The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has declared that the July 14 governorship election is a “must-win” for his party.
He also assured all aspirants interested in the party’s ticket that a credible, free, fair and transparent primary election will be conducted to choose the flag bearer.
Oyegun stressed that the Muhammadu Buhari Administration would not compromise the integrity of the ballot box despite the party’s quest to regain the governorship seat in Ekiti.
The party leader promised that the APC structure in the entire country will mobilize all available resources to assist members in Ekiti to win the forthcoming governorship poll.
Oyegun spoke in Ado-Ekiti on Monday during a one-day official visit to Ekiti State to flag off the membership mobilization drive into the party.
The APC National Chairman registered new members at the state secretariat along Ajilosun in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
He was joined by some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) including the National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso.
Oyegun and his team made a stopover at the state secretariat where thousands of party members mobilized by governorship aspirants had waited to receive the team.
The train later moved to Eagle Hall along Ikere Road where another crowd of party faithful had gathered.
The National Chairman, Ekiti State APC Chairman, Chief Olajide Awe, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, State Working Committee members and governorship aspirants sauntered into the hall at about 1.15 pm to a rapturous ovation by party supporters.
Oyegun said the flag-off of nationwide registration of new party members was brought to Ekiti to show the readiness of the APC to win the forthcoming governorship poll in the Southwest state.
He said: “We did not choose Ekiti to flag off this event (new membership drive) by accident. Ekiti is facing an important election that will happen in this nation.
“God has put it in our hand, God has put it on your laps and God has chosen Ekiti to be a major factor in the politics of this country in July 2018.
“We in the National Executive have decided that the coming election in Ekiti is one we will work as hard as possible. No stone will be left unturned; it is a must-win election.
“As you know, the Muhammadu Buhari Administration will not compromise with offering voters a level playing field, the Buhari Administration will not compromise on having a free and fair election.
“It means whether we are in power at the federal level or not, we must all work hard to deserve the victory that belongs to us.”
Oyegun also reeled out some guidelines to ensure that aspirants and their supporters conduct themselves with decorum and ensure that the party organizes a transparent primary.
He said further: “The aspirants should not campaign as if there is no tomorrow, don’t campaign with enmity because there should be no discord in the party and anybody that wants to fly the party flag must sign an undertaking to maintain decorum.
“We at the national headquarters, having guaranteed a free and fair primary, because there cannot be peace without justice, will guarantee a free and fair primary.
“We must not have bad losers, all aspirants must collapse their structures into the person that is chosen at the primary. There must be no division and factionalisatio
“No officer (in the state exco) should join the campaign bandwagon of any aspirant whatever position you hold. The moment you do that, you have factionalised the party.”
Speaking on the issue of rumour to impose a candidate, Oyegun said: “I want to assure that in Ekiti State, we will have a free, fair and credible primary. We will provide security at the primary, it will be an open event and will be covered and recorded on television from the beginning to the end.
“There will be proper identification of delegates to prevent impersonation. Once the delegate list is out, every aspirant that pays the prescribed fee will be given the delegates list.
“At the voting point, party chairmen of the local government (chapters) and wards will stand at a distance away but they will ensure that those that will vote are bona fide delegates and anybody found impersonating will be handed over to the Police.
“A formidable group of (APC) governors will be mobilized who will superintend, guide and ensure that the election is totally free and fair.
“Finally, as far as Ekiti governorship election is concerned, we are going to mobilise the entire country, the entire APC structure to ensure that you (Ekiti APC) are not alone and that all resources you need for the election are made available to you.
“At the end of July, Ekiti will be APC.”
Governorship aspirants who present include Chief Segun Oni, Dr. Wole Oluyede, Mr. Kola Alabi, Mr. Victor Kolade, Dr. Bayo Orire, Senator Gbenga Aluko, Captain Sunday Adebomi, Dr. Mojisola Kolade, Chief Diran Adesua, Mr. Bimbo Daramola, Senator Ayo Arise, Dr. Wole Oluleye and Dr. Makanjuola Owolabi.