One goal the presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have as the prime in their agenda at the moment is winning Ekiti State on July 14 and having a total control of the South-West. Ekiti is the only state in the South-West controlled by the opposition.
The Ekiti APC gubernatorial primary was marred with controversy and violence. When it was finally held a week after, Minister of Mines and Steel, Kayode Fayemi, emerged winner from among the 33 candidates that contested. But Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, dismissed the emergence of Fayemi with a wave of the hand, saying it would be an easy victory for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the polls.
Political analysts believe that the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti will be a do-or-die affair. The thinking is that Fayose will desperately employ every electioneering skills in his book to retain the state because a defeat for the PDP may be the beginning of the end of his political career. This is certainly not the portion an ambitious politician like him who is angling for the presidency should bargain.
There are others who contend that with federal might on his side, Fayemi is sure to coast home to victory. Others have expressed reservation that judging from previous elections held since 2015, Buhari is the least Nigerian president who has ever thought of using federal might and may maintain the same position in the Ekiti governorship election.
On Wednesday, just before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council meeting, Fayemi and the Nassarawa State governor, Tanko Al-Makura, visited President Buhari. That same Wednesday at night, the president had a dinner meeting with the South-West caucus of the APC. At the parley, the president challenged the caucus of the party to bring Ekiti State back into the fold of progressive states.
The president said they could achieve this by ensuring electoral victory for the APC gubernatorial candidate, Fayemi, in the forthcoming governorship election in the state. According to him, members of the party must work together in the state to ensure that the will of the people is not subverted.
Buhari said, “I know Ekiti fairly well and Ekiti people are well known for their forthrightness, candour and integrity. All of these values seem to have been lost and we must restore these values and return Ekiti to its pride of place in the comity of states.
“As we approach the 2019 elections, the return of Ekiti into the fold of progressive states is important as the election of July 14 is going to be a key pointer to subsequent elections.’’
SSSPresident Buhari further reiterated his determination never to interfere in the internal affairs of the party at any level. He commended his minister of Solid Mineral Resources, Kayode Fayemi, for reaching out to his co-contestants who lost out in the Saturday primaries. He enjoined all members and supporters of the APC in Ekiti State and beyond to see the July 14 governorship election as a collective mission to rescue Ekiti and promote development.
Chief Bisi Akande, who spoke to State House correspondents after the meeting, said the caucus would do all it could within the electoral process to secure victory for the APC candidate in the July 14 election.
Among those at the dinner were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, National Leader of the APC and former Lagos State governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande, Chief Segun Osoba and the national chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun.
All the 33 governorship aspirants, along with Fayemi and former Governor Segun Oni, partook in the dinner. Governors at the meeting included Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) and Nasarawa State governor, Tanko Al-Makura, who was the chairman of Ekiti APC governorship primaries committee. Some members of the National Assembly, Ministers and stakeholders from the Southwest were also in attendance.
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