Five months after the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, resigned as a minister appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, strong anxiety has gripped members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the delay by the President to appoint a replacement as promised.
Sources said members are becoming disillusioned for being kept in abeyance for too long by the presidency owing to the role a minister from the state would have played in the 2019 presidential election, where they expect a strong link between Ekiti and Abuja.
Fayemi, who was the minister of Mines and Steel Development, resigned in May 2018 after clinching the governorship ticket of the party to contest the July 14 election and no replacement from the state has been made since then.
Apart from the APC members, critical stakeholders including Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers and other concerned statesmen are beginning to see that Ekiti was being shortchanged by the vacuum created by not having a representative at the Federal Executive Council, FEC.
Multiple sources expressed disappointments over the delay which they described as a flagrant breach of the 1999 constitution which stipulates that each of the 36 states of the federal must have a representative at the FEC.
“As we speak now, Ekiti is being shortchanged at the federal level. The 1999 constitution is very clear as to how Ministers are appointed. Though, the President was given the prerogative power to appoint who he likes, but there must be spread and representation from all states.
“Ekiti cannot be equated with an individual. The question agitating our minds has been that, does the president find it difficult to get a replacement to Dr Fayemi among Ekiti politicians and professionals that were doing excellently well in Nigeria and abroad?
“If the President is at crossroad over his trust for politicians, let him appoint a technocrat of Ekiti origin, who can serve and represent Ekiti and the nation well.
“We agreed that Dr. Fayemi left a big shoe in his ministry because he initiated and executed landmark policies that radicalized the ministry he superintended over. It will be difficult to get a replacement that could march his experience, astuteness and innovative powers but that does not suggest we are not having capable hands here in Ekiti.
“We plead with President Buhari to quickly appoint a minister. Again, we are facing a major election in 2019 and while Fayemi will be busy consolidating strategies to win the state and federal legislative elections, we need a minister to mobilize and serve as a link for the presidential election, so this made it expedient for Ekiti to have a minister as quickly as possible”, he said.
But the State Chairman of the party, Barrister Paul Omotoso, said the party has not at any time deliberated on the issue of ministerial slot for Ekiti.
Omotoso said the leaders of the party, Governor Kayode Fayemi inclusive, have not taken any position on the issue, saying only the stakeholders can decide what position to take.
He added that only President Buhari can give reason for the delay, insisting that the president must have cogent reason for delaying the appointment.
“I can’t give my own opinion on issue that has to do with the party because we have not at any time taken any formal position on this issue.
“The state was represented at a time before Governor Fayemi resigned to contest, so he has his own reason. Before a minister can be appointed, many factors must be considered, appointment cannot just be made just like that.
“I know that President Buhari can’t deliberately shut out Ekiti from having a representative at FEC, so we will have representative at the appropriate time,” Omotoso assured.