Like the Phoenix magical bird, the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Ekiti State is resurrecting to reclaim its mandate from the incumbent Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, storms the state with message of ‘Unity To Repossess’, writes ONYEANUNA ONYEDIKA.
Forlorn looks, occasioned by disappointments over failed campaign promises, dilapidated infrastructures, penury and hopelessness is pervasive in all directions. A people once reputed for decency, dignity and decorum jumps are now cowed and submissive to same forces responsible for their indignities. Welcome to rural communities in Ekiti state where even the communal cord that once held the people together as one big, peace loving family, is being severed at the state capital through reckless political decisions and utterances while the people starve and thirst in the midst of plenty.
The gory picture abovey seems to have spurred the recent visit of ace writer and Presidentialaide on Political Affairs, Babafemi Ojudu, to Ekiti State. The mission was to meet with the various structures of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state, dissect the internal problems, find a truce and move as one united body to reclaim the mandate to govern the state and restore order, sanity and better life to the people.
The visit, which was at the prompting of some youths in the Ekiti North Senatorial District. featured consultative meetings with stakeholders at all levels, visits to party chieftains and traditional rulers all with the aim to sanitising the APC in that domain in preparation for the governorship election slated for June 2018.
According to one of the facilitators of the tour , Engr. Micheal Oluwagbemi : “The suffering is much; the poverty is so endemic that we need to throw in our caps, as youths and technocrats in the state, to find a way around the current shenanigans going on. Our people are being blindfolded to real governance. Daily, they are being annoyingly shielded from the actual realities of governance and we are here saying enough is enough.”
According to him, the fight for order and fair play in Ekiti State cuts across party identity. “It is a fight we must collectively engage in, as youths of Ekiti State to ensure as well as guarantee a better future both for ourselves and our children.”
And to suggest an agreement among the youths, the reception of Ojudu was tumultuous. From all parts of Ekiti State, youths converged in their thousands, in Ikole, Ikole Local Government Headquarters, to receive the former Senator, who is now the mouthpiece of the presidency on political affairs.
From the palace of the Elekole of Ikole, Oba James Adewumi Ajibade Fasiku, the Aladesekole 1, paramount ruler of Egbeoba Kingdom where Ojudu was given a royal welcome in company with his large entourage to Ipao Ekiti, Odo Oro, Usi and back to Ikole, venue of the reception, it was a message of cohesion and unity, the lack of which was accepted by all as the fulcrum of the present predicament.
At the Palace of Elekole, Ojudu declared:“I’m glad to pass this message of hope to leaders of our great party, the All Progressives Congress, in Ekiti State. I am glad to speak to millions of our supporters, our sympathisers, our members, our potential allies and the amazing people of Ekiti whose hope has been dashed and who, as I can see, are anxiously waiting to benefit from the new dawn across the nation.
“My message is straight and simple. First, I wish to thank our leaders and our compatriots for their steadfastness and their perseverance. I must commend your efforts over the years. I thank you for keeping the flag flying, regardless of the major setback in 2014.
“The poverty and want in our land is staring us in the face. The misery in the land is tormenting. We have to provide the required alternative, driven by the people. We have a bigger challenge before us. We have a mountain to climb. We have a destiny to fulfill. Our people in Ekiti are waiting for us. As 2018 approaches, the electorates are anxious. But they are also worried about the real and imagined divisions among us.
“The future of our great party lies in our unity. We are getting ready for another pitched battle. We cannot afford to go to the field divided. We need unity of ideas, unity of personalities.”
With these words, Ojudu set the ball rolling as the APC leaders and the youth leaders took their turn in pouring their grievances as well as proffering ways to form a formidable front to reclaim the fortunes of the party in coming elections.
The meetings which were with party exco, APC Youth Movement, party dignitaries, religious leaders, community leaders, students, professionals and artisan groups, market women and men, etc, dealt critically with every obstacles inhibiting the party on the path of progress and how to resolve them and get a common front to wrestle power from the incumbent governor Ayodele Fayose, perceived by many to be the clog on the wheel of Ekiti progress.
A renowned APC stalwart in the state commended Ojudu for the peace initiative, warning that the part first needs to be united before going to any election.
“This is a good initiative and I have been waiting for this day to come but beyond this visit you people at the top that all of us are watching in Ekiti must close your ranks. When people see you dining together it will trickle down and all the divisions will disappear and our party will be strong, very strong again to present a common front to unseat the PDD in our state”, Abejide said Another stalwart , Bunmi Ogunleye, who received Ojudu, in his residence in company with all the exco and youth leaders across the
state, promised loyalty to the ace journalist and encouraged him to continue the good work.
“I am assuring you that you always have the support of the youth of Ekiti State. I have personally tested you and I am convinced, just like the teeming youth that I lead, that you are a true ambassador of this state. We need someone like you in government. We need someone like you to be our leader. We need someone like you as our governor.
And we pray this will come to pass one day,” he said.
At the consultative sessions, stakeholders took turn to suggest how to reconcile various factions of APC in the state and how the Federal Government can assist in bringing development to local communities.
Speaking with journalists after the consultations, Ojudusaid: “The people are obviously yearning for change and the response I got from the people, from our consultations, from our visitations, is that people are ready for the change. We have seen the burning desire in them to experience a change from the present bondage and enslavement.
“The feeler is that we just have to get closer to the people. There is also the need to give them adequate information. We have to find a way of bringing them together, of uniting them and get closer to them in Ekiti State. We need to inform them about government activities that have direct impacts on their lives and we need to inform them on how they can participate so that they can benefit from them. We need to let them know some of the things that the Federal Government is doing for Nigerians because many of them are not just aware. We need to come down a little closer to the grassroot.
“And I was so glad that I embark on this unity trip, trying to introduce some of the Federal Government policies to them, trying to correct some wrong impressions that have been sold to them. I also appreciate the opportunity I have, telling them that the Federal Government meant so well for them. We tried to allay their fears and let them realise that if we are able to organise ourselves, we shall once again recover the state from those who are riding rod shod on it and put Ekiti back on track once again.
Bemoaning the state of development in Ekiti, the presidential aide said: “Let me say that we made attempts in the first term that we governed the state in 1999, to lay a solid foundation. But the foundation was not completed before somebody else came and uprooted the foundation.
Now, we are drifting and we cannot place ourselves anywhere. No plan, economically, socially. In all of the sectors, there is no plan, no well thought out plan. No sign of anything on ground to propel the government on the next thing to do. We don’t even know what propels the action of the government. All we have is sporadic actions, buying roasted corns on the streets, building bridges to nowhere and all sorts of frivolities.
“Fayose had come, held down the Ekiti people and continue to rape them. So, each time I see him, I see the image of a rapist. That’s what I see. I have the image of a rapist. And our people are crying, they are shouting, although their voice is muted as they are being raped by their governor. The society is bleeding,” he enthused.