• Unleashes 14 serving governors on Fayose
  • Kebbi governor chairs 77-man National Campaign Council

Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The All Progressives Congress (APC) is rating the Ekiti State governorship election on an equal footing with the 2019 Presidential election, saying that the ruling party would do everything possible to end the what it characterised as the “four year comedy” in the state.

Deputy National Chairman, North, Senator Shuaibu Lawal, who dropped the hint while inaugurating the 77-member National Campaign Council for the Ekiti election, however, urged them not to join other parties in resorting to “hate speech” during the campaign.

While the governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, will serve as chairman, a total of 14 serving governors, senators, one minister from each of the six geopolitical zones, and other important personalities, will serve as members of the campaign council.

They governors include those of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Kwara, Zamfara, Edo, Kogi, Jigawa, Plateau, Borno, Adamawa states.

Former governor Segun Oni, ministers of Defence, Interior, Power/Works/Housing, Transportation, Labour and Health in addition of Ministers of State for Solid Minerals, Petroleum, among others, are also members.

Addressing members, Senator Shuaibu, stadning in for National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun, described the upcoming Ekiti election as a must win.

While defending the absence of members that greeted the inauguration, the Deputy National Chairman said:

“Some members of the campaign council were not here because they are yet to be communicated, but we will however continue with the inauguration.”

“It is a 77-man National Campaign Council headed by the Governor of Kebbi state. We gave 14 governors as members of the committee, and quite a number of serving senators. The number and quality of the persons in the campaign council underscores the importance we attach on the election.

“In the exercise of your party’s authority in Ekiti State, you have to be civic. We must try as much as possible to avoid use of hate speech during our campaigns. Should any other party adopt that, our major concern will be to capture the state and end the four year comedy in Ekiti State.

“I would like to say that the election in Ekiti is very important to the APC. In fact, it is to us like the Presidential election. We are not going to relent in our effort to ensure that we take that state, and the responsibility rests on your shoulders. We must capture Ekiti state,” Shuaibu charged.

Responding, the Ondo Governor and Deputy Chairman of the Campaign Council, Rotimi Akeredolu, expressed confidence that the ruling party would surmount the challenges posed by the incumbent governor Ayo Fayose.

“I will start by expressing our deep appreciation to the party on behalf of our chairman. We are grateful for the confidence the party reposed on us,” he stated.

“We take this task as very important just as you stressed it.

“This will not be the first time the party is underscoring the importance of this election. When the South West met with Mr President, he equally underscored the importance of this election.

“That the election is important to all of us as a party is an understatement; that it is important to us in the South West is greater, but that it is important to us in Ondo State is the greatest. The State is like a junior brother to Ondo State. We want to remain one and the same family. So, to us, it is a task that must be done.

“Good enough that we have a number of veterans that have been to the battlefield and specialists on election matters. Some have won while some didn’t, but we should be able to map out how we can win the election in Ekiti State.

“For many reasons, we have faced lots of affronts as a party. Challenges confronted us, not only from the PDP, but from Ayo Fayose who has thrown a lot of it at us. We must be united to confront those challenges and anything outside that will mean that we are not serious as a party.

“I can assure you that we can give everything we have to ensure we win Ekiti State. This could be a second battle.

“I read an analysis in Facebook which claimed that I contested against Iroko and lost. I contested against his candidate and won. So, if Fayemi lost against Fayose, he will also win contesting against Fayose’s candidate,” Akeredolu said.