By ‘Dotun Akintomide
As part of efforts to strengthen the All Progressives Congress in South West ahead of the Ekiti governorhip poll and the 2019 elections, President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday night hosted the party’s caucus members, including Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to a dinner at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
During the dinner, Buhari challenged South West APC chieftains to bring Ekiti State back into the fold of progressive states.
The president said they could achieve this by ensuring electoral victory for the APC gubernatorial candidate, Kayode Fayemi , in the forthcoming governorship elections in the state.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed July 14 for the conduct of the governorship elections in Ekiti State.
The President said members of the party must work together in the state to ensure that the will of the people was not subverted.
“I know Ekiti fairly well and Ekiti people are well known for their forthrightness, candour and integrity.
“All of these values seem to have been lost and we must restore these values and return Ekiti to its pride of place in the comity of states.
“As we approach the 2019 elections, the return of Ekiti into the fold of progressive states is important as the election of July 14 is going to be a key pointer to subsequent elections,’’ he said.
President Buhari, who reiterated his determination never to interfere in the internal affairs of the party at any level, commended his minister of Solid Mineral Resources, Kayode Fayemi for reaching out to his co-contestants who lost out in the Saturday primaries.
He therefore enjoined all members and supporters of the APC in Ekiti state and beyond to see the July 14 governorship elections as a collective mission to rescue Ekiti and promote development.
Chief Bisi Akande, who spoke to State House correspondents after the meeting, assured that the caucus would do all it could within the electoral process to secure victory for the APC candidate in the July 14 election.
Among those at the dinner were Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, National Leader of the APC and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande, Chief Segun Osoba and the National Chairman of APC, John Odigie-Oyegun.
All the 33 governorship aspirants, along with Fayemi and former governor Segun Oni, partook in the dinner.
Governors at the meeting included Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) and the Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, who was the chairman of APC Ekiti Governorship primaries committee.
Some members of the National Assembly, Ministers and stakeholders from the South West were also in attendance.