Again, a large number of Ekiti State citizens under the aegis of Conference of Ekiti State Private Sector Unions trooped to the streets to rally support for the state governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, against what they said was the harassment of the governor by the Federal Government using the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The protesters, in their hundreds, comprising artisans, drivers, commercial motorcyclists, mechanics, tailors, barbers/hair-dressers among others, said they were against the freezing of the governor’s accounts with Zenith Bank by the EFCC.
Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state, Mr Clement Adekola, led the protest with his counterpart in the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Mr Samuel Agbede and the leader of Commercial motorcycle Riders Association of Nigeria, Mr Dahunsi Olaniyi.
About 40 unions in the informal sector in the state participated in the protest which was apparently in reaction to a similar rally against the governor by the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, on Thursday.
The pro-Fayose groups dismissed EFCC’s action against the governor as “a deliberate witch-hunt against an opposition voice”, while also warning the APC in the state to “desist from acts capable of blackmailing the state government and destabilising Ekiti.”
Addressing the rally, the governor maintained that his current travails were masterminded by the APC for the sole purpose of ruining the chances of his party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2018 governorship poll in the state.
He said: “They said I collected a sum of N1.3 billion from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd) to fund my election. Some even said I collected it through Mr Musiliu Obanikoro. Let me put it on record that I did not know Col Dasuki and Obanikoro has not come out openly to indict me, because he has not returned from abroad.
“They said a similar thing in 2006. It was all about second term then, because they didn’t want me to contest for a second term. They said the N1.3billion project which I initiated was a scam, but God brought me back. The APC and EFCC conspirators took me before a judge and I got justice.
“When God says yes, nobody can say no. God has given me an uncommon favour over my enemies. I am presently using the mandate of God and Ekiti people and they are ready to defend the mandate and that is why you [protesters] proudly came out today to express support for me.
“Nigerians have never had it so bad like this. People are suffering and hungry and President Buhari says he is fighting corruption. How can the FG increase fuel from N86 to N145? The price of kerosene is now over N200.
“No act of intimidation and harassment will shut my mouth. I will continue to talk about national issues.”
According to him, “somebody from Ekiti gave President Buhari N1.5billion for campaign, but today he is being seen as a saint. When you want to campaign or do marriage, people will give you money and my own can’t be an exemption. I am not afraid of incarceration or death.
“APC’s problem is 2018 and as the Lord liveth, they are going nowhere. We will stand up and defend our state and the money they said they have gotten through anti-corruption should be spent for Nigerians.”