True to his word of playing credible opposition to the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State on Wednesday denied a statement credited to him that he questioned the credibility of the All Progressives Congress candidate in the Kogi State governorship election.
Fayose was widely quoted as saying the APC candidate in Kogi – Prince Abubakar Audu – was not qualified to run for office because of the corruption case hanging on his neck.
Audu is currently facing corruption charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Mr. Fayose’s party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had also lampooned the APC for fielding Audu and Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State as its candidates for the polls, saying their candidacy was a mockery of the anti-corruption stance of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
But the governor in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi, in Ado-Ekiti, took a different position, saying Messrs Audu and Sylva remained qualified to contest the election until they are proven guilty
“I wish to state clearly that Alhaji Abubakar Audu has the right to contest”, Mr. Fayose said while debunking media reports that he queried the eligibility of the APC candidate.
He said the statement credited to him that Mr. Audu’s corruption case in court disqualified him from contesting the governorship election could not have been made by him as he had also been through a similar experience.
Mr. Fayose further said that he was misquoted in the statement he made in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital during the grand finale of the PDP governorship campaign rally.
The governor said his comment calling for free and fair election in Kogi had nothing to do with Mr. Audu, his former colleague, who he had so much respect for.
He said: “I wish to state clearly that Alhaji Abubakar Audu has the right to contest. The statement that he cannot contest was not made by me. What I said in Lokoja has nothing to do with Alhaji Audu and I am not contesting his eligibility.
“Alhaji Audu is my former colleague and I have a lot of respect for him. In law, every man is assumed innocent until proven otherwise by a law court”.
“I equally went through a similar experience, I couldn’t have made such comment”, Gov. Fayose insisted.