…Clarifies certificate scandal allegations

From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The incumbent governor of Ondo State, Lucky Ayiedatiwa, has warned other aspirants for the State’s governorship election not to waste their time and resources for the non-vacant position in the Government House.

Aiyedatiwa spoke to newsmen on the sidelines after appearing before the All Progressives Congress (APC) inaugurated Screening Committee at the party’s national headquarters in Abuja on Friday.

He expressed happiness that he got clean bill of health despite the controversies trailing the authenticity of his certificate, advising those behind the speculations to repent and concentrate on working hard in the field ahead of the primary.

He chided them for picking interest in a seat that is not vacant, advising those planning to pull him down to repent.

“I should just advice them to repent and try to go to the field and work if they are interested in the seat but the seat is not vacant that is why they are trying to do all that they are doing.”

He also spoke on the edge he has over other aspirants, stressing: “We are all indigenes of Ondo State and we are all qualified to run to be the Governor of Ondo state but there is a sitting governor. That is what I am saying that I have the structures; the people and the competence.

“Within the few months that I assumed office they have seen clearly that this is the best man of the job. Yes because of the peace in the state and some the programmes that have been rolled out to the people.

“In fact, like I said the other time, my coming out to continue as Governor of Ondo state wasn’t borne out of my own ambition or desire but because of the yearnings and aspirations of the people; the endorsement of the traditional rulers, the students, artisans, everybody; the community leaders, even the civil servants, everybody are happy with the current state (of affairs); peace and security for the day people and they are going about their businesses without fear,” he said.

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Asked what is the next for him after the screening, Aiyedatiwa said: “The next line of action we are waiting for the primary election comes 20th of this month (April), that is even days away from now. So that is why we have being talking to the people, we will continue to talk to them why they should come out on that day because it is a direct primary that will involve the party members.

“Don’t forget that we have to pay for our party members because according to the rule there is only the financially up to date members that will be allowed to vote. So, as a government we have to pay for our members. Other aspirants also have to pay some money but I paid the highest for our members to have the opportunity to vote,” he said.

Clearing air concerning the controversy trailing his certificate, Aiyedatiwa said: “Screening is one of the exercises that has to be done among the processes that the aspirants have to go through. Mine has just been done this morning and all documents that were submitted have to be verified and questions asked where some are not too clear to the screening committee.

“Questions were asked and answered and at the end of the day, I have been cleared that there are no issues. Especially the issue that has to do with certificate that a petition was written, today that has been put to rest. My certificates are genuine and authentic.

“It is just a kind of mischief by some other aspirants who find me to be an aspirant to beat trying to look for a way to discredit my person but that has been verified and put to rest.

“The issue really regarding that was a school they claim was established in 1980 and how is come I was able to write my WASCE in 1982. If you are a student of history you will recall that in 1979, when the Governor of Lagos State at the time Lateef Jakande became Governor of Lagos State most private schools were taken over and schools were built for the communities. And Ikosi High school that I attended is one of the schools that were built by the regime of Lateef Jakande for the 1980.

“It is on record that the school was established in 1980 and at that time I was already in Form ‘3’ in a private school, New Nation is in Ikosi while Royal Comprehensive High School is Ajegunle Ikorudu very close to Ketu. All of us were moved both New Nation and Royal Comprehensive High School and some other schools that were affected with flood we were all moved into Ikosi High School Ketu that was built by the government and that was how we wrote our WASCE in 1982 because we were in the first set.

“I was in Form ‘3’ at the time, it used to be five years not now that you have six years for Secondary school. So their question, the petitioner is how can a school be established in 1980 and we have a first set in 1982 that the first set supposed to be in 1985 but he didn’t take time to look at the history. Investigation has been conducted, the schools are still there, WAEC office is there where you can actually verify the subject that I took and the year that I graduated and the school.

“You just need to buy a scratch card and go to the website of WAEC, it will be there – Ikosi High School Iketu and my name will be there with the subjects that I took and the various grades. So it is clear to every body that my certificate is authentic and I actually graduated from that school in 1982,” he insisted.