Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Friday denied calking for the exclusion of candidates above 60 years from the 2023 presidential race.
Reports had indicated that the comment, made by one of his aides at a youth conference, was targeted at a former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
A statement by Fayemi’s spokesman, Yinka Oyebode, said: “The attention of the Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr Kayode Fayemi has been drawn to a news report in the Blueprint Newspaper of March 26, 2021 edition, which is also being circulated across the social media with the headline “No Room for Presidential Aspirant above 60 years- Fayemi”
An aide of the Governor, Mr Makinde Araoye, was reported to have made the statement during a National Youth Summit and Conference organised by the Nigerian Youth Congress (NYC) in Abuja on Thursday.
Mr Araoye spoke in his personal capacity at the event, hence his statement on the 2023 presidential election is at best his personal views. It does not and cannot represent the views of Governor Fayemi.
As a matter of fact, the view is in conflict with Governor Fayemi’s stated position on political participation. He is one of the leaders of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), that is not fixated about zoning of presidential and other elective positions.
The Ekiti State Governor is on record to have stated repeatedly and unequivocally that nobody should be discriminated against by virtue of age, where they come from, religious affiliation or cultural background. He believes the electorate, rather than any artificial impediment, should determine who gets their mandate as President, Governor or other elective positions.
Therefore, Mr Araoye, who at the onset of his presentation at the event said he was speaking in personal capacity, couldn’t be speaking the mind of Governor Fayemi.
Members of the public are hereby urged to disregard the statement which was inadvertently credited to Governor Fayemi.
Dr Fayemi, as a leader and public office holder, believes in fairness and equity. He is a firm believer in constitutionalism and constitutional provisions regarding elections and aspiration to public offices in the country. He remains an avowed believer in the sanctity of the electoral process in determining the suitability of any aspirant for public offices in the country.
Above all, Dr Fayemi does not believe that age is necessarily a factor for performance in public office, and as a leader, he comports himself in a manner befitting the office he holds and does not engage in frivolous and divisive talk.”