Oluwasegunota Bolarinwa, Ayo Agbomuserin, Abdusalam Olawale Taofeeq, and Kenneth Olawale (all former Ondo Speakers); and Patrick Ajigbolamu from Ekiti State.

The former speakers said they had told the gathering that all candidates of the party from the zone had the legitimate right to contest for Presidency, adding that Governors Rotimi Akeredolu and Kayode Fayemi, of Ondo and Ekiti states, were in the best position to speak for their states.

THE POINT had reported that some present and former speakers of South West states, led by the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, had declared their support for the 2023 presidential bid of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, at a meeting held in Ibadan a few days ago.

Obasa, who convened the meeting, introduced the Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) Foundation and Movement to attendees, with a view to securing their support.

But in their statement, the former speakers from the two states explained that a former Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Titi Oseni, who is the Coordinator of the Southwest forum of the Conference of Former Speakers, invited them to the meeting.

“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, adding that their response was that they would wait for directives from the leaders of the respective states.

They said, “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,” the former speakers from Ekiti and Ondo said.

“We are party men, and will support the interest of all our leaders wherever they go,” they added.