Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Saturday formally declared for the governorship race on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), boasting that the party will defeat Governor Ayodele Fayose in the July 14 poll and ensure that he goes to jail afterward.
Fayemi said the party will deploy everything within the constitution to ensure that whoever emerges in the May 5 APC primary triumphs over the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
â€œThey said the June 21, 2014 governorship poll was free, fair and credible, so that of July 14, 2018 too will be free, fair and transparent. They will accuse us of so many things. They will accuse us of using federal might, but we will not careâ€, Fayemi said.
The declaration, which locked down Ado Ekiti capital city, was attended by large crowd of party supporters and admirers, who were clad in vests bearing the portrait of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development.
The traffic was chaotic along Ado-Ikere-Akure road for several hours, with commuters spending over one hour to navigate a distance that would take less than two minutes on a normal day.
Fayemi, who was the governor from October 16, 2010 to October 15, 2014, was defeated in the last election held on June 21, 2014 by Governor Fayose.
The Minister was the number 37th among aspirants that have declared interest in the coveted seat, out of which 21 have collected the nomination and expression of interest forms at the headquarters of the APC in Abuja.
Addressing the State Working Committee (SWC), led by its State Deputy Chairman, Mrs. Kemi Olaleye, Fayemi said: â€œWe will use local, state and federal powers to take over Ekiti from a rapacious and government being run by brigands in Ekiti.
â€œThose of us who traveled out of Ekiti were being insulted, assaulted and mocked on daily basis, asking why Ekiti they thought were well-read, refined and exposed could make a character like Governor Fayose as their governor.â€
â€œThat is why it is important for us to reclaim our land and restore our values. Each time I move round Ekiti, I see the pains on the faces of the 25,000 elderly persons who benefited from our social security scheme, 600 people who were employed into the peace corps, 10,000 volunteers who took N10,000 per month, among others but have been cut off from these safety nets by Fayose.
â€œMore than 40,000 persons who were gainfully employed by my government have been disengaged by this present government.
â€œUnder my government, I increased the salary of workers from N5,000 to N7,000 and from N7,000 to N13,000 and later to N19,300. Who will the workers hate between a government that did these and one that has not paid salary for more than ten months?
â€œThey said teachers didnâ€™t like Fayemi, during my time, education is free up to SSS3. I paid rural allowance to teachers, Core Subjectsâ€™ Allowance, I gave scholarship and bursary, paid for WAEC and NECO, but all these have been stopped by a government that has no interest in social investment.
â€œToday, I can boldly say that there is no town I get to out of the 133 towns and villages in our dear state where I will not point to five projects. If I have not done their roads, I would have built schools, or renovated their hospitals, but today, nothing is happening.
â€œEven those projects I did not complete were abandoned by Fayose. There is no single aspirant in APC who will not do much more fantastic works than what we are getting in Ekiti under Fayose among all the aspirants on the APC platform.
â€œThat is why it is important for us to be united. Let me say this, I am a loyal party man and I am ready to support whoever the party fields as the candidateâ€, he assured.
On the virulent attacks against him on why he is re-contesting despite holding a pivotal position as a Minister, Fayemi said: â€œYes, I am holding an important position in this government through the grace of God and by the magnanimity of our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari and I am satisfied with it if the politics that I play is for me and my family alone.
â€œBut there is an unfinished business in our State. We have to complete and bring back those projects we initiated when we were in the saddle. Again, politics to me, is not about title but about service and sacrificeâ€.
On the rising acrimony among the APC aspirants, the Minister urged the State Working Committee to set out a code of ethics to regulate the conduct of every contestant, describing the tirades against his person as unacceptable.
â€œIt is absolutely unacceptable for aspirants to indulge in abuses, use intemperate languages against one another. If we do this, we will be damaging the brand the APC is known for. Each contestant should sell his brand to the party delegates who will decide our fates.
â€œWe should be ready to support whoever the party picks as the candidate, provided the process is free, fair and transparent if truly we are loyal party men. I will see whoever fights after the primary as a mole, who was sent to destroy our partyâ€.
The APC acting Chairman, Olaleye, said the party will try its best to be transparent in the primary, warning members against hurling insults on SWC members with the way it has been managing the party.
â€œWe are in a sensitive time and we need ourselves. No one can win election alone, so I beg of you to be not use your write ups on our platforms to destroy our party. Let us be united and know that we have only one enemy, which is Fayose for us to be able to win.
â€œOur Minister has been supportive to the party. We are proud of him for using his Ministerial position to help Ekiti and APC membersâ€, she stated.