Immediate past Governor of Ekiti State and Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Saturday, formally declared his intention to contest the July 14 governorship election in the state, saying efforts by the Ayodele Fayose administration to stop him “through a kangaroo panel remains an exercise in futility”.
Fayemi, while addressing a mammoth crowd of supporters at a rally in Ado-Ekiti, shortly after a meeting with All Progressives Congress (APC) executives at the party secretariat, said he was contesting the election with the intention of dislodging Fayose, “whose government has brought untold misery to Ekiti people through dubious and insensitive approach to governance”.
The carnival-like rally shut down the entire Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, as Fayemi and his supporters trekked from Fajuyi area of the city to the party secretariat at Ajilosun, with jubilant crowd chanting APC songs.
The crowd at the rally became ecstatic when Fayemi brought out a red card from his pocket which he symbolically flashed at Fayose and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), declaring an end to the PDP-led government in the state.
Fayemi said the incumbent government’s White Paper cannot stop him from contesting and winning the July 14 election. He said the White paper issued against him by Fayose was hurriedly packaged with the hope of stopping him from joining the governorship race.
He explained that the incumbent government, in the desperate bid to nail him, disregarded the laws of the country, adding that the red card is his answer to Fayose’s White Paper.
Traffic was grounded for about four hours in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, where a massive crowd, which overwhelmed the city, turned out to hear Fayemi speak on his agenda for the state.
Fayemi declared that the state had retrogressed sharply in the last four years he left office, adding that his bid to run for the governorship was motivated by the need to “rescue Ekiti people from bad governance, want, hunger and poverty.”
He lamented the suffering of teachers, civil servants, local government workers, and pensioners who are being owed backlog of arrears of salaries, allowances and benefits.
Fayemi said the Fayose administration had no excuse for not paying workers’ salaries and pensioners benefits having collected two tranches of bailout funds, two tranches of Paris Club refund and Budget Support Funds for 13 months.
He also disclosed that latest records from the Debt Management Office (DMO) showed that Fayose had borrowed N56 billion since coming to power in October 2014 with nothing tangible to show for it.
He also challenged Fayose to make public the state’s IGR figure, wondering why the state IGR figure which reached N600 million monthly during his tenure is now shrouded in secrecy.
The former governor, who admitted borrowing N25 billion, said the money was spent on improving infrastructure in the state, including building major road networks, revitalising moribund Ire Bricks company, Ikogosi resort, Government House, Civic Centre, state pavilion and comprehensive renovation of all schools in the state.
The N25 billion bond, according to him, had a seven-year tenure, with a well structured monthly repayment plan, adding that the state had repaid N14.5 billion before he left office in 2014.
Fayemi said Fayose would be brought to justice at the end of his tenure on how he has mismanaged all the funds received from the Federal Government on behalf of the people of the state.
Present at the party secretariat and the rally were Fayemi’s wife, Bisi; his former deputy, Prof. Modupe Adelabu; Nigeria’s Ambassador to Hungary, Dr. Eniola Ajayi, and other notable party leaders in the state as well as former officials in his administration.
He said all APC members who had joined the governorship race are eminently qualified to occupy the state’s number one seat, saying anyone who emerges as the flag bearer would be supported by all.
The minister declared that everything humanly, constitutionally and legally possible would be done to win Ekiti State for APC at the next governorship election.
Fayemi said: “ I am in the race to win. I shall be campaigning on the strength of my past achievements as governor of the state and the achievements of the President Buhari–led APC government at the centre.
“Every time I move around, I see the suffering and penury our people are going through. I saw their pain and pangs of not knowing where the next meal will come from.
“It is even more painful when you realise that all the people-oriented programmes, designed and implemented by my administration and which helped to lift the people out of poverty and misery had been cancelled.
“The social security scheme for the elderly citizens has been cancelled, Youth in Commercial Agriculture Scheme (YCAD) has been cancelled, no free education for our children, EKSTMA is no more.
“The state is no longer moving forward just because a charlatan is in the saddle. Sad.
“We will do everything that is required to win Ekiti back, they will accuse us of using federal might. Although power belongs to God and he gives it to whosoever he wishes. The PDP government in Ekiti knows their time is up and that is why they are jittery and resorting to all manners of pranks.
“They are now dangling their White Paper. Their White Paper is nothing but a tissue paper. That is why we must tell the man who is shouting around that he has a White Paper, we have a red card for him and his party. We will ensure that he ends up in jail.”
Fayemi described Fayose as a “pathological liar” for claiming that the debt he (Fayemi) left behind was responsible for his (Fayose’s) inability to pay workers’ salaries and pensioners benefits as and when due.
Dismissing the opposition’s claim that he hates workers and teachers, Fayemi stressed that workers enjoyed most during his administration when they enjoyed salary increase three times.
Apart from this, he said workers were sponsored to local and overseas seminars, teachers got Core Subjects Allowance, Rural Teachers Allowance and no worker was sacked.
Fayemi said: “When I come before you, it is with profound need for the unfinished business, we need to complete what we started, reclaim our land and restore our land.
“Anywhere Ekiti people go, people subject us to questions that, what is wrong with you Ekiti people? We thought you are educated, we thought you are exposed, how do you come up with a character like this as governor?
“It is time to put a stop to that; it is not about title, it is about sacrifice and whatever it will take us to free Ekiti from these criminal and rapacious brigands, we will do it.” he added.