Can the All Progressives Congress (APC), stop Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State from becoming the Deputy Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), as is being suggested?
The view of some stalwarts of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who have been reacting to news that the APC would reject the nomination of the controversial governor for the coveted position is that they cannot, because it is entirely a PDP affair.
The opposition of the APC to Fayose’s candidacy is said to be based on the hardline stance of Fayose to the candidature of President Muhammadu Buhari during the run-up to the general elections.
Fayose had been most vociferous in canvassing the rejection of Buhari’s candidature, arguing then that he was too old and sick to lead the country.
He had gone ahead to sponsor some wrap around advertisements in major national newspapers urging Nigerians to reject Buhari at the polls.
Though Fayose was one of the first to congratulate Buhari upon his emergence as President-elect, some stalwarts of the APC have not forgiven him for the frontline role he played in trying to scuttle Buhari’s presidential bid.
His nomination for the position of Deputy Chairman of the NGF has provided this group the opportunity to get back at Fayose and they have been trying to ensure that he does not get the position.
Some other politicians, across party lines, especially from the South West geo-political zone are joining the anti-Fayose lobby, fearing that the position would boost his political profile to the point where he may begin to eclipse then.
He has, for instance, had a frosty relationship with the Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, who crossed over from the Labour Party to the PDP close to the last general election and took over the position of Coordinator of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Committee for the South West zone which many felt that Fayose should have clinched, being, before Mimiko’s defection, the only PDP governor from the zone.
Soon after the election, Mimiko was made Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, a position which some also felt should have gone to Fayose.
With some opposition from within his party and from the APC, the road to the Deputy Chairmanship of the NGF looks rough for Fayose but a prominent member of the PDP from Lagos State who craved anonymity told Global Patriot Newspaper that Fayose is battle-hardened and would scale through every hurdle placed on his way to clinching the position.
According to the party stalwart “he scaled the high hurdle on his way to picking the ticket to the PDP for the Ekiti guber election, scaled the tough hurdle erected by the then incumbent governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi and outwitted the 19 APC state legislators who wanted, desperately, to impeach him.
“He cleared all the positions in the state in the last elections, doing better than Mimiko who was a sitting governor, is it this one that would give him headache? “
Lere Olayinka, the S.A Media to Governor Fayose, stated that the governor is not losing sleep over the current controversy because “he is not even the one insisting on getting the position. It is his party, the PDP that has said he should be the Deputy Chairman of the NGF. The APC has no choice in the matter. It is the business of the PDP to present their nominee and they have nominated Gov. Fayose.”
The governor’s aide said further that “is it not the APC that is talking about party supremacy? Now that the PDP has spoken, are they the ones to oppose it?”