Benin: Prominent Businessman To Run For President In Feb. Election

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Benin famous tycoon, Sebestien Ajavon, has recently announced he would run for president, a move that will pit two of the country’s most famous entrepreneurs against each other in the February polls scheduled for February in the West African state that borders Nigeria.
Ajavon, who made his fortune through a food product company, will run as an independent, supported by various political parties, against fellow tycoon Patrice Talon, a cotton magnate, who is considered the main opponent to President Thomas BoniYayi’s ruling Cowrie Forces for an Emerging Benin (FCBE) party.
“I dream of a Benin that smiles and that’s why I invite us to turn resolutely toward a clear future,” Ajavon told a rally at Mathieu Kerekou stadium, which holds 35,000 and was nearly filled to capacity.
“Yes I am your candidate, the candidate of all Beninese,” he said. “I said yes to your request to be president, regardless of what sex, religion, political affiliation or region you come from.”He called for a reduction in youth unemployment, improved access to energy and less corruption.
The 50-year old entrepreneur has stuck to the political side-lines in Benin in the past, making financial contributions to different political parties.Similarly, Talon funded Yayi’s ruling party in 2006 and 2011 before turning to the opposition.
With Ajavon in the presidential race, it “pits the two most powerful traders” in Benin against each other, according to political analyst Francois Alladji.
President Thomas BoniYayi has led the cotton-producing country since 2006. He is barred under the country’s constitution from standing for a third term and the election is considered wide open.
Benin’s President Yayi has not sought to change the constitution to allow him to run and Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou said in December he would seek election on behalf of the ruling party, though he has not yet officially launched his candidacy.
Zinsou, who is a former investment banker and economist, has said his presidency would focus on reducing poverty and getting more workers into the economy’s formal sector. He was named to head a government in June that aimed to boost the economy.
The International Monetary Fund said Benin’s GDP growth will be 5.5 percent this year but has been affected by a slowdown in neighbour and major trading partner Nigeria.

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  • Michael Shokunbi

    Benin is one African country that caught my fancy for sincerity and political direction that came a long way
    A dictator turned democrat in Mathieu Kerekou conducted transition in a seamless manner which has lasted with time and candour, we were all skeptical when it all started in the 90’s, but felt relieved after rein of power was handed over to Nicephere Soglo, however, the pressure went up again when Sir Mathieu attempted and in fact returned fearing a backslide back into Pre – political reformation era, a nightmare that unfolded and ended without unfavourable incident, he came back and contested election and won in whatever circumstance, at least took the stride like other contestant and not resorted to undemocratic norms to return to power, had since served played his role again and bowed out nobly

    Now Yayi Boni like Sedar Senghor formerly of Senegal who relinquished power honourably, Nwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, has behaved gentlemanly, chose the path of honour away from many African leaders prominent in sit-tight syndrome, like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe Yoweri Musaveni in Uganda and co travelers in such fashion of not letting go

    Not forgetting those who attempted to sit on but were resisted, the likes Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria with the albatross of political mess he created in Nigeria, just surmounted by the will of the people, the traitor Blaise Compaore sent packing in Burkina Fasso with bitter pills,

    Also those that were sent packing by the wave of the time, in common popular revolt of the people, dictators like Mohamad Gadafi of Libya, Huseni Mubarack of Egypt and Mobutu Seseko of Zaire of old, all swept away by the tidal waves of resistant anger against persistent mediocrity and greed
    Salute to Boni Yayi for his alignment with path of honour sticking to his gun of legitimate terms of constitutional provisions, irrespective of prompting by sycophants, not falling prey to the lures of spoils of office

    He is one of the beautiful faces of the black continent, perhaps a ray of hope in horizon for the black man who do not know, when to bow out honourably, when the ovation is loudest

    Whilst hoping and willing for a smooth transition with continuity in political transformation In the Peoples Republic of Benin with recognition for the role of former president Mathieu Kerekou in the movement that got them this far so well

    I welcome Boni Yayi to the club of glorious men of humanity laden with sagacious temerity. Wishing him well in whatever future endeavour he may fit in


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