By John Oladiti
The liberal movement, a collection of members of the Liberal Platform, an influential group of Ondo state indigenes, who are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has thrown its weight behind the governorship ambition of Chief D.I. Kekemeke, one of the front runners in the race for the state’s topmost job and founder of the Lekeleke movement.
In a press conference addressed in Akure today by Hon. Demola Ijabiyi, Chairman of Liberal Movement, the group chronicles the experience of Chief Kekemeke in both party administration and governance, concluding that “no other aspirant, not even the incumbent Governor, has this kind of intimidating credential.”
While the movement acknowledges not being a part of the Unity Forum, a group within the APC that is organizing to produce a consensus candidate to face the incumbent, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu in the primaries; it however said the need to take a stand in favor of a candidate became necessary since the unity forum could not get its acts together and “ended up singing discordant tunes to our amazement and disappointment.”
The statement reads, “The Liberal Movement is an offshoot of Liberal Platform which comprises highly placed and upward mobile personalities across political parties and the professions in and outside this State. We have in the Platform NASS and House of assembly members, former ministers, top-flight professionals including Senior Advocates of Nigeria, business barons of international status and academic dons including professors, civil servants. We also have political office holders, students, and name it. The Movement comprises those members of the Platform that align with us in the APC. The Liberal Movement is therefore a political Movement.
“It took us some time to zero in on Kekemeke. First, we waited for all the aspirants to come out, especially the expected consensus candidate of the Unity Forum, a very formidable faction of our Party. Secondly, we carried out a painstaking assessment of each of them and this was very time-consuming.
“Let me quickly add that we do not belong to the Unity Forum. But we were aware of the Forum’s plans to bring out a consensus candidate. We were very interested in that plan and this is because we wanted to assess its choice and compare him or her with those outside the Forum, namely the incumbent Governor and Kekemeke. The inability of the Forum to act in time-delayed our decision on this candidacy. As it turned out, the Forum ended up singing discordant tunes to our amazement and disappointment. All the same, we decided to subject all the aspirants under its auspices to critical assessment through a comparative study with the other aspirants. At the end of it all, we have no difficulty at all in arriving at the conclusion that Kekemeke is the best.”
Reeling out the positions Kekekeme has held which conferred him with unequaled and broad-based experience, the movement notes that having been a member of the House óf Assembly, chairman of a major national parastatal, attorney general and commissioner for Justice, secretary to the state government, commissioner for Works, Lands, Housing and Transport, pioneer State Secretary of the PDP and pioneer chairman of APC in Ondo State; Kekemeke has ticked all boxes as both an “experienced government man and a party chieftain.”
While admonishing APC members in the state to be circumspect and to choose a candidate that will benefit all and sundry; the liberal movement emphasized that the party “need a government of our own, an APC government run by APC members to the benefit of our people, a government in which none of us will be alienated. To get such a government, we need a Kekemeke, a government guru who knows the value of party membership.
“We need a creative government and not a routine one. That is, a government that will go beyond routine activities to break new grounds through innovations and creativity. Awolowo brought us the first television in Africa, the liberty stadium, the cocoa house, free education, and so on, Pa Ajasin brought us a bank an insurance company, the first state university, several industries, and so on. Mimiko created a mother and child hospital, established a medical village, built the MKO Democracy Park, and so on. These are examples of creative governance. We need a government that we won’t have to thank for paying salaries or for commissioning a kilometer of road. So, we took a critical look at Kekemeke’s blueprint and sat him down to brainstorm on it. At the end of the day, we have no doubt that a Kekemeke government will be the most creative and innovative government in the history of this State.
“We need an exposed State administrator at the executive level and not one who has never seen the inside of an executive council chamber even at the LG level. We cannot afford to place a political and administrative greenhorn before the people of Ondo State as our candidate. This State is far richer than that in human resources.. We must respect our people. We goofed before. We must not do that again.
“We want people’s government and not a personalized government. We want the government-run directly by Ondo State people and not indirectly by external proxies.
“We need a homegrown governor, a governor who has grown up with us, lived among us, mixed with us, and believed in us. Among the aspirants in our party, Kekemeke is it. All his life, he has lived in Ondo State, he married in Ondo State, he has his business investments in Ondo State and he serves the God of Ondo State. He is, therefore, the most appropriate person for the job. He will understand us, our aspirations, and our challenges.
“We want a government free from scandals. Whether in the government or in the party, Kekemeke’ has never been associated with any scandal all his life. He is a man of great breeding, with the finer human qualities of character and integrity. To put it in short, he is above board.
“We want a person that comes from the right zone. Our State has a long tradition and understanding of geopolitical rotation. With Kekemeke from the Southern Senatorial District, this tradition would remain inviolate.
“We need a person that can win the next election for us. Our direct opponent is the PDP. To defeat the party, we must field our best man, a man that carries no public liabilities or controversies, a man that can attract the votes of the people, our most popular man. That man is Kekemeke.
“We want a man of great competence, a man that has the ability to combine pragmatism with intellectualism to plan, execute and deliver, a man imbued with clear-headedness, deep thinking, creative mind, a moral and spiritual icon, a man solid in dependability and integrity, a no-nonsense disciplinarian and dogged fighter, calculating and methodical. That man is Isaac Kekemeke who incidentally is a graduate of the School of Thought of that great planner and thinker, former Gov. Olusegun Agagu of blessed memory. Let us pick him.
“We want someone who is anointed for public offices. From the various public offices, both appointed and elected, that Kekemeke has occupied, he is surely such a person, a chosen one As one former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria use to say, “Some people are chosen for leadership in the public domain, always look for them and prefer them.”
“We have heard of, and even seen, the influence of external forces in the emergence of candidates. Some aspirants have been capitalizing on this to drop names. The fact is this: you cannot build something on nothing. No external forces can choose for us without us. No matter how powerful and influential an external force might be, it will look left and right and left again before crossing the road. The buck stops on your table. Therefore, don’t take seriously anyone that drops names or relies on external influence for his victory instead of seeking your support. You are the ultimate decider.
“On this note, we rest our case. From this moment, D. I. Kekemeke becomes the endorsed candidate of the Liberal Movement and its friends. We shall work for his victory at the primary elections and spare nothing to see him through at the general elections come October 10 this year.”