Amidst the ongoing rumoured ambition of Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, to contest the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket in 2023, a chieftain of the party in Ekiti State, Karounwi Oladapo, over the weekend, debunked speculations that APC National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, brought Fayemi into politics.
Oladapo, a former deputy speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, said it was the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Niyi Adebayo, who brought Fayemi into politics.
The former lawmaker, in a statement titled, ‘Putting the record straight: Fayemi as a politician,’ said Fayemi joined politics as a member of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and later got the governorship ticket of the Action Congress(AC) to contest the 2007 elections, through former governor of the state, Adebayo, the leader of the party in Ekiti State.
He said: “Tinubu, as the foremost leader of the AC, thereafter supported the party candidate, Fayemi and co-financed the party to victory. Tinubu’s contributions are equally remarkable.
“Those who traffic lies about how Tinubu recruited Fayemi into politics and thought that the rumoured ambition of Fayemi to contest Nigeria’s Presidency against the rumoured presidential ambition of Tinubu is akin to ingratitude and an ‘Akintola politics,’ should kindly seek for the truth so that the truth shall make them free.
“Credit for finding Fayemi was completely Adebayo’s, but it must also be said that Adebayo eventually enlisted Tinubu (who had known Fayemi since his days in exile) and Chief Bisi Akande to help convince Fayemi to take up the offer,” Oladapo stated.
The APC chieftain said he was a state officer of the AD in Ekiti State when Fayemi became a registered member of the party, adding: “The story of how Fayemi was brought into politics was told by Otunba Niyi Adebayo, in a paper presented by him, titled “Life after government: Planning for the future” and was confirmed by the Ekiti State governor and his wife, Bisi.”
“Adebayo revealed how, as far back as 2002, he had made up his mind to nominate Fayemi as his successor after he must have completed his second term in office (which never was at the time because he lost his re-election in 2003).
“He explained how Fayemi refused his invitation to join politics and declined the offer to contest gubernatorial elections,” adding that “after pressures here and there, Fayemi eventually accepted the offer, but with a condition that his wife, Bisi, who had initially frowned at the offer must also accept before he could go ahead.
“Adebayo spent another week convincing Bisi before she agreed. She, however, extracted a commitment from Niyi Adebayo, to always support her husband in his political journey and he consented.
“That was how Kayode Fayemi accepted to fly the party’s flag and he went to contest in the gubernatorial primaries under the then AC in October 2006. He eventually emerged as the candidate by defeating 13 other aspirant,” Oladapo added.