President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday led other leaders of the All Progressives Congress to Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, in a bid to ensure that the party’s candidate, Kayode Fayemi, emerges winner at Saturday’s governorship election.
Mr Buhari appealed to Ekiti voters to cast their votes for Mr Fayemi on Saturday to secure their future and ensure the development of the state.
The president, while addressing a huge crowd of APC supporters, said Ekiti people should be wary of the blackmail against his person regarding the herdsmen and farmers clash.
Hundreds of people have been killed in several states due the violence, and largely despite security presence. Some of the states most affected by the violence are Plateau, Benue and Taraba.
“They blackmailing me, saying I have not done anything about the farmers/Fulani herdsmen clashes because I am a Fulani man,” the president said.
“But this is a cheap blackmail. We are doing everything to curtail the situation, and provide a lasting solution to the problem.”
Mr Buhari was apparently referring to the campaign stunts of the Peoples Democratic Party, branding the APC’s federal government as irresponsive to the herdsmen/farmers clashes.
Ekiti State led a couple of states in the enactment of the anti-open grazing laws, which had been criticised by the federal government.
Ayo Fayose, the Ekiti State Governor, had also been frontal in accusing the president of allowing the killings to continue, citing his ethnic origin as a major factor.
Mr Buhari said the allegation against him was untrue and a cheap blackmail.
He also told the crowd in Ekiti to vote on Saturday and look beyond “stomach infrastructure.”
Stomach infrastructure is Mr Fayose’s policy on providing welfare directly to indigent people of the state.
“Do not allow your future to be insulted by stomach infrastructure,” Mr Buhari said. “Vote on Saturday, looking beyond stomach infrastructure.
“Don’t waste your votes, vote for Dr Fayemi. I know Ekiti people cannot be brainwashed or deceived.”
The president also said Ekiti State had received a fair share of projects from the federal government, including 13 roads worth N760.7 million, as well as housing projects. He said the projects were providing jobs for the people of the state.
“I am not here to only campaign, but also to urge the people of Ekiti State to embrace change,” he said.
While the APC was holding its rally at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado-Ekiti, Mr Fayose was holding another one at the government house.
The rallies, held simultaneously, restricted movement around the town as Mr Fayose rallied transporters and teeming PDP supporters to the government house for his rally.
The city witnessed heavy traffic snarl as major routes leading into and outside the city were blocked to pave the way for the movement of the president, governors and other bigwigs of the APC; many of whom landed at the Akure airport, in neighbouring Ondo State, from where they arrived Ekiti by road.
There were reports that Mr Fayose mobilised the transporters to the government house in order to hamper the conveyance of APC members to the venue of the mega rally, as the bus drivers and okada riders drove and parked their vehicles at the government house, venue of the PDP rally.
The APC rally was attended by the national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu; the pioneer chairman of the party, Bisi Akande; newly elected chairman, Adams Oshiomhole; the governors of Kebbi, Ogun, Kogi, Osun, Oyo, Ondo, Edo, and Nasarawa States; as well as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and federal ministers.
Speaking at the rally, Mr Tinubu said there was hardship in the country because the previous government looted the treasury.
“The party stole all the money in the treasury. They ate the breakfast of the children,” he said. “Prices are up, yes, we agree, but who stole all the money. The PDP is a party of destruction. When they ate the tail and brain of the yam, where are they going to get the yam for lunch?”
He urged the people to come out en masse and vote for Kayode Fayemi, noting that they should not be afraid of any intimidation.
Mr Oshiomhole assured workers of the payment of their salary arrears if Mr Fayemi emerges as the next governor of the state.