THE political face-off between Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi and one of his major challengers in the 2014 governorship election, House of Representatives member, Opeyemi Bamidele, assumed a new dimension on Sunday with the latter accusing the governor in an open letter of threatening the peaceful conduct of the election in the state.
Bamidele, in the open letter, copies of which were made available to journalists in Ado Ekiti on Sunday, told Fayemi that he was stirring political violence and deceiving the people of the state.
But Fayemi said the lawmaker’s accusations were not true. He also accused Bamidele of being at the root of political violence in the state.
Part of Bamidele’s letter read, “I have taken my time to read through your New Year message of January 1st, 2014 in which you, among other things, expressed your concern for security of lives and properties in the state.
“Your Excellency, I feel compelled at this point to write to express my concern, like many well-meaning stakeholders in Ekiti State, over your seeming capacity to say one thing and do the exact opposite.
“To begin with, putting yourself in my shoes, how would I and my constituents believe your professed commitment to protection of properties if I made statutory payments to the Signage Agency under your office to mount 16 billboards as an elected Representative to wish people who elected you and I into office a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year on the 22nd of December 2013 and, in less than 48hrs thereafter, your political appointees had destroyed all of the billboards while you conveniently looked away?
“Or how can I and the two young widows and three children as well as relatives and kinsmen of late Folusho Ogundare, my supporter who was killed in a most gruesome manner on the street of Emure-Ekiti on November 3, 2013 and in respect of which nine members of your Excellency’s second term campaign team are still in police custody, believe your self-acclaimed commitment to protection of lives and other rhetorical claims in your New Year message?
“If you really ask me, your Excellency, I fear that you, probably without knowing it, constitute the greatest threat to the realisation of a free and fair election in Ekiti State in 2014 owing to your seeming allergy to any form of opposition as well as the intransigence of many of the political gladiators you surround yourself with in Ekiti and who seem to have finally boxed you into a corner.
“Your Excellency, how, for instance, will you explain the fact that you and your cronies are the only elected and appointed public servants or statesmen who can air their views and programmes on the Television and Radio components of the Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State? Their refusal to air paid advertorials and programmes due to what has been termed “order from above” is clearly in violation of known guidelines of the National Broadcasting Commission, thereby denying the populace of the needed information aside from government propaganda.
“It is a fact known to many today that the reason you have deliberately chosen to deny access to critical stakeholders and manipulate information dissemination through the state-owned electronic media is so that you can actually rule without being criticised.”
The lawmaker accused the governor of championing a smear campaign against his person and masterminding crisis in the Labour Party to which he recently defected.
But, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Yinka Oyebode, in a reaction described Opeyemi’s allegations as “outburst of a liar and mischief maker.”
He said, “Opeyemi Bamidele is either genuinely ignorant or is deliberately mischievous. Whichever is the case, it is important to say that his letter is a mixture of outright lies and deliberate distortion of issues.
“MOB should be blamed for introducing violence to Ekiti politics. The rising tension in the politics of Ekiti started immediately he joined the race with his penchant for importing thugs from Ondo State to cause mayhem in Ekiti. He remains the greatest threat to the 2014 poll. But the good news is that the 2014 contest is about Ekiti development and not about brigandage.”