Ekiti 2022: Oni, Eleka disagree over zoning of governorship to south
Power has eluded the southern zone since the return of democracy in 1999 thereby fueling agitation by the political elites from the zone for the major political parties to zone their ticket to the district.
Oni said what is important to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Ekiti State is who could rescue power from the incumbent All Progressives Congress (APC), and not where the person comes from.
On the other hand, Professor Eleka said it is just being fair that the south is given a chance to produce the next governor, saying that, the zone has enough capable individuals to pilot the affairs of the state.
Speaking with newsmen at an interactive session in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday, the former governor said that though he was a believer in the South agenda, he added that his party does not have such luxury of zoning at present.
“Of all the governors who have governed the state, no one can claim to love the South more than me. When I was governor, at a certain time, the Minister, the SSG, and the Speaker were all from the South. And these are three very important government positions, all from the south.
“Nobody forced or cajoled me to do it and when I was going, I said let’s give them opportunity after Governor Fayemi. If it didn’t happen, that is not my fault. What is germane for people to remember is if you are in government, you have the latitude to pick your successor from a particular place.
“If you are not, what should drive you is who can take power from the incumbent. You don’t have the luxury of saying go and pick a candidate from a particular place. Let me commend Fayose, he had the luxury and he went for it, but that it didn’t happen, yes, but he went for it. If anybody should talk about the South now, I think it is Fayemi who has the machinery of power.
“My own party should be more concerned about who can take us there because we are not trying to be nice guys. We want to be an effective political party whose drive for power would be firm and resolute. So, that is what my party should be.
“People will try to use sentiment to butter their perceived bread. It is left for the majority to ask if that should be the question we should be asking. The concern of our party now should be who will take us there.”
But Professor Eleka at another forum insisted that the South agenda was a reality, adding that agitation by people of the zone was legitimate.
He said, “I just believe that we have to be fair. Ekiti State was created in 1996 and in those 25 years, politicians from the North and central senatorial districts have occupied the office of the governor. It is just being fair that the South be given a chance to produce the next governor.
“So, Ekiti South Agenda is a reality. There is a strong agitation from the South. However, that does not mean that we don’t need the support of people from the two zones, because no zone can do it alone. So in a way, we are agitating for power shift to Ekiti South but at the end of the day, it is Ekiti agenda.”
Oni stated that PDP has a high possibility of winning the next election in Ekiti, saying the populace was already disillusioned with APC reign, which he described as “abysmal failure”.
“Ekiti voters are ready for us, I mean, ready to vote for us. No party can be lucky more than this. Our road to the Government House is almost clear, people have been saying that to us. Though we have internal crises, but we will resolve our differences, because we don’t want to play second fiddle again.”
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