Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Privatisation, Senator Ayo
Arise, has said those who had declared interest in the governorship election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) didnâ€™t break any provision of the Electoral Act .
He said he quite understood that the Electoral Act 2010 as amended provided that aspirants can only campaign 90 days to election, saying declaration of intent was not an open campaign but a mere mobilising steps by any party member to shore up the partyâ€™s popularity.
Arise said the statement credited to former Governor Kayode Fayemi that he decided to tarry a while in declaring for the governorship to prevent him from floutingÂ the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) electoral lawÂ only portrayed those who had earlier declared as lawbreakers rather than commending them for mobilising for the party.
Fayemi had while declaring last Saturday at Isan Ekiti in Oye Local Government Area of the state said he would have declared before now but decided to defer such until April 15 when INEC would finally lift ban on political campaign.
He said he could not afford to break the law as a serving minister in a government that has enormous respect for the rule of law.
Speaking with journalists in Ado Ekiti yesterday, Arise said: â€œThe statement that all other aspirants are not law abiding is not good enough. Those of us who have declared are not lawbreakers.
â€œFayemi is the leader of the party, but we are not unaware ofÂ the provision of the law. It could have been more dignified if the minister had said he wasÂ comingÂ late because of his status as a serving minister. It is not good for him to have portrayed all of us as notÂ law-abiding.
â€œHowever, we welcome him to the race. He is a leader of our great party, and the primary, I think will be interesting.
â€œBut this is an election we must win, and nobody should try to ascribe wisdom to himself. I will advise him not to use or do anything that would make him looks smarter than all of us.â€
Clarifying further on the issue provisions of the law, Arise said: â€œINEC only give guidelines to checkmate violence, and a party is not duty bound to wait for INEC before mobilising. So I expected him (Fayemi) to have eulogised us for mobilising for the party.â€
On the fact that Fayemiâ€™s joining the race may alter the permutations, the former Senate member added: â€œI donâ€™t envisage any problem, we are all eminent Ekiti indigenes.
â€œWe have former governors Fayemi and Segun Oni; senators Babafemi Ojudu,Â Gbenga Aluko and myself, and Opeyemi Bamidele as former member of the House of Representatives in this race. So, I see all of us as being qualified to be governor.
â€œWe have one or two things to show that we have contributed to Ekiti State. However, if you put us on the scale, I donâ€™t see anyone who has the kind of record I have.â€
The former lawmaker said no law prevents Fayemi from declaring interest earlier than he did, since such would only be restricted to the premises of the party secretariat.
â€œPolitics requires calculation and I want to believe that he (Fayemi) only tried to conserve money, stay in government and observe the politics as it played out before declaring, this itself is wisdom.
â€œSo, I see those who had declared earlier as mobilisers. My brother, Fayemi, is welcome wholeheartedly but I am only worried that someone was trying to come outÂ toÂ play smart.
â€œWe have nothing to fear provided the primary is free, fair and credible, so that our party can be peaceful and united to fight this battle,â€ Arise concluded.