Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, the man shot on June 1 by a policeman at the launch of Governor-elect Kayode Fayemi’s campaign, is now the senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress for Ekiti Central.
Bamidele, who was also a former commissioner in Lagos and member of the House of Representatives, defeated the incumbent, Senator Fatima Raji-Rasaki, a recent convert to the party from the Peoples Democratic Party.
However, Raji-Rasaki is not taking her defeat lightly as she complained that she ought to have been given automatic second term ticket, part of the promises made to her when she joined the APC.
Candidates for the other two Ekiti senatorial six House of Representatives seats have also been announced.
Picked as candidates are Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi for Ekiti North Senatorial District and Prince Dayo Adeyeye, former PDP governorship aspirant who recently defected to the APC. Adeyeye was also a former minister of state for works under President Goodluck Jonathan.
The six candidates for the House of Representatives seats are Yemi Adaramodu, former Chief of Staff to Governor-elect Kayode Fayemi, former Speaker of the state House of Assembly and one of the governorship aspirants that contested the last election with Fayemi, Mr. Femi Bamisile.
The others are Mr Fatoba Olusola, Ogunlola Steve, Peter Owolabi and Ibrahim Olanrewaju, all said to be close political associates of Fayemi.
The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that the candidates emerged in the direct primaries that began in the afternoon of Friday and dragged into the early hours of Saturday in most cases.
Declaring the results early on Saturday at the party’s Secretariat in Ado Ekiti, the Chairman of the National Working Committee on senatorial primaries in Ekiti, Mr Ibrahim Sule, said Bamidele polled a total of 61,823 votes to defeat his closest rival, who garnered 3,289.
In the election in Ekiti North, Senator Olu Adetumbi clinched the senatorial ticket with a total of 2,763 votes while Adeyeye won Ekiti South with a total of 51, 443 votes.
Bamidele, who spoke on behalf of the other candidates described their emergence as the will of God and the expression of the people’s love and confidence in them.
He praised former Governor Niyi Adebayo and the Governor-elect, Dr Kayode Fayemi for standing by him and preventing some powerful individuals from opposing the primary election.
He said the direct primary conducted in Ekiti had afforded every member the right of participation as entrenched in democratic ideals , saying act of imposition would only brew ill-feelings among party members.
The Senatorial candidate lauded party members for exhibiting so much love for him, urging them to replicate the gesture in next year’s election, when the presidential and National Assembly elections would be conducted on 16 February by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC).
“Let me assure Mrs Rasaki that I will continue to hold her in high esteem. We are in this party together and there was need for us to coalesce efforts and build a virile party of our choice
“It was history that repeated itself, because I succeeded her in the House of Representatives and the same thing is about to happen; I give glory to God
“I want her to exhibit the spirit of sportsmanship by working for me in the coming election in the interest of Ekiti and our party, APC.
“I am of the conviction that my being voted as the Senatorial candidate was borne out of the need to have popular candidates that can enhance the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in Ekiti in the 2019 presidential election.
” Let me also say that I am indebted, so indebted to the people of Ekiti Central Senatorial district, because some queued in the sun since morning. I will not forget them when I get to the Senate as forgetting them would tantamount to a sin against God and humanity”, he said.
Bamidele promised to engage the PDP candidate for Ekiti Central, Obafemi Adewale in constructive and issue based campaign , since the mission of the two of them is to represent Ekiti people well and make their lives better.