The Ondo State governor-elect, Rotimi Akeredolu on Wednesday at the State House, suggested former Lagos Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is not more than a state level leader of the All Progressives Congress.
Akeredolu said mentioning Asiwaju Tinubu in his victory speech, after he specially acknowledged President Muhammadu Buhari and party chairman John Odigie-Oyegun could have necessitated inclusion of "36 or 37" leaders - referring to the 36 States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
Akeredolu, accompanied by the deputy governor-elect, Agboola Ajayi, addressed journalists after meeting with President Buhari, and explained why he didn't mention Tinubu - reputed for his pivotal role in the formation of APC and emergence of Mr. Buhari - in his victory speech.
In his victory speech after he was declared winner of the election on Sunday, Akeredolu "profusely" thanked Buhari, Oyegun, the "indefatigable and principled Chairman"; and "loyal" governors and ministers - subtly hitting at South West APC leaders, including Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State and his Lagos counterpart, Akinwumi Ambode, who had abandoned him during campaign, allegedly supporting Olusola Oke of Alliance for Democracy instead.
Although Asiwaju Tinubu and Governor Ambode have extended congratulations to Akeredolu, it is apparent, with his subtle denigration on Wednesday, the governor-elect is still angry he was not supported by the former Lagos Governor.
Akeredolu however denied rift with Mr. Tinubu.
"For me as a person, I believe he is one of the leaders of the party and I don't see any strain relationship between us. And you would observe that he has sent in his congratulatory message after the election, so what else do you expect?
Asiwaju Tinubu had backed Olusegun Abraham to clinch APC ticket eventually won by Akeredolu to contest, and win, last Saturday's governorship election.