Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti
A chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC), and former aspirant for the House of Representatives, Ekiti South constituency 1, Makinde Araoye, and a coalition of bigwigs from several political parties in Ekiti State, have traded tackles on the presidential candidates of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
While Araoye assured that President Muhammadu Buhari would win the 2019 Presidential poll in spite of odds the opposition parties have claimed are against him, members of the APC, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), African Democratic Party, (ADP) and Labour Party (LP) in the state have drummed support for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, who are presidential candidate of the PDP and running mate respectively.
Araoye, who was speaking during a get together with his supporters from across the south senatorial district of the state, which he had organised after he was asked to step down for another aspirant for peaceful co existence, said he was sure that President Buhari would win the 2019 Presidential poll because of his intimidating performance and the claim that none of the presidential candidates from other parties could match him.
His words, “President Buhari has began something revolutionary which no other past administration has done.
“He has been fighting the corruption war quite well and has been providing infrastructures as well as jobs for Nigerians, so I am sure he will win in 2019 in spite of all odds against him.”
But reacting, the coalition, which described themselves as ‘Yar Adua political family’ and ‘Friends of Atiku’ from the 16 Local Government Areas of the state, spoke through their leader, Ajewole, saying: ” Atiku is not only a rugged politician, he is also a successful businessman and knows how to run businesses and institutions and getting positive results.
“He is also the type who surrounds himself with brilliant minds and who listens to and takes wise counsel.
“He knows the pains Nigerians are currently experiencing and he is not going to be President by accident. He is very much prepared for the task ahead.
“His call for restructuring is not a matter of lip service. He knows it is a potent measure needed to really actualise the potential of our dear country and for it to take its pride of place in the comity of nations.”
Ajewole said those accusing Atiku of corruption were only chasing shadows, challenging them to bring any evidence they have to the public domain.
“Atiku’s traducers are only crying wolves where there is none. He has been investigated a number of times and was never indicted.
“Only few days ago, he was honoured by the American Government. This is somebody they are accusing of being banned by the same government,” he noted.
Speaking about the reason why he chose to throw a party for his supporters in spite of losing the party’s ticket, Araoye said: “We just finished a campaign for the seat of House of Representatives.
“We ran a very hectic energetic and successful campaign and throughout this journey, I met a lot of people who overwhelmingly supported my ambition but along the way I was advised by the leadership of the party to withdraw for the sake of peace but a lot of my supporters were angry with that development and l thought that l should let them realise that it does not mean it is all over.
“It has been an emotional moment for me as this is just my first time of coming out to vie for the seat and I am overwhelmed by the huge support of our people.
“So, I am using this opportunity and this occasion to appreciate them.”
Assuring the supporters of working with Governor Kayode Fayemi for their benefit, he said, “I had a conversation with His Excellency I have a very cordial relationship with him and I know he has the best interest in whatever l do and he has assured me that I will work closely with his government and that message I have sent to our people that we would not be left out of the government of Governor Fayemi.
“We have been part of the party’s success and we will enjoy it.’
In a meeting held at Iroko-Ekiti, Ijero Local Government Area of the state to mobilise support for Atiku’s candidacy which was attended by the convener, Bode Ajewole, former member, House of Reps, Sikiru The Lawal, a former deputy governor, (coordinator), Bode Ola, immediate past chairman of State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Tunji Odeyemi, former Speaker of Ekiti House of Assembly, Kehinde Odebunmi, former House of Representatives member, Jeje, member House of Representatives, Adunni Olayinka, former deputy speaker, Segun Adewunmi, former PDP state chairman, and Bola Ojo among others, the group expressed confidence that Atiku will get Nigeria out of the current economic downturn if elected the President in 2019.
The group also said restructuring, especially fiscal federalism that Atiku is championing, will not hurt any part of the country, but will allow for speedy economic development of the country as a whole.
Ajewole described the chance of Atiku winning the presidential election as very bright, adding that the Atiku project was beyond the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that is fielding him as its candidate.
“It today’s meeting and in this project are members of the All Progressives Congress, the Labour Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Action Democratic Congress and many political parties and stalwarts too numerous to mention,” he added.
Ajewole opined that Nigerians were tired of President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC and would vote them out next year.
He admonished Buhari to let the will of the people matter and not soil his image and that of Nigeria with election ringing.
Also speaking, former Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Dr. Sikiru Tae Lawal, said the fact that only few people were invited but that the venue was jam packed with participants showed that Atiku’s acceptance was wide.
“This is an idea whose time has come. God is involved. This is a divine project. We are all one and equal in this project.
“The issue is beyond being a PDP member. We are ready for the task ahead,” he stated.
Lawal charged participants to go home and make as many people as possible supporters of Atiku.