President Muhammadu Buhari has hailed the re-election of Gov Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State as an example of what can be achieved when there is unity and tenacity of purpose.
Mr Buhari challenged members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to always work in unity to ensure victories in elections, admonishing that “unless we work together, we will suffer for nothing.’’
The president gave the advice to APC party leaders and members when he received Mr Akeredolu in Abuja.
Mr Buhari also stressed the need for the party members at ward, local council, state and national levels to take ownership of the party structures and operations with a larger goal of serving the country and working together to deliver on its mandate to the people.
He said: “Nothing succeeds like success. We are here to celebrate and congratulate Governor Akeredolu for his re-election, which was as a result of collaboration.’’
He noted that victory at the polls in Ondo was an indication of strong collaboration among party members, urging more harmony as the party prepared for the Anambra State election, and general elections in 2023.
“This is evidence that when we come together and collaborate we can achieve a lot. I received the governors in the State House on their way to Ondo State for the final campaigns.
“Let’s keep the relationship going while in office, and afterwards.
“We better tell all state party members what working together can do. There is nothing like tenacity of purpose,’’ he added.
The president called for more steadfastness, loyalty and consistency, stressing that only tenacity of purpose could lead to success in every facet of life, including winning elections.
“I am an example of tenacity of purpose. I contested elections three times, and the fourth time I got here.
“You just can’t sit and wait for things to happen under any system, you have to work,’’ he said.
Mr Akeredolu urged his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, who contested against him, to resign from the post “if he has honour’’.
Mr Akeredolu said this when he addressed State House correspondents after visiting the president.
Mr Ajayi dumped the APC under which he was elected with Mr Akeredolu in 2016 and ran for the office of the governor under the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) in the just concluded Ondo governorship polls without resigning from his post.
The ZLP candidate came third in the election in which he scored 69,127 votes while Mr Akeredolu got 292,830 votes to emerge winner.
Eyitayo Jegede of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got 195,791 votes to come second in the polls.
According to Mr Akeredolu, ”Even if Ajayi does not resign, his days are numbered as a new administration will soon be sworn in”. He said ”if Ajayi is contrite, he is ready to receive him with open arms”.
The governor, who said that he had forgiven all his `political enemies’, also described his declaration of some prominent Ondo indigenes as his enemies for life as a ‘political statement’.
He added that having won the election, he has no need to keep enemies.
In his remarks, Mala Buni, the Chairman of the APC Interim Management Committee, said Ondo State indigenes showed they were enlightened by opting for continuity and consolidation.
Mr Buni said the party would work together for legislative elections in Bayelsa, Imo, Cross River and Zamfara.
“We are mobilising for the elections and as usual we will need your support, Your Excellency,’’ he said.
Mr Akeredolu was accompanied by Mr Buni and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti.
Others were the Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum, Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State; Chairman of the Ondo APC Campaign Council, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, and Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa.