Former governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, said the declaration of support for the South-West aspirant by the northern governors of the All Progressives Congress, prompted him to step down for the presidential candidate of the party, Bola Tinubu.
Amosun and other presidential aspirants from the South including the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and former speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, stepped down for Tinubu at the APC convention held in Abuja.
The former governor stated this on Thursday while addressing his supporters, drawn from all the local government areas of the state who converged on the Alake palace pavilion in Abeokuta for a welcome rally.
Amosun who addressed his supporters both in English and Yoruba said he was not desperate to be the party’s presidential candidate.
He said he alloted 20 per cent interest to the presidential contest while he gave the remaining 80 per cent to the general interest of the South-West and Nigeria.
According to him, when I was declaring interest for the presidential seat two years ago, I had told my supporters that I was going into the race with 20 per cent interest while I would throw my support to anyone chosen by the party.
He said, “let me tell you this, you sent me to Abuja to go and work for us, I told them when I addressed them why I wanted to be president of Nigeria.
“But my wanting to be president of Nigeria cannot supersede the interest of all of us in Nigeria, all of us in the south, all of us in the southwest.
“It got to a point that we realised that our brother governors from the North were even rooting to say they want the presidency to go to the south.
“Then, we say, if we want the presidency to come to the south, then, all of us, we must find a way to unite, we must find a way to drop all these personal ambitions for the overall interest of all of us in the entire south and particularly, the Southwest.”
On Tinubu’s emergence as APC candidate, Amosun said, “I want to be President of Nigeria but my wanting to be president of Nigeria is just 20 per cent and that 80 per cent of it is that the presidency should come to the southwest; lo and behold, almighty God has answered that prayer, ultimately, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is our flagbearer will be the President of this great nation, Nigeria.
“So, what I want you to do, all the love, all the support, all the prayer that you have been giving to me, continue but, please, extend that support and prayer to our flagbearer, support APC, let us all campaign round because this is the only country that we have.”
Meanwhile, Amosun said that except for former President Olusegun Obasanjo, no politician from the state either dead or alive had served Ogun state more than he has done.
Amosun who has spent eight years as governor and running for his second term in the Senate said he had committed 15 years of his life to serve Ogun state.
Amosun had initially served as a senator representing Ogun central in 2003 and later became governor in 2011 where he spent eight years.
He said, “In this Ogun State, since 1999, I am on camera, except for Baba Olusegun Obasanjo, I am not talking of pre-1999, no human being, dead or alive has served Ogun State the way I have served.
“I have done eight years as your governor, by next year it will be my 8th year in the Senate. Just between 1999 and now, I have served Ogun State for 15 years of my lifetime.
“Let anybody that has done that come out, I am not talking of our referred fathers. I accept that there are so many giants that came before me, we stood on their shoulders and we are still standing on their shoulders, but the truth must be told and we must say it.
“Since 1999, Ibikunle Amosun has paid his dues in Ogun State and I am still paying it. Put your mind at rest, we are APC, APC is ours.”