A former senator and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Ayo Arise, has given details of how he was set free by kidnappers, after parting with N20 million as ransom.
He spoke on Sunday at the SS, Peter and Paul Catholic Pro Cathedral, Oye Ekiti, at a thanksgiving service on his release.
Mr. Arise was kidnapped along Lokoja –Abuja road last December while returning to the Federal Capital Territory after visiting Ekiti State. He was held by his captors for six days.
Mr. Arise said he had a good reason to thank God for surviving the kidnap as not all persons kidnapped come out alive.
“After my experience, someone was kidnapped and was still killed even after paying N25million twice, as ransom. So, how do you describe that?” he said.
He recalled his ordeal at the hands of the kidnappers, noting that he was with the kidnappers from Sunday, December 3 to Friday, December 8, 2017.
“I can assure you that it’s not an experience that you’ll want to have. There’s nothing more frightening than for you to know that you don’t even know what would happen to you,” he said.
He doubted that the kidnappers would ever consider engaging in other businesses, given the huge money involved.
He said he advised them to consider taking up up other businesses and live a better life after collecting millions, but the kidnappers replied that it was their “bosses in Abuja that actually take the money and that they only get something small.”
“So I have doubts in my mind that even if jobs are provided for those ones, would that be as lucrative as kidnapping one person or two people and collecting N20 million. That’s the fear, it’s like they have tasted blood and it has become very, very dangerous,” lamented Mr. Arise.
Mr. Arise expressed profound gratitude to his people for showing concern during his ordeal.
“Between Oye and Ilupeju, they contributed N4 million within 24 hours. So that is one of the things that touched me to the marrow. My friends rallied round; the people of the town are showing appreciation for having a son that believes in them,” he said.
After the church session, Mr. Arise shared his political ambition with journalists, saying he stood a better chance to win the governorship election on the platform of the APC ahead of other aspirants in the party.
He said although he had respect for former governors, Kayode Fayemi and Segun Oni, he possessed the popularity to wrest power from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in the state.
Although Mr. Fayemi, who is also the Minister of Mines and Steel Development is yet to make public his intentions to contest the July 14 election, Mr. Oni on his part, had declared that he would be taking another shot at the governorship seat.
According to Mr. Arise, the two former governors have contributed to the development of the state, but it was time for fresh blood to be allowed to rule the state.
“Going by the mood in town, the people prefer a new person than those they have seen in the past,” said Mr. Arise.
“APC wants to win the coming election at all cost and they need a popular candidate and they know I am the best for the job so that our strategy can work.
“The APC knows how important the July 14 governorship election is to members. They need to apply the right strategy and they know who is fit to be able to defeat the PDP, and that is me.
“Both Oni and Fayemi are my good friends. I contested as a senator when Oni vied for the governorship in 2007. The two of them have ruled Ekiti and now is my own turn.
“Even if I step down for any of them, I can only guarantee them my own vote at the primary, because the delegates are adults who can take decisions on their own.”
Mr. Arise also said he agreed with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, that states should now operate their police to stem the tide of kidnappings and herdsmen menace.
He said it will be difficult for the current security agencies to tame the armed herdsmen and kidnappers because many of them don’t understand the terrain where they are operating.
“I agree with the establishment of a state police. They can identify the people and when you allow the community to take charge of their own security, they will be determined to fish out criminals,” he said.
“Nigeria is so big that you can’t be controlling security from the centre, it must be decentralised.”
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