Nseobong Okonâ€“Ekong in Ekiti
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was at the head of a powerful team that went to Ekiti State Tuesday to open the campaign of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, telling the people to pick up their permanent voters card (PVC) to vote out the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
In the vice-presidentâ€™s entourage were national officers of the party, including the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; Secretary to the Federal Government, Mr. Boss Mustapha; 12 governors and other top leaders of the party.
“The PDP has done enough. Go forward. On July 14, you must show with your votes that you cannot take it any longer,” Osinbajo told his audience shortly before Fayemi was handed the partyâ€™s flag, symbolising the authority of the APC to lead the charge at the July 14, 2018 duel against PDPâ€™s Prof. Kolapo Olusola and others contestants.
The mega rally, which was held at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, was witnessed by a large crowd of party faithful and characterised by musical entertainment from leading artistes, including Bonsue Fuji exponent, Adewale Ayuba and Small Doctor.
Some of the governors and community leaders in the state, made solidarity speeches in support of Fayemi.
The Fayemi campaign is being executed on the broad theme of â€˜Collective Rescue Mission 2: Reclaiming Our Land Restoring Our Values’.
APC party leaders lamented that socio-economic infrastructure of the state had collapsed since the coming of the Ayo Fayose administration.
According to them, Ekiti, which was once acclaimed as the ‘land of nobles’ has become the butt of coarse jokes.
All the governors from the South-west states, including Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) and Olurotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) stressed the importance of having an APC in Ekiti Government House to demonstrate that the South-west was charting the same political course.
Other speakers like the APC National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, former Ekiti State governors, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and Chief Segun Oni, spoke in the same vein.
Recalling how he was prevented from attending a Fayemi governorship campaign four years ago, former governor of Edo State and APC national championship aspirant, Mr. Adam Oshiomhole, charged the people against a repeat of what happened in 2014.
â€œWe can’t afford to lose Ekiti. This is a crucial election that we must win,â€ he said.
Tinubu described the domineering APC presence in the South-west and other parts of the country as “the broom revolution,â€ saying: â€œEkiti is the only place in the South-west that a change is necessary. ”
The APC National Campaign Council for Ekiti State Chairman and Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Bagudu, said the large turnout was a pointer that Ekiti people were ready to address the perceived injustice meted to them in 2014.
The chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum and Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, echoed the same sentiments of the APC National Chairman, Odigie-Oyegun, that an APC government was imminent in Ekiti as he could smell and feel the air of victory.
A major highlight of the campaign was the official welcome accorded a former stalwart of the PDP, Prince Adedayo Adeyeye, and his group who were formally received into the APC by Odigie-Oyegun.
Pledging his loyalty to the APC, Adeyeye observed that the APC was becoming increasingly popular in all the 16 local government areas of the state.
The two-hour rally, which kicked off at 2.10pm with the arrival of the vice-president was witnessed by an array of dignitaries including a former governor of the defunct Ondo State, Mr. Bamidele Olumilua; a former national chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande; governors Yahaya Bello (Kogi State); Shettima Mustapha (Borno State); Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara State); and Gaius Obaseki (Edo State). Also there was the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Bolaji Abdullahi.
Thanking the party leaders and government officials for standing by him, Fayemi in a veiled reference to the incumbent governor said the days of madness in Government House, Ado Ekiti were numbered.
According to him, “Ekiti people and I have a date with history on July 14. One day is for the thief, July 14 is for the owner. We will be here to celebrate victory. I am humbled by the show of solidarity by our leaders.”
He promised to restore welfare schemes to students and the elderly among other incentives to show that the good essence of democracy had returned to the land.