Stakeholders in Ekiti State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as well as leaders and elder statesmen, have expressed concern over delay in the appointment of new minister from the state as replacement to Dr Kayode Fayemi.
Dr Fayemi, who is presently the governor of the state, is the immediate past minister of Mines and Steel Development.
He resigned in May, 2018 following his emergence as the APC governorship candidate for the July 14 election.
But six months after his resignation from the office, no replacement has been made by the president to represent the state as member of Federal Executive Council.
The party members and leaders in the state, according to sources are becoming disillusioned for being kept in abeyance for too long by the presidency, owing to the role a minister would have played in the 2019 presidential election.
Outside the party cycle, other critical stakeholders, including Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers and other concerned statesmen are also of the view that Ekiti is being shortchanged by the vacuum created by not having a representative at FEC who would have served as strong link between the state and Abuja, the seat of power.
Multiple sources expressed disappointment at the delay, which they described as a flagrant breach of the 1999 constitution, which stipulates that each of the 36 states of the federal republic must have a representative at FEC.
“As we speak now, Ekiti is being shortchanged at the federal level. The 1999 constitution is very clear as to how ministers are appointed.
Though, the president was given the prerogative power to appoint whomever he likes, there must be spread and representation from all states.
“Ekiti cannot be equated with an individual. The question agitating our minds has been that, is the president finding it difficult to get a replacement to Dr Fayemi among Ekiti politicians and professionals that were doing excellently well in Nigeria and abroad?
“If the president is at crossroads over his trust for politicians, let him appoint a technocrat of Ekiti origin, who can serve and represent Ekiti and the nation well.
“We agree that Dr Fayemi left a big shoe in his ministry, because he initiated and executed landmark policies that radicalised the ministry he superintended over. It would be difficult to get a replacement that could match his experience, astuteness and innovative powers but that does not suggest that we do not have capable hands here in Ekiti.
“We plead with President Buhari to quickly appoint a minister. Again, we are facing a major election in 2019 and while Dr Fayemi will be busy consolidating strategies to win the state and federal legislative elections, we need a minister to mobilise and serve as a link for the presidential election, so this makes it expedient for Ekiti to have a minister as quickly as possible”, he said.
Speaking on the development, APC State Chairman, Barrister Paul Omotoso, said the party has not at any time deliberated on the issue of ministerial slot for Ekiti.
He said the party leadership in the state, Governor Fayemi inclusive, have not taken any position on the issue, saying only the stakeholders can decide what position to take.
“I can’t give my own opinion on issues that have to do with the party because we have not at any time taken any formal position on this issue.
“I know that President Buhari can’t deliberately shut out Ekiti from having a representative at FEC, so we will have representative at the appropriate time”, Omotoso assured.