Leaders of the All Progressive Congress (APC) on Thursday, 19th June, 2014, defied heavy security siege on Ekiti State to make a final campaign stomp to rally support for its Ekiti State governorship flag bearer, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
The colourful rally held at the new Pavillion, a 10,000 seater event arcade could however not be witnessed by Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State who was detained at a military check point in Odudu, a border town between Ondo and Ekiti State while his Edo State counterpart, Comrade Adams Oshiomole was not allowed to board a Chopper that was to convey him from the Benin airport to Ado Ekiti.
Similarly, the plane conveying Governor Rabiu Kwakwanso of Kano State and his Sokoto State counterpart Governor Aliyu Wamakko was denied landing right at the Akure airport by the Federal Airport authorities citing orders from above.
The APC leaders who converged on the venue of the rally, took turns to speak, asking Ekiti people not to allow a slip back into the past by standing firmly behind Governor Kayode Fayemi when the state goes to the poll on Saturday.
Those present at the rally include the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Oyegun; Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; former interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande; Audu Ogbeh; Ogonnaiya Onu; APC Deputy National Chairman, Chief Segun Oni; APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Governors Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State; and APC National Women Leader, Hajia Ramatu Ttijani.
The rally witnessed a gale of defections from the PDP to the APC.
Chieftains of the opposition party like Chief Dapo Alibaloye; Justice Edward Ojuolape; former Speaker Femi Bamisile; Chief of Staff in the Oni administration, Segun Ilori; former PDP state women leader, Erelu Ogundipe; and many more.
Former Minister, Chief Audu Ogbeh said Ekiti people must not mistake aluminium foil for silver, adding that other candidates in the election are like aluminium foil which is disposable unlike silver which is precious resource.
Audu added that the opposition would cajole the people as though they are friends of the electorate, stressing, however, that a vote for them is a return to tyranny.
He lambasted the Federal Government for not allowing the plane conveying Kano and Sokoto States Governors, Kwankwaso and and Aliyu Wamako, to land at the Akure Airport, while Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi was also detained at the Ondo/Ekiti boundary.
According Ogbeh, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State was not allowed to take off from the Benin Airport.
“The last time this happened was in 1964 when government did not allow the opposition to travel freely on the highway. This is a return to that, but we reject it. What you have here in Fayemi is a fine gentleman and a brilliant contribution to the progress of the nation. Don’t ever mistake aluminium foil for silver. They will cajole you, but they are like aluminium foil which is disposable. Ekiti people, I know your history. You are people of honour. In less than 48 hours, you’ll be called upon to defend your honour.”
APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu said the progress of Ekiti is in the hands of the people of the state, hence they must not allow a return to the days of violence.
Tinubu, who described Fayemi as a kind-hearted man, said governance is not about eating on the road, rather about lastingdevelopment which would bring succour to the masses.
“Someone can be eating on the road. That is not governance. Let us see the hospitals that you have built. Let us see the agricultural scheme that you supported. Let us see the students that you have supported. Fayemi has provided all these things and he has touched the lives of the people. Ekiti people, your progress is in your hands. If they give you money, collect it. They are merely reimbursing what they stole from our treasury. On Saturday, go out and vote for APC. Stand and monitor your votes. No policeman or soldier can stop you from doing that. God gave you a kind-hearted man; they are asking you to send him away to bring back a violent person.”
Tinubu berated the PDP-led Federal Government for not allowing APC governors to attend the rally, adding that suspected murders are now those issuing orders to the police and the army, a situation he described as a collective insult on Nigerians.
“Someone came here and said he is the leader of the party with the leaking umbrella. He asked you to vote for his party so that he can develop your state. That means his party has not done anything for Ekiti in the last 15 years since Nigeria returned to democracy. If you wait for his development, you’ll wait for long. Vote APC. Broom is the symbol of our party. It will sweep away poverty and sorrow and bring development.”
Amosun added that seeing the transformation witnessed under the Fayemi administration, the electorate should not allow the opposition to deceive them or disrupt the progress recorded in the last three and a half years.
He said the PDP uses the soldiers and policemen knowing full well that the people are not on their side, adding that the people can only be intimidated if they allow it.
“When I was coming into Ekiti State, it was like a war situation, but the power of the will of the people is greater than all the guns in this world. When you vote, wait and guard your votes because they would want to rig, but is if you allow them. I thank you for your love for Fayemi and the APC. No one can stop an idea which time has come.”
Responding after his presentation by Oyegun, the APC flagbearer urged Ekiti people to display usual courage by defying the unsual security siege on the State saying, “ the surreptitious plan of those who have sent the Police and Soldiers to Ekiti State may have been to scare you from coming out to vote, but I am here to assure you that the people they have sent are being paid from your taxes and the commonwealth that emanates from your sweat. They will not harm you. They cannot harm you.”
Governor Fayemi further extolled the uncommon moral courage and resolve for which Ekiti people are known saying, “ this is Ekiti land, this is your home land. A man cannot be afraid in his own home.
Governor Fayemi however said it is unfortunate how intolerant the PDP controlled government has become. He reminded the people that, the APC leadership and members did not stop President Jonathan and Vice President Sambo from coming to campaign in Ekiti State.
“But why are they scared of us? The reason is simple, they do not have people. The rented crowd they brought to deceive the President has since been paid off and departed.
The resolve of our people is strong. Our teachers, our doctors, market women, farmers, students and youths have resolved that Ekiti State will never slide backwards again.
Meanwhile, the Kayode Fayemi Campaign Organisation has condemned the harassment of some APC governors who were not allowed to attend the Thursday rally in Ado-Ekiti.
The plane which conveyed Governors Kwankwaso of Kano State and Aliyu Wammako of Sokoto State who were coming for the rally was not allowed to land at the Akure Airport, while Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State was not allowed to take off from the Benin Airport.
Also, Governor Rotimi Amaechi whose plane had earlier landed was detained at the Ondo/Ekiti boundary by soldiers who threatened to shoot him should he fail to heed their order.
The soldiers, according to reports, claimed they were taking orders from Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro and Police Affairs Minister Jelili Adesiyan.
In a statement by the spokesperson, Mr. Dimeji Daniels, the Fayemi Campaign Organisation said the election campaign could still be held till midnight on Thursday, wondering why the Jonathan presidency barred the APC governors from entering Ekiti.
According to Daniels, “the draconian manner with which the PDP-led Federal Government conducts the affairs of state is gradually pushing the country to the precipice.
“The Federal Government has got so enmeshed in politics that it could no longer differentiate between governance and politics. We just hope they will not drive Nigeria into ruins in the name of politics.”
Daniels called on all well-meaning stakeholders to beam their searchlight on Ekiti State on Saturday, 21st June, 2014, to “prevent agents of rigging from carrying out their will”.