Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Contrary to the insinuation that the former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, is planning to rig the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State, the state Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Jide Awe, has debunked the accusation, saying the party has strong credentials of performances to win under a free and fair atmosphere.
Awe said Fayemi did exceedingly well in Ekiti as a governor and that the party was relying heavily on this strong antecedents to win the coming election and not intending to capture the state in a Gestapo-like manner as being touted by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He explained that the defections of PDP bigwigs, like the former Minister of Works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, and ex-Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Owoseeni Ajayi, to APC were justifiable, saying they took the action due to alleged dictatorship of Governor Ayodele Fayose.
The APC boss promised that the party’s top hierarchy will manage the defectors and their supporters to avert unhealthy rivalry with old members, assuring them that the defectors shall be rewarded based on their contributions to the partyâ€™s success.
Awe spoke in Erinjiyan Ekiti on Monday during a reception held in his honour by the people of the town after spending three years in exile due to the alleged murder charge preferred against him by Fayoseâ€™s government.
The government accused Awe of being responsible for the killings of one Mrs Julianah Adewumi and Ayo Jeje in the town prior to the June 21, 2014 governorship election in the state and he had to flee the state to prevent being arrested.
The state High Court handling the matter had a couple of months ago discharged and acquitted the APC boss following the withdrawal of the case.
Awe praised the APC State Working Committee(SWC) for not removing him as the state party chairman during his travail, urging them to use the same spirit to work for Fayemiâ€™s success in the coming governorship election.
â€œWe are not interested in taking Ekiti by force, the good credentials of our party in terms of performances in all the 133 towns were sufficient to defeat PDP in this election,â€ Awe said.
On the fear that the defections of Adeyete and others to APC may spark unwarranted crisis between the old and new members, Awe said: â€œParty is about crisis management. We are going to manage everybody.
â€œAPC is like a beautiful flower that is attracting all manners of insects, but we shall reward everybody based on contributions.
â€œThere is no watertight legal framework that regulates defection and there is no way you can stop people from leaving a party when it was being run like a personal estate the way Governor Fayose has been doing in PDP. Not everybody can be comfortable with his style.
â€œWe shall manage them effectively. APC is a big political family with large tentacles that can accommodate everybody.â€
He said the partyâ€™s respect for him while away in exile had made him more determined to work for APCâ€™s success in Ekiti.
â€œI have served for 12 years and the party had done me a great honour. I have been galvanizing our people to work together and win for Fayemi. We have forgotten about the primary, it is now time to work
for our party.
â€œThat was the instruction we gave to our members and whoever defies it because he had individual axe to grind with Fayemi will have himself to blame. It is like disobeying the party and we wonâ€™t tolerate such,â€ Awe stated.