As the Ekiti State governorship race gathers momentum, pressure is mounting on the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, to join the contention for the top job.
Mr. Fayemi was governor of the state from 2010 to 2014. He lost his bid to return for second term to incumbent governor, Ayodele Fayose.
Mr. Fayemi is now eligible to contest the governorship seat to serve for only one term of four years.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the pressure is coming from his supporters and those who had participated in his government while serving as governor of the state.
The request for him to run is in spite of his indictment by a probe panel set up by the current Ekiti government. PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday reported how the panel indicted Mr. Fayemi of allegedly mis-managing billions of naira of state funds. The former governor, who refused to appear before the panel, had denied the allegations and alleged persecution.
On Monday, a group of his loyalists from Ekiti State wrote him a letter urging him to join the race and seek the nomination of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to become the next governor of the state. The group said his legacies were being destroyed by the current administration.
The group which goes by the name ‘Just Keep Following Group , JKFG,’ said the call was based on the “enviable track record in governance recorded by Fayemi while on the saddle between 2010 and 2014.”
Members of the group claimed they had carried out a survey in all the senatorial districts of the state and had found that the people still love and cherish Mr. Fayemi’s leadership.
“The Just Keep Following Group is hereby inviting you to contest the 2018 governorship election in Ekiti State,’’ the letter addressed to Fayemi stated.
“Our move to formally invite you is borne out of the fact that the people of Ekiti State in their present deplorable condition having tasted your performance between 2010 and 2014 are requesting that you formally show interest to contest the 2018 election.
“We have carried out a strategic survey in all the three senatorial districts of the state and we have discovered that the people of the state still love and cherish your leadership.
“Your eight-point agenda while you were in the saddle tremendously impacted the lives of the people of the state vis a vis: health, education, social security, youth empowerment, tourism, infrastructural development.”
Mr. Fayemi’s spokesperson, Yinka Oyebode, confirmed the influx of letters and appeals from citizens of the state for the minister to contest the coming election.
According to him, the letter by JKFG was not the first. He said several groups had been writing and calling both from Ekiti and in Abuja, urging the minister to join the race.
“Such moves are welcome because it is their right to make such calls,” said Mr. Oyebode.
“The minister is humbled by the calls and show of support; and acknowledges them.
“He will definitely consider the letters and calls he has been receiving and take a position on it; but what position he would take is what I cannot tell you right now.”
A former governor, Segun Oni, has already indicated his interested to run in the election on the platform of the APC.