Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo State governor and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the October 10 gubernatorial election in the state, has attributed his victory to hard work, determination, focus and dedication.
The governor, who spoke at his Owo country home residence shortly after he was declared winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), added that his victory was a challenge to his administration by the electorate for rededication to service in their interest.
He promised not to relent in making the people the centre of his administration.
While addressing members of the All Progressives Congress National Campaign Council led by Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who were at his residence when the results were announced, Akeredolu said the renewal of his mandate was an eloquent testimony to the degree of acceptance by the people and affirmed that the confidence reposed in his administration remained unshaken.
Other APC leaders present at his residence were former Ogun governor, Ibikunle Amosun; Osun Governor Gboyega Oyetola and their Kogi counterpart, Yahaya Bello, amongst others.
Residents of Owo, the hometown of the governor, also trooped to his residence with drums and bands to celebrate the victory, shouting ‘Ibi Giga’ (Higher Place); 4+4=8; Aketi Leekan Si (Aketi One More Time); Akedatiwa, amongst others.
Overjoyed Akeredolu noted that his victory was a statement on the people’s assessment of his performance in the last three and half years.
According to him: “It is unequivocal, direct, inspiring and soul lifting. It is awesome. It is a reward for hard work, dedication, focus, honesty and patriotism. It is also a challenge to us for rededication to service in the interest of our people. On this, we shall not relent.
“The resounding victory of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), throws an open challenge to all stakeholders not to choose the path of complacency.
“We have noted the few dissenting voices of protest in this referendum. We heard them loud and clear. We intend to address genuine grievances. We shall continue to focus on the development of our God-given space, the Sunshine State.
“This administration will not be distracted in the discharge of our sacred mandate. The people will continue to be at the centre of all decisions
“We will proceed with our administrative style which promotes transparency and accountability. We are determined to set our state, progressively, on the path of real development. Self-reliance is attainable.
“Our state has no business with poverty. Sincere, purposeful and focused leadership should have little difficulty in harnessing the vast resources, both human and natural. We will put in everything to justify the trust reposed in us.”
Governor Akeredolu particularly congratulated the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Eyitayo Jegede, for participating in the election, adding that Eyitayo’s patriotism was not in doubt.
He also commended the electoral umpire, INEC, for conducting what he said was a free, fair and credible election.
Akeredolu, who won 15 of the 18 local government areas, polled 292,830 votes as against Jegede who garnered 195,791 votes. Agboola Ajayi, candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and deputy governor of the state, came a distant third with 69,217 votes.
The 15 local government areas won by APC are Ile Oluji/Oke-Igbo, Irele, Akoko North-East, Akoko South- West, Akoko North-West, Ondo East, Owo, Idanre and Akoko South-East, Ose, Odigbo, Okitipupa, and Ondo West, Ilaje and Ese Odo.
The PDP won in Akure South, Akure North and Ifedore local government areas, while the ZLP did not win any local government area.
Announcing the result at the INEC headquarters in Akure, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, the returning officer of the election, said Akeredolu met all the conditions required to be declared the winner.
“Having satisfied the requirement of the law and scored the highest number of votes, I hereby declare Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu of the APC as the winner, and he is hereby returned elected,” Olayinka said.
Donald Ojogo, the state’s Commissioner for Information, who was the head of the media team of Akeredolu’s campaign, said the people of the state deserve praise for believing in the governor and rejecting the propaganda of the opposition that were hell-bent on reversing the achievements recorded by the administration in the last four years.
“We thank the good people of Ondo State for making this a reality. Without them, this couldn’t have been possible”, he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari in his congratulatory message charged the governor to prove to residents that their trust in him had not been misplaced by performing better than he did in first term.
The president, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, also commended Ondo voters for displaying maturity by conducting themselves peacefully during the election, noting that their conduct had positively rubbed off on the nation’s diplomatic image.
He also commended INEC and the security agencies for their positive roles in making the election smooth and peaceful.
“President Muhammadu Buhari rejoices with Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) on his re-election as governor of Ondo State for another four-year term. The president lauds the resounding victory of the governor at the election held on Saturday, October 10, 2020, noting that the votes garnered ‘show that one good turn surely deserves another’.
“He thanks the people of Ondo State for keeping faith with their governor, and the All Progressives Congress (APC), noting that ‘the people know the person and party that truly serves them, and have spoken in clear voice and unmistakable terms’”.
Also Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti State and Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, in a statement described Akeredolu’s reelection as a victory for the people of Ondo.
“With God’s blessing, hard work, laser beam focus, proper planning, unity and sincerity of purpose, elections are always winnable. Congratulations, my brother. This is a victory for the people. A victory for democracy,” Fayemi wrote.
The ruling APC has described Akeredolu’s reelection as a vote for good governance, industrialisation, security, empowerment and general welfare of the state.
It said Akeredolu’s reelection was a testament to the inclusiveness, genuine reconciliation and peace the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led APC Caretaker Committee has ensured among party ranks in Ondo and the party in general.
A statement by the party’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, in Abuja, on Sunday, thanked Ondo residents for coming out en masse to vote for its candidate.
It reads: “The All Progressives Congress (APC) thanks the people of Ondo State for coming out en masse to reelect H.E. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), incumbent governor and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Saturday’s Ondo State governorship election”.
“As a party, while we thank the Ondo electorate for voting for good governance, industrialisation, security, empowerment and general welfare of the state, we will continue to advocate and support safe, free and credible elections that guarantee that valid votes count and the people’s will prevail.”
Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, also congratulated his Ondo State counterpart, Akeredolu, on his victory in last Saturday’s gubernatorial election, describing it as well deserved.
Sanwo-Olu, who is the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Campaign Council for Ondo State Governorship Election, said Akeredolu’s success in the election is a validation of people’s acceptance of his administration, having impacted positively in their lives during his first term in office.
Speaking at Akeredolu’s residence in Owo on Sunday shortly after INEC declared Governor Akeredolu and his running mate, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, as governor-elect and deputy governor-elect, respectively, Sanwo-Olu said the people of Ondo State deserve commendation for coming out in large numbers to perform their civic responsibility and for defying all odds to vote for APC-led administration in the state.
He said Akeredolu’s victory is a clear manifestation that the APC remains the party of choice for Nigerians, stressing that the party will continue to work in the best interest of Nigerians.
He said: “I must congratulate my brother, Governor Akeredolu, for being victorious in last Saturday’s election. His victory across the state is a confirmation of the trust and belief of the people in the APC led administration in Ondo State, having benefitted immensely from the various people oriented programmes of his administration.”
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has congratulated Akeredolu on his reelection for a second term.
Lawan also congratulated the APC on the victory of its candidate at the election, saying the triumph is well-deserved and heartwarming.
Lawan, in a statement by his Special Adviser (Media), Ola Awoniyi, noted that the election was a referendum on the stewardship of Governor Akeredolu in the last four years and that the governor has passed the examination in flying colours.
The Senate President commended the people of Ondo State for their peaceful conduct at the poll, which, he said has demonstrated their confidence in their country’s democratic process.