The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State yesterday kicked off its governorship campaign in the ancient city of Ile-Ife where Governor Rauf Aregbesola, urged defectors to return before it is too late.
The governor, who led the campaign train to the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, to receive royal blessings for the party’s candidate, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola, assured the APC members and supporters of victory in the September 22 election. He said defectors were free to return now before their spaces are filled.
The outgoing governor said Oyetola’s performance would surpass his legacies if elected.
Opening with Quranic recitation, Aregbesola also led the crowd to recite Psalms 23 and 24 of the Bible.
Addressing the crowd of party leaders, members and supporters who defied the sun and drizzles that characterised some hours of the day, Aregbesola advised voters not to be intimidated, assuring that security would be reinforced on the election day to ensure that the electorate cast their votes in a peaceful atmosphere.
The governor explained that they came to the town to first receive royal blessings and to kick off the campaign as it has always been done. He said the party normally does this given the historical importance of Ile-Ife and the symbolic meaning of Tuesday in Yoruba land. Tuesday symbolises victory in Yoruba land.
According to him, Ooni Adeyeye gave his blessings and reminded them of the symbolic meaning of Tuesday.
He said Oyetola would be a worthy successor, adding that the party has recorded unparalleled achievements in the state in the last eight years.
His words: “We are here today for two reasons – to seek Ooni’s blessings and seek the votes of Ife people.
“Ooni has blessed us. He pointed out that today, Tuesday signifies victory, meaning Oyetola will record victory. God is with us. He has given us the wisdom and strength to take Osun to the promised land.
“On the election day, Osun people will decide whether they want Osun to progress or regress. I know we will also vote for the progress of the state by way of continuity. So, use your voting power to elect Oyetola. 127,000 party members decided in his favour during the primary in July.
It’s our responsibility to elect him as our candidate.
“We won’t fight with anyone but whoever attacks us will be in trouble. Let our women troop out in large number and perform their obligation.
Never be intimidated. Security will be reinforced. God and the people are with us.
“Oyetola will build on the foundation we have laid. He will lead well. We have established it in 2014 that we are solidly on ground.
“Tell those who defected to return quickly because their spaces are still open.
We always flag off our campaign in Ile-Ife, and on Tuesday. We have done that and received Ooni’s blessings. Oyetola is competent to sustain APC legacy. We are confident that he will surpass our achievements in the development of Osun State. He is much more reserved. He will definitely advance the fortune of our party. He will be a worthy successor.”
Earlier, the State Chairman of the party, Chief Gboyega Famoodun, also urged the people to vote for the APC candidate in the election. He asked voters to judge the party by its performance in the last eight years.
Aregbesola, clad in white native dress with a white cap to match, rode into the compound in an open-roof green bus. Also clad in complete white attire, Oyetola was with him. Aregbesola’s deputy, Mrs Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, was with them.
Waving his broom, the symbol of the party, to supporters, the crowd responded by waving. Their entrance threw the crowd into a frenzy.
Ile-Ife is the hometown of the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Senator Iyiola Omisore.
Massive crowd of the APC supporters had stormed Ooni’s palace as early as 10:00 am to welcome the governorship candidate and his team and later to the campaign ground, Government Technical College, Ilode in the town. Others had assembled at the venue of the rally as early as 11:00am. The crowd was so much that the entire town virtually stood still given the number of vehicles conveying party members and supporters.
The one kilometre stretch of Enuwa (palace area) to the campaign ground was literally beaming at the seams with movement of supporters. The party’s branded shirts, caps and their brooms sent firm signal to the people of the town of Oyetola’s support strength.
The supporters, who wore different uniforms, arranged themselves in groups as they sat round the field while others milled the entire surrounding and the wide street. They include party leaders and elected state and federal lawmakers.
Itinerary drummers, traders, farmers, market women, artisans, old and young people and ordinary citizens thronged the venue to cheer and listen to the political leaders.
The leaders took turn to address the crowd, highlighting the achievements of the APC administration. They urged them to vote for Oyetola for sustenance of the good works and stability of governance. The achievements highlighted include rebuilding of schools, construction of quality roads, free healthcare, security and urban renewal.
They urged their voters to shun violence and argument with opposition parties but cast their votes for the APC on September 22.
According the APC leaders, Oyetola is an intellectual, adding that he is credible, patient and God-fearing.