Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, has said that it is insulting to his personal achievements to be tagged as the President’s candidate for the Ekiti State governorship election.
Speaking after picking his declaration of interest and nomination form to contest for the election as an APC candidate, the presidential aide maintained that he does not need the support of the President to pick the party’s ticket.
He said was on a “mission” to govern Ekiti in order to save the it from gangsters and scammers he claims are running it aground, emphasizing that the abject poverty in the southwestern state is unknown in any other parts of Nigeria.
Asked to respond to speculation that he was indeed the President’s candidate, Ojudu said: “Let me say this, I am not the President’s candidate. I’m nobody’s candidate. The President is a father to all of us. I have told you I have a history in this country.
“I started fighting the military at the age of 27. I wrote my first ‘will’ at the age of 29. I was locked up 15 times between 1993 and 1998. I am a man of myself. I fought Babangida, I fought Abacha, I fought Obasanjo, I campaigned for democracy, I campaigned for good governance, I campaigned for human right and I suffered for it,” he said.
“I was in prison for nine months, I wore one cloth for nine month. That cloth I wore for nine month is in the museum at the epicentre of Ekiti State. So, at my level, at 57, I am not a cripple, I am not a baby, I don’t need crutches…
“In fact, I am coming too late. I have enough knowledge and education to be President of this country. Therefore, it is an insult to say somebody is carrying me. I don’t need anybody to carry me.
“President Buhari is our leader, he is our president and he is the leader of our party. If you know him very well, he is a fair-minded person. If I decide today, if his wife is from Ekiti and she is in this race with me, President Buhari will still be fair to all of us.
“That is the man I know. So, perish that thought. If anybody comes to you to say, he is being backed or presented by the President, know that person is a bloody liar,” he shot back.
Speaking further on his ambition, the candidate said:
“For me, this is not an ambition, but a mission to rescue our dear state. Our state has been maligned, battered, abused, deprived. It is as if we are not part of Nigeria. There is abject poverty never seen any part of the country in our dear state. The unemployment level in our state is perhaps the highest in the country.
“Communicable diseases is rubbing shoulders with our people. The people are facing problems and have lost confidence. Over the years, scammers and gangsters have governed us and have led us to where we are today. I have been intervening in the affairs of our state for God knows how long.
“Since 1999, I have not taken my eyes away from the state as a journalist and a politician. I have been fighting to correct that wrongs in my state. But I have come to see that the elements that have come to be in charge of the state have not done what they are supposed to do and have not carried on with the dream of the founding fathers.
“That is why I am presenting myself today. If you go to Ekiti State and look at the faces of the people, you will see poverty and lack of hope. The young people out of the university have nothing to do. If you go to Ekiti State today, there is no single industry that can employ 30 people.
“There is no form of employment apart from the civil service and teaching. Even those ones have not been paid for close to one year now. I cannot continue to look on as if there is no problem. That is why I am leaving my comfort zone in Abuja to go and participate and rescue our people,” Ojudu explained.
Also collecting declaration of interest and nomination forms were candidates Owolabi Makanjuola and Dr. Mrs. Mujisola Yaya-Kolade.
Fielding questions from newsmen, Yaya-Kolade said she was in the governorship race to bridge the gap between the people of the State and the government, and to improve the wellbeing of citizens.
The candidate said she would decrease the the unemployment rate in the state by creating employment opportunities for its teaming youths.
“We will make quality education necessary for our youths, our healthcare is terrible and my administration would bring up the healthcare standard to make it on par with that of Lagos State.
“Though we have a lot to do, we will start gradually. We already have a long and short term plan to develop the state and better the wellbeing of the people,” she said.