Former Ekiti state governor and leading aspirant for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, ticket in the June 18, 2022, gubernatorial election, Engr Segun Oni, said his desire to return to office was premised on the yearnings of Ekiti people to have him back in continuation of his enduring legacies.
Oni stated this shortly after submitting his Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms on Monday in Abuja.
Accompanied by an army of supporters, Oni said service delivery which “characterized” his administration from 2007 to 2010, would be given a pride of place if he was given the nod by the electorate to return to the Ekiti State Government House.
“We are responding majorly to the sentiments people have been expressing in our state about the services we rendered them when I was the governor of the state.
“Based on that, the people believe that they and us still have more to give to one another.
“That is why we have decided to take it upon ourselves to run again for the governorship of Ekiti state so that by God’s grace, we will be able to render more service to our people,” he said.
He also said that a comeback would afford him the opportunity to complete some of the projects he initiated which he could not complete before his administration was ousted by a ruling of the Court of Appeal.
He continued: “We will begin from where we stopped. There are a lot of things we did not take to a conclusion.
“We will take the state further down to a new terrain where we will be able to add value to the lives of the people.
“We believe that Ekiti state must be creative, innovative and must bring to the table a lot of new ideas that will further excite the democratic field in Nigeria. We are getting ready to do exactly that.
“When we came in, we tagged our campaign office, “the PDP family office.” We didn’t say Segun oni campaign organization office. We said PDP family first. The emphasis is on family and on PDP. We believe that we can all come together to derive the best for our party and for our people. I am a party person to the core.
“We must bring our people together-first, to be able to conquer together and realize the benefits together. When I was the governor, I introduced a few things which are still on. For example, I created the position of wards development officers.”
He promised to revamp the agricultural sector saying, “we were number one in cassava by the time I was leaving. From nowhere, we brought a man of blessed memory who ran our cassava programme and took us to the very front of cassava output.
“This has convinced me that when any government is determined, the sky is not even the limit.
“We are still going to go back to some of these ideas to see whether we can still run them profitably, so that we will produce, not just for human consumption but also for processing to get value from the chain.
Oni further dismissed insinuations of feud between him and the former governor, Ayodele Fayose, saying, “he (Fayose) is my brother and we are brothers of the same family, brothers of the same party.
“You know in the process of competing and contending, you can disagree but it is disagree to agree. So, there’s nothing serious that will stand between us.”
In his remarks at the ceremony, National Organizing Secretary of the PDP, Col. Austin Akobundu (retd) assured Oni of a level-play field, saying the PDP of today was anchored on internal democracy and the rule of law.
“Let me remind our brother, the aspirant that the party he is running this important contest today is totally different from the party he contested the last time, the reason being that steadily, this party under our leadership embarked on reforms that would elevate quality of services of this party principally by opening up the space, insisting on internal democracy and enforcing the policy of free, fair and transparent primaries.
“This, no doubt, places a huge burden on any aspirant because it simply means that unlike those days, you have no business running around offices at the Wadata because nobody will help you here. Only the delegates will help you.
“As you drop your forms, we encourage you to go back home and don’t come back here again until you win or lose.
“We must put it that way because we know that our brother and friend is not the only aspirant in this race. Somebody will win and other people will lose. I will advise all of you that as you are supporting him, support him with all your heart and put in the necessary hard work.
Other aspirants jostling fir the ticket of the PDP include Ajijola Lateef Oladimeji, Otunba Bisi Kolawole, Albert Kayode and Aribisala Adewale, incumbent National Treasurer of the PDP.
See below the full text of the address delivered by Engibeer Segun Oni on the occasion.
WE ARE BACK AND EVEN BETTER
Through the grace of God, who has strengthened us from the very beginning of this incredible and inspiring political voyage, we are delighted to be at the national headquarters of our great party to perform the official ritual of submitting the governorship nomination form.
This moment indeed marks another remarkable phase of our journey, demonstrating our intent and readiness to contest and win, and most importantly, our commitment to serve.
We have been here before. It is a familiar path; a known terrain in which we made our mark and treated all and sundry with dignity, respect and honour. We brought value to governance and honour to leadership.
Notwithstanding the distractions and cogs mounted to halt the wheel of our journey at the time, we made outstanding gains. Under our watch, Ekiti was a cynosure of good governance and efficient government. We worked very hard to propel Ekiti to live up true to its motto as the fountain of knowledge in Nigeria. We brought our state to national reckoning. Unfortunately, this may not be the case today.
To the civil servants, farmers, traders, women, youth and people living with disabilities, our administration remains the best experience they have had in terms of a people-driven government, incorruptible leadership and open government. The good people of Ekiti State are still earnestly yearning for our return.
We want to assure our people and our party that we are in this race to bring the promise of Ekiti to the people of Ekiti – the promise of a state where no one is left behind and in which we will seek the forgotten and cater to their needs. That is our covenant with the people.
Our mantra has been fellowship building among party members since we started this journey. We introduced the PDP Family Initiative to bring all sides together under one big and purposeful umbrella. We want to assure our party that we will always work with all stakeholders and members. We have done so before and we will do it again and even better. It is a testament of who we are.
Today, we make bold to say that ‘We Are Back and Even Better!
The people are with us, so we are on course and ready!
The Almighty God is our guide, in him is our Baptism of Courage.
To everyone, we want to assure you that: We Are Ready; the People Are with Us; God Is on our help.
Chief Olusegun Adebayo Oni.