Even as he has busied himself leading the team that will conduct a rancor-free convention for the election of a presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos, on Wednesday, 10th December, 2014, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi has not been able to stop the array of searchlights beaming brightly on him as the preferred choice for the vice-presidential slot of the party, and this has continued to gain acceptability among the party’s stakeholders by the day.
Dr. Fayemi is the immediate past governor of Ekiti state, who was mysteriously denied victory at the June 21, 2014 election allegedly won by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Ayodele Fayose, and which APC is now contesting at the tribunal.
Yet Fayemi’s popularity, composure, acumen and mien have not waned a bit, rather they have soared the more.
It was on account of his rising profile anchored on proficiecy, efficiency, popularity and diligence that made the leadership of the party to appoint him the Chairman of the APC National Convention Committee, the team charged with not only organising a flawless presidential primary but also to ensure that a credible presidential candidates emerges through a rancour free exercise.
Now, those who count within the party want Fayemi to come and bolster the party’s chances at the February 2015 presidential election by partnering with whoever emerges as the presidential candidate on Wednesday.
According to a party top notch who preferred anonymity, “Fayemi stands in a good stead to assume the vice-presidential position of the APC ahead of any other person in consideration.
All the qualities we require are embedded in him. They include: the fact that he is from the southwest region where the slot is tactically zoned, the fact that he is a Christian, the fact that he is a one-time governor (and we still see him as a governor), the fact that he is intellectually endowed, the fact that he is independent-minded and objective, the fact that he is level-headed and most importantly, the high dose of integrity in him. Add to all these is his youthfulness, that will complement the advanced age of our candidate.”
Already, the All Progressives Congress (APC) seems to have placed emphasis for the emergence of both the President and Vice president on the three conditions of zoning, religion and experience.
For the zoning formula, APC recognizes the need to make the president come from the North, who is to select a running mate from the southwest.
For religious balancing, the party recognizes the two major religions of pairing a Christian vice president with a Muslim president.
The third, as is canvassed for by the Progressive Governors’ Forum, is that whoever would be selected as the vice presidential candidate by the presidential candidate who emerges must be from among them, that is, if neither the Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwanso nor his Imo State counterpart, Rochas Okorocha emerges as the presidential candidate.
However, one neutral, but critical voice that has kept selling the Fayemi virtues is Prof Wole Soyinka.
The Nobel Laureatte has not hidden his desire to see a Kayode Fayemi at such a high-level putting his integrity to use for the nation,and lacing it with intellectual disposition and activism.
“There is a clarity in my mind. That clarity has been demonstrated today and has been manifested in the four years of Fayemi. My own message is that, put the mystery aside and the emotional attachment. Continue to build on the foundation that has been laid by him. The state has been resurrected in a way that all of us should be proud of. I’m glad that there is no sadness on the face of anybody. I’m happy I do not perceive any iota of regret on the face of anyone. That is the way it should be,” Soyinka has said when he came to condole with Ekiti people on the loss by Fayemi at the June 21 election.
Already, all the presidential aspirants have indicated their intention to work with Fayemi as the vice-president, should they clinch the party’s ticket. Leading the pack is the leading contender, General Mohammadu Buhari, who has not hidden his desire to tap from the qualities in Fayemi to steer Nigeria back to the path of honour.
Each time the former military Head of State had to talk about Fayemi, he did not hide his preference for him as his preferred choice as running mate.
Likewise, Fayemi has a cordial relationship with the other aspirants. He is very close to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Both Kwankwaso and Okorocha were his colleagues in the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) and continue to relate cordially with the former Governor even after he left Government House in Ado Ekiti.
Sam Nda Isaiah has never hidden his admiration for Fayemi. His Leadership newspapers few years ago named Fayemi their Governor of the Year with Nda-Isaiah profuse in his praises of the former Governor.
For Fayemi’s close associates, his main preoccupation is to ensure that Nigerians enjoy positive change in governance in 2015 through an APC government at the centre hence he remains committed to ensuring that his party win the 2015 presidential election.
“In essence, Dr Fayemi is ready to work in any capacity the party leadership deemed fir for him. For now, let him just concentrate on ensuring a hitch-free National Convention for the party on Wednesday. Let the issue of who becomes vice presidential candidate come after the presidential candidate has emerged,” a very close associate of Fayemi told thegazellenews.com.
Though the presidential candidate has not emerged, the issue of who becomes the vice presidential candidate is also in the front burner and Dr John Kayode Fayemi is certainly one of the top contenders.