From Abiola Alo, Ado Ekiti
A former Senator representing Ekiti North senatorial district of Ekiti State, Mr Ayo Arise, has said that the desire of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is to develop the state in all ramifications after beating the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the governorship seat in 2018.
He also said his interest in the 2018 governorship race will not affect his relationship with his long-standing political allies, former Governors Kayode Fayemi and Segun Oni.
Oni, the National Deputy Chairman (South) of the party had indicated interest in the governorship seat while it was being widely rumoured that Fayemi, who is now the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, is interested in the plum job.
Arise who spoke yesterday in Ado Ekiti said his interest would automatically cause a clash of interests between him and party leaders, but assured that this won’t degenerate into enmity as being envisaged by some pundits.
He said: “By the nature of election itself, it presupposes that there ‘ll always be clashes of interests. I say this because obviously Segun Oni is interested in becoming governor, I’m interested in becoming governor, ditto the other aspirants, so obviously our interests have been clashing already.
“That is what the electorate wants to resolve for us, I mean those who are to vote in the primary election. It is our responsibility to come and sell ourselves to the heart of those people and that is what I would start doing hopefully, officially from towards the end of next month.
“I believe within three to four months, based on my pedigree in Ekiti and antecedents, I believe I should be in a good position to warm myself into the hearts of the delegates and ensure that they vote for me to become the next governor of Ekiti State.
“More so, I’m in discussion with all the aspirants. Oni and I have talked and it’s very clear we all started running for this position about the same time in 2005/2006. He has been fortunate to become governor, so Dr Fayemi too, he’s been fortunate to become governor.
“I’m actually one of the three of them that has been doing something for my people in Ekiti that has not had the chance to be governor. So, this is my chance and I intend to fully utilise it”, he said.
Arise posited that the popularity of Fayemi and Oni , being former governors won’t make him chicken out from the race, saying politics is a game of number .
“I want to say that from the benefit of hindsight, Dr Fayemi and I ran for this same seat in 2006. We used the same delegates and many of them are still delegates of the party. So, I still have my own structure that I’m trying to oil and re-engineer and awaken them to the responsibility that I’m back and that I am interested now in actually running for the position of the governor of the state.
“I think that the fact that I’m a known person in the party just like others too are known, is key. But as luck would have it, when you look at the totality of the fact that I’ve had a sojourn in PDP as well, we should be looking at the general election from the point of view of who is better positioned to bring votes from the two different parties.
“I would be jostling for APC votes in the general election, I would also bring in substantial number of PDP voters into the pool, particularly when I’m running for this election. I’ve had my contribution to the two parties by and large, I enjoy the confidence of most of the party members. And, like I told you, Ekiti is one homogenous state.
“We are one people. We must belong to one party or the other but the people know what they want, they know who would serve their interest and I think I enjoy a lot of confidence of the people of Ekiti State.
I think by the time I get this ticket, the election will be a foregone conclusion because I know I’m going to defeat PDP in every local government available in Ekiti. I have no doubt in my mind”.
Arise disclosed that the meritorious service he offered while in the Senate between 2007 and 2011 stand him in good stead to win the APC’s primary and proceed to win the election next year.