The E-Eleven, a forum of Ekiti stakeholders, yesterday dissociated the people of the state from an advert placed in two national newspapers on Monday by the state governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, insinuating that the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, might die in office if elected.
The forum, chaired by Mr. Femi Ajiniran, added that the Ekiti people “are not in any way against the North, neither are we against any geopolitical zone in the country. We believe firmly in the principle of equality as espoused in the 1999 Constitution,” saying the view expressed in the advert “is Fayose’s personal opinion.”
The forum stated this in a statement issued by Ajiniran in Lagos, noting that the advert was placed by “Fayose as an individual and as a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), whose interest he sought to protect.”
In a related development, Ekiti indigenes in the diaspora, under the auspices of Ekiti Panupo Forum, apologised to Nigerians and particularly the northerners, over the offensive advert placed by Fayose against the presidential candidate of the APC.
The E-Eleven on its part noted that the governor’s statement “violates the non-violence clause of the Electoral Act, 2011. It, also, breaches the peace agreement facilitated by former Secretary-General of United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan and former Secretary-General of Commonwealth, Sir Emeka Anyaoku, last week.
“After the landmark peace agreement brokered to achieve peaceful conduct of the 2015 general election, Fayose sponsored this advert of acrimony and discrimination from the purse of Ekiti State at about N50 million in the two national dailies. We, therefore, dissociate the people of Ekiti State from this advert.”
It therefore asked all the citizens of Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigeria Police among others, “to hold Fayose and his political party responsible if the advert eventually “stokes anger in some parts of the country. The people of Ekiti are not acrimonious and discriminatory.
He added that the people of the state “are cautious, courteous, cultured and always treat every human creation irrespective of ethnic, political and religious background with dignity and respect. This is also in line with the spirit and letters of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the Ekiti Panupo Forum described the advert as not only offensive but appalling. The
group expressed that the step taken by Fayose had further ridiculed Ekiti in the eyes of the public.
Fayose had however, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, on Tuesday, said he did not owe anybody any apology over the advert where he suggested that Buhari was too fragile to rule Nigeria, urging Nigerians not to allow what happened to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua repeat itself.
The diaspora group, comprising intellectuals and professionals across the globe said it found the advert as demeaning as representatives of Ekiti people home and abroad, stating that the paid advert only spoke the mind of the governor.
In similar manner, a member of the House of Representatives from Ekiti State, Dr. Ife Arowosoge, accused Fayose of blasphemy on the controversial advert, suggesting that the APC presidential candidate might die in office, if elected.
Arowosoge who represents Ekiti South federal constituency 1, in Ado-Ekiti, on Wednesday, expressed disgust that Fayose could descend so low to wishing a political opponent dead in what is supposed to be a contest of ideas.
Calling on Governor Fayose to be wary of his action to prevent inter-ethnic crisis in a beleaguered country like Nigeria, Ekiti Panupo in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Mr. Kunle Oladele declared that, like all well-meaning Nigerians, the overwhelming majority of Ekiti people are offended by these advertisement and held the belief that it was laced with acrimony.
The body added that Ekiti people wish no harm to General Muhammadu Buhari or any other aspirant whatsoever. “We pray to God that has blessed Nigeria with him, to spare his life, grant him all his wishes that will benefit him both in this world and hereafter.
“We hold in high esteem, all ethnic groups of our great country, Nigeria, especially all our brothers and sisters in the North-western Nigeria, that have produced many of our past leaders that served this country gallantly, some of whom have made the ultimate sacrifices in their services to the country.
“Ekiti people do appreciate these heroes and will forever remember their families in our prayers. Moreover, we believe Nigeria is a country where people of all faiths have and will live together in harmony.
“ The good people of Ekiti State subscribe to peaceful co-existence of all faiths and we live by this belief and continue to enjoy peaceful collaboration between all religious groups of the state.”
He said: “The character of the person of Fayose has been revealed by the advert. He is from a Christian home, his late father was a pastor and his mother established a church during his first tenure.
“Can you imagine Fayose even going to the Bible to extract a quote in a desperate bid to malign another person. This is blasphemy, twisting the Word of God to suit your mischievous opinion,” he stressed.