As the 2024 governorship poll in Ondo draws closer, Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa has warned political gladiators in the state not to heat up the polity.
The Governor urged them to see the election as an avenue of contest of ideas and not an opportunity to settle political scores.
Aiyedatiwa in a New Year state broadcast on Monday, said political parties and aspirants should eschew violence that could threaten the existing peace as the state marched towards the election season.
Independent National Electoral Commission had scheduled the gubernatorial election in the state for November 2024, while political parties are expected to conduct their primaries in April.
The Governor said, “As we are all aware, this is also the year for our governorship election. Expectedly, political activities will gain prominence as we march towards the election.
“However, let me implore all political parties, aspirants and their followers to eschew violent conducts that can threaten the peace and tranquillity of our state and ensure that they follow strictly the guidelines issued by the electoral umpire.
“The election should be a contest of ideas and choices and not an opportunity to settle political scores or an excuse for calumny.”
While reflecting on the events of the past year in the state, Aiyedatiwa described the death of former governor Rotimi Akeredolu as a huge loss to the state but stressed that he would be immortalised for his developmental projects in the state.
He promised that Akeredolu, who died of protracted prostate cancer, would be given a befitting state burial as a mark of honour, assuring that the projects left behind by the former governor would be completed.
“It was a year that ended with the unfortunate loss of our dear former Governor and Leader, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON. Arakunrin left an indelible mark on the annals of time and his contributions to the development of our state, and indeed Nigeria, are etched in history.
“As we have promised, we will not only give our late former Governor a befitting state burial but will also immortalize his name, just as we will strive to complete all the developmental projects he embarked upon as Governor of Ondo State.
“His death was preceded by events that tested us in diverse ways but those challenges have shaped our resolve to, more than ever before, bring our people together and pursue the attainment of a peaceful and prosperous Ondo State. It is time to put the past behind us and focus all our human and material resources into building on the foundation that this administration has so far laid.”
The governor also appreciated the contributions of President Bola Tinubu, National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Ganduje and elder statesmen who intervened in the political crisis in the state, especially in dousing the political tension before Akeredolu’s death.
But he noted that his administration was prepared to scale up development in the state, stressing that the 2024 appropriation bill recently signed into law would allow him to hit the ground running.
“It is in the light of this that I signed the 2024 appropriation bill into law on the last working day of 2023. This was done in order to allow us hit the ground running on the first working day of the new year to deliver results that will restore the faith of our people in this administration.
“The budget, which we christened ‘Budget of Economic Resilience’, will instigate development while we will critically prioritize the present needs of the people and create the conditions for a desirable future with prudent use of our collective resources.
“This budget underscores our determination to put workers’ welfare as top priority. We will also focus on human capital development, environmental sustainability, rural development, and completing ongoing infrastructural projects,” he said.