•Promises To Set up Council of Ekiti former Governors
Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji has appealed to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship candidate in the last election, Chief Segun Oni, to return to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the interest of the state’s development.
Oni, who was the former governor of the state lost the last June 18 governorship election to Oyebanji but did not succeed up to the supreme court in his quest to overturn the governor’s victory with legal redress.
Oyebanji who spoke during his visit to Oni’s residence in Ifaki-Ekiti, Ido-Osi Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday said the gesture was in fulfillment of his pledge to personally call and visit the former governor whom he described as a brother and leader for whom he had great respect.
The governor said, “I am here to debunk the notion that you don’t return from court and become friends. I am here to greet my senior brother and my leader whom I have great respect for.
“For me, I believe litigation is part of the electoral process and I appreciate His Excellency for pursuing the electoral matter up till the apex court and not recourse to self help.
“We belong to different political parties, but when it comes to Ekiti development, God has put you as pathfinder and you are an Ekiti man to the core. You love this state. And sir, we campaigned on a mantra of prosperity, and you just spoke about it that we need to develop the state to a point where every indigene of this state will be prosperous irrespective of where they find themselves. We can only do that by creating development centres in our local governments and communities.
“I am pleading with you sir, now that the party you suffered for, where you were Deputy National Chairman is now in the centre, I am too young to give you a directive but as one of your ardent followers, I want you to consider coming back home. Asiwaju Tinubu needs every good head, every good hand to succeed and he is from this zone of the country and when Segun Oni is not in the basket, the basket is not full.
” I’m pleading with you in the interest of our people, in the interest of Yoruba nation, in the interest of Nigeria.
“As a Governor, I consult with all the former Governors, in fact, I consult more with Governor Fayose than with Fayemi and Adebayo, why, because I went through the tutelage of Adebayo and Fayemi, so on any issue, I have an idea of what they will do so I don’t even bother them that much. But I did not have the opportunity of working with Governor Fayose. So, I usually call him to seek his opinion on some issues and he would readily oblige me. I have that relationship with him and I want to have same with you. I want to be able to consult you, seek your opinion on some knotty issues.”
Oyebanji used the opportunity to inform Oni of his intention to set up a Council of former Governors that which objective would be how to drive development of the state, and advise the incumbent on the best way to run the state from their wealth of experiences.
“I gave an advice sometimes when you were Governor that why don’t we have a conclave of former Governors, a replica of Council of State in Ekiti where all former Governors will sit down, give advice and assess the government; You said it was a good idea that you would do it, but you could not achieve it because of the verdict.
“But now that I have found myself in the saddle, we have to create that conclave of all former Governors irrespective of political parties where we will sit down quarterly and discuss, share ideas, proffer solution and take assignments on behalf of who is Governor for us to do nationally,” he said.
The Governor, who noted that Segun Oni’s tenure remained a reference point in the annals of the state, called on all leaders in position of authority to make use of the opportunity God has given them in the interest of the people, to use their wealth of experience to develop the state by attracting more goodies from the federal government.
Earlier, Oni, who together with his wife and some political associates received Governor Oyebanji, thanked the Governor for the visit, which he said goes to confirm the fact that Ekiti development was of paramount interest to the Governor.
The former governor who said the meeting was the best he had attended this year in view of the sincerity of the Governor, stressed the need to build a virile Ekiti State based on unity of purpose because Ekiti was already left behind among comity of states and all hands should be on deck to reposition the state by making all communities, development centers to engender true development.
“Let me summarize everything, first gratitude to God for preserving our lives, gratitude to the Governor for deeming it fit to visit me and gratitude to Ekiti for giving all of us the opportunity and the best way for us to make that gratitude full is to contribute our best to his government and the state. We must ensure that we do not lead our people into acrimony but lead them into friendship and make politics a lot more pleasant for our people, ” he added.