The first lady of Ondo State Betty Akeredolu has withdrawn from the senatorial flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial aspirant for Imo East.
In a statement titled, ‘Notice of withdrawal from senatorial race’ on Sunday morning, Akeredolu said her decision was necessary because of intimidation meted out on herself and her supporters.
According to her, she has reliable information that some party bigwigs are scheming to rig the primaries to favour a particular candidate.
She, however, pledges her support for any candidate of the party that emerges winner.
The statement read, “I wish to declare my decision to withdraw from the Senatorial Primaries of Imo East Senatorial zone. This decision has become necessary following brazen irregularities, use of force and intimidation meted out on my person and supporters.
“I have received reliable information that arrangements have been concluded by some high authorities within the party to scheme the whole process in favour of a particular candidate. Delegates are being harassed and intimidated to comply with this directive.
“I believe in free and fair elections, equity and a level playing ground. The circumstances that have shrouded events preceding this primaries have proven to be far from these ideals which I hold so dearly. It is expedient therefore for me to withdraw from this race which I believe is also in the interest of the party in the state.
“I must, at this juncture, appreciate Ada Owere team, all my friends and supporters who stood by me during this period. Special thanks to the delegates who believed in me but were denied the opportunity to express their support.
“I sincerely apologise to all those who will be disappointed by this decision. Rest assured that your belief in me is greatly appreciated.
“Finally, let me affirm that I will continue to serve the good people of Imo East Senatorial zone and Imo state at large, contributing my quota to the development and fair and just society. Politics should not be a do-or-die affair. I had earlier stated that if I did not emerge as the standard-bearer in a free and fair primary, I would throw my weight behind any of my brothers who emerged.
“All I asked for was a level playing ground where delegates would be allowed to express themselves without fear and intimidation. I sincerely hope that one day, we will get it right.”