Ekiti 2018: Transparent APC primary, key to defeat Fayose’s factor’

Hon. Bamidele Faparusi (a.k.a ‘Fappy’), is a former member of House of Representatives and one of the leading aspirants for the forthco...

Hon. Bamidele Faparusi (a.k.a ‘Fappy’), is a former member of House of Representatives and one of the leading aspirants for the forthcoming governorship election in Ekiti state. In this encounter with Daniel Adeleye, he speaks on his ambition to lead Ekiti state, what he would do differently and how APC should manage its primary election to unite the party to defeat Fayose’s factor. 


You’re one of the numerous APC stalwarts seeking for the governorship seat in Ekiti 2018; What  makes you think that you are suitable for the job?

The reason why I joined the race is born out of my desire to change the unpleasant level of development in Ekiti State and the instability that has bedeviled the state over the years. The people want a fresh start; they don’t want former governor coming back as a result of the bitter and horrific experience of Fayose’s administration. They want their next governor to have political experience and not a political novice. I have been a member of this progressive family since the days of Alliance for Democracy (AD). My political experience among other aspirants in the field is above all, having served as a member of House of Representatives under the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN).

The party members and delegates alike want a politically stable and consistent person. What they call party man; I am a party man to the core.

More so, the people want the next governor to come from the South Senatorial District, because the senatorial district is yet to produce a governor of the state since her creation. And to ensure equity, fairness, justice and political balancing, the people of the state, irrespective of political alignments, have resolved that the next governor of Ekiti State must come from the south. To God be the glory, am from Ekiti South and one of the leading aspirants from that senatorial district. These are just few of criteria set by the people and I fit in perfectly into those criteria to be the next governor of Ekiti State.

And what are you bringing to the table for the people of Ekiti State?

I’m bringing political stability and economic development. I’m bringing my wealth of experience in business environment. I started a business from the scratch and I nurtured it to an employment status. I play in my field globally, though I stay here in Nigeria. So, I know how to start from the scratch. I know restarting Ekiti will be a bit challenging but it’s not impossible to achieve. Today, the major problem of Ekiti State is lack of wealth creation. We solely depend on federal allocation for the survival of the state. With the recent agitation from the South-South region, asking for resource control, nobody knows when that will come to a limelight, when there will be no resource coming from anywhere. We need to prepare ahead of tomorrow. If other countries, which have no access to oil, can stand as a nation and do well, I see no reason why Ekiti State cannot stand with little dependence on federal allocation. So, one of my first major challenge would be how to create wealth and make Ekiti State financially independent. Agriculture is one of the areas where we can achieve that. With synergy from private sectors, both local and international, we’ll be able to bring investors into the agricultural sector of the state. Tourism is also an area that can bring direct foreign investors to Ekiti State. We are known for our hills and green valleys, which can be commercialised to bring visitors who in turn will bring their resources to develop the state. And technology, I mean knowledge based economy; Ekiti State is known for human capacity and resource. We may not have the resource on the ground in the area of solid minerals and oil, but we have it upstairs. We are known and reverenced for academic prowess in the past. I believe it’s a gift from God that we need to harness. So, part of the strategy would be how we can make Ekiti State a pivot of knowledge base economy in Nigeria by bringing investors, and developing incubation centers across the state to task the brain of our youth to be able to be innovative in their thinking. Also in the area of trade, Ekiti State is positioned in a good location. Countries like Dubai took advantage of their location as a centre point between Europe, Asia and Africa and they become a hub for world trade. So, I see no reason why Ekiti State cannot also be a hub for trade in Nigeria. Dubai was just a desert without any population but they created an enabling environment that brings people from Africa, Asia, Middle East and Europe to invest in Dubai. And Dubai is a good story for everybody to read today. Ekiti State also being the centre point between the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, Lagos and Abuja, the political capital of the country, can actually serve as a hub for a lot of manufacturing companies in Nigeria. They can make the state their distribution hub. There are different areas and ideas that can create employment opportunities for our teeming youth in Ekiti and also create revenue for the state. What is important is good leadership, leadership that investors can trust and reason with and know that their investments are secured.

Money politics remains a prevalent issue in this part of the world; are you seeing this coming to the fore in the forthcoming election in Ekiti State?

In Nigerian politics, we cannot out rightly rule out money politics because we need to back up every activity with money. But the forthcoming election in Ekiti State is not going to be cash and carry. Money bags will be disappointed. Expectations of the people have grown beyond money.

While going round the state, I had opportunity of discussing with a lot of delegates; they are actually looking beyond money. Fine, money is important and necessary, but the way I heard them out, I discovered they have learnt their lessons. Some people coming on board because they have a lot of money to buy votes would be disappointed. From what the people are saying, they can as well take your money and still not vote for you. And that has been part of our campaign, I Bamidele Faparusi may give you money but if you don’t have confidence in me to lead you, don’t vote for me. And same applies to other aspirants; so, the next Ekiti State governor is not going to be for sale. That I know.

There are other big names in your party, APC vying for the same seat in 2018; doesn’t that bother you?

It doesn’t bother me. I served at the national level and am convinced within myself that my good works are there speaking for me. So, big names or no big names, you need to work the politics. Big name alone will not win you delegates in an election. So, there would be a lot of surprises come 2018. People have their criteria to elect the next governor in Ekiti State. So, the lucky thing is that I’m fit into their criteria. People who advertise for employment do so by stating the basic criteria to qualify for the job being advertised. And if you want to apply for such job, you must look at the criteria of the people. If you don’t look at the criteria and put in your application, your application is dead on arrival.

The incumbent governor, Fayose, seems to have a strong popularity in the state. How prepared are you to tackle his factor?

I want to disagree about the issue of strong popularity. It’s a perception born out of deception. When you say people are popular, the question is, are you known for good or bad? As I speak today, he has lost the little credibility he had when he assumed office in 2014. He has lost it with the workforce, artisans and with virtually every sector of the state. Look at the backlog of salaries, with all the billions he got from the bailout fund, yet the state has nothing to show for it. Is it the white elephant project bridge that he has spent multi billions of naira on? So, people have seen that Fayose is a master deceptor and they are just waiting for another election to show him that he’s not a mini god. It’s very easy for anybody to go to the street riding ‘Okada’, ask people to take his photograph and put it on social media to deceive people. Some of these things are stage managed