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Count Fayemi out of calls to disqualify anyone above 60 from presidential contest – aide


Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi is a democracy that would never advocate limiting political participation to anyone on account of age, Ynka Oyebode, Chief Press Secretary to the governor has said.

Oyebode, in a statement issued in response to a report that Fayemi called for the exclusion of politicians above the age of 60 from the presidential race, said the statement was actually made by an aide of the Ekiti State Governor and was the aide’s personal opinion.

The statement, titled, RE: NO ROOM FOR PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANTS ABOVE 60 YEARS: A Disclaimer, reads:

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 social media with the headline “No Room for Presidential Aspirant above 60 years- Fayemi” and other variants.

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 the purported statement is at best his personal views and not representative of Governor Fayemi’s position.

As a matter of fact, the view is in conflict with Governor Fayemi’s well known 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.

Dr. Fayemi 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 clarified that he was speaking in his personal capacity, couldn’t be speaking the mind of Governor Fayemi.

Accordingly, 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.

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.

Yinka Oyebode, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor