Olalekan Adetayo and Kamarudeen Ogundele
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the last governorship election that produced the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, was characterised by “hanky-panky,” describing it as an unfortunate saga.
He, therefore, called on the leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress to do everything possible to ensure that they did not allow any subversion of the will of the people again.
Buhari said this while hosting the members of the APC South-West caucus to a dinner at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
All aspirants that contested the party ticket in Ekiti State with the winner, Dr Kayode Fayemi, were also present at the dinner.
Buhari said it was not in his character to interfere in the internal workings of the APC because it was the responsibility of the party to conduct primaries for elective positions.
He said now that the party had completed that assignment and a candidate had emerged, the job of party leaders was to build a united front that could propel the party to victory in the election that he described as all important.
Buhari said, “This is crucial because I remember the hanky-panky that attended the last gubernatorial election in Ekiti State in 2014. I recall the firsthand account I received from some of the dramatis personae in that unfortunate saga.
“We must do everything to ensure that we do not allow any subversion of the will of the people this time around.
“Now that the primary is over and we have a candidate, all hands must be on deck to achieve a positive result.”
Buhari expressed delight that Fayemi had started reaching out to his co-contestants with a view to working together.
He appealed to all the aspirants to see the election as a collective mission to rescue Ekiti and promote development, adding that it was important for the APC to win the July 14 election because it would serve as a pointer to subsequent elections in the country.
The President said forthrightness, candour and integrity that hitherto characterised the people of the state appeared to have been lost in the state currently being governed by the Peoples Democratic Party.
He said it was time for the APC to restore those lost values and return the state to the comity of states.
Buhari added, “I know Ekiti fairly well and Ekiti people are well known for their forthrightness, candour and integrity. All of these values seem to have been lost and we must restore these values and return Ekiti to its pride of place in the comity of states.
“As we approach the 2019 elections, the return of Ekiti into the fold of progressive states is important as the election of July 2014 is going to be a key pointer to subsequent elections.
“On my part, let me reassure you that you can count on my support. But charity must begin at home. I urge Ekiti leaders and the leaders from the South-West to take this assignment seriously so that the APC can laugh last in the July election. It is only then that we will all be beneficiaries of victory.
“Let us return to the field to work hard and deliver victory to our great party.”
A former interim national chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, told State House correspondents at the end of the meeting that all party chiefs in the South-West would work for Fayemi’s success.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, were present at the dinner.
Governors at the meeting included Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) and the Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, who was the chairman of the APC Ekiti Gubernatorial Primary Committee.
Some members of the National Assembly, ministers and stakeholders from the zone also attended the dinner.
Ekiti people will reject APC, PDP replies Buhari
Meanwhile, the Kolapo Olusola Campaign Organisation has described President Buhari’s statement that the APC must win the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State as “wishful thinking”
KOCO, which is the campaign group of the Deputy Governor of Ekiti State and the Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship candidate, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, said Ekiti people would never allow their state to be added to the comity of states already infected with the plague of poor governance by the President and his party.
In a statement issued on Thursday, KOCO Director of Media and Publicity, Lere Olayinka, said “President Muhammadu Buhari should perish the thought of his anointed candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi, winning the July 14 election and face the reality of his failed Presidency with a view to making amends before he is sent back to Daura next year.”
Olayinka challenged President Buhari to tell Nigerians what he had done for the state in the last three and half years.
He said, “Even in Isan Ekiti, Fayemi’s hometown, nothing has happened to the Clay Kaolin that is there in large quantity despite that their son is in charge of solid minerals.
“It is funny that the President said Ekiti must return to the fold of progressive states. Is he talking about the same so-called progressive states that are sacking workers in their thousands? Or the APC states where herdsmen are killing people in a gruesome manner on a daily basis is what he wants Ekiti State to join?” (Punch)