From Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday told the former Minister of Mines and Steel, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, that himself and members of the cabinet would grace his swearing-in ceremony as the next governor of Ekiti State come October this year.
Fayemi who is the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the forthcoming July 14 election in Ekiti State, resigned from the cabinet to pursue his ambition to return to Ekiti Government House.
At a valedictory session in his honour by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) before the take-off of its weekly meeting in the State House on Wednesday, Buhari and the ministers eulogised Fayemi and wished him best of luck in the forthcoming poll.
Buhari who advocated the need to encourage the electorate to freely exercise their voting rights, expressed hope that Fayemi would wrest power from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State for the APC, assuring him that they would be in Ado Ekiti for his inauguration.
Buhari who said it would take him sometime to fill the vacant seat Fayemi left behind, advocated the need for voter education, saying with the existence of the permanent voter card (PVC), voters could freely exercise their voting rights, recalling how the advent of PVC helped him to win the 2015 elections.
“I hope you will get Ekiti back for the party. The only time I saw the INEC chair was to insist that voters’ education should be emphasised so that ordinary Nigerians will believe that Nigeria is beginning to respect them and that their PVC is their status. And then, couple with the card readers, God willing, we are here with the help of technology.
“Because in previous elections, and I am in the position to say so having lost three times and got to Supreme Court, I know if not for technology, we will be doing the same thing. A lot of constituencies were bought, votes were allocated and results were announced and people were told to go to court if they donâ€™t agree with it.
â€œNow, for someone who is looking for the next meal, how is he going to get the money to give to SAN, to demand for justice for his marginalization?
“So, we thank technology because with the introduction of PVC and the card readers, votes counted. Please go and emphasise this to your constituencies. Let Nigerians be respected that they can vote anybody across any party and at any constituency.
“I think that will give them the pride to voluntarily go and vote. It is not easy to go to Supreme Court three times, but I went through it. I wonder how many people will be proud to go through it in this country.
“So, we certainly wish you the best of luck but it will take me sometime to get a substantive minister and moreso with the 2019 prospects that I have already indicated. But we need a very very strong minister, strong in intellect and courage, so as to make sure that both the Nigerian and foreign collaborators taking away our resources can be checked effectively. We thank you very much for your contribution for your country.
Goodbye, we will come for the inauguration,” Buhari said.
In his response, Fayemi thanked Buhari for releasing him to participate in the election, saying it was crucial for him to make the move in the interest of Ekiti State. He also said he was always proud to be called Buhari boy.