In what appears to be an uncommon political development, former Ekiti State Governors, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, Chief Ayodele Fayose and Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Sunday, unanimously endorsed incumbent Governor Biodun Oyebanji for a second term in office based on his unique leadership style and development strides.
The three former governors, who spoke through Fayose, said they have reviewed Oyebanji’s one year in office and believe he deserved a second term, having united every political and religious tendencies in the state and mobilise the people for massive development.
They gave their backing to Oyebanji at a special thanksgiving service organised to mark the first anniversary of his administration, which was held at the Cathedral Church of Emmanuel,Okesa, Ado Ekiti, and attended by eminent personalities from all walks of life.
First to make a speech among the former governors was Dr. Fayemi, who said: “We are Ekiti and we observe seniority, even among governors, we observe ranking. We all feel the same way on the current occupant of the seat. It is the most senior among us (Adebayo) that should address the people first.”
Reacting, Adebayo said: “I am the most senior of the (former) governors, I will call my younger brother, Ayo Fayose, to address this gathering.”
Speaking, Fayose said: “You know me very well that I am not the one who will tell you what you like. I will always tell you as it is. We are all together for Abiodun Oyebanji, I am not a member of your party (APC) and I will not be. I am with you (Oyebanji) 100 per cent.
“Where is Bisi K ( Chief Bisi Kolawole, PDP governorship candidate)? We are going to support you (Oyebanji), you have come to visit me in my house several times. You are doing it differently and you will get a different result. This church will pray for you and you will do it (governorship) a second time.”
Fayose noted that the old practice in Ekiti State was more of a sitting governor witch-hunting the predecessor.
“When I was here, I was after Fayemi. When Fayemi was here, he too was witch- hunting me. But you are doing it differently. You have United all of us and your performance is superlative.
“On your matter, all of us are unanimous in our support for you. You are doing well, your leadership style is different and I am not surprised your performance has been excellent. Ekiti will do well to have you for eight years. And all of us will support and mobilise for you to achieve that.
“I am not in your party, and some people will say it is too early, it is not too early. You have done well and you deserve two terms so that Ekiti will benefit from your purposeful leadership,“ Fayose said.
After Fayose’s speech, Adebayo added: “This is the position of we, the former governors. Thank you very much.”
Also, the Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, who represented the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio,said he will be glad to be the chairman of Oyebanji’s second term re-election campaign council, stressing that the incumbent governor has earned the confidence and trust of the people for a second term.
According to Bamidele, political leaders and people of Ekiti are proud of the performance of Oyebanji and what God is doing in the state through the governor, adding that, “Ekiti is set for the next level under Oyebanji.”
“Governor Oyebanji entrenching the culture of respect and the culture of performance. He is lucky to have Governors Adebayo Fayose and Fayemi as mentors and advisers. What he is doing differently is that he is giving the state a new political order, uniting various groups where youths, women, civil societies consider themselves as stakeholders.
“You are an example of being in power and humble. I am here because of your humility and because you are real. If you are not real, I will keep a distance . When you become a second term governor, you will be the most ranking progressive governor and the most ranking governor in Nigeria.
“I am looking forward to being the chairman of your re-election campaign, if Jesus Christ tarries in his coming and God sparing our lives,” Bamidele said.
Earlier, the Bishop of the Diocese of Ekiti, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, the Rt. Rev. Olusola Ajayi, had hailed Oyebanji for making positive impact in the lives of the people of the state in the last one year, saying: “Ekiti should continue to celebrate the greatness of God and His power manifesting in the works of the governor.”
In his sermon, Ajayi hailed Oyebanji for making positive impact in the lives of the people of the state within the last one year.
He said it was astonishing that Oyebanji executed and delivered 295 projects for the use and benefit of the people of the state under one year through the instrumentality of the six pillars of his administration.
Delivering a sermon, entitled ‘Rejoicing in the Lord,’ which was taken from Psalm 150:1-6, Ajayi said the people of the state needed to praise God and rejoice because the governor has set Ekiti on the path of greater development and delivering compassionate and purposeful leadership.
He described Oyebanji as “a Christian politician; a Christian who is in politics for the good of his people,” adding that, “this is a man who promised to turn around the fortunes of the state with his six-pillar agenda and today, Ekiti people are happy with him because he is keeping his promises.”
The Bishop also singled out the wife of the governor, Dr. Olayemi Oyebanji, for commendation in the areas of poverty alleviation of the less privileged, empowering the widows and orphans with working tools and instruments of business and giving scholarship to orphaned students.
The cleric urged the people of Ekiti State, irrespective of their religious affiliations, to remain one and not be divided by religious and political differences for the state to continue to witness sustainable development.
In his remarks, Oyebanji said he has handed over the state back to God, ascribing the glory of the achievements of the last one year to God whom he said has made them possible for the benefit of the people.
“Today is about God in our life as people of Ekiti State. What struck me in the sermon by the Bishop is what God has done in our state and we return all the glory to God.
“It is not because I am the best person in the state or because I know how to do it; it’s not because I am the most brilliant, all is by the grace of God. For the little we have achieved, I give God the glory,” he said.
The governor, who said he counted himself lucky to be standing on the shoulders of the former governors, whom he described as “giants,” stressed that he has no excuse to fail the people of the state and urged his predecessors to always be there to guide and counsel him at the needed time.
He also allayed the fears of the traditional rulers and the people of the state on the condition of federal roads in the state, disclosing that he would meet with National Assembly members from the state next week to ensure that the 2024 federal budget captures all the concerned roads.
Describing himself as the “servant of the people,” Oyebanji described former governors, National Assembly members from the state, House of Assembly members and party leaders as the windows through which the people of the state can channel their complaints on any perceived wrong noticed in governance.
The service featured Bible lessons read by Oyebanji and Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Most Revd. Felix Ajakaye, hymns, intercession for Ekiti and Nigeria led by Chairman of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Clement Abifade and special song rendition by the First Lady of the state and her team.
Other dignitaries at the thanksgiving service include the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Secretary, Senator Ajibola Basiru; Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Monisade Afuye; Ekiti Assembly Speaker, Mr. Adeoye Aribasoye; former First Lady of the state, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; former deputy governor of the state, Prof. Modupe Adelabu; Senator representing Ekiti South, Yemi Adaramodu, traditional rulers led by the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Adeyemo Adejugbe, among others.