Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, says his presidential ambition for 2019, though against his political party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s zoning policy, was in line with democratic tenets.
He said that the party’s democratic disposition on issues of aspirations had allowed some members to defy the zoning policy in the past.
Mr Fayose, who is also the Chairman of PDP Governors Forum, stated this on Thursday in Abuja when he formally declared his ambition to contest in the presidential election in 2019 on the party’s platform.
The PDP had its 2019 presidential ticket to the North.
Mr Fayose listed Sen. Barnabas Gemade, Victor Attah, Peter Odili, Sam Egwu, Donald Duke, Chimaroke Nnamani, Rochas Okorocha and late Abubakar Rimi among members who flouted the party’s zoning policy in the past.
According to him, zoning formula produces incompetence because it makes political parties to throw out considerations for merit and performance.
He, however, challenged northern politicians and members of the party’s National Caretaker Committee interested in the seat to also declare their interests.
Mr Fayose said that it was his constitutional rights to contest for the presidential seat, adding that presidency will no longer be given to persons who are not ready for office.
“What are my brothers from the north waiting for? I challenge them that if truly they deserve this zoning they should come out.
“To most of them in the current party executive, I want to challenge all of them to the field.
“Most of you are governors at different times. You want us to work for you and you come and chop, no way.”
“Nobody should be intimidated or afraid. Why should you be afraid to come out and declare your ambition?
“The party primary is only one year away yet you don’t want to come out. We want to carry president to go and meet somebody in the farm; that is not possible again,” he said.
Mr Fayose added that he was the only one who could defeat President Muhammadu Buhari in a free and fair election, following his political history, claiming that he had never lost any political battle.
“I was the only governor removed because I wanted a second term but I returned.
“I left in pains and came back in joy. If you take another man’s position illegally, you will go illegally,” he said.
Mr Fayose promised that when elected as president he would become the voice of the voiceless in the country.
He also pledged to ensure that corruption would be fought justly under his administration if he emerged president.
“Our economy will be revived and returned to the path of progress that it was before we had the misfortune of having clueless people in power,” he said.
He promised diversification of the country’s economy as well as a federal government that would relate with all Nigerians on equity.
“You are guaranteed government that will not relate on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political affiliation and percentage of votes.
“It will be on equity and justice as citizens of one nation, one people, and one destiny,” he said.
A former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, in his goodwill message, said Mr Fayose’s decision to formally declare his presidential ambition came at an appropriate and divine time.
He said that Nigeria needed men of courage at this stage of its existence, adding that the country was blessed to have such a man as Mr Fayose, not just in PDP but in the nation.
“It takes a man of courage to say I have been governor twice and I want to be president.
“He has come out to say he wants to be president and I marvel at that. This type of courage is rarely seen. There is no crime in aspiring to be president.
“If nobody from the North has come out to say they will contest, are we going to keep waiting?” Mr Kayode asked.
In his remarks at the event, former Deputy Governor of Osun, Iyiola Omisore, said that what Nigeria needed at this time was energetic and focused president.
Mr Omisore praised Mr Fayose for the emergence of Ekiti as the best state in the recent national secondary school examinations and his ability to manage the meagre resources of the state.