Countdown to Ekiti Poll
with Abdulkareem Olaleye in Ado-Ekiti
DECLARE YOUR ASSETS OR FACE PROSECUTION, GROUP TELLS BAMIDELE
*You cannot stampede me, says Labour Party Candidate
A socio-political group, the South West Social and Economic Foundation (SWEF), has challenged the Labour Party gubernatorial candidate in Ekiti State, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, to openly declare his assets following the example of his opponent in the June 21 election, the state Governor Kayode Fayemi.
The group said Bamidele needed to explain the source of his ‘enormous wealth, especially the source of funds for his several houses in Nigeria, Europe and South Africa, adding that it would take necessary court action if the LP candidate failed to honour the request.
The group, in a statement issued by its Director, Ahmed Olokoju, made available to newsmen in Ado-Ekiti, said Bamidele had been preaching openness, justice and equity, but that his failure to declare his assets showed that his public conduct negates what he professes.
Established in 1997, SWEF is a group of Yoruba professional bankers many of whom had worked in the country’s apex financial institution.
Governor Fayemi had earlier made open declaration of his assets, which were published in the dailies.
According to the group: “We want him to do the right thing by declaring his assets both in cash, in investments and in fixed assets. We want him to debunk the widespread claim that he is the richest politician in the South-west today”.
The group said it is not against wealth acquired legitimately, saying that Bamidele’s failure to declare his assets had left many people in doubt as to the authenticity of the source of his funds.
SWEP said that in recent weeks, Ekiti had been awash with reports that the presidency had released fresh funds to the tune of N2billion to Bamidele, saying that only a public declaration of his assets would douse the fuss already generated.
The group said Bamidele needed to do this to put his name on a moral high ground as the June 21 election draws near.
“If he fails to declare his assets, this will only confirm that he is dishonest and should not be trusted by the people he seeks to rule,” the group said.
“Mr. Bamidele needs to explain the source of his stupendous wealth. From our investigations, Mr. Bamidele is one of the richest lawmakers in recent history with a vast housing estate in South Africa, Lagos, the United States and United Kingdom. We do not understand how a lawmaker can accumulate such frightening amount of wealth in just about 10 years of public service,” the SWEF said.
Responding, the Labour Party candidate, however, described Governor Fayemi’s assets declaration as fake and anticipatory, calling on the Code of Conduct Bureau to investigate the governor’s claim in his much-touted public declaration of his assets.
Bamidele said as much as he embraces the policy, nobody whether government or group, had the constitutional power to stampede him to do so under the guise of clinging onto such unwarranted theory to escape imminent disgrace during the forthcoming election.
Bamidele declared Fayemi’s new song for assets’ declaration as a face-saving slogan targeted at extricating him from the deluge of shady deals that have been perpetrated under his nose.
He said declaring assets to the public had not in any way stem the tide of corruption in the state.
Bamidele, who spoke through his media aide, Ahmed Salami, said, “The South-west Social and Economic Foundation, (SWEF), believed to be one of the hydra-headed groups working on behalf All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ekiti State but most unfortunately being paid with tax-payers’ fortune and collective resources of good people of Ekiti State.
“At this time, we see this call on our gubernatorial candidate Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (MOB) to declare his assets is belated, unwarranted and a misplaced priority. The battle being embarked upon by SWEF is an already lost battle as there’s no rationale behind it in the first place.
“Yet, it is also becoming curiously unbecoming of such groups springing up daily in and around Ekiti to throw up allegations without adequate background information about the subject matter or the personality involved”.
ACCORD PARTY GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I’LL RUN HOME-BASED GOVERNMENT
The gubernatorial candidate of Accord Party in Ekiti State, Mr. Kole Ajayi, has said if elected governor of Ekiti State come June 21, 2014, he would constitute an home-based government, entirely made of indigenes who are resident in Ekiti and not those who will be spending all their weekends in Lagos and not accessible to the people.
Speaking with WESTERN POST in Ado-Ekiti at the weekend, Ajayi explained that only people who are home based and who understand the problems of Ekiti would be put in positions of authority, adding that professional unions and associations would nominate people into his cabinet.
“Bringing somebody from Ghana or UK, who has left the shore of Nigeria since he finished secondary school to come and govern Ekiti; I mean somebody that cannot even speak the dialect, the dialect that is almost the homogenous dialect in any state in Nigeria, that means there is a serious disconnect between the governed and the government”, he said.
Ajayi posited that in order to take government closer to the people, the seat of power would be rotated among the local government at least a week every month.
“This is because we have realised that life outside Ado-Ekiti (the state capital) is like no life. Ijero is quiet, no much development. Ikole-Ekiti, the same thing. Aramoko-Ekiti is the same. Even Ikere that is so much close to the state capital, there is no much development. Why? At least for the past twenty and close to thirty years now, these major towns remain the same. If you go to Emure, Otun, Ilejemeje, Ido-Ekiti, all of them remain same. So, we want to look at a way of taking the government back to the people. That is why we have adopted the policy of “Down Town Government,” he said.
“The policy is about taking the seat of power away temporarily from Ado-Ekiti to a local government area for a week within a month. We will get there on Monday, stay in the houses built by one of their sons and daughters within the local government area. Within that one week, we will be treating all the files that have to do with the needs and demands of that particular area. We will be looking at projects, accessing them on the spot. It is not a matter of sitting down in Ado-Ekiti and for people to be coming to say this is what is happening in so, so area.
” We would look at how our people there are faring. We would look at the employment situation there and how to tackle them. We would also look at the industrialisation policy and how to establish industry (ies) that will serve the unemployment malady in such an area. We cannot sit down in Ado-Ekiti and solve such problems effectively as one would do if one is closer to them.
“We will be with them from Monday till the weekend. On Saturday we will join them in attending some of their social functions like weddings, marriages, birthdays. On Sunday, we will attend church service and pray to God for the time well spent and achievements recorded. And return to Ado-Ekiti that Sunday. We will then start superintending from Ado-Ekiti for another three weeks, planning ahead for another local government area, and doing all other state functions,” Ajayi said