Treading a Familiar Path

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Staking a claim to the highest public office in Ekiti State for the third time, Dr. Kayode Fayemi aims at a resounding victory at the July 14 governorship election, writes Nseobong Okon-Ekong.

Colourful dances and warm cheer awaited Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ekiti State, in all the 133 communities across the state that he visited to canvass support for the July 14 election. Though it has been a tasking campaign, it is nonetheless a familiar route for Fayemi who is taking his third shot at the highest public office in Ekiti State.

Everywhere he went, he sang the same song. He promised to provide visionary leadership through his Eight-point Agenda to redirect the state to the path of growth and development.

Perhaps, for strategic reasons, Fayemi scheduled his homestead in Isan-Ekiti in Oye Local Government Area, as the last town in his three-week campaign tours of the 132 towns and villages in the 16 local government areas of the state.

Re-stating his confidence in the positive outcome of the impending governorship election in the state, Fayemi dismissed as nightmarish an opinion poll result conducted by information analysis firm, NOI Polls, predicting victory for the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Prof. Olusola Eleka, in the July 14 election.

It said NOI opinion poll result is a pre-meditated arrangement to fulfill a contractual engagement by a politician working for other politicians with common partisan interest and warned PDP to prepare for defeat over abuse of Ekiti people’s right to good governance and development.

An opinion poll on Ekiti governorship election by NOI Poll was published few days ago, suggesting victory for Eleka, with PDP members jubilating over the prospect of victory.

Fayemi, however described the poll result as a “warped sentiment of a competitor also acting as an umpire in a one-man game.” Noting that NOI poll result would not have been different from what was published as pre-conceived because of the ownership.

“NOI poll result would not have been different from what we read giving victory to PDP because of the ownership structure. The outfit is owned by former Minister of Finance in President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a staunch member of PDP that is struggling for breath after bequeathing the legacy of waste to Nigerians. Truth is NOI is an abbreviation of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (NOI). The poll company had earlier conducted several opinion polls with bizarre projections in 2014 and 2015 with ridiculous results that diminished its worth, so much that we thought the organisation would have closed down its operations as a result of its unprofessional and inaccurate projections. But because NOI’s assignment in Ekiti is more of political interest than service to Nigerians, it is fraudulent for a partisan outfit like NOI to pretentiously present itself as serving on non-partisan platform.

“In 2015, working with President Jonathan, NOI grossly failed in its mandate to objectively project the outcome of the presidential election, giving Jonathan over 70 per cent chance above APC candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, who NOI rated as the fourth in the ballot but who eventually emerged as the winner with a wide margin in the presidential contest.

“NOI went to a ridiculous extent to predict that Jonathan would win the entire North Central with Buhari only winning North East and North West. Jonathan, it predicted, would clinch the entire North Central, the South West, South East and South South.

“In its polls before presidential primaries, NOI rated Buhari fourth behind Jonathan, Senator Rabiu Kwakwanso and Governor Babatunde Fasola of Lagos among the prospective presidential aspirants.

“But Buhari not only defeated Kwakwanso in APC primaries, he also went ahead to defeat Jonathan in the presidential election, thus NOI’s prediction collapsed on its promoter’s face after Jonathan had wasted his money to produce a misleading projection. NOI is today doing more of political gambling in Ekiti State than statistical analysis of information to produce valid result ahead of the July 14 poll.”

Fayemi added that the realities on ground in Ekiti State did not support NOI’s assertion in its projection. He explained: “Those leaders that would have helped PDP to mobilise for votes have defected from the party to APC over differences with Fayose. In virtually all the strongholds of PDP, its leaders have defected with their supporters to render PDP prostrate in those areas. For example, leaders in local governments, such as Ise/Orun, Efon, Ido-Osi, Ikole, Ikere, Ekiti West and Oye where PDP used to be strong, have since defected to APC with their supporters citing Fayose’s alleged greed and inhuman conduct. Besides, the critical segments of the society, including workers that are denied their salaries, market women, trade groups, farmers and private businesses that now pay suffocating taxes with several businesses closing shops as a result of Fayose’s undemocratic and bullish conduct are up in arms against the governor and so we wonder where NOI will recruit the spirits that will give PDP victory in the July 14 poll.”

Fayemi described the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State as a vote for freedom.

He said the election is an “opportunity to reverse hunger, want, disease and hopelessness” that have been the lot of the people in the hands of an anti-people administration that thrives in deceit and lies in the last three-and-a-half years.

Fayemi spoke at rallies in Ifaki, Orin Ora, Ifishin, Igbole, Osi, Ido, Ilogbo and Usi-Ekiti, among other communities in Ido-Osi Local Government while on campaign tours to sell his programmes to voters, assuring them that hope is in the horizon again to take Ekiti State back to its prime of place in the South West and indeed Nigeria.

Describing July 14 poll as freedom election, he said he would restore all the life-lifting empowerment schemes that were cancelled by Governor Ayodele Fayose to allow Ekiti people earn a living to free themselves from want, poverty and disease, even as he said that all the local council development areas that Fayose cancelled will return to bring government closer to the people.

He dispelled the propaganda by PDP that he will sack teachers and local government workers, saying that no teacher would be sacked while the local government workers have nothing to fear about job loss.

Insisting that he has obligation towards making life meaningful for teachers, Fayemi said: “Throughout my four years, how many teachers did I sack? Instead of sacking teachers, I increased their salaries three times within four years while I also paid core subjects and rural posting allowances to teachers to encourage them to deliver and live happily with their families unlike the current situation where teachers are being owed between six and 10 months while pensioners have not received their entitlements for close to a year.

“While we can point to many projects we did while in government between 2010 and 2014 to make life bearable for our people, the PDP administration led by Fayose can’t point to any project in any town except tales of woes by our people on salary payment defaults, students paying fees for WEAC, NECO other public examinations, which we fully paid for, including scholarships,” he said.

He urged the people to go back to the abundance of the past, by ensuring an APC victory in the election.

He assured them of security, saying the unlawful arrests and harassment by the police in 2014 will not be allowed.

In almost all the communities visited, hundreds of PDP top members defected to APC citing greed, selfishness and undemocratic conduct of the governor as their reason for quitting the PDP.

At Igbole-Ekiti, Isaac Idowu led the entire Prince Adedayo Adeyeye Movement (PAAM) structure to defect to APC. An appreciative old woman led scores of women to thank Fayemi for providing them succour through payment of monthly social security stipend.

Mammoth crowds attended the rally at Ido-Ekiti where Cyril Fasuyi popularly called the “GOC of Ido Osi Politics, led the who-is-who in Ido politics to defect to the APC.

He described Fayose as a selfish politician who fraudulently schemed him out of the House of Representatives contest in 2014, vowing that the governor would pay for his undemocratic and callous conduct to members of his party who worked for his success at poll but “paid them back with evil.”

He assured that 27,000 votes in Ido-Ekiti would be delivered to APC and vowed to take Fayose to court for converting monetary allocations meant for Ido Osi to selfish use.

QUOTE

Describing July 14 poll as freedom election, he said he would restore all the life-lifting empowerment schemes that were cancelled by Governor Ayodele Fayose to allow Ekiti people earn a living to free themselves from want, poverty and disease.