Former Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, and seven out of the nine National Assembly candidates contesting on the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) shunned Tuesday’s presidential campaign in the state.
Twenty out of the party’s 26 House of Assembly candidates and some State Working Committee and members loyal to Fayose were also absent at the rally held at the Ekiti Parapo Pavillion, Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
The absence of Fayose, the National Assembly and House of Assembly candidates, and other loyalists of the former governor, it was reliably gathered, was not unconnected with disagreement between the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the aggrieved G-5 governors.
Fayose is loyal to the G-5 governors, led by Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike. They are insisting on the resignation of Senator Iyorcha Ayu as the party’s national chairman to ensure a balance in the leadership of the main opposition party.
The campaign witnessed a large turnout of party members and Atiku’s supporters. Despite the alleged ban placed on commercial vehicles, Atiku’s supporters thronged the venue of the rally hours before he arrived.
Atiku praised the people of the state for coming out massively, despite the antics of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led state government to frustrate the campaign rally by allegedly creating artificial fuel scarcity and placing a ban on the activities of commercial drivers.
With such an attitude, he said the people of Ekiti State have demonstrated that they are not only intellectuals but also independent-minded by defying all man-made odds designed to discourage them from attending the rally.
The PDP presidential candidate said the turnout was a sign of victory in next month’s election. He added: “With the crowd I see here, there’s no doubt that Ekiti is in the bag.
“Honestly, what I have seen here today almost brought tears to my eyes. Do you know why? Before we came here, some people said we are not going to see anybody in Ekiti. We now realize what they meant was to cripple the transportation system today not only in Ado-Ekiti but in the whole of Ekiti.
“Again, they didn’t stop there; they caused artificial scarcity of petroleum products so that you won’t come here. But you braved all the challenges”.
The former vice president appealed to Ekiti people and all Nigerians to vote for the PDP to fix the infrastructures restore unity and ensure security and build a virile economy that would usher in a new lease of life for all and sundry.
Assuring the people that he will fix all roads linking the states to neighboring states if elected as the president, Atiku promised to harness the huge human capital that God endowed the people of the state with.
He said: “What I can assure you is that if you vote the PDP into power, the way you made us happy today, we would also make you happy in Ekiti State. We would go out of our way to provide everything that you want us to provide. Some people are talking about roads from here to Akure; we will do it. All the roads that connect you to other states we shall construct them.
“Ekiti is a centre of intellectual discourse. You have more educated people in this state than in other states in the country. A PDP-led Federal Government will make use of the huge human capital that God has endowed you with. It’s God-given gift and we shall utilize the potentials God has given you.
“Besides, we want to sure that our young men and women have businesses to do as a source of income”.
Ayu also urged Ekiti people to vote for the PDP as it remains the only political party that can deliver superlative services and benefit inherent in democratic governance and turns around the fortunes of the country.
Ayu said that the PDP presidential flag bearer understands the nuances and intricacies of governance and should be entrusted with the mandate to right the wrongs of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
He declared that the party would defeat the ruling APC in the presidential election as Nigerians are anxiously waiting for the PDP to return to power to rescue them from the vestiges of poverty and insecurity.