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Ondo Guber: Ayedatiwa Dares Co-aspirants, Says No Vacancy In Govt House



Ondo Guber: Acknowledge Defeat And Work With Aiyedatiwa, APC Advises Aggrieved Candidates

Ondo State Governor, Mr Lucky Ayedatiwa, has asked those trying to get him disqualified from the forthcoming governorship election to have a rethink, declaring that there is no vacancy in the Government House in Alagbaka.

Ayedatiwa spoke on Friday after he emerged from the screening of Ondo State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirants at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja.

Noting that the issues raised regarding his high school certificate were borne out of ignorance, the governor said evidence abounds, indicating that he did not forge any of his certificates.

He said, “Screening is one of the exercises that has to be done among the processes that the aspirants have to go through. Mine has just been done this morning, and all documents that were submitted have to be verified and questions asked where some are not too clear to the screening committee.

“Questions were asked and answered, and at the end of the day, I have been cleared that there are no issues. Especially the issue that has to do with certificate that a petition was written, today that has been put to rest. My certificates are genuine and authentic. I think this is just a kind of mischief by some other aspirants who find me to be an aspirant to beat, trying to look for a way to discredit my person, but that has been verified and put to rest.

“I think the issue is that it was a school they claim was established in 1980, and how is it that I was able to write my WASSCE in 1982? If you are a student of history, you will recall that in 1979, when the Governor of Lagos State at the time, Lateef Jakande, became Governor of Lagos State, most private schools were taken over and schools were built for the communities.

“Ikosi High School, which I attended, is one of the schools that were built by the regime of Lateef Jakande in the 1980s. So, it is on record that the school was established in 1980, and at that time I was already in Form ‘3’ in a private school. New Nation is in Ikosi, while Royal Comprehensive High School is in Ajegunle, Ikorodu, very close to Ketu. So all of us were moved to both New Nation and Royal Comprehensive High School, as well as some other schools that were affected by flooding. We were all moved to Ikosi High School Ketu, which was built by the government, and that was how we wrote our WASSCE in 1982 because we were in the first set.

“I was in Form ‘3’ at the time; it used to be five years, not now that you have six years for secondary school. So their question, the petitioner, is: How can a school be established in 1980? and we had a first set in 1982. The first set was supposed to be in 1985, but he didn’t take time to look at the history. So investigation has been conducted, the schools are still there, and the WAEC office is there, where you can actually verify the subject that I took, the year that I graduated, and the school.

“You just need to buy a scratch card and go to the website of WAEC; it will be there: Ikosi High School, Ketu, and my name will be there with the subjects that I took and the various grades. So it is clear to everybody that my certificate is authentic, and I actually graduated from that school in 1982.

“I should just advise them (my opponents) to repent and try to go to the field and work. If they are interested in the seat and the seat is not vacant, that is why they’re trying to do all that they are doing.”

There’s Vacancy, Says Oke

However, one of the aspirants, Chief Olusola Oke, who spoke with journalists after his screening, dismissed the governor’s declaration that there was another vacancy in Government House.

He said, “It is an aphorism from all incumbents. I heard this one in Lagos when Ambode was there. Ambode said, ‘No vacancy’; he had to leave when he needed to leave. It is a statement of wish and desire by the governor, and it is a statement that is intended to undermine a democratic exercise. If we are going to primaries and the people will have to determine, how would anybody have the guts to say there is no vacancy?

“There is no vacancy between now and February next year, no doubt, but after February, his one-year term will be exhausted, and then there will be a vacancy.

“I don’t intend to take over from him before the expiration of his one year in office. So, the essence of this exercise is that there will be a vacancy after a year and that he or somebody else will occupy the seat. Having regard to my wide contact with the people, I believe that I am succeeding him.”

Earlier, APC Deputy National Organising Secretary, Nze Chidi Duru, who spoke during the inauguration of the screening and Appeal committees for the state governorship primary election, urged the screening committee to “undertake the exercise with necessary diligence, discipline, and, of course, friendliness, that the work requires”.

He explained that the work of the Appeals Committee only starts when the screening committee has finished its work.

“It is important that when they finish their work within the timeframe allowed, they can hand over their report, not just the documents, you hand over your report. For us, the secretariat, we will also help you to midwife most of the things that will be required and then hand it over to the appeals committee that will start their work tomorrow (Saturday). When they complete their work, we can then get clearance for the candidates,” he stated.

The screening, which began on Friday morning, is expected to end at about 10 p.m. on the same day.

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