Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau on Monday said National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, and south-west governors absent at Saturday’s mega rally for the party’s candidate for the Ondo governorship election, Rotimi Akeredolu, have sent in their apologies.
Lalong, who is the chairman of Ondo APC Governorship Campaign Council, made this known to State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Akure APC rally, which was witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President Bukola Saraki, and other prominent members of the party, was attended by only Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun from the South West.
APC governors from Imo, Kano, Kogi, Jigawa, Nasarawa and Edo states attended the rally.
The governors of Lagos, Oyo and Osun states, Akinwumi Ambode, Abiola Ajimobi and Rauf Aregbesola respectively, as well as former governor of Lagos State, Tinubu, were also absent at the event.
Lalong, who was accompanied by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, however, explained that all the prominent APC personalities who failed to attend the rally had offered useful and convincing explanations.
He said that the national leader of the party, Tinubu, was not at the rally due to ill-health.
He added that “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 said he was not there because of ill-health, we prayed that God will heal him.”
Lalong said he was in the Villa to thank the President for attending the Ondo rally.
He noted that “we have come to thank the President for going to Ondo for the grand finale rally.”
Tinubu had opposed the emergence of Akeredolu as APC governorship candidate in Ondo.
He, therefore, demanded the resignation of the national chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun, whom he said had derailed from the path of progressives.
Odigie-Oyegun, however, dismissed the call, saying the party’s primary election was free and fair.