A former governor of Ekiti State, Segun Oni, has dismissed reports that former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, would join the Social Democratic Party (SDP) if he fails to get the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 general elections.
Oni, who is the SDP governorship candidate in the forthcoming June 18 Ekiti State governorship election, said this on Wednesday in Abuja after inaugurating the party’s sub-convention committee, of which he is the chairman.
He noted that SDP remains open to people who share its vision and mission, and people who are ready to deepen democracy and good governance.
According to him, aspirants and observers should be assured that the convention would be transparent, devoid of vote buying, delegates inducement and rancour.
Reacting to question that Tinubu had reached out to the party for possible defection, Oni said, “Too much speculations. Let me say that we are SDP. As far as we are concerned, our doors are open to everybody. We are not locking opportunities here. We will wait.
“Every process will be taken seriously and without any preference. So, do not speculate too far.
“We are going to have our convention. As far as I know, negotiation and consensus cannot be limited. We are also going to allow everything to be done in such a way that people will learn a lesson.
“We are not going to coerce anybody and we are not going to bulldoze our way through. Everything will be transparent. No part of our convention will take place in the dead of the night.”
He also clarified that there was no faction in SDP, and that aggrieved members would be persuaded to drop their grievances for the development of the party.
He said, “This is the SDP that INEC recognised; I will not go anywhere if it is not recognized by INEC. Almost immediately after I completed the first round of formalities, INEC came up with a list of accredited persons who are going to contest governorship in Ekiti and my name is there, which means the work done is in this office.
“The fact speaks for itself; I will like to appeal to our brothers that if there is anything to talk about, they should let us talk it over.
“This is not the time to distract Nigerians. Nigeria must get better; it is not about us individually, it is about Nigeria collectively.
“We know some of them and we are going to engage them. We must talk, we must resolve our differences, we must move forward together. Because they will all be relevant in the quest to move Nigeria forward.”
On his part, national secretary of the party and former minister of defence, Dr. Olu Agunloye, promised on behalf of SDP to conduct the best national convention ever.
He said, “You will see a convention where delegates will vote not according to the dictates of dollars. SDP delegates will vote with their conscience.”