Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
There was a mild drama in Ado Ekiti on Saturday, as beneficiaries of the N-power scheme nearly exchanged fisticuffs over divided supports for President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Ayodele Fayose.
While some beneficiaries of the programme had declared support for President Buhariâ€™s reelection in 2019 at a rally in the state capital, another group was canvassing support for continuity agenda of Governor Fayose.
Some months ago, the governor had invited all the beneficiaries of N-Power and promised many of them permanent jobs.
The two groups had rolled out drum to mark the one year of N-Power programme in the state, in a programme organised by National Orientation Agency (NOA).
While others who are completely for the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaigned for Buhari and showed appreciation in the rally held in Ado Ekiti, state capital, many of their colleagues also displayed placards with inscriptions such as: “Fayose leads, we follow, ‘Olusola Eleka for governor, 2018’, ‘Support continuity agenda’and ‘Fayose leads, we follow’, among others.
As early as 8:30am yesterday, beneficiaries of the N-power who are over 3,000 in number gathered in front of the Ekiti State Teaching Hospital along Adebayo Road, for the Pro- Buhari and Pro-Fayose rallies.
While some displayed placards advertising President Buhari and appreciating his gesture for the scheme, others displayed placards campaigning for Fayose and his deputy Olusola.
The development almost resulted into a clash between the two parties but the security men on ground were on top of their game as they ensured there was no rancour while each campaigned for their respective benefactor.
The beneficiaries marched from the front of Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital in Adebayo area of Ado Ekiti to the AB event centre in the area where accreditation exercise for the state’s N-power beneficiaries took place.
Speaking for the Pro-Fayose beneficiaries, Ajibade Segun, said: “A few months ago, Mr. Governor, His Excellency, Dr. Fayose invited us to the government house and promised those of us who are N-Power beneficiaries in Ekiti that we would get permanent employment from the state government. This is why we are happy and we are now coming out to campaign for the Deputy governor Olusola Kolapo Eleka. We are here supporting the continuity agenda of Fayose and supporting Olusola Eleka for governor in July 14.
“To the president we are saying that we don’t want just a temporary relief in the name of N-Power from massive unemployment in Nigeria, we want permanent employment. We also want the number of beneficiaries of the N-Power in Ekiti to be more than what we have presently. But most importantly, we want a permanent job like the governor has promised to give a good number of us,” he said.
But a pro-Buhari beneficiary, Adeosun Tayo Peter, said: “I want the people of Nigeria to know that we are not campaigning for Fayose or Eleka. It is Buhari that we know because he is the one who is feeding us. We have the banners bearing the image of Buhari and we are thanking him for this gesture.
“N30,000 for each of the beneficiaries every month is not small money. In twelve months, we know what that money amounts to. The beneficiaries of N-power in Ekiti in this first tranche are 3,400, and 8,337 will benefit in the second tranche, those of us here now are more than 3,000 that have come for accreditation today.
“Buhari is our benefactor. We are standing for Buhari. We are thanking Buhari for what he has done and we also want him to make the job permanentâ€.