With Anambra State Gubernatorial Election out of way, and the ruling Party at the State, and opposition to the Party at the National making a clean sweep at all the local governments, all eyes and attention are beginning to shift to the next standalone election in Nigeria, the Ekiti State Gubernatorial election.
Ekiti State, a state renowned for educated personalities, used to be called the State that breeds professors, also a fountain of knowledge, once ruled by two academics, both Ph.D holders, one a Governor, H.E Dr Kayode Fayemi, now Hon Minister of Solid Minerals, deputised by a Professor, Mrs. Mudope Adelabu, opted for a governor whose academic qualification has remained shrouded in controversy, but seeming to be overwhelmingly preferred if the results of the 2014 election is anything to go by.
The incumbent Governor H.E Ayodele Fayose, controversial and self-styled national opposition leader and bitter “enemy” of President Buhari, going by all his ferocious attacks on President Buhari before, during and after the election roundly trounced these academics in an unprecedented landslide election 2014, in what he refers to derisively as 16-0, going by his victory in all the 16 local government areas including the then incumbent Governor Dr. Fayemi’s local government area.
Ekiti politics, adopting what he called the politics of “Stomach infrastructure” or politics of the belly over what he says is the epicurean politics of his predecessors, the Hon Minister of Solid Minerals.
He went on to win all the seats at State and National Assembly.
Time had since passed, and the search for the next Ekiti Governor has begun with as many as fifty aspirants from the APC, while the incumbent Governor has already settled for his Deputy, Professor Eleka, a little known political personality, with zero political pedigree, having being picked
Already, the Governor has started building up the support base for the Deputy as he boasts that he will repeat the 2014 feet.
That boast may not be as easy granted the different scenario today, some “federal might” assistance to Fayose as it was in 2014 will be missing at the fast approaching 2018 election, there will not be a General Momoh-led federal team, made up of Musiliu Obanikoro, then Minister of State Defence.
This federal support structure obviously added in some way to the trouncing of the Fayemi led government in an election where the Director General of the Fayemi led re-election bid, former Federal parliamentarian, Hon Abimbola Daramola, former Member, House of Representatives (2011 – 2015) now an aspirant at the 2018 gubernatorial election, was stormed in a midnight raid, by military men in 10 Hilux trucks as reported, and his then 87 years old father was beaten black and blue.
While his octogenarian father was being manhandled, other members of the family were tortured in the raid including his fiancée who blew the lid on the arrest of her man.
The report had it that Honourable Bimbo Daramola as Director General of that re-election bid came to the polling unit on the day of the election from the bush, other key actors of the campaign like Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Dapo Kolawole’s house was visited, a local government chairman, Mr. Ogundele was intercepted with money for election at Ifaki Ekiti among other reported cases.
With the Ekiti 2018 gubernatorial election just about eight months away, the question is whether Governor Fayose, the self- styled “Peter the Rock” the “Oshokomole” will be able to re-enact the 16-0 trounce feat in 2018, or the victory in 2003 when he defeated a sitting governor, the first when he defeated a sitting governor, the first democratically elected Governor of the Alliance for Democracy party in person of H.E Otunba Niyi Adebayo.
Ayo Fayose would again boast that as a son of nobody, he defeated the son of a General! Will APC allow Ayo Fayose to boast again? And finally, terminate the political careers of many politicians of the progressive bloc? Time and what APC Ekiti and nationally does will determine?
A lot of people in Ekiti State are worried that it will appear that the Ekiti APC under the leadership of three former governors starting form octogenarian Evangelist Bamidele Olumilua, former Governor of the then Ondo State, His Excellency, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, a former Governor, the first democratically elected Governor of Ekiti State from 1999–2003, who incidentally lost woefully to Governor Fayose in his first term; followed by His Excellency, Asiwaju Segun Oni who came after the interregnum after Ayo Fayose was removed and emerged the candidate of the PDP through curious machination having come distant third at the 2007 PDP primaries.
Today, Asiwaju Oni was removed from office in 2010 by the Court of Appeal sitting in Ilorin, after three and half years of bitter political tussles from re-election to in and out of court tribunal cases, and was succeeded by His Excellency, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and the present Minister of Solid Minerals.
Even though Asiwaju Oni joined the APC in 2014 in the run-up to Dr. Fayemi’s re-election; he today is Deputy National Chairman south of the ruling APC.
Asiwaju Segun Oni has declared to run on the platform of the APC at the Ekiti 2018 election, while after several denials it appears the Honourable Minister for Solid Minerals who had severally told many people and granted interviews where he said he was either pushing “Ekiti Gate” or that he has a job to do at turning around the Solid Minerals, and not interested in the Gubernatorial seat in 2018 seems to have changed his mind and gradually working underground.
But undercover findings seems to now suggest that his eyes are on returning to Government House, Ekiti State.
While it is true Governor Fayose, is loud, one thing that cannot be taken away from him is his “Street wisdom” and capacity to identify with the downtrodden, he is the self- styled “ore Mekunnu” that is the friend to the poor.
He remains in touch with the Okadas riders, artisans, etc. So, what he may not have in federal might he has smartly made up for in daily mobilisation and in your face kind of politics.
While on the other hand, the APC is grappling with a daily growing list of aspirants, with some of them sworn bitter enemies.
For instance, how will the APC fare with a “rematch of the Titans” like Asiwaju Oni, former Governor of Ekiti State, of PDP extraction now in the APC, and His Excellency former Governor of Ekiti immediate past Governor Fayemi, now present Honourable Minister
It is not the wild imagination to say an Oni and Fayemi’s rematch will refresh old wounds among their supporters, particularly when the admission of Oni into the APC fold is less than 3 years.
A lot of members of the APC of the AD, AD, ACN stock still feel that Asiwaju Segun Oni joined from PDP, and his attempt to come back will put the “old” members in jeopardy and they will play the second fiddle in “their own party “in which they have struggled so much they.
They have told members of how they fared and fought a three and a half years ‘war; between His Excellency Oni and His successor Dr. Fayemi.
A scenario where there is a “rematch” of these personalities can only make the APC vulnerable.
If the APC goes to the Ekiti election divided, it will be weak and vulnerable against a formidable incumbent and ruling party in the state.
There also is the other issue of “old foes rematch scenario
There also is the other issue of “old foes rematch scenario and re-enactment” possibilities.
They include other aspirant gladiators like Senator Ayo Arise, formerly of the PDP, now an aspirant in the APC and His Excellency Dr. Fayemi. It has recalled that Senator Arise was the arrowhead of the “Oye – rerun where 18,000 voters dramatically became less than 3,000 when he was in PDP.
Now can Ayo Arise and Dr. Fayemi work for each other after primaries where one of them will lose? Rumours have it that Arise once manhandled Fayemi during the preparations for the Ekiti re-run election.
Also, there is the case of Senator Femi Ojudu now Special Adviser, Political Adviser to the President who obviously broke ranks with Dr Fayemi and mainstream APC Ekiti, immediately after Fayemi lost the re-election in 2014 and led a faction called the Action Group advocating for the dissolution of the president Party Excos, because he claimed they are offshoot of the Fayemi Administration.
How can these two people work together to ensure the success of the party?
Senator Ojudu and his sympathisers who pursued the division of the Ekiti APC so clearly and openly that they were getting attention of personalities like Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State particularly making mockery of the loss of Fayemi in 2014, saying it was expected, in spite of the fact that he is the only legislator out of state and federal legislators who did not seek re-election after a four year term, ostensibly not bold enough because Fayemi and APC had lost power at the state.
Today, it is clear that the relationship between Fayemi and Ojudu is far from cordial both of them are aspirants today.
How will they work together for the Party to win?
Also is the case of Honourable Michael Bamidele (MOB) who broke ranks with the APC and ran at the 2014 election on the platform of Labour Party against all entreaties even from Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, National leader of APC and former Governor of Osun State and one-time national chairman of the party Chief Bisi Akande.
A lot of people have not forgiven Honourable Bamidele today for what they see as a betrayal, and is a contributory factor to why Fayemi and APC lost, even though he got less than 20,000 votes.
After what they refer to as Bamidele’s unholy romance and dalliance with the then Ondo State Governor H.E Rahaman Mimiko and later President Goodluck Jonathan reputed to have funded him before his alliance with present governor Fayose against his former friend Dr. Fayemi and his party the APC.
A lot of Party members of the APC felt Honourable Bamidele’s divorce from the Party made it vulnerable, today, he is also an aspirant.
How will the Party fare well the animosity between Honourable Bamidele and Fayemi, even Honourable Bamidele and Senator Ojudu too still have not recovered from the brouhaha that attended to the contest for the Central Senatorial seat in 2011?
So if there are so much of possibilities of a re-enactment of old bitterness among the leading members of the Party who are some of the leaders of the Party, how can the Ekiti APC approach this all crucial elections with a formidable team and united front to face a sitting Governor in Ekiti State.
As the days roll by, it stands to be seen how the Ekiti APC will pull the hat trick. Time may not be their good friend as their formidable opponent us their formidable opponent us not resting on his oars particularly when it is perceived that the Buhari led Federal Government does not have the reputation of deploying all-out bully methods like the PDP led government of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Will Ayo Fayose beat all the leaders in this game again Will APC let the governor have a good jibe again? Time will tell.
Ibironke writes in from Ado Ekiti