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It’s time for Ekiti to have a homegrown gov —Kole Ajayi, APC gov aspirant

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WITH the governorship election in Ekiti State three months away, your party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has more than 25 governorship aspirants, how do you think the party will be able to come up with a credible candidate, who can win the election?

Logically, I think the fact that a lot of aspirants are coming out is a great advantage for the party. I said this in the sense that if we have, let us say 26 aspirants, and all of them are credible people, that means definitely, whoever emerges at the end of the day will be someone who can fit into the position quite well. But if the race is restrictive, a lot of beautiful and good people will be shut and that will not be good for democracy and for Ekiti people. So, the way the party opened its door to everyone who feels he can govern Ekiti is good. It shows the beauty of democracy and it attests to the fact that the APC is a democratic party. I don’t think we need to sleep over that.


But there is the possibility of many aspirants becoming aggrieved and pulling out to pursue their ambitions in other parties.

That depends on how each person reacts to the outcome of elections. Even if there are two aspirants and there is a vote, it is not out of place to find one of them becoming aggrieved. Even if there is only one person and there is a yes or no vote, which turns out to be predominantly no and against his interest, if it is someone who doesn’t take electoral loss in good faith, such a person will still protest. So, if you talk of almost 26 people, definitely there will be people who may want to challenge the process even when they see clearly that they lost the election transparently. All these things are human behaviours and natural responses to defeats and victories and it is not peculiar to APC. It is not out of place to find people aggrieved; it is the beauty of democracy.


Look at it this way; you have a vision and certain set objectives that made you signify the intention to govern Ekiti but you lose in a legitimate primary, won’t you seek to achieve that vision on the platform of another party?

Not at all. I won’t do that, because I am a team player and I believe power belongs to God. I also believe in the sanctity of the democratic process. So, whoever emerges as the candidate, I will certainly give my my ideas and it will be left to the person to take or leave them. When there is life, there is hope; I know that surely, at one time or the other, my own time will come.


You sound as if you are one of those already nursing fears that a former governor of the state, who is also believed to be in the race, will emerge winner of the APC primary, because he put the party structure in place while in office?

No. I won’t lose sleep about the presence of any former governor in the race. I have always said it that the so-called powerful people we see today were once helpless people before God answered their prayers to become governors. At that time, they also contended with other powerful people but by the grace of God, they became victorious. We are all students of history. So, the God of grace and rearrangement, who crowns the helpless, is still alive. To me, it is only being physical for someone to say because of the presence of a former governor in a race; those of us who have never been governor should start getting jaundiced. That is not a good spirit. I am not bothered about who is in the race with me; my take is that I am pursuing my ambition without any iota of distractions. My belief is that I have a brand in Ekiti that I am bringing into the race; I am a household name and a popular person. I am not a novice; I have been in the politics of Ekiti since its creation, so why should I fear? I have been in Ekiti politics much longer before all these highly-rated people came into Ekiti politics.


How come you have not been able to win an election?

God’s time is the best. I have been trying my best; I contested once to go to the Ekiti State House of Assembly on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and in 2014, I flew the flag of the Accord Party as its governorship candidate. Now, I am trying my luck in APC.

But you have never won.

Of course. But you can see the incumbent president of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, he contested on the platforms of the ANPP, CPC and then on the platform of the APC in 2015 before he won the election. He won because of his determination and consistency on the vision he was pursuing and at the appropriate time, God answered his prayers.


He had a followership that never waivered in supporting him, do you have that kind of followership in Ekiti?

Of course, I have that kind of latent followership in Ekiti, because I have a brand.


What does that brand stand for?

My brand stands for home-grown government. My nickname in Ekiti is Aberekolokunludi which means that the needle that has thread can never get lost; go anywhere in Ekiti, go to Efon, go to Emure and ask for that name, they will tell you what he stands for.


It is not just about a name, what does the people of Ekiti stand to gain from that brand?

That brand means somebody they know, someone who understands them and understands the terrain.


But what do you intend to do differently if elected as the governor of the state?

If I am given the opportunity to govern Ekiti, what I will do is to put the workers first, because as we speak, there is no gainsaying the fact that workers form the bedrock of Ekiti populace. They are almost 80 per cent of the working population of the state and if such people do not have money in their pockets, if they are not given their dues, there is no way we can have circulation of wealth. Primarily, it is the salary earners that go to the market, pay the school fees of their children and put food on the table of people in the other sectors in Ekiti. Of course, this is not supposed to be so; we need to create an avenue of making wealth by harnessing our endowed natural resources just lying fallow. If I am elected governor, apart from making sure that my first priority will be the workforce, my next priority will be how to ensure that Ekiti State has the peculiarity of economic autonomy by taking advantage of our natural resources. We have great abundance of agricultural and mineral resources; there is also a great opportunity in tourism. So, what I will do is to create a conducive environment for public-private partnership initiatives to grow these areas and government will have high equities in all the ventures, so that our youths can be engaged. Right now, almost 70 per cent of Ekiti youths are not gainfully employed. We need to make them work to earn money and we can only do this by creating an environment for them.

The post It’s time for Ekiti to have a homegrown gov —Kole Ajayi, APC gov aspirant appeared first on Tribune.

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