Akeredolu: I’m not afraid of direct primaries

Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has said he is not afraid of facing opponents at a direct mode primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Over 15 aspirants have indicated interest to contest against Akeredolu at the primaries.

The governor, who said he was not averse to direct primaries, accused his opponents, especially those in the Unity Forum, of putting out the narrative that he was opposed to direct primary election.

Akeredolu, who spoke through his Commissioner for Information, Donald Ojogo, said those making noise about direct primary election were only wasting their time, as he preferred direct primaries.

He said: “The truth of the matter is that there are no two situations that are the same. Somebody made allusion to the situation in Lagos State. Everybody stepped down for a particular aspirant then and it was a two traffic contest between the incumbent governor and the then governor.

“For those who clamour for direct primary election, the message to them is that Governor Akeredolu is more prepared for any mode of primary than those who clamour for direct.”

A group, the Arogbo Ijaw Patriots, has accused Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of deliberate nepotistic conduct in project execution against the minority Ijaw.

The group, in a statement yesterday by the Coordinator, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei and Secretary, Bibisa Kekemeke, alleged that Akeredolu has failed to protect the interest of the disadvantaged Ijaw minority.

It said it was distressing that the governor only focused on the development of Ijaw Apoi, his maternal country home, to the exclusion of the Arogbo Ijaw.

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The body said that the Arogbo Ijaw community had not been so terribly marginalised and treated as an enemy territory by any governor before Akeredolu.

The duo appealed to Governor Akeredolu to show the compassion expected of a leader to recognise that Ondo State had two ethnic groups: the dominant Yoruba and the minority Arogbo Ijaw.

Soriwei and Kekemeke said since Akeredolu took over, he had executed four budgets totalling N734 billion, out of which N310 billion was approved for capital projects.

They expressed shock and disappointment that not even N10million worth of project was sited in the more populated Arogbo Ijaw part of Ese Odo, while the governor and his deputy moved the projects to Apoi.

The group challenged Akeredolu and his government to counter the claim if it is untrue by pointing to any project in the area after almost four years of his administration.”

Ondo State has 18 local governments and Ese-Odo, the Ijaw local government, happens to be one of the two oil producing councils in the state.

The Arogbo Ijaw are the more populated out of the two Ijaw clans making up the local government, but Akeredolu and his deputy, Ajayi Agboola, only opted to site all roads and other projects in Apoi land in a brazen display of unparalleled nepotism.”

Between 2017 and 2020, Akeredolu has had the opportunity to preside over a cumulative budgetary figure of about N734billion. Of this figure, the governor allocated about N310 billion for capital projects for four years! We hereby challenge the Ondo State Government to contradict this statement of fact and make itself an objective of public mockery.”

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We can only plead with the governor to show compassion as a leader to listen to the cries of the mistreated Ijaw for a likeness of developmental attention.”The group said that Akeredolu’s maternal country people were given 188 job slots out of 200 that were given to Ese-Odo Local Government.

It added that of seven contracts of about N100million awarded by the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Authorities, four were given to the Ilaje of Ilaje Local Government and three to Ese-Odo, which Akeredolu gave to his mother’s people to the exclusion of Arogbo Ijaw.

The group said all entreaties of the Ijaw to the state government for a bridge across the tiny River Oluwa to link the headquarters of the Ijaw community, Arogbo, with the outside world, have been ignored by Akeredolu, who is doing bridges on land in other parts of the state.

It recalled that the governor constituted five state committees, including the one on COVID-19, without the inclusion of any Arogbo Ijaw person in the committees.

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