2019 Presidential Election a Battle Between Buhari, Nigerians, Says Fayose

..Ekiti PDP aspirants plan mass defection over disqualification

Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has declared that the 2019 presidential election will be a direct electoral battle between Nigerians and President Muhammadu Buhari.

This is coming as some aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State are planning mass defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in protest against their disqualification by the party.

Fayose restated that the ruling APC should not perceive the impending election as a contest between the PDP and President Buhari, but “a straight fight between

the president and Nigerians who are tired of his misrule.”

In a statement issued yesterday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, the governor said President Buhari would have

Nigerians to contend with in 2019 and not the PDP or other opposition parties alone.

Fayose said the tripod on which the Buhari administration was erected had collapsed like a pack of cards, adding that “the international community has said corruption under Buhari is worse than in times past.

“Nigerians themselves know that murderous herdsmen have joined Boko Haram under Buhari and the economy, which was booming under Dr. Goodluck

Jonathan, went into recession under Buhari and has remained comatose.

“For Nigerians, the 2019 election is not about political parties, particularly as it affects Buhari’s presidency.

“The election will be Nigerians versus Buhari and not PDP versus Buhari or PDP versus APC, especially knowing how negatively Buhari has impacted the lives of Nigerians.”

Fayose said with millions of Nigerians thrown out of jobs and an uncountable number of companies folding up on a daily basis, Nigerians in their teeming numbers were waiting for the 2019 election to vent their anger and frustration on what he described as the president’s disruptive and destructive policies.

“Buhari has damaged Nigeria. He has damaged the lives of an uncountable number of Nigerians. The suffering and untold hardship he has brought on Nigeria and Nigerians is unprecedented,” he added.

Meanwhile, some aspirants on the platform of the PDP in Ekiti State are planning mass defection to the APC in protest against their disqualification by the party.

The aspirants, who were principally those seeking elective positions for the Senate, House of Representatives and the State House of Assembly, accused Fayose of allegedly teleguiding

the screening committee sent by the Uche Secondus –led National Working Committee (NWC) to disqualify them over feeble and untenable excuses.

Some of the aspirants said the sinister step was allegedly taken by the governor in connivance with the Chief Gboyega Oguntuase-led executive to give room for the present occupants of the seats to emerge by consensus, which they described as anti-democratic .

One of the aspirants told our correspondent in Ado Ekiti, the state capital yesterday, that those the aggrieved aspirants mobilising their supporters and considering dumping the party for the APC.

Those that were favored by the governor, according to him were: Hon. Ayodeji Oladimeji, representing Ado/Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area; Hon. Kehinde Agboola, representing Oye/Ikole Federal

constituency I; Hon. Thaddeus Aina, Ido/Moba/Ilejemeje Federal Constituency; and Hon. Segun Adekola representing Ekiti Southwest constituency.

However, the PDP Publicity Secretary in Ekiti State, Jackson Adebayo justified the disqualification, saying it was done in line with the party’s guidelines on eligibility for elective positions.

“I don’t think we have problem with our primary elections in Ekiti PDP. Our primaries for the Senate, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly

contests start from tomorrow till Thursday. Nobody was wrongly disqualified; it was done in line with our party’s guidelines.

“All the contestants were fairly screened; no favouritism at all regarding qualifications. It was purely done based on merit and eligibility. All the aspirants knew criteria for qualification and whoever fell victim didn’t meet the set criteria and not out of victimisation,” Adebayo stated.

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