Ekiti state governor and chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has spoken on why he did not campaign for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the just concluded governorship election in Edo State.
He said campaigning for APC during the election would have amounted to campaigning against his colleague, Governor Godwin Obaseki who ran on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Obaseki polled a total of 307, 955 votes to defeat All Progressives Congress (APC)'s Osagie Ize-Iyamu who got 223, 619 votes, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
A faction of the APC in Ekiti State had few days ago suspended Governor Kayode Fayemi, accusing him of funding the campaign of Obaseki in the Edo election.
“Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Executive Governor of Ekiti State is hereby suspended from the Party in view of his numerous anti-party activities especially his role in the recent concluded governorship election in Edo State which is contrary to the provisions of Article 21 (A) (ii) of the APC Constitution,” Ekiti State APC faction said in a statement.
However, speaking with journalists in Lagos, Fayemi said he could not campaign for the APC in the election because his role as chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum does not allow him to campaign against any sitting governor who is seeking reelection.
He said those who are allowed to do so were the chairmen of the APC Governors Forum headed by Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi and Aminu Tambuwal who is the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum.
“I have been accused for example that I was not seen in Edo campaigning for my party or jumping around the rostrum.
That is true. One, I have COVID-19 around that time and two, there is`a golden, unspoken rule in the Nigerian Governors Forum which is, the chairman of the Governors Forum does not campaign against a sitting governor”.
“Most people don't know this but the chairman of the NGF can never campaign against a sitting governor running for election anywhere because my job is to protect, defend and to support a sitting governor whether of PDP, APC or APGA”.
“But the partisan forums, they have no apology about that.
“The job of Bagudu is to go and campaign for any APC governor running for office and it is the job of Tambuwal to do that for PDP governors.
“The NGF is about interest or issues that affect governors collectively”.
On how he has been successfully managing the affairs of the NGF, he said: “I don't want to lay claim to having any extraordinary powers.
“But don't forget, in the recent history of the Nigerian Governors Forum, I am probably the only chairman that has emerged by consensus”.
“There was no vote. PDP and APC governors agreed that I should be the chairman of the governors forum.
“PDP governors passionately pushed it as much as APC governors pushed it. So, even those who have it in mind that they will like to run, they immediately backed down”.
“I think that speaks to not just relationship building but also the focus of NGF itself. We are not a partisan body.
“We have our partisan forum. If you want to discuss partisanship, you go to Atiku Bagudu and Aminu Tambuwal.
“They are the chairmen of APC and PDP Governors Forum. I go there but I play a low-key role there,” he said.