The Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has described as unfortunate, a statement reportedly made by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, that the 'Ekiti State election is a war' after he was named as the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign committee for Ekiti and Osun States governorship elections.
Fayemi, who spoke with journalists in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, at the weekend, urged Sambo to withdraw the statement, while assuring the people that he hopes to take him on over the statement.
“Quite frankly, my immediate reaction when I saw the statement from the vice-president was disbelief until I eventually read it in about five newspapers and saw that the language was consistent and that the reports are not different in all the papers. I was not going to believe it because the vice-president is someone I relate with very well.
“The vice-president has every right to push for his party in any election. That is his legitimate right but to have said what the media reported him to have purportedly said was quite unfortunate because we are not at war in Ekiti State.
“We have been here three and a half years of peace – one of the most peaceful states in this country today. So for somebody who occupies one of the highest offices in the land as our vice-president to reduce the importance of his office and promote insecurity – either directly or by subterfuge – and in this case, it is pretty much directly and it wasn’t used figuratively, he used it in a matter of fact that he was going to a war front,” he noted.
Fayemi said: “I think the vice-president really ought to withdraw the statement and reassure Nigerians that the agenda for Ekiti State election is not going to be determined in Aso Rock but by the people of the state because it is a referendum on the performance of the current government in the state; it is not a national election. It should not be reduced to a national election. So that would be my reaction to the unfortunate remark of the vice-president.”
He said the statement reminds him of former, President, Olusegun Obasanjo’s “do-or-die” statement, “which is really unbecoming of the person who occupies the number two office in the land.
“I still would like to take the vice-president on himself. I hope he would deny saying that and it would be some form of reassurance. I think it is the underlying text that should worry us.
“All of us also saw what happened at Ilaje, Ese-Odo and the role played by a minister of government who does not even come from the state and has no responsibility in the state. The way he was said to have purportedly – not even purportedly, because the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the state came out openly and said let them challenge what I’m telling you in your report’, this was what this person did.”
He said where there is decency “Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro would have been asked to leave by now. Because if you do anything that flies flagrantly in the eyes of the law – the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) law is very clear.”
According to him, such action are appearing to people as a precursor of their plan for Ekiti and Osun State elections, stressing that “INEC ought to be sending a very strong signal to President Goodluck Jonathan himself that we would not take kindly to these kinds of interference by the minister of state in an election that we want as a precursor for the 2015 presidential election.
“Because there is a lot of intelligence that is available to me about people sewing fake soldiers and policemen uniforms, in preparation for Ekiti election…, I hope INEC would be reassuring not just Ekiti people but Nigerians, because the Ekiti election is even far more important than the 2015 election because if confidence is lost in INEC’s preparation and eventual implementation of the Ekiti election that will rub off terribly on the 2015 elections.
Fayemi said following what happened in Anambra State, all eyes are on INEC to see how the Ekiti election would go because “To see the election going in the wrong direction would totally put paid to any hope on the part of Nigerians that anything good can come out of the 2015 election and I don’t think President Jonathan needs that.
“I think he has conveyed an image of himself as a decent politician who is not going to manipulate or resort to extra-legal or illegal ways in election management in Nigeria.
He advised that INEC together with Inter Agency Committee and Security that would be involved in the election need to give people a lot of reassurance following the vice-president’s statement. I think it is very unfortunate. I think it is unbecoming of his office.