APC presidential contest: I won’t step down for anybody – Fayemi

Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti and a presidential aspirant on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), says he won’t step down for any of his co-aspirants in the race to clinch the party’s ticket for the 2023 presidential election.

Over 20 aspirants are jostling for the APC ticket at the party convention slated for June 6-7, 2022 at the Eagle Square, Abuja.

Of this number, four are from the Southwest. They include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State (who believes others should leave the ticket for him), Ibikunle Amosun, a former governor of Ogun State and serving senator, and Kayode Fayemi.

Whoever emerges as the party flag bearer will contest against Atiku Abubakar, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi, of the Labour Party (LP), among others seeking to become president of Africa’s most populous nation in 2023.

But ahead of the APC convention, Fayemi has dismissed a report that he might be asked to step down for another aspirant.

Femi Ige, the director-general of the Fayemi Presidential Campaign Organisation, in a statement on Friday, referred to an online report that Fayemi and four other governors held a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, where he was pressured to abandon his presidential ambition.

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Ige described the report as untrue, stating that no meeting took place between Fayemi and any aspirant about stepping down.

“Fayemi is undoubtedly one of the leading aspirants for the position and one to watch out for in the race.

“He has deep trust and respect among political leaders in the party and also from colleague governors who form a critical mass in the decision-making process of the party,’’ Ige said.

He further noted that Fayemi is favourably positioned and has the backing of critical APC stakeholders ahead of the presidential primary election.

Ige expressed optimism that with the backing Fayemi has, he would clinch the party’s ticket.

He called on Fayemi’s supporters to remain calm, focused and not to lose faith, “because of the lies fabricated by political detractors’’.

“No amount of late-night de-marketing will work against the Kayode Fayemi presidential project,’’ he added.

Other presidential aspirants in the APC are Rotimi Amaechi, who until recently was the minister of transportation, Godswill Akpabio, former minister of Niger Delta affairs; Ogbonnaya Onu, former minister of science, technology and innovation; Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, former minister of state for education; Rochas Okorocha, former governor of Imo State; Dave Umahi, governor of Ebony State; Ken Nnamani, former president of the Senate; Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi State, Ahmad Lawan, president of the Senate, Ben Ayade, governor of Cross River State, among others.