By Our Reporter, Abuja
Adding to what is already a crowded field of aspirants for the highest office in the country, Kayode Fayemi, Wednesday formally declared his intention to contest for the office of President of Nigeria in 2023, under the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Ekiti State Governor made his declaration at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, in company of his wife Erelu Bisi Fayemi, APC Governorship aspirant, Biodun Oyebanji, members of the State House Assembly and traditional rulers.
Fayemi’s official declaration follows months of nationwide consultations, speculations and denials of the plan. Mr. Fayemi had announced his entry into the race, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, on Tuesday, saying he would formally declare to run for the position today (Wednesday) in Abuja.
Fayemi, while making his declaration said: “Fellow Nigerians, on this 4th day of the month of May 2022, before this august assemblage of Nigerians from all walks of life and the four corners of this beautiful land, I can boldly and confidently say to our party members and the generality of Nigerians: Let us together, as one people, dig deep into our history and our hearts to revive hope and do the work of faith that will positively re-energise our homes and our lives for the common and greater good.
“Despair is easy to spread. Hope can be daunting to sustain. And faith can be severely shaken. But while the night may be long, the dawn must come – and it always does. I offer myself as the leadership figure who is willing and primed to work with you, beloved compatriots, to launch and drive the hard work of surmounting difficult times, fostering trust, and building bridges with a view to carrying us in unity, equity, and justice into our new dawn of progress and prosperity.”
Continuing, Fayemi stated: “Here then is my motivating testament and confession: I am a patriot born in these climes in the course of the first decade of the independence of our country, and I stake a bold claim to say that I am full-blooded child of Nigeria. I grew up as did many of my generation socialised into the ideals of a united and virile nation.
“In my life time, I have witnessed some heart-warming moments of nation- and state-building that would make any citizen anywhere immeasurably proud. But we have also seen some truly challenging days in our journey of nationhood which have tested our collective resolve and demanded the exercise of considerable political savvy by our leaders over the years. I have taken as a key lesson from the admixture high and low points we have experienced as a country that when and where we are charitable to another and allow our shared humanity, innate spirit of solidarity, and underlying patriotism to prevail, we always succeed in containing and overcoming adversity.
“Hope such as I offer with my candidature is premised on a shared vision on which we can all agree, and for which we collectively strive, of a nation that is more confidently and uncompromisingly at one with itself, serving as home for all of us regardless of ethnicity, class, gender, age, disability, region or religion.
“It is a vision of a nation of multiple diversities in which each and every one of us can recognise ourselves in its fabric and workings as equal stakeholders and co-constructors, complete with all the rights, freedoms, and duties provided under the constitution for citizens.
“The ideal of Nigeria as home to all of us who are its children is one which we can all rally around as a starting point for the work of unfinished national greatness that must taken to its next phase. To give full effect to this, concrete programmes of action will be launched in priority areas that will allow for a revamping of the credibility of the Nigerian state, the promotion of an enhanced social contract, and the revamping of the national identity.
“Programmatically, as the standard bearer of the APC, I will be leading the implementation of a wholistic and integrated response to the multifaceted security crises confronting us. To this end, the retooling of our armed forces, intelligence agencies, and border guards will be pursued in tandem with an overhaul of our policing system and the phasing in of bold universal social policies that will enable us decisively to tackle poverty and upgrade human capital and security. In this perspective, the deliberate expansion of employment opportunities, youth entrepreneurship, skills development, and innovation, support to the weak and vulnerable such as we have done in Ekiti State for the elderly, and women’s socio-economic empowerment will be treated as just one dimension of our comprehensive response to the costly security crises that have destabilised us, as will the pursuit of broad welfare policies that are embedded into a new state-society bargain and the empowerment of citizens.”
With his entry into the race, Fayemi joins about fourteen other aspirants for the office of the president in 2023 under the ruling APC.