By Opeyemi Bamidele
This is a short message to the people of Ekiti State. To begin with, I want to express my utmost gratitude to all of you for your support and prayers since the unfortunate incident of Friday, 1st of June 2018 when I suffered multiple gunshot injuries. The massive show of support by well-meaning Ekiti sons and daughters which has cut across all social strata has left me so extremely humbled.
From the heavy presence of Okada Riders, youth and women leaders who jam-packed the premises of Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital that Friday night with many of them pulling their shirts to donate blood while I was in surgery to the powerful presence of delegation of the Ewi of Ado Ekiti and Oluyin of Iyin Ekiti by Saturday morning, followed by the personal visit of our referred Aare Afe Babalola, who was accompanied by his wife and principal functionaries of Afe Babalola University.
On top of the visit, Aare Afe Babalola announced that whatever bill incurred with respect to my treatment there should be sent to him for payment. Of course, I cannot thank the management and staff of Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, personally led by their CMD, enough for their prompt intervention as well as brave display of professional diligence and depth. I also thank all the Churches, Mosques and other religious platforms and leaders who have been praying for me all over Ekiti State.
Role of political leaders
The role of our political leaders in Ekiti, especially Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Dr. and Mrs Kayode Fayemi, Engr. Segun Oni and Evangelist Bamidele Olumilua in ensuring that I was stabilised enough and airlifted from Ado Ekiti to Lagos for intensive care can only be a matter for another day.
In Lagos, the earliest callers at the intensive care centre included Governors Akeredolu, Tambuwal and Aregbesola of Ondo, Sokoto and Osun States respectively. Then came Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the company of Chief Bisi Akande, General[sy1] Alani Akinrinade, Chief Pius Akinyelure, Mr Sunday Dare and Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora. And by the following week, Asiwaju had concluded arrangements to move me to one of the best hospitals in the UK for further treatment, providing his private aircraft to fly my wife and I to London. Again, what can I say except to note this act of extreme kindness as a matter for another day as saying ‘thank you‘ would simply be an understatement. As I was settling down in London, I received a powerful delegation led by the Secretary to the Government of Ogun State, Mr. Taiwo Adeoluwa, on behalf of His Excellency, Governor Ibikunle Amosun. This was followed by a phone call by His Excellency, Governor Bagudu of Kebbi State. The show of love continues.
However, blessed as I am and in spite of this show of love, I still feel the pain and trauma of multiple gunshot injuries, which can only be appreciated and accurately imagined by those who actually saw the extent of the wounds. So, it is a fact that as I write to Ekiti people at this moment right on my sick bed and with all manners of machines connected to my body, I am truly in pain.
But I am more concerned that Ekiti today is a State in PAIN and I am more worried about a greater pain Ekiti people are going through. The pain of hunger. The pain of want in the midst of plenty. Our people are going through the pain of poverty, which stares both the young and the old in the face. There is the pain of unemployment among our teeming youth population, many of whom are graduating from the Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education to end up as Okada Riders. There is the pain of insecurity and misplacement of priorities. There is the pain of the elite not being proud to introduce himself as an Ekiti man either home or abroad because people will ask where exactly did Ekiti people get it wrong.
It is against this background that the Saturday 14TH July 2018 Governorship elections will be holding. I, therefore, consider it is important for me to make a clarion call to Ekiti people to not see the election as being a competition majorly between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). But, rather, to recognise the election as an invitation to choose between light and darkness; between commitment to global best practice standard and mere playing to the gallery; and between a collective rescue mission and a one man show.
I say to you the good people of Ekiti State, once again, that our past was only a story told while our future can still be written in gold. As someone you love so much and who also loves you so passionately, I implore you to trust my sense of judgement and accept my sincere recommendation of Dr. Kayode Fayemi, candidate of the APC as the right man to get your votes on July 14, 2018.
Dr. Fayemi did not shy away from this issue and he demonstrated leadership and a high sense of humility and sincerity when, in giving his acceptance speech as the candidate of the APC in May 2018, he publicly apologised to Ekiti people who would have disagreed with some aspects of the policies and programmes of his previous administration.
Once again, I specifically call on our teachers in Ekiti State. You know me well as your supporter and ally and I am sure you trust I will never deceive you. Please do not believe the lie that Dr. Fayemi is coming back for vengeance. I have discussed extensively with him and the leadership of the party and I am sure you stand to benefit immensely from his second coming. Be rest assured of a seasoned Commissioner for Education you can work with and be ready to also nominate a Special Assistant to the Governor with the sole responsibility of liaising between the Governor’s Office and your union.
Trust me, Comrades, this is not the time for anybody to make you swear on your first or last born. It is the same assurance I give to the State Civil Servants. From the appointment of a level headed and amiable Head of Service that you can happily work with to a greater inclusion of the Body of Permanent Secretaries in the governance process as well as priority attention to matters of establishment, training and pensions, you can be rest assured of a better deal.
And to the Local Government Staff across the State, again you can look forward to a better deal regarding priority attention to peculiar matters and challenges that face you, including also in the areas of staff welfare, establishment, training and pensions. You can look forward to getting a Commissioner for Local Government you can happily work with as well as your own nominee as Special Assistant to liaise between the Governor’s Office and your Union among others.
Greater scientific understanding
Again, to Ekiti people, I stick out my neck to say the Dr. Kayode Fayemi of 2018 has a greater scientific understanding of what is to be done to bring the glory of Ekiti State back from sabbatical. He has had the rare privilege of a better exposure at the Federal level with wider network that he can place at the disposal of the government and people of Ekiti State if given the mandate on July 14 to lead Ekiti as Governor yet again.
Above all, he has come under grace and maturity that only comes with age: Dr Fayemi is 4 years older than when he left office as Governor in 2014; he is eight years older than when he was sworn in as Governor in 2000; and he is eleven and a half years older than when he first stood for Governorship election in 2007. I know you are all praying for me all over Ekiti for quick recovery. Electing Dr. Kayode Fayemi with your votes on July 14, 2018 will be a major therapy to boost my healing process. I sincerely look forward to it.
Alale Ekiti a gbe a o! In se re!!
*Hon. Bamidele, former Member of the House of Representatives and former Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, is the Director General of the Dr. Kayode Fayemi / APC Governorship campaign.