The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), Chief John Odigie Oyegun, on Monday declared that the forthcoming July 14, 2018 Ekiti governorship election is a litmus test for the party, ahead of the general election in 2019.
He said the party must therefore work very hard to win the state.
Oyegun made the remark in Ado-Ekiti during the kick-off of fresh membership registration drive of the APC in Ekiti.
According to him, the party will deploy every available resources to win the election and promised all the 33 APC governorship aspirants that the party would conduct a free, fair and credible primary in the state.
He debunked the possibility of delegates’ list padding and other fraudulent practices that could vitiate the outcome of the May 5 primary.
He also assured that the national secretariat of the party did not have any favourite among the aspirants as being insinuated.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the State Chairman of APC, Chief Jide Awe, reportedly in hiding over an alleged murder case, made a surprise appearance at the event.
NAN reports that the Ekiti State Government had been after Awe, over his alleged complicity in the murder of Juliana Adewunmi and Ayo Jeje, who were killed in Erinjiyan Ekiti on May 30, 2014 during the administration of Dr Kayode Fayemi.
Oyegun hinted that the delegates’ list to conduct the primary had been compiled and would be made available to aspirants with good financial standing for verification.
“We will work hard to ensure that Ekiti returns to the progressives fold after the July 14 election.
“Though, we are in power at the centre, that doesn’t mean we should not work hard.
” President Muhammadu Buhari, as you know, will not rig or compromise or subvert the will of the electorate, so we must work hard to deserve the victory that will come to us,” he said.
NAN reports that Oyegun had earlier on arrival made a stop-over at the party secretariat where he flagged-off the new membership registration exercise.
Oyegun was received by party chieftains, including the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief Segun Oni and members of the State Working Committee.
Other aspirants at the event included Sen. Gbenga Aluko, Sen. Ayo Arise, Wole Oluyede, Wole Oluleye, Capt. Sunday Adebomi, Bimbo Daramola, Dr Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, Victor Kolade, Mr Kola Alabi, Mr Diran Adesua, Dr Bayo Oriire and Femi Bamisile.
Others like Mr Opeyemi Bamidele, Sen. Babafemi Ojudu and Mr.Bamidele Faparusi sent representatives.
“We have got your demands and we are giving you assurances that there will be no imposition and that the primary shall be free, fair and credible
“To all the aspirants, you must not campaign as if there won’t be tomorrow. Don’t campaign in a way that breeds enmity. I learnt that you are above 30, but the large number shouldn’t be a source of problem.
“Let me say this clearly, anybody who wants to fly the flag of our party must maintain decorum. We shall be fair to you as much as possible because there can’t be peace when justice is denied
“We must not also have bad losers, you must work with whomever the electors pick as their candidate during the primary.
“All aspirants must ensure that there is no division before and after the primary. We are also barring members of SWC from joining the bandwagon of campaign for any of the aspirants, because this can cause further division,” he stated.
Oyegun said the choice of Ekiti to flag off the programme was strategic, saying this conveyed a vivid and strong message of love for the people of the state, especially with regards to the July poll.
“I am happy with APC in Ekiti with the level of mobilisation from our aspirants. You have shown that you are desirous to join the progressives fold. We didn’t choose Ekiti for the flag off of this programme by accident
“We have decided that this election is one that we will particularly work hard and leave no stone unturned, because to us it is a must-win election”, he said