Huge crowds snarled Dr. Kayode Fayemi’s campaign train on Saturday as Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State joined the All Progressives Congress candidate in continuation of his visits to parts of Ekiti State, selling his manifesto ahead of the July 14 ballot.
Fayemi travelled through the maze of hills of Efon and Ekiti South West Local Government Areas in campaign engagements with stops to address rallies in Efon-Alaaye, Iwaji, Ipole-Iloro, Ikogosi, Erijiyan, Igbara-Odo, Ilawe and parts of Irepodun/Ifelodun, including Iyin-Ekiti and Igede-Ekiti, where he assured supporters that he would restore their hopes after four years of neglect.
Akeredolu joined the rally at Ilawe-Ekiti, where huge crowds converged to express their support for Fayemi, who many speakers urged to rescue them from poverty allegedly unleashed on them by Governor Ayodele Fayose’s administration.
It was a continuation of visits to parts of the state to sell his manifesto to residents ahead of the July 14 governorship ballot in a campaign trail that cost the Peoples Democratic Party hundreds of its members who defected to the APC.
Like in other places he had earlier visited, residents complained of neglect, unemployment, sufferings among the aged and salary payment default by the administration of Fayose, asking Fayemi to restore their hopes again.
The APC candidate promised to continue all his social service programmes, including social security stipends for the elderly people, YCAD, volunteer scheme, entrepreneurship scheme, rural development, road construction and health services, while workers and teachers will enjoy regular pay and promotions.
Fayemi regretted that not a single project was added to all the projects he executed in the communities visited, promising to complete all abandoned projects for the benefit of the people, adding that all his development and empowerment schemes would continue.
In particular, he promised to complete work on radio booster station in Efon, while the abandoned water project will also be completed.
He promised good times for pensioners, assuring that retired people will receive their entitlements regularly.
He debunked insinuations by the opposition that he would ban okada operations and sack teachers and local government workers if he wins the election.
Fayemi said: “I am sure that by now Ekiti people would have had enough of Fayose’s lies. He has been going round to deceive Ekiti people that I will sack workers to dissuade them from voting for APC so that he can continue to inflict more pains on the people while he enjoys himself in government.
“I will never ban okada or sack teachers and local government workers because I am not a promoter of sufferings.
“I made salary payment my priority, including payment of teachers’ rural posting and core subjects allowances.
“We shall continue to fulfil this obligation, including looking for new ways to promote the welfare of all categories of workers.”
As was the case in the communities he had visited so far, defections swept through PDP with hundreds of its leaders and their supporters joining APC.
Among notable members that PDP lost in Efon to APC were a serving member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Olamide Oni, and his Personal Assistant, Banjo Filani.
Others were Afolabi Olasope, a lawyer and former First Bank Secretary in Nigeria and Overseas, who also won Ekiti Central Constituency Two Seat in the House of Representatives on the platform of the UNCP; and Aanu Oni, who is former Special Adviser in the PDP administration.
Others included immediate past State Woman Leader of PDP, Busola Oni; Dele Jeje, who is father of Efon Local Government Chairman, Bobby Jeje; and Local Government Woman Leader, Olomi Adeniyi.
In all the communities, defectors cited selfishness of PDP leaders and anti-people policies of Fayose’s administration.
Oni said: “PDP leaders are always fighting for personal benefits while the masses suffer and an example is the administration of Fayose in Ekiti State.
“I was always insisting that they should make the general well-being of the people their watchword, but their consistent argument is that they are in politics for personal benefit. After discovering that this is the tradition in PDP, I had to leave for a party that wants to work for the benefit of all as we have seen in all development projects by APC administration of Fayemi.”
At Ikogosi, where scores of PDP chiefs and no fewer than 50 other supporters defected to the APC, residents lamented the closure of Ikogosi Resort and Gossi Water that resulted in job losses.
Fayemi assured that the business concerns would be reactivated to provide jobs for the residents.
He dismissed insinuations that he will sack teachers and local government workers, saying his records had shown that he was never an anti-worker governor.
Residents assured Fayemi that all the beneficiaries of his policies would work for his success at polls.
Fayemi assured the people of adequate security before, during and after the election.
The State Chairman of APC, Jide Awe, urged supporters to mobilise at the unit level and ensure they get their voter cards ready to vote on election day.