President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday urged the people of Ekiti State to vote for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Saturday’s governorship election.
He said the people of the Fountain of Knowledge should not allow themselves to be insulted by the stomach infrastructure policy being promoted by Governor Ayo Fayose.
The nation’s number one citizen said Ekiti should grow beyond stomach infrastructure vote APC to enjoy god governance, development, better standard of living and infrastructure development.
He expressed regrets that many politicians have been capitalising on the herdsmen crisis in some parts of the country accusing him of not doing anything because he is Fulani.
Describing the allegation as a “cheap blackmail,” Buhari said protection of life and property of Nigerians is paramount to him noting that measures are being taken to put an end to the herdsmen’s onslaught.
Buhari spoke on Tuesday at the grand finale governorship rally held at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, where APC national leaders and governors canvassed for votes for the flag bearer, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
The President described Fayemi as competent, capable and experienced enough to be elected governor again noting that the APC flag bearer served excellently well as Minister of Mines and Steel Development.
He said Ekiti get its fair share of resources and projects from the Federal Government despite the political difference between the government at the centre and state government.
Joining Buhari at the rally are Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha; Governors Abdulazeez Yari (Zamfara), Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Umaru Al Makura (Nasarawa) and Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki represented by his deputy, Philip Shaibu.
Ministers who attended the rally include Rotimi Amaechi (Transportation), Babatunde Fashola (Power, Works and Housing), Chris Ngige (Labour and Employment), Ogbonnaya Onu (Science and Technology), Adebayo Shittu (Communications) and Abdulrahman Danbazzau (Interior).
Thousands of residents defied Fayose’s order to stay at home and thronged the stadium to welcome the President who first paid courtesy visit to the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe and other traditional ruler at the palace.
Commercial activities were going on at the city’s main markets while many commercial drivers and motorcycle riders plied their trade on the major roads.
Buhari, whose helicopter touched down at about 12.35 pm at Christ’s School sports field headed to the Ewi’s Palace where the monarchs were waiting to receive him.
At the palace, Oba Adejugbe, advocated for creation of cottage industries in Ekiti to generate jobs for the unemployed. He urged Fayemi to do more for the people if he wins the poll and is sworn in again.
At the stadium, Buhari said Ekiti people are dear to him which explained why many indigenes of the state got very important appointments in his administration including the most senior military officer in the land, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin.
The President said he and his party have not only come to campaign for the votes of Ekiti people but to key in to the change agenda and vote APC.
He disclosed that the APC-led Federal Government has carried out laudable projects including construction and rehabilitation of 13 federal roads including Ikole-Omuo Road, Efon Alaaye-Iwaraja Road, Ido-Ifaki Road, Ado-Ifaki Road, Ila-Ilale-Ekan-Otun Road and internal roads at Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE).
Buhari said his administration also awarded contract for a Federal Secretariat which is under construction in Ekiti to ensure that federal civil servants have office accommodation.
He noted that a National Housing Project to provide accommodation for residents was extended to Ekiti State by his administration which has also generated jobs for local artisans.
The President further explained that thousands of Ekiti residents benefited from the social investment programmes of his administration including Npower for youths, School Feeding for primary school pupils, Conditional Cash Transfer and several tranches of bailout funds.
Urging Ekiti electorate to vote Fayemi, Buhari said: “Don’t allow yourself to be blackmailed by stomach infrastructure, your future is in your hand, you must grow beyond stomach infrastructure.
“Ekiti should do the right thing by voting APC and commence the journey to reclaim your land and restore your values.
“I recommend Fayemi to you, he served as Minister of Mines and Steel
Development, he is experienced. Don’t waste your vote, vote Dr. Kayode Fayemi.”
APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, urged Ekiti voters to elect Fayemi and reject PDP which he accused of inflicting hardship of non-payment of salaries on civil servants, teachers and local government workers.
Oshiomhole accused Fayose of pocketing the over N20 billion bailout funds given to him by the Buhari administration to pay arrears of workers’ salaries and dancing “kurukere” when workers are suffering.
He disclosed that he held a meeting with labour unions in Ekiti on Monday where he gave a commitment that Fayemi would pay all the outstanding arrears owed by Fayose to give relief to workers.
Oshiomhole said: “I have served as a guarantor that Fayemi will pay the arrears of workers’ salaries when elected and he will ensure that all Ekiti people get what is due to them.
“Four years ago, I was a sitting governor of Edo State and I wanted to come and campaign for Fayemi in the 2014 election but the PDP made sure that I did not have the opportunity to come and campaign for the then incumbent Fayemi.
“Mr. President, we thank you and we know that you will not do the same, we are not here for revenge. Fayose has been trying to divert attention, he abused INEC, Police and he is behaving like a typical armed robber.
“Fayose has resorted to very primitive tactics, he gave unlawful order that all shops be closed and manipulated drivers not to bring out their vehicles to convey people here.
“This boy (Fayose) is a poor student of student thuggery; nothing, absolutely nothing can stop people that are determined. The President is proud that you defied his tactics and came here today.
“You will vote freely and fairly and nothing will happen. Whoever Fayose demotes, Fayemi will promote him and whoever Fayose dismisses, Fayemi will reinstate.
“All of you go to your polling units with your PVCs and by Saturday, Fayose will cry.”
APC National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu urged Ekiti electorate to reject the PDP which he described as a “party of looters.”
Tinubu described APC as a pain killer that will put an end to the pains being experienced by Ekiti people and Nigerians at large.
He said Buhari built three refineries for Nigeria but the PDP government dismantled and sold them off leaving Nigerians to suffer.
Tinubu said: “They (PDP) stole all the money, what do you have left in the treasury? PDP is a party of destruction, it is Poverty Development Party.
“When they stole your money, they stole your life, they stole your future. APC is here to rebuild what has been destroyed. We thank God for the party under the leadership of our Baba, President Buhari.
“APC is the pain killer, my mama used to give me APC when I was young.
When you vote APC, you are voting for future, you are voting for the sake of your children.
“It is not for the sake of Kayode (Fayemi), he had an appointment in Abuja but he has come back to serve you. If you want Ekiti to look like Lagos, to witness development and have your children in schools, vote APC.
“Don’t let anybody intimidate you, you will be protected, nobody can intimidate you. If you want to eat the seed inside palm kernel, it will not be easy/
“You can’t sleep at home and be expecting power, nobody serves it in a restaurant. No matter the level of their lies, propaganda and intimidation, fear has gripped them.
“Vote and stand by your vote, it will not be like that of 2014. It is your turn to get your government for your good and progress, go there on Saturday and vote APC.”
Fayemi promised return of good governance to Ekiti if the people of the state elect him. He commended the people for trooping out in large numbers for the rally to welcome the President.
He said the party is united after the primary noting that all governorship aspirants who contested for the party’s ticket with him are resolute to ensure victory for the party.
Fayemi said: “During my time, there is no community that did not benefit from our government. If we did not construct your road, we built your school, if we did not build your school, we constructed palace for your Kabiyesi, if we did not build palace for your Kabiyesi, we fixed your drains.
“We did all that, we did not owe workers a single Naira; we paid the elderly, we paid free WAEC, NECO, JAMB, NABTEB fees. We increased workers salaries (minimum wage) from N8,500 to N13,000 and then to N19,000.
“We were the first to pay Rural Teachers Allowance in Nigeria, Core Teachers Allowance. I am running on a track record of service in all constituencies, there is no single community that did not benefit from our (first) tenure.
“Why am I back? President did not sack me (as minister). My people need me for reclaiming your land and restoring our values. Your PVCs must be ready because the power of the people is greater than the people in power.”
Chairman of APC National Campaign Council for Ekiti State governorship election, Kebbi State Governor Bagudu said the magnitude of crowd that thronged the stadium was a pointer to an APC victory on Saturday.
Bagudu said Ekiti has the best potential to develop under Fayemi noting that Ekiti people appreciated what he did during his first tenure.
“Go to your polling units on Saturday and vote APC; guard your votes, don’t be intimidated. President Buhari has assured that security will be provided and your votes will count,” Bagudu said.
Yari, who is also the Chairman of Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) said Fayose held its rally on the streets last week because he was afraid of an empty stadium. (The Nation)