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Buhari to Ondo APC guber aspirants: I have no preferred candidate

Ondo State governorship aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Monday, heaved a sigh of relief as President Muhammadu Buhari told them that there is no preferred candidate.
The party primaries will hold on September 3 in Akure.
This open declaration by the president led to confusion in the camp of Segun Abraham, who was said to have been endorsed by the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Twenty-four aspirants were present at the meeting held in Abuja.
Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, also told them that he would deal decisively with anyone who wants to cause crisis during the primaries as all security agencies have been briefed to be on high alert.
He told the aspirants not to be afraid of seeking for the ticket of the party for the November 26 election because “a level-playing ground will be given to all of you”.
Lawal said: “The government of President Muhammadu Buhari wishes to reiterate that it has no preferred candidate among the 24 aspirants and that government would do all in its power to provide a level-playing field for all the aspirants.
“We expect that all the aspirants will work hard to win the votes of delegates. In the tradition of APC, we expect that there will be no inducement of delegates or coercion. We assure you of adequate deployment of security operatives for the primaries and we will deal decisively with anyone who breaches the peace.
“We understand that tension is high due to some underlying factors. The National Working Committee (NWC) of the party has assured the government and we believe them that everything will be done to ensure that elections are free and fair and we know that no official of the party would do anything to give undue advantage to any aspirant over others.
“We will like to once again reassure you that as a government, we have no preferred candidate. Government will come hard on anyone that does anything that in anyway jeopardises the peace and security of Ondo State”.
He equally told the aspirants that 10 of them were yet to sign an undertaken with the Department of State Services (DSS) to be of good conduct, urging them to do so immediately.
While speaking, APC National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, also declared that whoever emerges at the primaries “which will be free and fair” would be supported at the election.
He said: “This party is committed to providing free and fair election because the calibre of members that we are sending to conduct this primary election are up to the task.
“The question of either camping or inducing delegates, I am sure our delegates are people that no one can control their minds. Nobody at any level will influence their decisions”.
Mrs Jumoke Anifowose, daughter of the late Yoruba leader, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, who responded on behalf of the aspirants, thanked Buhari for being the father of all.
To her, the aspirants are now satisfied and comfortable with the response of the government that the primaries would be free and fair.

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