The N-power scheme of the federal government became a political rallying point on Saturday as beneficiaries, split into pro- governor Ayo Fayose and pro-President Muhammadu Buhari camps, clashed.
About 3,000 beneficiaries used the accreditation exercise which held at the AB Event Center, Ado Ekiti, to vent their different political leanings despite the fact that the scheme was powered by the APC-led government.
While a faction staged a rally supporting the Ekiti State deputy governor, Kolapo Olusola, who is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the July 14 election, the other faction demonstrated in support for the All Progressives Congress(APC) and President Buhari.
In what appeared to be premeditated, both groups thronged the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital in the early hours of the morning holding placards with inscriptions in support of either the president or the governor.
The placards, which identified them with the group they belonged, either promoted President Buhari, appreciating his gesture for the scheme, or showed support for Mr. Fayose and his deputy, Olusola Eleka.
The situation almost degenerated into a fight but for the timely intervention of security operatives.
The beneficiaries later marched from the front of hospital in Adebayo area of Ado Ekiti to the AB event centre.
Another drama occurred at the accreditation centre when officials of N-Power wanted to prevent those loyal to Mr. Fayose from entering the venue, but could not because they were overwhelmed by the crowd.
Ajibade Segun, a pro-Fayose N-Power beneficiary, explained the reason for rally.
“A few months ago, Mr. Governor, His Excellency, Dr. Peter Ayodele Fayose invited us to the government house and promised those of us who are N-Power beneficiaries in Ekiti that we would get permanent employment from the state government,” he said.
“This is why we are happy and we are now coming out to campaign for the Deputy governor Olusola Kolapo Eleka. We are here supporting the continuity agenda of his Excellency Dr. Peter Ayodele Fayose and supporting Olusola Eleka for governor in July 14.
“To the president we are saying that we don’t want just a temporary relief in the name of N-Power from massive unemployment in Nigeria, we want permanent employment. We also want the number of beneficiaries of the N-Power in Ekiti to be more than what we have presently. But most importantly, we want a permanent job like the governor has promised to give a good number of us.”
The PDP in Ekiti is currently embroiled in a controversy over the Mr. Fayose’s endorsement of his deputy to take over from him as the governor of the state, a stance many other aspirants are unhappy with.
Speaking on behalf of the pro- Buhari group, Adeosun Peter, said they were out to show “appreciation for what the President had done for them”.
“I want the people of Nigeria to know that we are not campaigning for Fayose or Eleka. It is Buhari that we know because he is the one who is feeding us. We have the banners bearing the image of Buhari and we are thanking him for this gesture,” he said.
“Thirty thousand naira for each of the beneficiaries every month is not ‘a small money’. In 12 months, we know what that money amounts to,” he added.
“The beneficiaries of N-power in Ekiti in this first tranche are 3,400, and 8,337 will benefit in the second tranche, those of us here now are more than 3,000 that have come for accreditation today.”