Ekiti State Governor and Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi has finally joined the contest for the 2023 presidential election.
Ahead of the formal declaration on Wednesday in Abuja where he would unveil “My Nigeria Agenda”, Fayemi said he had had extensive consultations across the geopolitical zones in the last six weeks.
He said he also shared his vision with 20 of his brother-Governors in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as well as key traditional and political leaders.
According to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Yinka Oyebode, Wednesday’s formal declaration would be the climax of Fayemi’s engagements across the country.
“It will also lay to rest speculations on whether he would run for the Presidency or not”, the statement stated.
For weeks, if not months, Fayemi’s interest in the No 1 had been the subject of intense speculations, given that he is one of few Nigerians considered to be eminently qualified for the post. He is concluding his second term as Ekiti State Governor and has also served as Minister in between the two terms.
The statement issued on Tuesday read: “Dr Fayemi had, after discussing his plan to run for the number one office with President Mohammadu Buhari last month, sought counsel, guidance and support from traditional and political leaders across states in the federation.
“Remarkably, Dr Fayemi kick-started the consultation in Owo, Ondo State, where he met with the Olowo of Owo, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye. Owo is renowned as the seat of progressive politics in the country, being the birth place of the defunct Action Group (AG) led by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Thereafter, Dr Fayemi met with Afenifere leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, (who was his Secondary School principal) and other leaders of the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, including Chief Olu Falae and Chief Cornelius Adebayo in Akure, Ondo State capital.
“The Afenifere leaders did a frank assessment of current trends in the country and concluded that the country needs a leader, a democrat with character, courage and compassion at this critical period. They scored Dr Fayemi high on these points and gave their blessings for his aspiration.
“Determined to deepen the consultations, Dr Fayemi also visited the Osemawe of Ondo, HRM Oba Adesimbo Victor kiladejo at his palace in Ondo town and the Deji of Akure, HRM Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi at his palace in Akure. The consultation also took him to Ile- Ife, Osun State, the cradle of the Yoruba, where he met the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, who accorded him a grand reception that lasted for hours, interspersed with prayer sessions and cultural entertainment.
“Dr Fayemi also met with the Olubadan of Ibadan, HRM Oba Lekan Bbalogun; the Alake of Egbaland, HRM Oba Michael Adedotun Gbadebo; the Awujale of Ijebu ode, HRM Oba Sikiru Adetona; and the Akarigbo of Remoland, who is also the chairman of Ogun State Council of Traditional Rulers, HRM Oba Babatunde Adewale Ajayi in their respective palaces, where he got royal blessings.
“Dr Fayemi’s consultation train later moved to the palace of Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe; King (Dr) Dandeson Douglas Jaja, of the Opobo Kingdom and Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers. He also visited and had talks with the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar and the Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Mohammed Jega during the Sallah holiday and both leaders respectively expressed their admiration for his personality and capacity as a bridge builder and lover of peace.
“He had earlier held a major meeting with members of Ekiti State Traditional Council in Ado-Ekiti, with over 110 Obas in attendance. The Ekiti Obas who were excited at the possibility of one of their sons becoming the next President of the country, pledged their unalloyed support for Dr Fayemi’s presidential bid. The Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, HRM Oba Rufus Adeyemo Aladesanmi; Ajero of Ijero- Ekiti, Oba Joseph Adebayo Adewole and Owaoye of Okemesi Ekiti, Oba Michael Gbadebo Adedeji, who spoke on behalf of the Obas, said Fayemi is eminently qualified to lead the country in view of his exposure, education, experience and capacity.
“Dr Fayemi’s engagements with political and traditional leaders went on side by side with consultations with his colleague governors, especially those elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). As at date he has conferred with and shared his vision with no fewer than 20 of the 22 APC governors, in the consultation process that is expected to run till the party’s primaries, later in the month.
“The NGF Chairman said the engagements with the traditional rulers and political leaders provided an avenue to share and listen to their perspectives on the ideal approaches to building a united country based on justice, freedom, equity and the rule of law. The aggregate opinion, counsel and goodwill received during the consultation period will form the crux of his declaration on Wednesday at the nation’s capital city”.