The former governor now backs Fayemi for the June 21 governorship election in Ekiti State.
A former governor of Ekiti State, Olusegun Oni, has explained that he defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to enable him join forces with the incumbent, Kayode Fayemi, to erect a new platform for the future of the state.
He stated this when Mr. Fayemi visited him in his country home, Ifaki-Ekiti, on Monday.
Mr. Oni was the state governor on the platform of the PDP between 2007 and 2010 when he was sacked by the Appeal Court. Mr. Fayemi later won a re-run election ordered by the court.
The former governor later became the National Vice Chairman (South West) of the PDP in 2012, but was removed from the position last year.
He dumped the PDP and threw his weight threw his weight behind the re-election of the incumbent, Kayode Fayemi, for the June 21 governorship election. Mr. Fayemi is the governorship candidate of the APC in the election.
Mr. Oni, who was under pressure from the APC members to join them in the past weeks, had reportedly called a meeting of the PDP members in Ifaki wards 1 and 2 during which he informed them that he was leaving the party.
“My good people, May I seize this opportunity to inform you that I am no longer a member of the PDP. Today ends my last meeting with you. I am now in APC,” he reportedly said.
While receiving his successor, Mr. Oni said the past political battles should be forgotten so as to have a new platform for the future.
“We are erecting a new platform to view the future and for us, the future is the only important thing that we have to see and defer to,” he said.
“Yes, there are past events, but I urge all of us to let the past remain in the past. All sentiments, all prejudices must remain in the past. All decisions, all hopes are going to be about the future.”
He stated that all well-meaning stakeholders should realize that the June 21 election was greater than personal interests or ambition, but about who is in a better position to give Ekiti a future everyone can be proud.
Mr. Oni said, “We must ask ourselves who is in a better position to give Ekiti a better future, the kind of future that we want. This is why we are doing this. If you are an Ekiti person, ask yourself who is in a better position to bequeath your children a better future.
“Tomorrow is greater than today and yesterday. Let us look at our future. I am not talking perfection. I know God is the only one who is perfect. We must not focus on personal interests. Let us think about the future of our children. Tomorrow has started today.”
The former governor said Mr. Fayemi had done well given the scarce resources available to the state. He prayed God to grant him victory in the governorship election.
“The Almighty God will grant you honour beyond your projection. This venture will succeed. Your tenure will be a huge success,” he said.
In his response, the elated Mr. Fayemi, who was accompanied by his deputy, Dupe Adelabu, and his wife, Bisi, described the defection of Mr. Oni as a lesson that leadership is about sacrifice and foresight.
Stating that Mr. Oni is a true leader, the governor said his predecessor chose to stand on the side of the people, even though it was not materially beneficial to him.
“What my ‘egbon’ has demonstrated today is that he is a true leader,” Mr. Fayemi said.
“The ruling party is still in government. He could make demands, but for him, he has demonstrated that he is a man of honour from the Land of Honour, and I know that God will always bless his ways.
“He has followed his conscience. He has followed his conviction. He has demonstrated that character is important to our value system. We have done everything to follow in those footsteps as Ekiti sons and daughters,” he said.
Mr. Fayemi said the coming election may not necessarily be about performance as his performance was not in doubt, but a decision between right and wrong, light and darkness.
He stressed, “His Excellency, Segun Oni has led the way. He has lit the candle. The rest of us who are his followers owe it a duty to start lighting the candle in all the 16 local governments in the state.”
The governor urged APC members not to regard the hitherto PDP members who defected alongside Mr. Oni as new members, but as equal members of a big family.
“This family is not APC or the new PDP. This party is called Ekiti Progress,” he said.
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