Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
A former senator, Ayo Arise, has picked form to contest the governorship election in Ekiti State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Arise became the first aspirant to collect the governorship form of the APC yesterday just as the party opened sale of nomination forms.
Speaking on his chances in the contest, Arise said the people of Ekiti are politically suave and can decide who among the contestants merited to win the election.
â€œMy own unique selling point is the fact that I have been a member of the AD, ACN. I ran a statewide primary election in that party. Now, I crossed over to the PDP and I built another relationship of families in the PDP.
â€œToday, I have the unique advantage of bringing people in the general election, and hitting Governor Ayodele Fayose where it hurts because he knows that if I win this ticket, he is goner. He is waiting for us to make a mistake and that mistake can come from maybe the party is trying to impose anybody, God forbids! I am sure that will not happen,â€ he said.
On the chances of the APC, Arise said: â€œWe have a sitting governor who is in the opposition and if you say who is the loudest noisemaker in the country of all the governors, I think he will qualify to be one of the top two if not number one. So, he is ready to be shouting to high-heaven,â€ he said.
The former lawmaker who represented Ekiti North in the upper legislative chamber between 2007 and 2011, said rather than promise the people of Ekiti stomach infrastructure like the present government in the state, his government will ensure the development of the state and the establishment of industries through public private partnership.
He said: â€œI believe that it is totally unfair to the people to say I am doing stomach infrastructure without developing the minds of the people. The APC government has a number of very unique programmes. The schoolfeeding programme is one.
â€œWhen you move from there and you are able to create industries through public private partnership in the state, that will provide economic power to the people and the government will benefit from that too,â€ he said.
The aspirant also reacted to the President Muhammadu Buhariâ€™s formal declaration for second term bid, saying he deserved to be given another chance.
â€œI have always supported this president, when he came in. He came in and ran on the premise of change, the premise of integrity, the promise of fighting corruption and the promise of securing life-support importance.
â€œThere have been challenges along the line but I donâ€™t believe these can be achieved in just three years in government. I believe apart from governance being a continuum, I believe that if I want to tar a road between here and Lagos, then the life of the regime might not be able to finish it. So, things are not as quick as you expected to see it,â€ he said.