A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Akinlayo Kolawole, has urged party delegates in Ekiti State to consider competence, experience, commitment to the progressive ideals of the party and popularity of the aspirants before making their choice on the candidate of the party.
Kolawole urged the delegates, who are saddled with the task of electing Ekiti State APC flag bearer on May 6 for the July 14 gubernatorial poll, to ensure emergence of a candidate who is capable of winning the governorship election.
In a chat with journalists in Ado Ekiti, Kolawole said: “At present, we are operating as an opposition party in the state, we need to ensure that the best among the aspirants currently jostling for the party’s flag is presented as candidate for the election”.
The APC chieftain, who has been mobilising party faithful in Ekiti North Senatorial District for sometime now, said, “money should not be part of the requirement to occupy public office but commitment, consistence and contributions to party development should be some of the conditions that will determine who emerges as the party’s flag bearer “.
He called on the party leadership to ensure that the forthcoming APC primaries was not only transparent, but free, fair and credible, saying “anything short of these would engender crisis, acrimony and division within the party.
“Free and fair primaries would enable the party go to the poll with a united and formidable house, with every party member working for the success of the party from wards to state level.
“Once we allow imposition, the after effect would not be palatable for our party and that would mean allowing the ship of Ekiti to wander away for another four years.
“In a contest, one person must win, if we all have the interest of the party at heart, once a winner emerges, we should all line up behind whoever emerges, join hands with him and face our common enemy.
“Our leaders must be prepared to go the extra miles immediately after the primaries to assuage the feeling of the aggrieved and make sure they remain in the fold and whoever emerges as the candidate of the party must reach out to them too. The primaries would be a litmus test of the party’s unity”, Kolawole said.
Commenting on the large numbers of APC governorship aspirants in Ekiti, he said “APC is Nigeria’s democratic success story, where people are allowed to ventilate their opinion freely, without fear of victimisation. Our party is more than ready to take over the reigns of government in Ekiti.”
Kolawole described the agitation for zoning which has gained currency among the people of Ekiti South Senatorial District that the next Governor should come from their area, as genuine and legitimate, saying “but you can only give what you have, now we don’t have the power, we need to put forward a candidate that can win the election for us first, after which, we can now sit down and work for the realisation of Southern agenda”.