Ahead of the governorship primary election of the All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State, a pressure group within the party – Ekiti Newbreed Politicians Association (ENPA) has advised two chieftains of the party to honourably withdraw from the race, to safeguard the image of the party.
Specifically, ENPA urged the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and the National Vice-Chairman (South) of the party, Engr. Segun Oni, not to yield to the temptation of running for governor again, as acting otherwise could make them become liabilities to the party.
The group, in a statement by its coordinator, Prince Oyelere Ogunrogba, said having conducted a two-month-long assessment of all contestants in the party, it had come to the conclusion that neither Fayemi nor Oni were sellable candidates.
Explaining why it was particularly urging Fayemi and Oni to step aside and act as elders in the party, the ENPA said, â€œGovernor Fayose, though known to have run an irresponsible government thus far, has ambushed Fayemi through a White Paper indicting him of alleged corrupt practices and banning him from contesting for any public office for 10 years.
â€œWe are particularly worried by an aspect of the White Paper that indicted Fayemi for allegedly awarding a contract to a company belonging to his wife, for the furnishing of the Government House, at a highly inflated rate of N600 million.
â€œSo, the former governor is now being asked to refund over N300 million to the coffers of the state government, as the contract was allegedly inflated, with items provided allegedly not justifying the amounts expended.
â€œIt is, therefore, our considered opinion that Fayemi should first go to court and clear his name before thinking of contesting for any office, knowing that in Yorubaland, a good name is more precious than gold or silver.â€
On why it would not back Oni, the group said, â€œOni should back out from the race because the Court of Appeal had indicted him by saying both the first election and the re-run election that brought him in as governor were massively rigged, thus sacking him as governor. Therefore, we may be unable to stand on the same podium with him campaigning, when our opponents are saying that our candidate is an election rigger.
â€œBesides, during the re-run governorship election of 2009, a lot of Action Congress (now APC) members were maimed and killed under the watch of Oni, simply because he wanted to return as governor at all costs.
â€œTill date, neither has Oni and his co-travellers then tendered public apologies, nor made restitution to the families of the bereaved, despite that he had been generously accommodated in APC,â€ the group averred.
According to the group, the type of governor Ekiti needs now is â€œsomeone that is without baggage; who is young, upright in conduct, intelligent, exposed, and has physical achievements to parade.â€
Besides, the group urged both the APC leadership and President Muhammadu Buhari to insist on a level-playing ground and allow the most popular candidate to emerge, to make the party trounce the ruling PDP in the July 22 governorship election.