By Musa Baba Adamu
A close ally of Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Karounwi Oladapo has said that former Governor Niyi Adebayo sponsored Fayemi into politics and made him Ekiti Governor, contrary to insinuations in some quarters that Bola Ahmed Tinubu did so.
Karounwi who is currently the APC Southwest Caretaker Zonal Publicity Secretary made this known in a statement issued in Ado Ekiti on Sunday.
His statement is coming as the rumoured presidential ambitions of both the APC national leader and Governor Fayemi gather momentum, with some insinuating that certain actions of the governor amounted to a show of ingratitude to his former benefactor.
But Karounwi, in the statement, titled, ”Putting the Records Straight: Fayemi as a Politician”, insisted that though Tinubu contributed financially to the first term election project of Fayemi, the man who actually introduced him to the idea of running for the office was Adebayo.
”Those who traffic lies about how Asiwaju Bola Tinubu recruited Dr. Kayode Fayemi into politics and thought that the rumoured ambition of Fayemi to contest Nigeria presidency against the rumoured presidential ambition of Asiwaju Tinubu is akin to ingratitude and an Akintola/Awolowo politics should kindly seek for the truth so that the truth shall make them free.
”Take a look at the true account of how Dr Kayode Fayemi, a scholar and an Activist, entered into politics as a member of the then Alliance for Democracy, AD and got the Action Congress, AC, (an offshoot of AD) Gubernatorial ticket to contest the Gubernatorial elections in 2007 through former Governor Adeniyi Adebayo, the leader of the Party in Ekiti State.
”The credit for finding Fayemi was completely Adebayo’s but it must also be said that Adebayo eventually enlisted Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (who had known Fayemi since his days in exile) and Chief Bisi Akande to help convince Fayemi to take up the offer.
”Though Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as the foremost leader of the AC Party, thereafter supported the party candidate, Kayode Fayemi and co-financed the party to victory. Asiwaju Tinubu’s contributions are equally remarkable.
Others mentioned by Kariunwi as being part of those who dragged and convinced Fayemi to pick the gubernatorial nomination are Hon Opeyemi Bamidele, Mr Biodun Oyebanji Bunmi Ogunleye among others.
”That was how Kayode Fayemi accepted to fly the party’s flag and he went to contest in the gubernatorial primaries under the then Action Congress (AC) in October 2006
”He eventually emerged as the candidate by defeating 13 other aspirants”, he said.
Karounwi claimed he derived his authority on the statement and the credibility of information contained in it from the fact that he was a state officer of the Alliance for Democracy, AD, in Ekiti State at the time Fayemi became a registered member of Alliance for Democracy in the state.
He said he was also a participant at the Ekiti State Government organised 2019 retreat for top appointees of the current administration at the Royal Palm Hotel, Iloko-Ijesa, on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019, where the story of how Fayemi was brought into politics was told by Adebayo himself, in a Paper presented by him, titled “life after Government: Planning for the future”
He said Adebayo’s account, which was corroborated by Gov Fayemi and his wife, Bisi, who were also present at the retreat was similar to what was contained in a book, titled ” Swimming against the tide” (The Kayode Fayemi administration in Ekiti State 2010 – 2014.), Page 24 to 27.
”Otunba Niyi Adebayo at the retreat revealed how, as far back as 2002, he had made up his mind to nominate Dr Kayode Fayemi as his successor after he must have completed his second term in office ( which never was at the time because he lost his re-election in 2003 to Ayo Fayose”, he said.
However reacting to Karounwi’s statement, another Chieftain of the APC in the state, Mr Segun Adebayo, in a separate statement, accused him of being economical with the truth and using big grammar to cause more confusion.
“The statement from Karounwi is a classical one that is meant to either debunk some misconceptions about Dr Fayemi’s political sojourn, stamp and confirm some points and stir the hornets’ nest and further compound the already controversial political journey of the Governor.
“There is no doubt, the likes of Karounwi and some other governor Fayemi’s aides are doing more harm to his aspiration than good with their back on the wall, being combative, aggressive and abusive in marketing the governor.”, he said