By Eric Elezuo
The die is cast. The day is here after all. It is a two way fight in as much as there are 35 candidates and political parties contesting the Ekiti State governorship seat about to be vacated by the vocal incumbent, Mr. Ayo Fayose, between the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Kayode Fayemi, and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Prof Kolapo Ishola Eleka.
The contest has prior to this period assumed a dimension that has gone beyond comprehension as both camps continue to trade words and cast aspersions at each other – one brandishing the total support of the Federal Government, and the other banking on the power of the Ekiti government house which it controls.
Not only that, both camps are embroiled in a battle of allegation and counter allegation with one accusing the other of colluding with the electoral umpire and security agencies to rig the elections for the opponent, bringing the question, who among the APC and PDP is compromising the electoral umpire and to and extent, the security agencies.
Not long ago, the candidate of the APC, Kayode Fayemi, raised alarm over a purported ‘collusion’ between officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the state governor, Ayo Fayose, to compromise the election.
The former Minister of Solid Minerals Development, who resigned his appointment a few weeks ago, alleged that three top officials of the INEC headquarters held clandestine meetings with Fayose in the guise of being in the state for official duties.
The Deputy Director General (Ekiti South), Kayode Fayemi Campaign Council, Bamidele Faparusi, made the accusation, saying the INEC officials were Egharevba John, Festus Aisien, Igidiogu Kelechi and a former INEC employee, Ishaku Abbo. He said the meeting was primarily to plot to rig the election.
The Public Relations Officer of INEC in Ekiti, Taiwo Gbadegesin, denied the allegations, however, saying there was no visit of officials of the electoral body to the governor while insisting that INEC would conduct free, fair and credible election.
In their allegation, Fayemi’s campaign organisation said Abbo, a Northerner, and former INEC staff “was providing the link between Fayose and the other INEC officials and had been living in the government house in Ekiti in the last six months”.
“We have it on good authority that an election expert, one Ishaku, a former INEC official, has been living with the governor in the Government House since January this year,” Mr Faparunsi alleged.
“After these illegal activities in the Government House, there was a secret meeting held with three top officials of INEC from the national headquarters in the Government House.”
The party further alleged that sensitive INEC documents had been illegally produced in the Government House with the help of some unscrupulous INEC officials linking the development to purported ‘illegal activities’ perpetrated by Fayose in 2014.
INEC, however denied all allegations, saying no INEC staff, nor the persons mentioned had visited Ekiti State .
“There is no form called accreditation form in the first place; accreditation will be done with smart card readers and the four staff mentioned were our staff but they have not visited Ekiti for any reason,” INEC spokesperson said.
“Let me also tell the public that form EC8A is with the CBN and it will be deployed to Ekiti with ballot papers. They are coded with serial numbers and can’t be duplicated by anybody.
“As part of our openness, we sent the voters’ registers to all the political parties. Our doors are open to all political parties, so APC is free to come here and make verifications, rather than making unsubstantiated allegations.
He assured that that ‘this election will be credible’ and will be better than the 2015 elections.
But the PDP dismissed the allegations, saying it was a desperate move of someone ‘already smelling electoral defeat’.
Speaking for the party, the Director of Media and Publicity of the Campaign Organisation, Lere Olayinka said it was clear that Mr Fayemi was raising the alarm to ‘cover up his plans to manipulate himself to power’, hinting that Fayemi is sensing that his dependence on Federal might will not work.
“If they are now being faced with the reality of a failed belief in federal might, shouldn’t they just accept defeat instead of this childish attempt to create an excuse for their impending electoral failure?
It was not long before it was the turn of the PDP to raise alarm of manipulation by the APC when Fayose accused the APC and the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC) of colluding to preload card readers to be used for the election with a view to manipulating the poll in favour of the APC candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
The governor also alleged that the act is being perpetrated in Akure, Ondo State in collaboration with the Ondo State Government.
The Director of Media and Publicity of the Kayode Fayemi Campaign Organisation, Wole Olujobi, in defence, said Fayose’s allegation is the consequence of the ghost of the Federal Government-backed 2014 poll he allegedly committed against the people of the state.
But the PDP camp responded: “I don’t want to bring this picture out yet, but those who said preloading is not possible are lying. Right now, they are doing manual preloading in Akure as I speak. For polling units with over 1,000 voters, they spread the preloading to between 50 and 200 votes per polling unit. In Ikere, 58 of such polling units were targeted and Ado-Ekiti has 158 of such polling units.
“They are also printing fake voter cards in Akure with support from the Ondo State Government. They are also working to bring in about 14,000 people from Ondo State to come and vote here. They have already issued fake 7,000 voter cards and they are daily printing this. They promised to give each person N15, 000 if they help them stuff ballot boxes with fake ballot papers they are printing,” he said.
Fayemi refuted the allegation saying: “We are not surprised that conscience, for the first time, is pricking Fayose over his
unprecedented, historic and historical 2014 poll fraud criminally masterminded by him to win that election.
“That experience is now haunting Fayose, who believes that President Muhammadu Buhari is also a crime-inclined president who will take his pound of flesh for the 2014 election heist that returned Fayose to power.
“Now, Fayose is seeing Buhari and Fayemi in his own image as a man who cannot survive in a society where the law works, thus becoming restless that APC will also criminally manipulate the electoral process to secure victory for the APC candidate.”
Whichever way the pendulum swings, stakeholders are of the belief that the same Federal might, which helped in catapulting Fayose to victory in 2014 is at work today as the table turned drastically. In 2014, the PDP held sway at the Federal level while the APC was at the receiving end at the state level. The elections came and went, and Fayemi’s APC lost all the 16 local governments to Fayose’s PDP.
With the seconding of 30, 000 policemen to Ekiti State for the election, excluding other agencies, the might of the Federal authority seems to be in display. It is not therefore, not out of place when the police disrupted a PDP rally on Wednesday, allegedly teargasing a sitting governor and his deputy in the bargain.
John Olukayode Fayemi (APC)
Until a few weeks ago, Fayemi was the Minister of Solid Minerals Development before he resigned to face the governorship campaign squarely. He had served in the governorship capacity of Ekiti State earlier in 2010 through to 2014 on the platform of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) which later morphed into the APC in 2013. Fayemi is a native of Isan Ekiti, in Oye Local Government Area of Ekiti North Senatorial District.
He holds a doctorate in War Studies from the prestigious King’s College, University of London, England, specialising in civil-military relations.
Before his entrance into politics, Fayemi served as Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) between 1997 and 2006.
He lost to Ayodele Fayose of the PDP while seeking re-election in 2014.
Kolapo Olusola Eleka (PDP)
Eleka is the first deputy governor to have ever received support from his governor in the history of South West politics. He hails from Ikere Ekiti, Ekiti South Senatorial District.
A professor of Building Technology at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Eleka has a track record of excellence in his academic field. He came straight from the academic environment to become deputy governor of the state. He will surely make history if he wins as the first deputy to succeed his boss in the South West.
Other candidates are (courtesy of Premium Times)
Ayodeji Lawrence Ayodele (All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA)
He is a former Nigerian envoy to Greece.
Mr Ayodele is an accomplished diplomat who rose to the position of Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He had a brief stint with the Mega Progressive Peoples Party. He reportedly moved to APGA as the party rushed to hold primaries.
He emerged as APGA candidate under controversial circumstances.
Sikiru Lawal Tae (Labour Party LP)
Mr Lawal, a former chieftain of the PDP in Ekiti State, was the deputy governor of the state under governor Segun Oni between 2007 and 2010.
He recently resigned his membership of the PDP after the crisis which occurred as a result of the choice of the party’s candidate by governor Ayo Fayose.
Abiodun Aluko (Accord Party AP)
Mr Aluko was a successful surveyor before venturing into politics.
He later became Mr Fayose’s deputy before he was impeached after both politicians fell apart. He has oscillated between the PDP, NDP and recently the MPN, before clinching the ticket of the Accord Party.
Jeremiah Adebisi Omoyeni (MPN)
The banker hails from Ikere Ekiti. He served as deputy governor after Mr Aluko was impeached under Ayo Fayose. He was a governorship aspirant in 2014 in the PDP.
Shola Omolola (Action Alliance AA)
He was elected the state chairman of Action Alliance (AA), Lagos State, last year.
He has been very active in the politics of Lagos and was appointed secretary of the Inter-party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Lagos.
Ben Olaniyi Agboola (Action for Democracy AD)
Mr Agboola is a marketing and advertising expert who has worked with different companies in Nigeria and abroad.
He was a Sales Project Coordinator at Globacom Nig Limited.
He obtained his HND, Business Administration from the Federal Polytechnic Ado Ekiti in 1992 and an MBA at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology where he studied marketing in 1999 and proceeded to South London Business College where he obtained Diploma in Information Technology in 2005.
Babatunde Henry Afe (ANRP)
Mr Afe is the founder and General Overseer of House of Faith Christian Centre, Ado Ekiti.
He claims to also double as a businessman and a farmer.
He is a graduate of Economics from the University of Ilorin and also runs a training consultancy. He prides himself as being among the four biggest farmers in the state with several hundreds of hectares of farm.
Segun Adewale (ADP)
Mr Adewale, popularly known as Segun Aeroland, is from Ipoti Ekiti in Ijero Local Government Area.
A well-known businessman and philanthropist based in Lagos, he was senatorial candidate for Lagos West on the platform of the PDP during the 2015 election.
He is the CEO, Aeroland Travel Limited.
He has been in active politics in Lagos and made efforts to be elected a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly on the Labour Party ticket, but was unsuccessful.
He defected to the Alliance for Democracy and then to the PDP in 2011 to run for the Federal House of Representative, Alimosho Federal Constituency, but lost the election to Solomon Olamilekan Adeola of the then Action Congress of Nigeria.
He is a recipient of many awards, particularly in the aviation industry.
Bode Olowoporoku (NDPC)
He is a UK-trained economist with a Phd in Economics. He was also a Minister of Science and Technology under Usman Shehu Shagari government. He was elected senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District from 2003 to 2007.
Dare Bejide (PPN)
He was the Secretary to the Ekiti State Government under the governorship tenure of Segun Oni.
He is from Ilawe, in Ekiti South senatorial district.
He has also served as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Canada.
He was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party until the crisis following the adoption of Kolapo Olusola, his deputy. He joined PPN to emerge the candidate of the party for Saturday’s election.
Orubuloye Dele Lucas (AGA)
An engineer by profession, he studied at the University of Mandras, Chennai, in India.
He hails from Are Ekiti.
He represents the All Grassroots Alliance Party.
Tosin Ajibare (ID)
He is said to be below 35 years old and the youngest candidate in the Ekiti governorship race.
According to him, he represents the face of the youth in Ekiti State. Mr Ajibare is from Ikere Ekiti and a graduate of Business Administration.
He is the founder of the Movement for the Development of Youths and Children, an NGO based in Ekiti State.
He represents the Independent Democrats Party.
Olajumoke Saheed (DA)
He holds a BSc in accounting from the Ekiti State University and was voted the governorship candidate of the Democratic Alternative on May 12.
Temitope Omotayo (Youth Progresssives Party YPP)
The 35-year-old candidate follows Ajibade as one of the youthful candidates in the contest. He is a graduate of Economics from the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, as well as a law degree holder from the University of Lagos.
He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2013 and partner at the Fasina and Omotayo law firm.
He represents the Young Progressives Party.
Tope Adebayo (APDA)
Mr Adebayo is a legal practitioner and obtained his law degree at the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, before proceeding to the University of Lagos for his Master’s degree also in law.
He was president of the Students’ Union, and prides himself as one among a few students union leaders who emerged best graduating student. He also attended Havard where he took a leadership course in preparation for his task to govern Ekiti State.
He represents the Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance.
Akinloye Ayegbusi (Social Democratic Party SDP)
Mr Ayegbusi, 44, before his foray into politics was an Executive Director at Eco Bank Plc. He said he only started thinking about politics in March this year, as contesting the governorship was never in his plans for the year.
He represents the Social Democratic Party.
Saheed Olawale Jimoh (APA)
Mr Jimoh, 44, was a candidate of the African Peoples Alliance for the House of Representatives seat for Ado Ekiti/Irepodun/Ifelodun Federal Constituency, Ekiti State in 2015 but was unsuccessful.
The APA found him worthy of its ticket and would be expecting Ekiti people to vote for him on Saturday.
Other candidates and their parties are:
Oribamise Stephen Ojo (AGAP)
Olanrewaju Olalekan (DPC)
Adegboye Ajayi (BNPP)
David-Adesua Ayodele (DA)
Sule Olalekan Ganiyu (FJP)
Akerele Oluyinka Gbenga(DPP)
Amuda Temitope Kazeem(KOWA)
Jegede Olabode Gregory (MMN)
Babatunde OladapoAlegbeleye (NDLP)
Oladosu Olaniyan (NPC)
Ayoyinka Oluwaseun Dada (PDC)
Animashaun Goke (PPA)
Adeleye John Olusegun (UDP)
Gboyega Olufemi Jacob (UPN)
Fakorede Ayodeji Ebenezer (YDP)