‘Consensus option no longer feasible in Ekiti’
Former governor of Ekiti State and one of the 33 aspirants at the botched All Progressive Congress (APC), Dr Kayode Fayemi said the process to elect the flag bearer of the party ahead of the July 14 governorship election must be completed. He ruled out the possibility of adopting a consensus option. He spoke to MUYIWA ADEYEMI, shortly after the stalemated primary in Ado Ekiti, on Saturday.
What will you say to the violence that made Ekiti APC governorship primary inconclusive?
It was a show of shame, sad day for democracy and a sad day for us in APC. But it was not unexpected because we have received all manners of intelligence about coordinated and orchestrated attempt to disrupt the primary. Some people felt it was not going their way, and the winner that the delegates would choose almost clear to everyone.
The election process was on, only five local councils have been completed, how could you, just on the basis of suspicion that the election was going in a particular direction end up disrupting it, if not that you are working, ultimately against the interest of our party in the state. Any APC operative you see will tell you that this is the summary of the whole thing. And it did not start now it’s been a coordinated attack on my person by some of these aspirants, particularly three or four of them. The others, I will not accuse them of the same thing.
How will you react to the allegation that the process was manipulated to favour you?
I honestly would like to get cleared on this purported manipulation. Did I in anyway involve myself in the process? You all saw me that I sat where other aspirants sat; I came down only when I came to vote as a statutory delegate.
The allegation was that your agent was directing people to vote for you, writing down serial numbers of voting papers?
That’s scrap. I wasn’t there but I have received independent reports on what transpired. One, when the aspirants met with Governor Al Makura panel on Friday, a number of things were brought to the table and in his own wisdom, he conceded to some. One of such is that the party stipulates that each aspirant must have just one agent both for the accreditation and for the election, but they requested that there should be three agents on a Senatorial basis and one as a general agent and he conceded that to them. When you calculate that it becomes four agents times 33, which has become a crowd.
The second thing that they also requested for and Governor Al Makura conceded was that the elderly delegates, the illiterate delegates, those with physical disabilities, some that could not see, for such delegates, they demanded that the agents should assist those who have made up there minds and ask for direction as to who they are supporting in the race. And that happened to many to, not to me alone, may be preponderant of it happened to Fayemi supporters who kept asking for a direction as where they will find photography and name of Fayemi on the ballot paper. That’s quite possible, but to suggest that was the reason to disrupt the election is unacceptable.
Some alleged that the state government also backed some aspirants in this primary, is that possible?
We have independently verified evidence that some of the aspirants were in a meeting with the governor. This unfortunate incident you all witnessed was not an assault on me but on our party because they wanted to ensure that we have a weak candidate against the PDP.
Didn’t you see what happened as a failure of APC’s leadership, the presidency in particular, for not pruning the numbers of aspirants?
And then accuse Mr. President of dictatorship or being autocratic. Don’t let us excuse the laxity of security or lapses that followed the downpour. Before the rain, there was a tighter security arrangement and it was only delegates with tags that came in, but in the cause of that downpour, a number of people entered, some cult operatives, known to people now seen seated with one aspirant or the other. You cannot blame the President for this. He does not have the culture of interfering in internal democratic process. He has demonstrated that several times as a stickler to the rule of law.
Do you think APC can still defeat PDP in the governorship election?
No doubt about that because Ekiti people are more than ready. They don’t want continuity of poverty. But what we are saying now is that the process must be completed.
Did you envisage possibility of considering consensus option?
That is no longer possible. If we had wanted to do that one, 33 of us would not have bought forms and face the delegates. The issue here now is that the process must be completed. We have done five local governments out of 16, so we only need delegates from the eleven councils to complete the process.