ROTIMI OJOMOYELA writes on the thrills that characterized the formal declaration of Governor Kayode Faeymi for a second term
A first time visitor to Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State Capital on the 27th of March 2014, would have mistaken the emerging cosmopolitan city for Calabar in December, as trade associations, students groups, artisans and ethnic associations took to the streets of Ado-Ekiti in uniform local Ankara fabrics.
The uniform and the fez cap bore Kayode Fayemi for second term and All Progressives Party(APC)’s logo. With these signature, the visitor is made to realise that playing out before him is a carnival laden with politics
Major streets in the state capital, especially those linking the Oluyemi Kayode stadium were not only locked by traffic, but guarded by security agents. As the crowd streamed into the newly refurbished stadium, on hand was a combined security team of policemen and officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and the State Security Service (SSS) as well as the state owned traffic agency who were at their best to control the crowd.
The 16,000 capacity stadium was not only filled to capacity, but the mammoth crowd were milling round dancing to the cacophony of music inside the stadium’s main bowl. Town unions of various ethnic groups living in the state were locked in a fierce competition to outdo each other, pounding on their drums and musical objects with reckless abandon.
Masquerades of diverse ethnic groups were also on display.
Also available to thrill the people and lend their support at the flag off of the campaign were popular actors, actresses, musicians and comedians. Popular fuji maestro, Adewale Ayuba, hip hop sensation, Olamide, Jesse King and popular traditional musician from Ekiti state, Elemure Ogunyemi thrilled the audience with their hit songs.
Also on ground to show solidarity were eight APC governors and their entourage. They include those of Adamawa, Admiral Murtala Nyako; Sokoto, Alhjai Aliyu Wamako; Ogun, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; Zamfara, Alhaji Abdul’Aziz Yari Abubakar; Imo; Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Oyo, Senator Abiola Ajimobi; and Osun, Mr Rauf Aregbesola while that of Kwara , Abdulfatah Ahmed was represented by his deputy, Peter Kisra.
The governors who took turns to speak, eulogised Governor Fayemi over the massive developmental drive in the state, and unanimously endorsed him for a second term in office.
Other chieftains of the party in attendance were former Ekiti State Governor and APC Interim National Vice-Chairman, Southwest, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; former Borno State Governor Ali Modu Sheriff; three Senators and five House of Representatives’ members from Ekiti, joined by their colleagues from other states; APC interim National Woman Leader, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, Senator Ajayi Boroffice and the Iyaloja-General of Lagos, Mrs. Folashade Tinubu-Ojo among others.
In his speech, the APC Interim Chairman in the state , Chief Jide Awe urged the electorate to be peaceful as the election gathers steam, boasting that the APC does not need any external force to win the polls because according to him, it has Ekiti people on its side.
While lambasting the PDP and accusing it of allegedly seeking federal might to win the polls, Awe said: “Despite the threats and portents of coercion against the re-election of Dr. Fayemi, the people of Ekiti have already made up their minds to re-elect him.”
In his remark, Governor Nyako said local and international agencies have adjudged Fayemi as a transparent leader with honesty of purpose and described him as “one of the most focused governors in Nigeria.”
Okorocha on his own said Fayemi is ordained by God to institute change in Ekiti, adding: “If Fayemi contests for governor in other states, he will win.”
While Governor Yari stated that the huge turnout at the rally showed that the people appreciate what Fayemi has done in the last three-and- a-half years, his Ogun state counterpart, Senator Amosun believed Fayemi has done all the things his predecessors said were impossible. He said, unlike before, Ekiti now has good roads, social security for the elderly and many other life-enhancing programmes.
In his own remark, Ajimobi said Ekiti is a land of intellectuals and should not be governed by non-intellectuals, just as Ahmed represented by his deputy, said Kwarans are solidly behind Fayemi.
A former governor of Borno State, Senator Sheriff, who described Fayemi as a “performing governor” said the APC is focused on performance and transparency adding that the party would continue to ensure that Nigerians are united in their resolve to enthrone good governance.
And taking his turn, Fayemi, accompanied to the podium by his wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, his Deputy, Professor Modupoe Adelabu and the Director General Kayode Fayemi Campaign Organisation, Hon Bimbo Daramola, enjoined the people to protect their votes from being stolen by “election riggers” and “vote robbers.” He said it was imperative for the electorate to ensure that the good work is continued.
An elated Fayemi, who first addressed the crowd in Yoruba language, maintained that no one can deny the achievements of his administration, pledging to work harder, if re-elected.
Fayemi said he has faithfully implemented his eight-Point Agenda and fulfilled all the promises contained in his inaugural address when he assumed office on October 16, 2010 and at the same time promised to do so if given another opportunity.
Explaining that he has brought transparency and accountability to governance, he was quick to add that no official of his administration had been summoned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Besides , he said the June 21 governorship election was not about him, but about “consolidating on the achievements of the last three-and-a-half-years and ensuring that the state does not go back to the dark days of one-week-one-trouble, violence and looting of public funds”.
He appealed to the electorate not to be deceived by “the propaganda of the opposition” that he would ban commercial motorcyclists and sack teachers, if re-elected. The governor also
debunked the claims by the opposition that he would demolish markets, if re-elected, he said the administration has built modern markets across state.