- Â Party petitions IG, DSS over destruction of Fayemiâ€™s billboards
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has inaugurated a 77-member National Campaign Council for the Ekiti State governorship election.
Among the campaign team are 14 serving governors and seven serving ministers.
However, out of the 14 governors named as members of the campaign council, only Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, attended the inauguration which was performed by the partyâ€™s Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Lawal Shuaibu, on behalf of the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
The partyâ€™s candidate for the election, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, was also conspicuously absent at the inauguration, as well as majority of members of the committee.
The National Organising Secretary, Osita Izunaso, said majority of the members were absent because of communication problem, pointing out that they have not been communicated about their membership of the committee.
The campaign council headed by Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, also has some serving and former senators as members.
Former Deputy National Chairman and one of the aspirants that lost at the governorship primary, Mr. Segun Oni, is expected to lead other aspirants during the campaign.
The 77-member campaign council has Governors of Kebbi, Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Kwara, Zamfara, Jigawa, Plateau, Edo, Kogi, Borno and Adamawa States members of the committee, one minister from each of the six geopolitical zone, as well as former Deputy National Chairman (South), Oni, among others.
While inaugurating the campaign council in Abuja, Shuaibu said the election in Ekiti State is too important to the party to begin to engage in hate speech as a campaign weapon, stressing that â€œeven if other parties will engage in hate speech, you should concentrate on winning the election.â€
He said the party would not relent in its efforts to recapture the state, adding that â€œto show you the importance we placed on the Ekiti State election, I want toinform you that this election is just a little below the presidential election to us.â€
Responding on behalf of the Chairman, Ondo State Governor, Akeredolu, said they would take the task assigned to them as very important, stressing that â€œthis is not the first time the importance of this election has been emphasised. When those of us from the South-west met with the president, he stressed the importance of the election.
â€œIts importance is very great to us in the South-west and it is a task that must be accomplished. We will map out strategies to win the election because we have faced many affront and so many challenges had been thrown at us by Fayose.
â€œMy brother, Ayo Fayose, who is there has thrown a lot of challenges at us and we must be united to confront the challenges and if we failed in this task, it means that we are not serious as a party,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, the Ekiti State chapter of the APC has petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Ibrahim Idris and Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mr Lawan Daura, over the alleged destruction of the campaign billboard of its governorship candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
The party claimed that supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last Wednesday in Oye Ekiti, headquarters of Oye Local Government Area, descended on a huge campaign billboard of APC candidate located at St Augustine Secondary School and destroyed it.
The APC in a petition dated May 23, 2018, accused Fayose of being the mastermind of the attack on the bill board.
It also called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of those involved in the destruction of the bill board.
The party, in the petition signed by its state Secretary, Mr. Paul Omotosho, alleged that the APC and its supporters had been under various forms of attacks by Fayoseâ€™s goons since he became governor of the state on October 16, 2014.
But in his reply, the state Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Jackson Adebayo, described the allegation as a desperate attempt to ensure that members of the party are arrested.
Adebayo said the APC knew it has no popular candidate and bereft of ideas on how to market Fayemi in the election, and therefore branding this spurious allegation as a way of caging the PDP for the opposition to have field day for rigging in the election.