After over three years in self-exile, the Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State, Chief Jide Awe, has returned to the state to resume his position in the party.
Chief Awe formally resumed on Monday at the APC secretariat in Ado Ekiti and expressed gratitude to the State working committee of the party for not impeaching him while he was away.
Chief Awe had fled the state when murder charges were brought against him by the Ekiti State government following the killing of Mrs Juliana Adewumi and Mr Ayo Jeje, in his native Erijiyan community in Ekiti West Local Government Area of the state in 2013.
But the state government entered a non-prosequi in the matter recently, promoting the court to discharge and acquit him from the charges.
Addressing newsmen in his office on Monday, after a reception organised for him by the executive of the party, Chief Awe also thanked the leaders of the party “for tolerating him,” saying he had expected the worst during his time “in the wilderness.”
He thanked Governor Ayodele Fayose of the state for initiating a judicial process that led to his being freed from the murder charges.
Awe said: “If the governor had wanted to prolong my stay outside the state, he would not have investigated the case and found that there was no evidence against me in this matter.
“It was after the state investigated the matter that they knew I had no hand. How could a high chief like me carry a gun and kill my own subjects? This is unheard of and I will never be part of such.”
The Ekiti APC chairman said he expected his impeachment when he was away, noting that “impeachment is an ingredient of politics. But this party is populated by honourable people.
“The executive members can read the constitution of our party and passed a vote of no confidence in me, but they didn’t do this.
“With this, you have spurred me into action to be able to do more. The people of Ekiti are yearning for APC. They have realized that the stomach infrastructure promised them was no longer forthcoming, so we must work hard and win the coming election.
“That is why we must listen to the people before picking our candidate because not APC members alone are the ones to decide who wins the election.
“I want to warn our delegates not to collect money from aspirants, if you want to collect, let it be a legitimate offer.
“The civil servants are ready for us, Okada riders, market men and women and even PDP members are ready for us. They have given us conditions and if we can fulfil our own side of the conditions, they will surely embrace us.”
Awe said the party will conduct free, fair and credible primary that will appeal to all the aspirants and make them back whoever emerges.
“We are going to conduct credible primary and I will see among them who will not support our candidate, that shows the person is about leaving APC.
“That is why I am warning our delegates not to extort these aspirants. Whatever they will collect must be a collective and legitimate gift they can defend anywhere”, Awe advised.