Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has disowned the statement allegedly ascribed to him that any Nigerian above 60 years shouldn’t be supported for the presidency in 2023.
Fayemi said the statement stoutly negated his belief that every Nigerian has inalienable right to vie for any position of his choice, regardless of age, creed, ethnicity and political belief.
An aide of the Governor, Mr. Makinde Araoye, was reported to have made the statement during a National Youth Summit and Conference organised by the Nigerian Youth Congress (NYC) in Abuja on Thursday.
The statement had been widely misinterpreted to mean vituperation against the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress and presidential hopeful, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
Debunking the statement in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, yesterday, Fayemi said Araoye spoke in his personal capacity at the event; hence the purported statement was at best his personal views and not representative of Governor Fayemi’s position.
Fayemi said: “The attention of the Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has been drawn to a news report in the Blueprint Newspaper of March 26, 2021 edition, which is also being circulated across social media with the headline “No Room for Presidential Aspirant above 60 years- Fayemi” and other variants.
“As a matter of fact, the view is in conflict with Governor Fayemi’s well known position on political participation. He is one of the leaders of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) that is not fixated about zoning of presidential and other elective positions.
“Dr. Fayemi is on record to have stated repeatedly and unequivocally that nobody should be discriminated against by virtue of age, where they come from, religious affiliation or cultural background. He believes the electorate, rather than any artificial impediment, should determine who gets their mandate as President, Governor or other elective positions.
“Therefore, Mr. Araoye, who at the onset of his presentation at the event clarified that he was speaking in his personal capacity, couldn’t be speaking the mind of Governor Fayemi.
“Accordingly, members of the public are hereby urged to disregard the statement which was inadvertently credited to Governor Fayemi. Dr. Fayemi, as a leader and public office holder, believes in fairness and equity.
“He (Fayemi) is a firm believer in constitutionalism and constitutional provisions regarding elections and aspiration to public offices in the country”, the governor stated.
Fayemi said he did not believe that age was necessarily a factor for performance in public office, and that as a leader, he would always comport himself in a manner befitting the office he holds in trust and wouldn’t engage in frivolous and divisive talk that can create tension in the country .