Ekiti Governorship Election: Anxiety As 33 Aspirants Jostle For PDP Ticket

SINCE the national secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) fixed March 15 for the conduct of primary election for the 33 aspirants jostling to fly the party ticket in the Ekiti State governorship election, there have been apprehensions among members over who will finally emerge as the candidate.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced June 21, this year for the election.

It has been a battle of wit among the aspirants, as they up their last minutes campaigns. Almost all of them had in the last two weeks temporarily relocated to Abuja to intensify their lobby and convince the national officers on the ‘best’ approach to elect or select the candidate for the election analysts say will determine the future of the PDP, not only in Ekiti, but also in the Southwest.

Also, the leading the discussion among the analysts is how the candidate will emerge. While some of the aspirants canvass for a direct primary election, some pitched their tents with the advice of President Goodluck Jonathan that the party should consider the consensus option.

But an aspirant, like former governor, Ayo Fayose, was not comfortable with consensus option and has been fervent in his argument that the most popular aspirant among the 33 should fly the party’s flag.

Besides, the issue of zoning may play a factor in deciding who clinches the ticket.

Ekiti Southern has been at the vanguard of the campaign for the zoning option and has predicated its arguments on the fact that the zone has not produce the governor since the creation of the state.

To them, it will be in the spirit of fairness, justice and equity that the Ekiti South, which has the largest number of councils in the state to produce the PDP candidate to confront Governor Kayode Fayemi, who hails from Isan-Ekiti in Oye Council in Ekiti North.

Perhaps the agitation by politicians from Ekiti South encouraged a large number of PDP members from there to pick nomination form to vie for the ticket, as out of the 33 aspirants, no fewer than 27 come from the zone.

But a school of thought within the party have argued that zoning is desirable when the party controls the government, but not when it is fighting an incumbent; hence he added that to defeat the incumbent, PDP should shop for its best material from any part of the state.

It is on this logic that aspirants like former Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade, Fayose, Senator Ayo Arise and Mr. Deji Ajayi are still hopeful and continued to fight on.

But that also has not diminished the chances of strong contestants from the South, like former spokesperson of Afenifere, Dayo Adeyeye; former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Tunji Odeyemi; former Ambassador to Canada and former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dare Bejide; former Deputy Governor, Abiodun Aluko; Gbenga Aluko and former managing director of Wema Bank, Bisi Omoyeni.

The politics of who gets the ticket is being fought fiercely in Abuja, because of their conviction that President Goodluck Jonathan will ultimately decide who emerges as the candidate or swing the pendulum to support whoever he endorses among the aspirants.

It is not uncommon to hear on the streets of Ado Ekiti, the state capital, how the President had purportedly endorsed one or the other aspirant.

Indeed, more than 10 of them have been claiming to be the ‘anointed’ candidate of the President even when some had the least credentials to win election in their wards.

But the time has come to separate the contenders from the pretenders. The N10 million nomination form the party asked its aspirants to purchase will separate the boys from the men, because some of them were said to still find it difficult to pay the N2 million imposed by the party at the state level on aspirants for the development of the party.

Political analysts in the state see six of the aspirants as serious contenders and believe one of them may finally get the ticket.

Although nothing is impossible in politics, but there are strong indications that Olubolade, Fayose, Adeyeye, Bejide, Odeyemi and Aluko are in the frontline.

Olubolade

OLUBOLADE will today in Ado Ekiti formally declare his intention to run and there will also be a grand reception to welcome him back home after his service to the country.

A former Military Administrator of Bayelsa State, where he and the President met and became friends, Olubolade is believed to have resigned from Jonathan’s cabinet to pursue his governorship ambition.

He became a minister not as a nominee of the state PDP, whose executive at that time saw Olubolade as a “stranger,” but it is believed that he got appointed because of his personal relationship with the President.

In fact, his personal house, which he just completed in the Government Reserved Area (GRA) of the state capital, is named after Jonathan, with the President’s giant pictures conspicuously placed on the roof of the building.

Olubolade is among the proponents of consensus arrangement and many see this as an option that will assure him of the ticket.

He has the ears of the President more than any aspirant and many suspect the President may skew the party machinery to favour his candidacy.

Both Olubolade and Fayose joined political forces to uproot former governor Olusegun Oni’s men from the party structure and install the Makanjuola Ogundipe-led executive.

That executive is sharply divided into two today. While some of them are believed to be working for Olubolade, others are Fayose’s men.

Olubolade is an unassuming gentleman with likeable personality and has been a major financier of the party.

Fayose

FAYOSE was impeached on October 15, 2006 but has been telling whoever cares to listen that he is returning to the Government House on October 16 this year, exactly eight years after he was pushed out.

Fayose has been working and looking ahead of the party’s primary election or consensus arrangement, but had argued that it is only a lazy and unpopular aspirant that will be canvassing for consensus or zoning.

He believes the party can only get the best candidate from the aspirants through a primary election and promised to work with any aspirant that defeats him in a free and transparent primary.

The former governor boasts of not just being able to win the ticket, but also the election.

Only three weeks ago, he stormed the state capital with over 30 new buses, branded for his campaign.

Fayose is also believed to be getting a stronger financial support from a PDP billionaire in the Southwest, as some of his supporters wear campaign vests with the inscription of the name of the businessman-turned politician.

Is Fayose a dreamer or what gives him the confidence? That has been the question on the lips of many observers and PDP members in the state.

But for discerning minds, Fayose is a serious politician, a grassroots mobiliser and a game-changer that knows the arithmetic and calculus of Ekiti politics.

The way and manner he teemed up with Olubolade to defeat Oni’s candidates in the last congress of the party is still a mark of his political prowess.

Only last month, 150 of the 177 PDP ward chairmen openly declared their support for Fayose and endorsed him.

Besides, all the past council chairmen during his tenure have also vowed to support him.

Fayose also strongly believes in the prophesy of his wife, Feyisetan, that says “God has ordained him back as the governor of the state.”

Aluko

ALUKO’S background speaks volume of scholarship and erudition. His late father, the late Sam Aluko, was a renowned Professor of Economics, who commanded immense respect among Ekiti populace.

This actually gave the junior Aluko a leverage to win election in 1999 as the only PDP federal lawmaker in the Southwest that was heavily dominated by Alliance For Democracy (AD) at a time the party was treated like a pariah.

Besides, Aluko is a young, vibrant, cerebral and remains one of the most connected PDP aspirants with a means of turning the table and moving the mountain in any consensus arrangement or guided primary.

As Director of Government Business in Chevron Plc, representing the interest of the federal government, Aluko is placed in a vantage position to speak directly with people that can influence things in the Presidency and have things work in his favour.

Ekiti is considered a monolithic civil service state and as a way of bringing a paradigm shift and industrialising the state, even as a private person, Aluko built a multi-million plastic and toiletries industry in his Ode-Ekiti hometown, which employs over 100 indigenes, and this has also been the kernel of his campaign.

But his critics believe his family is too close to Fayemi, as his father, until his death, was one of the governor’s economic advisers and indeed the chairman of the Education Summit that prepared the blueprint for the turning around of the sector in the state.

Adeyeye

TO his many supporters, Adeyeye is the hope for the resuscitation of Ekiti values and the one that can turn the state to Eldorado.

But many are wont to dismiss the Ise-Ekiti-born politician, but they acknowledge him as experienced and trusted to lead the state.

Adeyeye, a lawyer and journalist, was chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) under Oni.

He runs one the best outspoken campaign organisations in PDP, with a daily press statement tackling the government even when the party at the state level seems not to have the capacity to take Fayemi to the public court.

Adeyeye’s statement is a must read in Ekiti. Though many APC supporters will not agree with most of his positions, but he has done creditably well in strengthening internal democracy in the state and providing alternative information.

Besides, he was among the leading PDP aspirants that have toured all the 177 wards in the state to sell his candidacy.

As one of the beautiful brides from Ekiti South, Adeyeye is also known to belong to the Oni camp- Irewolede Group, whose chairman, Akin Omole, has decamped with some members to the Labour Party (LP), where he is currently the chairman.

As Alliance for Democracy (AD) candidate, he lost the senatorial election in 1999 to Aluko and became the only AD senatorial candidate in the Southwest to lose election.

Also in 2003, he lost to PDP’s Senator Bode Olowoporoku. Many believe his time has come, not only to win the party’s ticket, but also the election.

Bejide

BEJIDE, a lawyer, is a grassroots politician and one of the founding fathers of the PDP in the state.

He is one of the PDP leaders believed to be knowledgeable with the politics of the state, having participated in all elections since its creation.

Bejide, from Ilawe-Ekiti, is one of the leading lights with political experience and pioneer state secretary of the PDP, where he has remained since then.

Speaking on why he wants to be governor, Bejide said: “The basic motivation is service to the people. I have been around for a while in the state.

“Apart from the three years I spent outside Nigeria as a High Commissioner, I have been living with the people, I understand their problems, I know there is pervading poverty in Ekiti and I know that unless we have a governor who understands the feelings and sufferings of the people, it will be difficult to make a change.

“That is one of the basic reasons why I am in the race, and I know I can make the difference.”

Bejide in 2011 lost the party senatorial ticket to Sola Akinyede, who eventually lost to the ACN’s Tony Adeniyi.

So, this contest is another opportunity for Bejide to prove his weight and electoral values in the party.

Tunji Odeyemi

ODEYEMI was once an acting governor of the state from February 17 to May 6, 2009, spending 79 days at Oke Barake before the re-run election of 2009.

Within that period, Odeyemi made marks his as a welfarist, which makes him popular among the teachers and civil servants in the state.

He stabilised the state during his short tenure and proved his political prowess a Speaker of the state Assembly with both the ACN and PDP having equal numbers of legislators.

A gentleman and good negotiator, many would not be surprised if he eventually picks the ticket because of his antecedent.

He believes the party can only get the best candidate from the aspirants through a primary election and promised to work with any aspirant that defeats him in a free and transparent primary.

The former governor boasts of not just being able to win the ticket, but also the election.

Only three weeks ago, he stormed the state capital with over 30 new buses, branded for his campaign.

Fayose is also believed to be getting a stronger financial support from a PDP billionaire in the Southwest, as some of his supporters wear campaign vests with the inscription of the name of the businessman-turned politician.

Is Fayose a dreamer or what gives him the confidence? That has been the question on the lips of many observers and PDP members in the state.

But for discerning minds, Fayose is a serious politician, a grassroots mobiliser and a game-changer that knows the arithmetic and calculus of Ekiti politics.

The way and manner he teemed up with Olubolade to defeat Oni’s candidates in the last congress of the party is still a mark of his political prowess.

Only last month, 150 of the 177 PDP ward chairmen openly declared their support for Fayose and endorsed him.

Besides, all the past council chairmen during his tenure have also vowed to support him.

Fayose also strongly believes in the prophesy of his wife, Feyisetan, that says “God has ordained him back as the governor of the state.”

Aluko

ALUKO’S background speaks volume of scholarship and erudition. His late father, the late Sam Aluko, was a renowned Professor of Economics, who commanded immense respect among Ekiti populace.

This actually gave the junior Aluko a leverage to win election in 1999 as the only PDP federal lawmaker in the Southwest that was heavily dominated by Alliance For Democracy (AD) at a time the party was treated like a pariah.

Besides, Aluko is a young, vibrant, cerebral and remains one of the most connected PDP aspirants with a means of turning the table and moving the mountain in any consensus arrangement or guided primary.

As Director of Government Business in Chevron Plc, representing the interest of the federal government, Aluko is placed in a vantage position to speak directly with people that can influence things in the Presidency and have things work in his favour.

Ekiti is considered a monolithic civil service state and as a way of bringing a paradigm shift and industrialising the state, even as a private person, Aluko built a multi-million plastic and toiletries industry in his Ode-Ekiti hometown, which employs over 100 indigenes, and this has also been the kernel of his campaign.

But his critics believe his family is too close to Fayemi, as his father, until his death, was one of the governor’s economic advisers and indeed the chairman of the Education Summit that prepared the blueprint for the turning around of the sector in the state.

Adeyeye

TO his many supporters, Adeyeye is the hope for the resuscitation of Ekiti values and the one that can turn the state to Eldorado.

But many are wont to dismiss the Ise-Ekiti-born politician, but they acknowledge him as experienced and trusted to lead the state.

Adeyeye, a lawyer and journalist, was chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) under Oni.

He runs one the best outspoken campaign organisations in PDP, with a daily press statement tackling the government even when the party at the state level seems not to have the capacity to take Fayemi to the public court.

Adeyeye’s statement is a must read in Ekiti. Though many APC supporters will not agree with most of his positions, but he has done creditably well in strengthening internal democracy in the state and providing alternative information.

Besides, he was among the leading PDP aspirants that have toured all the 177 wards in the state to sell his candidacy.

As one of the beautiful brides from Ekiti South, Adeyeye is also known to belong to the Oni camp- Irewolede Group, whose chairman, Akin Omole, has decamped with some members to the Labour Party (LP), where he is currently the chairman.

As Alliance for Democracy (AD) candidate, he lost the senatorial election in 1999 to Aluko and became the only AD senatorial candidate in the Southwest to lose election.

Also in 2003, he lost to PDP’s Senator Bode Olowoporoku. Many believe his time has come, not only to win the party’s ticket, but also the election.

Bejide

BEJIDE, a lawyer, is a grassroots politician and one of the founding fathers of the PDP in the state.

He is one of the PDP leaders believed to be knowledgeable with the politics of the state, having participated in all elections since its creation.

Bejide, from Ilawe-Ekiti, is one of the leading lights with political experience and pioneer state secretary of the PDP, where he has remained since then.

Speaking on why he wants to be governor, Bejide said: “The basic motivation is service to the people. I have been around for a while in the state.

“Apart from the three years I spent outside Nigeria as a High Commissioner, I have been living with the people, I understand their problems, I know there is pervading poverty in Ekiti and I know that unless we have a governor who understands the feelings and sufferings of the people, it will be difficult to make a change.

“That is one of the basic reasons why I am in the race, and I know I can make the difference.”

Bejide in 2011 lost the party senatorial ticket to Sola Akinyede, who eventually lost to the ACN’s Tony Adeniyi.

So, this contest is another opportunity for Bejide to prove his weight and electoral values in the party.

Tunji Odeyemi

ODEYEMI was once an acting governor of the state from February 17 to May 6, 2009, spending 79 days at Oke Barake before the re-run election of 2009.

Within that period, Odeyemi made marks his as a welfarist, which makes him popular among the teachers and civil servants in the state.

He stabilised the state during his short tenure and proved his political prowess a Speaker of the state Assembly with both the ACN and PDP having equal numbers of legislators.

A gentleman and good negotiator, many would not be surprised if he eventually picks the ticket because of his antecedent.  The Guardian

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