The Rotimi Akeredolu Media Team has described as “faceless” some organisations tagged a coalition of Odua self-determination groups working for the emergence of Olusola Oke of the Alliance for Democracy as the governor of Ondo State, saying they only exist in the minds of their sponsors for the promotion of ethnic politics.
It also said that the brand of politics being promoted by the groups represented a retrogressive step for the Yoruba people to take their pre-eminent roles in the political engineering of the country for national development.
The group had accused the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Rotimi Akeredolu, as the agent of “certain interests” opposed to the aspirations of Ondo people.
But reacting to the accusation contained in a press statement purportedly by the representatives of Oodua Peoples Congress, Oodua Development Alternative, Coalition of Oodua Nationalists, Agbekoya and 10 other “shadowy groups purportedly drawn from the seven South West states” under the alleged aegis of Pan Yoruba Democratic Movement and signed by one Oluwole Suleiman and and certain Akinola Omotoyinbo, Akeredolu said the groups must be impersonating the authentic pro-Yoruba organisations that had been consistent in their defence of the Yoruba cause.
According to the Akeredolu media team, the groups that boasted that the battle to ensure victory for Oke will be waged with “vigour, determination and unrelenting spirit” are the same groups that tried to sabotage the South West’s efforts to climb to national political limelight during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
The statement said: “It is interesting that OPC and its purported allies that led in the destruction of the posters of President Muhammadu Buhari and that of the Yoruba leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu across Lagos State in aid of President Jonathan to win the 2015 presidential election, are the same groups that are now claiming to fight for the Yoruba people after they tried in vain to ensure Jonathan’s victory.
“Curiously, all these groups and their entire memberships claiming to fight for Ondo people are based in Lagos with all the characters purportedly leading the groups having no connection whatsoever with the aspirations of Ondo people.”
Describing the groups as “election merchants working for the right fees”, the statement noted that it was ridiculous for the group to brand Akeredolu as a front for certain anti-democratic interests opposed to the general aspirations of Ondo people after the senior lawyer contributed immensely to the development of the state and its Law Reform when he served as Ondo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice under the late Military Administrator, Anthony Onyearugbulem, among other roles he played to lift the state out of poverty.
It described the groups as agents of distabilisation and disintegration, warning Ondo people against “dangerous elements that swear their loyalty and solidarity to the highest bidders and make the loudest noise during elections to make money”.
The statement also faulted the group’s claim that Akeredolu had no blue print and that he ran away from Ondo State after losing 2012 governorship election.
“Akeredolu has a five-point development blue-print he is selling across the state and it is on record that of all the APC aspirants that contested in 2012, it was only Aketi Campaign Organisation that sustained its presence for four years in the state running the secretariat before the last September primary that produced Akeredolu because of his firm control of the party in the state,” the statement explained.
Lampooning the group for claiming that it resisted President Jonathan’s bid to impose a candidate on Lagos State in 2015 governorship election, the statement described the group as lacking integrity to defend Yoruba cause, explaining that it was on record that the same OPC and its allies were the willing tools in PDP’s hands that unleashed mayhem on Lagos, taking over the long stretch of Ikorodu Road in an orgy of violence in a pro-Jonathan protest to stop a Yoruba man, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, from becoming the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the last presidential election.
The statement also faulted the group’s claim over alleged fraud in NDDC’s failed projects, saying that instead of mischievously blaming another candidate for the fraud, questions should be directed at Oke, who as NDDC commissioner was accused in a petition of misappropriating N155m on alleged fake projects in a non-existent community known as Ubaeripato.
Urging Ondo State people to beware of fake Awoists pretending to love them, the statement said Akeredolu was the most accountable and upright candidate with the vision, honesty and passion to take the state to the Promised Land.