The elected Governor of Ekiti state Kayode Fayemi and his precursor, Ayodele Fayose, put their differences aside on Wednesday at a ceremony in honour of Afe Babalola, an esteemed lawyer and senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
SAN Afe Babalola was honoured with the 2018 Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership at an event, which took place at Harbour Point, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Wednesday.
It was attended by dignitaries such as Yakubu Gowon, former head of state, Emeka Anyaoku, former secretary-general of Commonwealth, prominent traditional rulers and politicians.
Governor Fayemi, who delivered a speech, was walking to his seat when Fayose stood to greet him. Responding, Fayemi threw his arms wide open as both men got locked in a warm embrace.
The governor had initially made a veiled reference to Fayose, taunting the man he succeeded last year over his “stomach infrastructure” policy.
“I am immensely proud that baba ( Afe Babalola) is from Ekiti. You have restored our values for us. With you around, at least no one can accuse us of being the state of stomach infrastructure.
“There must be something about Ekiti that fully prepared Chief Babalola for this award. We are known as the fountain of knowledge in Ekiti,” he said.
But not minding the criticism, Fayose, who had in the past, attacked the incumbent governor, displayed a rare show of love.
Both men raised their hands in solidarity as sounds of clap and laughter erupted in the hall. The gesture was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the ceremony.
Prior to the event, both men have had bitter exchanges over who performed better as governor and who deserved to rule the state.
Fayemi defeated Kolapo Olusola, Fayose’s deputy, in the last gubernatorial election in the state.
The governor had said he had unfinished business in the state which is why the people returned him to power.
According to him, “The clock of progress and development in Ekiti stopped in October 2014 (after his first term)”.
“(My) coming back is to restart the clock and get it back to the developmental trajectory. What we have witnessed in Ekiti in the last four years is arrested development,” he added.
Also, Fayose had described his successor’s victory as pyrrhic, saying his party would work tirelessly until it gets justice.
“We will reclaim the stolen mandate in the court by the power of God. As for me, I am Peter Ayodele Fayose, I hold with my head high. I can never be suppressed. I don’t lose battles and I will not lose this. By the power of God, I will laugh last,” he said.