A group known as the Akeredolu Campaign Platform (ACP) has come out to defend the Ondo APC governorship candidate’s absence at the debate organised by Channels Television and Enough is Enough Nigeria in Akure, the Ondo state capital.
In a statement by its Secretary, Communications, Kunle Adebayo, the group stated that the APC flag bearer was not scared to face the people of the state with his manifesto as insinuated by some persons.
The statement reads: “Akeredolu Campaign Platform (ACP) regrets the inability of Barr. Rotimi Akeredolu, the APC flag bearers to attend today’s Governorship debate organised by Channels Television.
“It is unfortunate that the debate is coming at a time when our grassroots rallies are at their peaks.
“As we speak, Akeredolu is tucked in the deep riverine communities of Ilaje Local Government most of which have no access to electricity to watch television.
“In view of the demand of this hectic campaign schedule, we therefore regret our inability to honour Channel TV’s call for debate within the remaining time.”
Reactions have continued to trail the absence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu at the debate.
Candidates of the other political parties vying for Ondo State’s governorship seat on Monday reeled out their manifestos in the debate.
Giving his opening remarks about why he should be voted for and his experience that would ensure proper management of the state, the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Mr Olu Agunloye, who was a onetime Minister of Power, claimed that he was the only Minister of Power that had produced the largest amount of power (4,539 megawatts) for Nigeria.
He said that his experience is an asset that makes him the best choice for Ondo state as he is armed with economic policies that would transform the fortunes of youths in the state.
He said he would “train the young people to be job providers and not job seekers”.
On the funding of his campaign he dismissed claims that a member of the party had received funds from former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, that is facing trial.
Similarly, the Alliance for Democracy, (AD) candidate, Mr Olusola Oke, was also faced with questions regarding the funding of his campaign.
He dismissed claims that his party was being sponsored by the leader of the APC, Senator Bola Tinubu: “It stands against logic to be sponsored by the APC who I am in opposition to. The good people of Ondo state are the ones sponsoring me,” be stated.
He further pointed out that his mission was to create wealth by exploring the mineral and human resources, introduce transparency and create jobs.
Paying workers’ salaries in most Nigerian states has become a nightmare to most governors and the issue was raised at the debate, with demands for his decision about possible raise in wages, considering the economic recession that has triggered high inflation rate.
He said: “The minimum wage will remain as it is until we are able to solve the problem of salary arrears”.
On the economy of the state, he said he would ensure revenue leakages were plugged.
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Jimoh Ibrahim, a business mogul believes that having managed his business empire, he would be able to handle the affairs of the state.
Asked if he would be able to shoulder the demands of his business and that of the governorship position, he said: “None of my businesses can conflict with my political ambition in Ondo State”.
On reviving the state’s economy and creating jobs for the unemployed, he said: “My leadership is to create wealth. In a recession, you do not drive the economy with taxes”.
“We are going to abolish personal income tax in Ondo state and I will increase minimum wage immediately I become Ondo Governor.
“I will abolish all taxes” and increase minimum wage. He says the least anyone working for him would earn is 75,000 Naira,” he added.
The debate has offered the candidates an opportunity to let the electorates hear their policies and they will be turning out to polls on November 26 to elect a successor for Mr Olusegun Mimiko the incumbent governor.