President Muhammadu Buhari has hailed the “very credible and transparent primary process” that led to the emergence of Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Solid Minerals Development, as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State.
Fayemi won a rescheduled primary following an initial botched effort defined by violence and gunshots.
After meeting Southwest leaders of the party at the State House on Wednesday, Buhari outlined what needs to be done to regain the state from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“I want to thank our party leaders from Ekiti and the South West for honouring the invitation to this dinner meeting. As many of you may know, it is not in my nature to interfere in the internal workings of our party – APC,” he said, according to quotes circulated by Femi Adesina, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity.
“It is the responsibility of the Party to conduct primaries for elective positions. I am a product of a similar exercise, which incidentally, was chaired by your gubernatorial candidate.
“Now that the party has completed that assignment through the very credible and transparent primary process led by Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura and a candidate has emerged from that keen contest, our job as party leaders is to build a united front that can propel our party to victory in this all important election.
“This is crucial because I remember the hanky-panky that attended the last gubernatorial election in Ekiti State in 2014. I recall the firsthand account I received from some of the dramatis personae in that unfortunate saga. We must do everything to ensure that we do not allow any subversion of the will of the people this time around.”
Buhari added that now that the primary is over and a candidate has emerged, all hands must be on deck to achieve positive result.
“I have received full briefing from Governor Almakura on the exercise in Ekiti and I am glad to note that the candidate is also reaching out to his co - contestants with a view to working together,” he said.
“I want to lend my voice to this effort at coming together and combining efforts. I want to appeal to all of you to see this as a collective mission to rescue Ekiti and promote development.
“I know Ekiti fairly well and Ekiti people are well known for their forthrightness, candour and integrity. All of these values seem to have been lost and we must restore these values and return Ekiti to its pride of place in the comity of states.
“As we approach the 2019 elections, the return of Ekiti into the fold of progressive states is important as the election of July 2014 is going to be a key pointer to subsequent elections.
“On my part, let me reassure you that you can count on my support. But charity must begin at home. I urge Ekiti leaders and the leaders from the South West to take this assignment seriously so that APC can laugh last in the July elections. It is only then that we will all be beneficiaries of victory.
“Let's return to the field to work hard and deliver victory to our great party. Thank you very much.”
The Ekiti State governorship election holds on Saturday, July 14.