By Eric Elezuo

As the race to find a suitable successor for Governor Ayodele Fayose gathers momentum, the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) is leaving no stone unturned to present a candidate capable of flushing out the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  from the government house.

As at the last count, over 33 aspirants have signified their interest in the exalted seat, including one female. However, among the retinue of contenders, TheBoss has identified five that have some muscles to pull. Check them out:

 Michael Opeyemi Bamidele

MOB as he is fondly called was born on July 29, 1963 at Iyin Ekiti, a town in Ekiti State to the family of late Sir Stephen Ogunjuyigbe Bamidele but spent his early life in Lagos.  He is a prolific Lawyer, human right activist, as well as a politician.

A member of the 7th Assembly, Bamidele attended his secondary school at the Baptist Academy before he proceeded to the Obafemi Awolowo University where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies. He later attended the University of Benin where he received a bachelor’s degree in Law in 1990.

He was called to the bar in 1992, after graduating from the Nigerian Law School. He was also educated at the Franklin Pierce University where he received a master’s degree in Law and was called to the New York Bar in January 1999.

In June 1992, under the Social Democratic Party platform, he contested the primary elections to the Federal House of Representatives representing Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency in Lagos State, but lost the election.

Among his stewardships include serving as Special Assistant on Legal Matters to Senator Bola Tinubu until November 1993 when General Sani Abacha took over the reins of power. In July 2000, he was appointed Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Political and Intergovernmental Relations, and was later appointed Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development in Bola Tinubu’s administration.

On April 2011, he was elected as a member of the 7th House of Representatives to represent Iyin Ekiti Federal Constituency. Known as one of ‘Tinubu Boys’, he wrote an article in March 2015, entitled: “My Hatred for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu”, criticizing the released of a documentary, The Lion of Bourdilion, and the role played by the opposition party, in the release of the controversial film

MOB was one of the defence counsels, led by Chief Godwin Olusegun Kolawole Ajayi to defend Moshood Abiola during his treasonable felony trial.

Many political stakeholders believe that he does not stand a chance in the equilibrium, having practiced both his political and legal profession in Lagos other than Ekiti. Again, it is argued that he has no political structure in the state, and is foreign to Ekiti grassroots politics.

Babafemi Ojudu

A journalist by profession, Ojudu is a serving senator representing Ekiti Central zone, and the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Political Matters. He was born on March 27, 1961 at Ado Ekiti.

Babafemi Ojudu’s story is a typical example of from grass to grace as he had his early education through a scholarship jointly sponsored by the late activist and lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi, and juju music crooner, King Sunny Ade, which he won in 1976.

In 1980, he was admitted to the University of Ife to study English. While at the university, he developed interest in journalism, and joined the Association of Campus Journalists and reported for COBRA, a campus journal. In the course of time, he and two friends founded a journal called The Parrot, which he edited until he graduated in 1984.

After his compulsory one year youth service, he worked as a reporter with The Guardian. This was even as he was attending the University of Lagos (1985–86), for his master’s degree in Political Science.

He also worked with African Concord magazine in 1987 where he rose to the rank of Assistant Editor, and travelled extensively. In 1992, he left the job because he was pressured to to apologise to Ibrahim Babangida over an article critical of the military regime. A year later, in company of other colleagues, he established The News magazine, and became its first Managing Editor. The first version of The News did not last long before it was banned by Babangida in 1993.

He was one of the journalists that suffered humiliation as a result of their reportage as he was arrested, tortured and detained several times during Sani Abacha’s regime between 1993 and 1998. His article in The News about then Oil Minister, Dan Etete, giving government contracts on behalf of the Nigerian State Oil Company to his family and friends landed him in the notorious Shangisha Prisons in 1996.

In June 1997, he was appointed Group Managing Editor of Independent Communications Network Ltd, publishers of The News, P.M. News and Tempo.

Ojudu has also been a member or chairman of several organizations and committees involved in media and human rights, spending a total of 26 years in media practice before venturing into politics in 2010.

In the April 2011 election for the Ekiti Central Senatorial seat, Ojudu defeated Ayo Fayose of the Labour Party. He believes that having beaten Fayose before, he can beat him again. More so, with Federal might at his disposal, he is sure to pull a stunt and come out with the APC ticket.

John Olukayode Fayemi

Fayemi hails from Isan-Ekiti I Oye Local Government, and is the immediate past Governor of Ekiti State. He was born on February 9, 1965, and is currently the Minister of Solid Minerals Development.

Fayemi’s secondary education was at Christ School, Ado Ekiti from 1975 to 1980. His attendance at the Universities of Lagos and Ife at separate times bestowed on him degrees in History, Politics and International Relations. He also has a Doctorate degree in War Studies from the prestigious King’s College, University of London, England, majoring in civil-military relations.

Kayode Fayemi has been a lecturer, journalist, researcher and Strategy Development adviser in Nigeria and the United Kingdom with stints at The Guardian, City Tempo and Nigeria-Now. He is a former Director of the Centre for Democracy & Development, a research and training institution dedicated to the study and promotion of democratic development, peace-building and human security in Africa. He was Strategy Development Adviser at London’s City Challenge; research fellow at the African Research & Information Bureau in London. As a prominent leader of the Nigerian opposition to military rule in exile, he was responsible for the founding and management of the opposition radios – Radio Freedom, Radio Democracy International & Radio Kudirat, and played a central role in the opposition’s diplomatic engagements in exile. He is the writer of Out Of The Shadows.

Amongst his numerous academic and public policy engagements at home and abroad, Kayode Fayemi has lectured in Africa, Europe, the Americas and Asia. He has also served as an adviser on transitional justice, regional integration, constitutionalism, security sector reform and civil-military relations issues to various governments, inter-governmental institutions and development agencies.

In an interview with the Daily Independent in 2005, Mr. Fayemi made poverty, education and healthcare central to his manifesto. The implementation of which he asserts will be consultative, including being open to ideas from the diaspora.

After three and a half years fighting through the legal system, on October 15, 2010, the Appeal Court sitting in Kwara State declared him the duly elected Governor of Ekiti State, marking the end of Segun Oni’s administration.

His vision is summed up in an 8-point Agenda which centres around: Governance, Infrastructural Development, Modernising Agriculture, Education and Human Capital Development, Health Care Services, Industrial Development, Tourism Development, and Gender Equality and Woman Empowerment.

Fayemi runs an open administration, becoming the first governor in this present political dispensation in Nigeria to openly declare his Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Naira assets. Fayemi was also the first governor in Nigeria to sign into law the Freedom of Information Act on Monday, July 4, 2011.

He was defeated by Ayo Fayose of the PDP in the 2014 election while attempting to go for second term. A few months ago, a panel of inquiry set up by Governor Fayose banned him from participating in public administration in Ekiti State for five years.

Olusegun Oni

Also known as Segun Oni, the once ousted Governor of Ekiti State is the current Deputy National Chairman (South) of the APC and was a member of the PDP, the platform on which he became governor.

Olusegun Oni was born at Ifaki, Ekiti State on September 5, 1954. He attended the Methodist Secondary Modern School, Ifaki Ekiti (1965–1968) and Wesley College, Ibadan, between 1969 and 1971.

He worked briefly at the Community Secondary Modern School, Ido Ekiti, from January 1972 to July 1973, before moving to Ayetoro-Iloro High School, Ayetoro/Iloro Ekiti, and then to the University of Ife in September, 1974.

An Engineer by profession, Segun became a corporate member, Nigerian Society of Engineers in 1987, and in 1988, he became a COREN registered Engineer. He was the Treasurer, Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (1986–1988).

Olusegun Oni was elected Governor of Ekiti State in April 2007 on the PDP platform. He was removed from office on October 15, 2010 following the Judgement of an Appeal Court which ruled against him.

Oni’s election as governor was contentious with his main opponent in the 2007 general election, Dr. Kayode Fayemi challenging his victory rigorously at the Election Petition Tribunal in Ekiti State. He was later thrown out of office.

Oni is married to Olukemi Adetola (née Ogunsiji) and they have two children, a girl and a boy.

Abimbola Oluwafemi Daramola

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Bimbo Daramola was born on November 9, 1967 in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State by a former chairman of Oye Local Government Area, Francis Adebayo Daramola. His mother was Joan Taiwo Daramola, a retired Secondary School Principal.

Daramola started his formal education at Emmanuel Anglican Primary School, Ado-Ekiti and St. Joseph Primary School, Aramoko-Ekiti in 1973. He had his secondary school education at Christ’s School, Ado Ekiti, which was founded by Archdeacon Henry Dallimore. He studied Geology at the then Ondo State University, Ado Ekiti, now known as Ekiti State University.

He graduated in 1989 and was thereafter posted to Kaduna State, where he participated in the one-year mandatory service at Water Survey (Nig.) Ltd. He got his MBA at the University of Ilorin, in 1995.

He resigned from Water Surveys (Nig) Ltd in 1993 and took up an appointment at Savannah Bank. After a stint with Savannah Bank, Daramola co-founded Rucie Communications and became its Deputy Managing Director. The company produced a documentary, titled From Prison to Presidency, which chronicled the life, times and works of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Daramola is the Chief Executive Officer of The Bridge Concepts Nigeria Limited. The company was responsible for compiling and publishing JAMB past questions and answers. He initiated and implemented the first ever discount card system in Nigeria that takes care of youths demography with special focus on the Nigerian Students & Youth Corps members, christened Naija Green Card.

He is seen as a leading aspirant for the gubernatorial ticket in Ekiti State for 2018 under the APC as a Youth sensation, Crowd puller and an astute grassroots mobilizer.

He said this of himself:

“While I acknowledge and give regard to all aspirants seeking the post of Governor in Ekiti; I say most respectfully that as at today; among those contesting for the seat of Governor in Ekiti State, I say with all humility that among the list of the over 40 personalities, not more than three persons will match me, sweat for sweat; sacrifice for sacrifice; service for service; contributions for contributions in our party.”

“My humble profile will eliminate all shades of doubt; I am not gamble choice but a horse you can put your bet on.

“I have pounded the streets, stood at barricades, broken sweat and sustained bruises, shed tears freely, endured pains from many experiences in our journey as a party.”

He is a scientist of repute, and has been representing Ekiti North Federal Constituency, in the House of Representatives, since 2011.

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