By DAPO AKINREFON
Senator Ayo Arise is a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in Ekiti State. Arise; who represented Ekiti North Senatorial District in the Senate from 2007 to 2011. In this interview, he explains why he is supporting Mr. Ayodele Fayose, the PDP flag bearer. Excerpts:
Since you left the Senate in 2011, you disappeared from the political radar, what have you been up to?
I have been facing my business but at the same time I have been active in politics even though I do not hold any office.
Observers are of the view that you are no longer in the PDP, owing to cracks in the. How true is this?
I have made myself very clear at every opportunity that I am still in the PDP and I am a President Goodluck Jonathan person for the simple fact that he is the one that transformed my community by locating one of the federal universities in my hometown. The minimum I can show for gratitude is to support him. I have made it very clear that I will leave PDP only if Jonathan leaves PDP. There is no need for anybody to convince me to go either party A or party B.
Many people had anticipated that you would have contested the governorship primaries but you did not. Why?
I originally wanted to contest but the discussion was that they wanted someone from Ekiti South Senatorial district. If I had thrown my hat into that ring, it would have complicated issues and I decided to give my support to whomever emerges. More so, when the aspirants collectively decided to hold their meetings in my office, I felt it would not be quite charitable if I was running alongside with them.
So much controversy trailed your party’s governorship primaries that threw up Mr. Fayose as the PDP flag bearer. Are you supporting him in his quest because you have been absent from his campaign rallies?
Now, I have decided to support Mr. Ayo Fayose because that is whom my party has supported to be the candidate of the PDP. The PDP has come up with a candidate but it does not make the process the best and I am not ready to go to another party. I am not going to APC or Labour. I will support Fayose to become the next governor of Ekiti State.
Why should Ekiti people vote for PDP this time around?
The roads in Ekiti have gone from bad to terrible. The governor (Kayode Fayemi) promised that he was going to construct the roads from Ado to Ifaki, but he has deceived the people of Ekiti. He said he was going to make every town a local government.
We have the seen the discord he brought about between Oye and Ikole people over the university. He has been playing politics with it. He has done a few things in Ado but most of the things he is boasting to have done were started by Segun Oni because government is a continuum. But for me, he has not done much sufficiently for the state. I believe he has performed below expectations.
What do you make of the violence trailing the campaigns?
Before the elections, you would have read about the acts of violence perpetuated by the APC in the last one year. You will recollect the Emuree saga and the Erinjile saga. All these were perpetuated by the APC and not the PDP. The recent attack on Fayose is totally uncalled for.
I understand there were allegations that some people threw stones at the convoy of the governor and so the thugs came out and started raining bullets. It is totally uncalled for and more so from the person of an incumbent governor.