President Muhammadu Buhari has distanced himself from the crisis of confidence rocking the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ondo State saying he has no preferred aspirant. Buhari spoke, on Monday through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir David Lawal, who met with 24 aspirants of the party. Briefing newsmen at the end of the parley, which lasted four hours, Mr. Lawal said the discussions were peaceful and fruitful. The SGF said: “The government of President Muhammadu Buhari wishes to reiterate that it has no preferred candidate among the 24 aspirants and that government would do all in its power to provide a level-playing field for all the aspirants.
e expect that all the aspirants will work hard to win the votes of delegates. In the tradition of APC, we expect that there will be no inducement of delegates or coercion”, he added. Lawal also assured of adequate deployment of security operatives for the primaries, warning that government would deal decisively with anyone who breaches the peace. He restated that as a government, the President Buhari-led administration has no preffered aspirant. He urged the aspirants to unite behind whoever emerges as the candidate, saying: “Soon, Ondo State would become an APC state.” Besides, he said: “We understand that tension is high due to some underlying factors. The National Working Committee NWC of the party has assured the government and we believe them that everything will be done to ensure that elections are free and fair and we know that no official of the party would do anything to give undue advantage to any aspirant over others. “We will like to once again reassure you that as a government, we have no preferred candidate.” Speaking further, he warned that “Government will come hard on anyone that does anything that in anyway jeopardises the peace and security of Ondo state.” He equally told the aspirants that 10 of them were yet to sign an undertaken with the Department of State Services, DSS, to be of good conduct, urging them to do so. Party assures of level-playing ground In the same vein, National Secretary of the party, Mai Mala Buni who also restated the party’s position to provide a level-playing field for all aspirants saying, “this party is committed to providing free and fair election because the calibre of members that we are sending to conduct this primary election are up to the task.” Responding on behalf of the aspirants, Mrs Jumoke Anifowoshe commended the president for the reassurances, saying the aspirants are now satisfied and comfortable with the response of the government that the election would be free and fair.