By Eric Elezuo
“If we conduct a transparent primary, any aspirant that wins will surely become the next governor of Ekiti state. The party has no preferred candidate, there is no such thing in our lexicon. It does not exist. All aspirants are equal until after the election”
Those were the words of the National Organising Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Osita Izunaso as he inaugurates the five mea electoral committee led by the Nasarwa State Governor, ALHAJI Tanko Al-Makura, to supervise the all-important Ekiti Governorship Primaries schedule to take place today, Saturday, May 5, 2018 in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
However, as at the last count, over 27 aspirants have been cleared to contest the primaries, defeating the earlier attempt to prune the contestants to a considerable number, or even arrive at a consensus candidate. This, stakeholders have predicted will be the ruin of the party as none will be willing to let go even after the primary elections.
But meetings have been held to prevail on candidates to accept results after the elections so as to prepare a solid ground for the party to campaign well for whoever emerges.
While giving the likes of Minister of Solid Mineral, Kayode Fayemi, former Deputy National Chairman (South) Engr. Segun Oni and Political Adviser to the President, Senator Babefemi Ojudu and a host of others a clean bill of health to contest, the party assured all the aspirants that it has no preferred candidate, assuring every one of its commitment to conduct a free and fair primary.
Senator Ostia Izunaso charged the committee to ensure a transparent exercise while relying on the party’s guidelines for the nomination of candidates for public office, particularly section 14 (iii) which stipulates the composition of the Electoral College/delegates, secret balloting at a venue in the state capital and declaring winner an aspirant with the highest vote.
As at press time, all the aspirants have had a preview of the official delegates list, and seem to be pleased with it as no petition has been received on the list.
“We will ensure free and fair election, conformity and adherence to all the guidelines so that by the time the exercise is over, the Party will become stronger and more cohesive. This will be the beginning of the assurance of our great party to reclaim the mandate in Ekiti state” Al-Makura said.
Other members of the primary election committee include: Hon. Magaji Aliyu (Secretary), Mr. Duke Oshodin, Barr Robert Okwuego and Mr. Tunde Balogun.
The appeal committee members are Capt. Bala Jibrin (Secretary) and Mrs. Lilian Obenwa.
Much as the contestants have failed to select a consensus aspirant among them, they have however, reached a compromise to accept the outcome of the primary in good faith and in the interest of the state and the party, having sounded a note of warning to organisers not to allow the repeat of what happened in the Ondo and Anambra governorship primary.
This they say will be realized if the National Working Committee (NWC) ensures that credible and non-partisan team from the national secretariat conduct the primary.
In the words of a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, “There would be no interference, no collusion with any of them.”
Some of the key aspirants remain Senator Babafemi Ojodu, Minister of Mines and Solid Mineral, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, member of the House of Representatives, Bimbo Daramola, former Lagos Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, Femi Bamisile, Bamidele Faparusi, and Bayo Idowu, not forgetting the only woman candidate Dr. Mojisola Yaya-Kolade.
Meanwhile, Senator Ojudu, who many believed is the front from the Presidency, has denied that he is the President’s candidate, saying ‘I’m nobody’s candidate’. Ojudu, who claimed he wrote his first will at the age of 29, declared he will turn the new governor’s villa into a museum if elected.
Dismissing Fayemi’s invincibility in the race, the only woman candidate, Yaya-Kolade, an entrepreneur and medical practitioner with years of experience in the United States, said, ‘if the former governor is that good he won’t be defeated in the first place’.
On his part, former Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Femi Bamisile, who believes it will difficult to uproot Fayose because of his grassroots kind of politics, APC needs someone who has the capability and acceptability like him.
From public opinion, it is obvious that the APC flag bearer in the July 14 governorship election will be one of the under listed:
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 journalist by profession, Ojudu once represented Ekiti Central constituency, and is the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Political Matters. He was born on March 27, 1961 at Ado Ekiti.
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.
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.
Abimbola Oluwafemi Daramola
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.