For several hours yesterday, Ado- Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, stood still for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari as his campaign train hit the, town ahead of the February 14 election.
It was the party’s first major outing in the state since it lost the June governorship election to the PDP.
Traffic stretched over several kilometres while hundreds of thousands of party faithful walked long distances to be part of the huge crowd at the Ekiti Parapo Square,venue of the rally.
Shouts of ‘Sai Buhari’ filled the air as the people weaved their way to the square where the Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate in last year’s governorship election and House of Representatives member, Opeyemi Bamidele, and his political family, Ekiti Bibiire Coalition,formally returned to the APC.
His entry to the square sparked a deafening ovation from the crowd.
And so was the introduction of several PDP chieftains in the state who defected to the APC.
They included former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr. Sola Ajigbolamu; former Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Otitoju and former House of Assembly member, Mr. Amogunniyi Fadare, all of whom were received by the party’s national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
Security was tight, the weather cool and the atmosphere tension free despite earlier threat by Governor Ayo Fayose to hold a rally of his party,PDP, also yesterday.
The APC had warned him not to provoke violence by his plan.
With popular fuji musician, Saheed Osupa, supplying music, the crowd had fun dancing, singing and waving.
They hailed the leaders as they found their way into the arena one after the other.
Gen. Buhari, Chief Odigie-Oyegun and other national leaders drove into the arena in a bus atop of which sat Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State and former Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
Other APC front liners at the rally were the National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; the Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief Segun Oni; former Interim National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande; former Ekiti State Governor, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo; Deputy Chairman of the party’s National Convention Committee, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje; Senate Minority Leader, Senator George Akume; Deputy Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora; former Ekiti Deputy Governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu.
Fayemi said the huge crowd was a clear sign that Ekiti remains firmly in the progressive camp.
“The mystery of June 21 shall not stand on February 14, the day of the presidential poll,” he said and commended the people for trooping out in defiance of threats by the PDP-led government in the state.
Buhari told the cheering crowd that their collective dream of a future where corruption, unemployment and insecurity would have no place would soon be realised.
The presidential flag bearer urged Nigerians to go to the polls on election day and vote APC to make the change possible.
“It is time to send PDP packing; we will make sure that unemployment is tackled. We will take care of our youth, majority of whom are unemployed,” he said.
“Insecurity and corruption will receive our attention, we will reposition the education sector by employing qualified teachers as well as prioritising mining and agriculture to generate more employment for our people.” National Leader Asiwaju Tinubu said Buhari’s election as President would change the fortunes of Nigeria.
Tinubu said the Buhari-led presidency means liberation for the youths, stressing that “the Nigerian youths cannot afford to continue with this government of fake policies and fake ideas.”
The former Lagos governor deplored the death-wish advert placed by Governor Fayose against Buhari and declared that Nigeria is in dire need of someone with Buhari’s wisdom to manage the affairs of the country.
Tinubu recalled that when economic recession hit the United States, the country turned to an old man in the late Ronald Reagan, who deployed his wisdom and experience to take his country out of the doldrums.
Speaking in his capacity as the APC Southwest Coordinator of the Presidential Campaign, Osun Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, urged the people to “change President Goodluck Jonathan with their votes” and replace him with Buhari.
Aregbesola, who spoke in Yoruba, said Buhari represents the light that would drive the PDP darkness away.
He said: “The Yoruba race will not embark on an unprofitable venture and all the Yoruba cannot follow these evil people. We must liberate ourselves from this bad government and we must be part of the good government to be led by Buhari.
“The accursed one has been threatening that we will not come to Ekiti, who owns Ekiti? We own Ekiti, the APC owns Ekiti.
“When we take over government from February, my friend knows that he will be sent parking. He is dancing the dance of shame all around; tell him that the game is up for him.”
Mamora, who represented the APC Presidential Campaign Director General, Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State, said Nigerians are going to enthrone righteousness on the ticket that will give them restoration. Vice presidential candidate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, urged Ekiti voters not to allow any “electoral magic” to repeat itself in the state. He promised that Buhari would stop corruption.
His words: “Gen. Buhari will stop corruption and that is why they are afraid of him. It’s time for change in Nigeria. On February 14, take your cards and go to voting centers and stay there until your votes are counted.”
Oyegun also deplored Fayose’s death wish advert.