By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja.
Plateau Governor, Solomon Lalong on Monday explained the absence of former Lagos Governor, Ahmed Bola Tinubu at the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship campaign rally in Akure, Ondo State last weekend, saying that it made no difference.
The governor told State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja that what mattered to the party was that the President and the APC National Chairman, John Odegie Oyegun among other party leaders attended the rally.
“There was no problem. We explained their absence. They sent in their apologies. You heard what happened there. As far as we are concerned, the President who is the leader of the party was at the rally. The national chairman was also there, as far as we are concerned, everybody was there.
“To the party, their absence did not make any difference. If a leader was not there and he has said he was not there because of ill-health, we have prayed that God will heal him.” Lalong declared.
The Governor, who is also leading the APC campaign in the governorship contest slated for Saturday, also stated that the party had done its home work through vigorous campaign and was hopeful of victory.
He said: “We have finished our campaign. You saw what happened at the grand finale. We are not in doubt that APC will win the election in Ondo.
“It is other parties that are scared of the APC and not APC being scared of other parties.”
Tinubu has kept a distance from the activities of the party since the Ondo guber primary was won by Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu. The former governor had alleged that the process that produced Akeredolu was suspect.
Also on Monday, Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, met with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Governor Mimiko, who arrived the villa after 12pm, went straight into the president’s office for a closed-door meeting. The meeting lasted for about about 30 minutes.
Thereafter, Mimiko headed to the Chief of State, Abba Kyari’s office where he spent another 30 minutes.
Asked why he had been visiting the President frequently, Mimiko replied: “What is frequent? This is my second visit to the villa since this crisis in our party started. Like I said, as the chief security officer of my state, if there is any credible threat to security, I owe the responsibility to Nigerians to inform Mr President of what is going on in the state.”
He however refuted the rumour that he was planning to cross-carpet to the All Progressive Congress (APC) following the Appeal Court’s decision which did not favour his faction of the PDP on the rightful candidate for the November 26 poll.
According to him, protocol demanded that he accorded President Buhari who is visiting Ondo State the normal courtesy as the President of the nation.
His words: “Mr President was in my state to campaign for his party. I extended to him the courtesies of receiving him at the airport and seeing him off as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, not as APC.
“I understand that people have speculated that this means I am going to APC. There is nothing of such. I only extended him normal courtesies that protocols demand.
“As a governor and chief security offcer of the state, if the president is visiting, no matter the party he belongs, it is only appropriate for me to extend the courtesies to him. That was what I did in Akure.
“And I have also come to brief him about the security situation in my state.”
On whether the PDP is planning to form another party due to the crisis rocking it, he said: “I am just concentrating on the case of my party in court.”
Asked what will happen if his candidate later wins at Supreme Court, Mimiko said: “The whole of Ondo State will erupt in joy and it will be so self-evident.”