What’s an Ayo Fayose event without some bombast and provocation? Guests who attended his presidential campaign launch on Thursday in Abuja were treated to his signature theatrics.
Even though his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has zoned its presidential ticket to the North, Fayose defied the directive by throwing his hat into the ring. He said no one has expressed interest for the position yet and the PDP should not wait or beg anyone to fly its presidential flag.
Then he threw his challenge: “They said they zoned the ticket to the North. I challenge the North to come out with their candidates. I want to challenge all of them to the field. What are you afraid of? Come out. I [have thrown] my hat in the ring. Let them come and face me,” he said.
First in the race: With his declaration, Fayose becomes the first major candidate to officially declare his intention to run in 2019. “Standing before you is Peter (The Rock) Ayodele Fayose, the man already destined by God to take Nigeria out of the present political and economic stagnation,” he told the audience which included a former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, and a former deputy governor of Osun, Iyiola Omisore.
Takeaways from Fayose’s declaration speech:
- Victory assured: He said if a free and fair election is held in 2019, he would defeat Pres. Muhammadu Buhari. “Twice, I defeated incumbents to become governor of Ekiti State and I am confident that with your support as my party leaders and supporters, I will defeat the incumbent Pres. Buhari, in a free and fair election,” he said.
- Criticisms galore: Fayose described the APC government as deceptive, and said the economy has fallen from its height of glory. “Our country is faced with myriads of problems, our economy that was the fastest growing in Africa when our party was in power has gone comatose with the present managers who are completely clueless,” he said.
- Bridge builder: Fayose who is noted for his divisive rhetoric promised to unite the country which “is now more divided than ever before with the unity of the country being threatened due to nepotism, religious bigotry, and favoritism of the present government.”