Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has said the Presidency has not anointed the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, as the party’s candidate for the July 22 governorship election in Ekiti State.
Odigie-Oyegun, who spoke through his political aide, Soni Idahagbon, in Benin, said there was no truth in the allegation that a recent visit to President Muhammadu Buhari by Fayemi, in company of a former governor of Ekiti state, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, was an endorsement of Fayemi.
“Fayemi is a minister in the president’s cabinet and a former governor of Ekiti state, and Adebayo is also a former governor of the state; they could have gone to discuss issues pertaining to the state.
“All I know is there is no anointed candidate in Ekiti and I believe the president takes no special interest in any candidate. We will give all the contestants a level-playing field and whoever emerges winner in an open contest becomes the candidate of all of us.
“The APC is a democratic party, we are not dictatorial or nocturnal in any of our dealings. When you talk of a consensus candidate, you talk of the common decision of all the contestants to pick on one person, not that any leader will come and impose a candidate against the will of the party delegates who are entitled to their votes,” Odigie-Oyegun clarified.
He also assured that whoever emerges as the party’s candidate would receive the blessing of the party at the national level.
“If I didn’t impose a candidate in my state, Edo, and in other states where primary elections had been conducted by our party, if the president had not imposed anybody in those states, why should we do such in Ekiti?” he asked.
The APC boss, however, assured that the party would present a credible candidate, capable of wresting power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), adding that what Ekiti needed now is a responsive government.
Meanwhile, a pressure group within the APC, Ekiti Youth Forum, has urged the party’s delegates to “look out for a candidate without baggage, that is fresh, young and filled with brilliant ideas to help transform the state to a new haven.”
In a statement by its coordinator, Sam Alonge, the group said: “We want a break-away from the old ‘cargoes’ in Ekiti; we need a technocrat who is well-travelled and who can easily attract foreign investors, as our new governor.”