By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Governor Kayode Fayemi last Sunday formally entered the race for the 2014 Ekiti gubernatorial contest. His long expected entry into the contest has been welcomed by his supporters, but breaking the famed second term jinx is another matter
‘When an orange is sweet, you ask for more,” that was the response of the Ekiti State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC to the declaration last Sunday by Governor Kayode Fayemi, that he would be seeking a second term in office.
The official declaration by the governor followed the recent release of the time-table for the forthcoming gubernatorial election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. It is not as if the governor’s declaration was anything surprising, especially given the recent media and personal clashes between the governor’s camp and his one time political soul mate, Rep. Bamidele Opeyemi who is also aspiring for the same position, but now on the platform of the Labour Party, LP.
Besides Opeyemi, Dr. Fayemi is also facing the prospects of clashing with a formidable aspirant from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP which presently parades a multitude of aspirants with one time governor of the state, Mr. Ayo Fayose and the minister of Police Affairs, Mr. Olu Bolade leading the pack.
Provision of infrastructure
Dr. Fayemi’s aspiration for an unprecedented second term in office is expected to break grounds. No governor of the state has won re-election, a fact the incumbent is now aspiring to cross. His supporters who acknowledge that fact equally say that no governor has performed as well as Dr. Fayemi, especially in the provision of infrastructure and social well being.
The administration’s efforts in infrastructure development are underpinned by the network of new and rehabilitated roads accomplished since his inauguration as governor in 2010. But in the run-up to the election the gist is that accomplishments are not the only essential ingredients necessary to win elections in Ekiti State.
So the prospects of Dr. Fayemi being rejected at the election not essentially because he has not delivered but for some other local reasons are not obvious to the campaign.
It is not surprising that even before the governor formally inaugurated a campaign team that his associates had been in campaign mood, addressing issues against his prospects as they came.
In his statement declaring his intention for a second term, the governor said: “our people can faithfully testify that together the Collective Rescue Mission we promised at the outset of our first term in office has crystalised. Indeed our people can testify to how we have rescued Ekiti State from the years of locusts and returned our dear state to the path of respectability, stability and development.
Our people can affirm that we have kept faith with the Roadmap to Ekiti Recovery – our 8-points agenda. Every stratum of Ekiti State can see our footprints on those key sectors we promised to touch. My readiness to heed your calls today is therefore a demonstration of our collective commitment to continue the good work we have begun.”
The governor was quick to reassure those within his party that his declaration did not foreclose them from contesting for the governorshp.
“My decision to heed the calls of our people following the plethora of endorsements I have received from the leaders and members of our party does not translate to the closure of the political space for contest. I therefore look forward to fair competition from my co-aspirants within and outside our party. I look forward to very robust debates and issue- based campaign”.
But with the only notable opponent of the governor from within the fold, Opeyemi not in the APC, the coast is apparently clear for the governor. The state branch of the APC in fact did not hide its appreciation of the governor’s decision to contest a second term. “If not Fayemi, who else? His promise-keeping tendency is second to none,” Mr. Segun Dipe, the director of media and publicity of the Ekiti State chapter of the APC said in a statement made available to Vanguard.
“He has not only walked his talk, he has humbly, steadily but surely, kept our state, Ekiti on the world map of development. All the promises he made during the campaign for his first term were fulfilled in record time as if this is not the same Ekiti State, which was wearing the toga of infrastructurally-disadvantaged state in a not too distant past,” he added.
Continuing, he said:
“We are happy that Governor Fayemi has not turned down our request for an encore of the good times we are enjoying under his administration. When an orange is sweet, you ask for more. When an experience is sweet, you want to relive it. When governance is sweet, you want a repeat of it, especially if it is legitimate to do so. Governor Fayemi could have said “No, I have heard enough, let me aim at something higher, now that APC is the party to beat at the centre in the country.”