Tunji Adekunle, Ado-Ekiti
As the race to the 2022 governorship election in Ekiti State gathers momentum, Ekiti professionals in the diaspora have backed the aspiration of an All Progressives Congress chieftain and a serving federal lawmaker, Hon Femi Bamisile, describing his as the best man for the top and much coveted job.
The professionals, based in Europe, America and Asia, branded Bamisile as the most experienced and competent to take over the mantle of leadership from Governor Kayode Fayemi and take Ekiti out of the woods.
The Ekiti in diaspora, drawn from the three zones of the state, passed a vote of confidence in Bamisile and backed his ambition at a meeting held in London on January 4, 2022.
The Chairman of the group and convener, Mr Adetokunbo Layokun, in a statement made available to journalists in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday, predicated the action on the fact that the South Senatorial district, where Bamisile hails from remains the only zone that has not produced the governor since 1999.
Layokun insisted that the APC and the opposition parties must align with the principle of zoning to ensure stability and cohesion among Ekiti people, warning that party leaders shouldn’t use narrow interest, selfish intention and premordial sentiment to destroy the fabrics of unity among Ekiti populace.
Layokun said, “Since the creation of Ekiti State in 1996, which was 25 years ago, the South Senatorial Zone of the state has not produced a Governor despite having competent Indigenes; while the North had produced Governors Segun Oni and Kayode Fayemi with Central having Otunba Niyi Adebayo and Ayodele Fayose at different times.
“The marginalisation of the South Senatorial Zone of Ekiti was contrary to the unwritten zoning agreement of the APC Founding Fathers, which has been restated by Governor El Rufai (Kaduna State) and Senator Chris Ngige , an APC founding member and current Minister for Labour and Employment, which according to both must be adhered to by the APC at all levels.
“This is the reason why there is a clamour by faithful party members that the next President to succeed current President Muhammadu Buhari must be a Southerner; hence for equity, justice and fair-play, it is now the time for the State South Senatorial Zone to produce the next Governor in the coming Gubernatorial Election.”
On the issue of competence, the professionals added that Bamisile is the most competent and experienced among the aspirants vying for the coveted seat on the platform of the APC.
Layokun branded Bamisile as a grassroots politician who understands the terrain and the feelings of the people of Ekiti, having served the people at various levels since 1999.
Tracing the trajectory of political participations of the former Speaker, Layokun said, “He was once Special Adviser on Internally Generated Revenue to the Chairman of Surulere Local Government, Lagos State (2001/2002), liaison Officer of Ekiti House, Lagos (2003) and Special Assistant (General Duties) to the Governor of Ekiti state.
“He was at a time a member Ekiti State House of Assembly (2007/2011), where he was elected speaker superintending over 26 members, Ekiti State Appointments Committee Member (2007), Ekiti State Local Government Chairmanship Candidates Screening Committee Member (2008) and now a serving member, House of Representatives and Chairman, House Committee on FERMA”.
Layokun lauded Bamisile for not abandoning APC at the most trying times, when he acted as the sole financier and person giving the party a sense of direction and purpose.
The Ekiti professionals showered encomiums on Bamisile for the provision of various incentives like sewing machines, generators, grinding machines and cooking sases for women to help them set up cottage businesses to sustain their families.
Layokun expressed joy over how Bamisile was funding various educational, Human and Capital Development Projects in the State while also praising him on other strides like the construction of new and renovation of existing classroom buildings in some schools in his constituency.
Other giant strides undertaken by Bamisile that attracted applause from the group, according to Layokun, include: training of teachers in Ekiti East Local Government Council, provision of over 170 Jobs for unemployed graduates, and provision of farming Tools and Fertilizers worth over N200 million for tarmers.
Others also include: construction of roads and drainages in the state to ease movement of people, goods and gervices and flow of water to prevent flooding, training of shortlisted candidates on the use and maintenance of solar street lights in Ekiti East Local Government Council and installation of solar street lights in Ekiti East Local Government Council.
Others are: empowerment for physically challenged persons, provision of free fuel for commercial motorcyclist, distribution of Covid-19 pandemic palliatives to ease the financial hardships faced by Ekiti Ketes at home as lockdown depleted businesses, and provision of ambulance service vehicles and tricycles to attend to the wounded and provide life saving services.