The President of the All Progressives Congress in Ondo State, Mr. Ade Adetimehin, in this interview with PIERRE DADAtalks about the party’s preparation for the 2023 general election, among other political issues in the state and nation
Campaigning for the 2023 general election begins today, how prepared is your party with regards to election activities?
You know, Rome wasn’t built in a day. As a party, we have been doing our normal things since the beginning of the party primaries. What we are not allowed to do is open campaign. Now that the campaign begins today, we are fully prepared to do our part and ensure that our party wins the election. The most important part is the regular meeting of people and we had our regular meetings every day.
We have regular meetings at local government, ward and unit level. The APC is an ideological party. We have principles and what it takes to govern society. This is why we have structures in the units and cadres in the 4,000 units of the State. We have our excos in all 203 wards and 18 local government areas and all of these excos meet regularly.
Recently, we began our visits to the three senatorial districts of the state, and it is for our party members to share ideas, discuss how to strengthen the party and plan what to do to make our happy people. In all these meetings the attendance was very high and people are joining in the fun daily.
Ondo State has many support groups for the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. What are you doing to ensure good coordination of these groups so that there are no long-term clashes?
All of these support groups are members of APC. As I told you, the party has structures in all units and neighborhoods, but these support groups must complement the party structures. Support groups are not political parties; I find them like NGOs. Since they are not a registered political party, they only support the party. If you have a support group, you register either with the state or with the national headquarters of our party and when you register with the headquarters, they give the green light to the group with the aim of strengthening and creating synergy with the party in their state. . So when the groups arrive in the state, we double-check their letters and direct them to the local government where they came from.
How sincere do you think these bands are? Don’t you see them as trying to take advantage of people and campaign funds?
With all due respect, some are genuine, some are not. We will work with those that are genuine and reduce those that are not.
How will you identify those who are not authentic?
Well, their authenticity will make them comply with the order asking them to return to their local government and complete the structure there. But if they want to work in isolation, without dragging the party, you know they have ulterior motives. As long as they synergize with the party, you know they are genuine.
There is a problem with your party on the issue of the same religion ticket. Christians are the majority in Ondo State and we have heard that some party members are unhappy with this arrangement. How are you handling the situation?
In us, at the APC, Christians and Muslims coexist and we do not discriminate. What we are looking for is good governance. All religions are good. A Muslim, as well as a Christian, seeks good governance, even the traditional faithful. It now depends on who can direct them properly. You are not going to rule on the basis of religion. So we are together and we coexist. Our goal is good governance. Again, I believe you are not placing your candidacy on religion, but rather on performance. You can choose Christian/Christian and you do better than a Muslim. Also, you can choose a Muslim/Muslim and have better results than a Christian. It is therefore about individual capacity. For me, there needs to be less emphasis on the issue of candidacy based on religion.
Akeredolu in Ondo state built a mosque in the government house. There is a church and a mosque and there is no problem. So we should emphasize religion less.
There are many problems in the country, especially those of insecurity and the economy. Some say that your party’s presidential candidate may have nothing to say to Nigerians during the campaign. Do you think the APC will do better after the 2023 general election?
Well, I can tell you that out of all the presidential candidates right now, I don’t know of tomorrow or future, ours, Tinubu is the best in terms of background, performance and ability. He played as a governor and a senator. Asiwaju is a man who believes in the materials around him. If you look at his environment, he opts for the best materials. By the time he takes office, Nigeria will be better than where we are now.
Some fear that northerners will pull out to vote for themselves in the election. What do you think ?
Who is their own person? Is it the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party who comes from the North?
What about the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party who is also from the North? Has Atiku freed Adamawa since he entered politics? What these people say is only insinuation. The APC is a party that transcends religions. Most of our supporters come from the North. You should know that the national president of APC is from the North region. Our party believes in fairness while the presidential candidate is from the south of the country. So everyone will vote for their party. The national president must deliver the North. Isn’t our national president their people? He was governor of Nasarawa for two terms and a senator for three terms. Of all the political bigwigs in the North, no one can claim to be more popular than him. So he will deliver. When we talk about northern politicians, we must first reckon with our president. He has never lost a state since the beginning of this dispensation. So isn’t Nasarawa part of the northern region? Forget the insinuations, we’re getting there.
We have heard that some of your members in Ondo State are aggrieved especially some aspirants who thought the outcome of the appeals committee was silent after appealing the result of the primary election. What’s your reaction ?
Well, I don’t know what you mean by aggrieved wannabes, but I can tell you with authority that the APC in the state is one family. No one is harmed and we all work together. Notice, I told you that we have our regular meetings at all levels in the state. Look at the political parties in the state, the APC under Governor Rotimi Akeredolu is the only party with cohesion. You can go into the nooks and crannies of our party in Ondo and you will find that there is not a single splinter group or faction.
How were you able to solve the problem surrounding the result of the last primaries in certain constituencies?
One thing about our members in the state is that our primary focus is good governance. Our main objective is to elevate the party towards the Promised Land by placing party interest above individual interest. Yes, we may see aggrieved members, but the party interest is paramount in our minds.
Aren’t you worried that these aggrieved members might move on to another party at the last hour?
Our members believe in the interest of the party. What they have in mind is how to sustain and strengthen the party. I can tell you that of all the political parties in the state, the APC is the only organized party. Nobody leaves. People come to the party everyday. those we need and we do them quietly.
What do you think of Governor Akeredolu’s appointment as South West Coordinator of Tinubu/Shettima Camping Organisation, what do you think qualified him ahead of other APC Governors in the region ?
Well, in terms of boldness and outspokenness, he’s a man who fits in. Additionally, he is the only governor in the South West to have won the election with 55% of the total votes cast. No one has this record. His record is what he needs in the race to the remaining part of the South West to see APC win in the next election. And being the president of the South West Governors Forum, he is the one who coordinates the governors of the South. He can reach out to other opponents who are not in the APC. I guess those are the areas the leaders looked at before selecting it.
What is your message to your members there?
My message to APC members in the state is that they must go to work for the success of the party. They should come out and mobilize and make sure our party comes out on top in the next general election in 2023. I thank them for always being there and standing with the party.