Govs renew rivalry, fresh hands offer hope as Ekiti holds gov poll

Ekiti map

ABIODUN NEJO writes on the politically charged atmosphere in Ekiti State ahead of Saturday’s governorship election as candidates of the visible political parties are getting ready to slug it out at the poll

While many see the Ekiti governorship elections as a contest among the present and past governors of the state, slugging it out among one another in a superiority contest, others say it is an attempt by godfathers to impose godsons and battle by fresh hands to prevent such.

The governors – incumbent Dr Kayode Fayemi and the pioneer governor of Ekiti State, Niyi Adebayo, are leading the campaign for the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, Biodun Oyebanji.

Also, a former governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, is the face of the campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Bisi Kolawole, just as the standard-bearer of the Social Democratic Party, Chief Segun Oni, is himself a former governor.

For these governors, the June 18 election is a contest for class and superiority, as they are putting in their best to ensure their party wins the election to occupy the Oke Ayoba Government House, granting them unfettered access to the Ayoba villa.

However, some candidates who have yet to get any political appointment and one who served as a commissioner are giving very good impressions of themselves on the field. These other contenders are of the view that the presence of the governors in the APC, PDP and SDP either as a candidate or backers for the candidates is enough to make them lose the election due to their alleged failure in office and inability to implement projects and policies that could improve the state and people’s welfare.

In this class include the candidate of the African Democratic Congress, Dr Wole Oluyede, a medical practitioner, who contested for the APC governorship ticket in 2018; the Young Progressives Party standard-bearer, Mr Debo Ajayi; a former Commissioner for Budget, who also vied for the APC ticket in 2018 and the Action Peoples Party candidate, Prince Adeyinka Alli, a young ex-banker.

The parties – ADC, YPP and APP – do not mince words in saying that they are in the Ekiti State governorship election to win and not just to participate. Hence, they are leaving no stone unturned in wooing the electorate for votes and upping their campaign activities across the state.

 

APC, Oyebanji group

The Director-General of the Biodun Oyebanji Campaign Organisation of APC, Mr Cyril Fasuyi, has said that the support for Oyebanji’s election was coming from all governors on the party platform in addition to Fayemi and Adeniyi’s efforts.

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Fasuyi said, “You will be undermining the APC if you only talk of two governors working for our candidate. We have 22 governors who are going to work for our candidate because the APC is a family.

“All these personalities are not coming to vote but to support one of us and encourage the members in the state. Add this to the array of politicians in the newly-inaugurated APC National Campaign Council which would boost the governorship candidate’s election bid. You will understand why the opposition is already jittery.”

The DG expressed confidence that Oyebanji would win the election based on his personality, achievement of the Fayemi-led APC government and more importantly, his agenda.

He said, “We have only two major parties in Ekiti. I don’t know the precedence of the SDP that is being erroneously regarded as the third party – a party that has no structure, a party that has no membership base or organ.

“The SDP chieftain, Chief Olu Falae, said that the last time SDP had a national convention was in 2020. A political party that has not organised a convention, that does not have any National Working Committee, you are coming to Ekiti to say you have a candidate. We have only two major parties.”

 PDP campaign organisation

However, to the Bisi Kolawole Campaign Organisation of the PDP, Fayose had always led his party to defeat groups of APC governors. The strategic feat, according to the spokesperson for the PDP campaign team, Lere Olayinka, would be reenacted on June 18.

He said, “In 2014, it was three former governors – Fayemi, Adebayo and Oni in the APC versus Ayo Fayose, in the PDP. The PDP won. In 2018, it was also the same three former governors versus Prof. Kolapo Olusola-Eleka, PDP won that election, but they brazenly rigged it for Fayemi to become the governor.

“Governors, former or incumbent, have influence no doubt, but in Ekiti State today, who among Fayemi, Adebayo and Oni has an influence on voters? The three governors are not in the good books of the people who vote and those at the grassroots.”

Olayinka said that voters would not recognise Adebayo, Oni and Fayemi if they should walk on the streets. He said, “While in office, the three governors ran elitist governments, as being run by Fayemi now. A governor you cannot see. Fayemi has been ruling Ekiti from Abuja for the last three years.”

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The campaign spokesman, who boasted that Fayose had remained in the minds of the Ekiti people till now, said, “Fayose did so much while in office in terms of infrastructure, employment opportunities, wealth creation. ”

 

SDP campaign

Meanwhile, the Segun Oni Campaign Organisation believes that the presence of governors in the APC and the PDP which ought to be a blessing to them has turned out to be the source of strength for the SDP, where he is the candidate.

SOCO’s Director of Publicity, Jackson Adebayo, said, “The governors in those parties will not have any effect on our chances, of course, they had their followers before, but unfortunately, they performed woefully as governors and that is where our governorship candidate, Segun Oni, gained his strength and popularity for this election.

“When our principal, Oni, was governor, he did wonderfully well and surpassed what those governors did. Those governors encouraged corruption; they encouraged embezzlement and ineptitude which Segun Oni abhorred.

 “That is why Ekiti people believe that if Oni becomes governor again, he will do what he did then. That is why those three governors will be rejected at the poll. Ekiti people know that the stooges of those governors who are now APC and PDP governorship candidates will be taking advice and instruction from those failed governors.”

 

ADC campaign

In his own perspective, the Director General of Wole Oluyede Campaign Organisation of the ADC, Mrs Omotunde Fajuyi, says the statement is loud and clear that Ekiti people no longer want a second term or third term by proxy.

Fajuyi said, “Governors’ factor cannot have any bearing in the election. Ekiti people are tired of the past system. We listened to the people and the people have said they are fed up with old hands.

“People castigated and condemned in its entirety the Adebayo’s era, the Fayose’s era, the Segun Oni’s era and the present Fayemi’s. The people have been asking for fresh blood, fresh ideas and fresh people. More so, somebody who has been accomplished, not somebody pushed there by hunger.

“Our candidate, Dr Wole Oluyede, is an established medical doctor, a well-known farmer, and an entrepreneur with a house – none of the governors had a house of his own before becoming governor.”

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Fajuyi, who said none of the four governors was acceptable to their communities before becoming governor, added, “The people are tired of them; they describe them as dealers instead of being leaders.”

APP in Ekiti

Also, the Adeyinka Alli campaign outfit of APP says Ekiti people are tired of the status quo which has been the achievements of all Ekiti governors thus leaving it a poor civil service state despite available resources.

The campaign director, Dr Godwyns Ade’Agbude, said, “Ekiti people are enlightened, they know the effect of past and present governments on them. We have got the feeling of the people; they are interested in having a new lease, something different from what they have been having.”

 

YPP governorship bid

For the YPP, the Debo Ranti Ajayi governorship project is out to deploy competence, professional experience and global exposure to tackle the problems facing the state which have made life difficult for the people., hence the massive support it has been getting.

The Ekiti State YPP spokesperson, Olorunsola Iwaju, said the governors that the PDP, APC and SDP consider as advantages for the governorship election were actually a “huge burden that makes their quest dead on arrival in view of their performance while in office and people’s rejection.”

Iwaju said, “Three political parties consider it an advantage that they have governors in their midst, but they have failed to realise that the governors are huge liabilities. The PDP cannot separate its candidate in this election from its godfather, who as we speak, is still in court over corruption charges. This is nothing to be proud of.

However, barring any last-minute alliance between or among parties, 16 political parties in the state are going to the polls on June 18 and the happenings during the election and the outcome of the exercise will determine the relevance or otherwise of the contenders and their backers in the battle.

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