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Ekiti 2022: Oni favoured, Imposition may hurt APC, PDP

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By OLUSESAN LAOYE

All roads leads to Ekiti State on Saturday June,18 2022, when the people of the state would troop out in droves to decide who will lead them for another four years after the incumbent, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, bows out.

The election envisaged to be an epoch and explosive one, would be fielding 16 political parties fully accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The election would be very crucial to the entire nation for the mere fact that it is a litmus test for the INEC and all the political parties being the first one to be conducted with the new electoral law. Though the political parties had tested one aspect or the other of the law, according to what suits them during the primaries, proper election has not been held with it.

Based on the Information collected at the INEC office in Ado Ekiti by Business Hallmark, there were all indications that the electoral body is prepared for the election. The Information indicated that the Residents Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti State Dr. Adeniran Tella assured political parties, people of the state and the entire Nigerians of a credible election with improved Electoral process and room for level playing ground, amongst all the 16 political parties.

There was also an indication that a high level technological innovation to put the new electoral law into play would be displayed
It was also found that the response in picking up the PVC was encouraging while it was said that adequate measures have been put in place to prevent financial inducements on voting day and at the polling booths, as it was envisaged that such could happen due to the rural nature of the people and level of poverty.

Further information obtained at the INEC office indicated that over 988,926 voters are expected to decide who becomes the next governor of the state after Fayemi. As at the time of filing this report, the data made available showed that over 740,000 voters already had their PVC and the election would be conducted in about 177 registration areas, or wards.

The data also showed that there were104 registration centres made up of 46 registration areas centers and 61 super registration centres and about 10,000 adhoc staff are to be deployed for the conduct of the election in the 16 local governments, with the total of 224,244 polling units.

How parties stand

With the assurance by INEC that it is ready and with the machineries already put in place, it is certain too, that the political parties are battle ready for the election.

From what was witnessed in Ado Ekiti and visits to the party secretariat of some major political parties, with additional feelers from members of the public, it was evident that the parties are not taken chances and leaving no stone unturned to ensure victory.

With the situation on ground, three political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC), fielding the former Secretary to the government under Governor Kayode Fayemi, Biodun Oyebamiji; the Peoples Democratic Party, which has Bisi Kolawole, the anointed political son of the former governor, Ayodele Fayose, and the Social Democratic Party, (SDP) with the former governor Segun Oni as its candidate, after he defected to the party being angry with the way the primary of the PDP was conducted; have spread their tentacles in all the local governments and have been campaigning vigorously.

Just like the previous elections in the state, it was found out that the battle is going to be with the major political parties, the PDP, the ruling APC and with a third force the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

But what people in the state opined could be a slight difference from the previous elections is also the emergence of a fourth force Oluwole Oluyode who joined the ADC as aggrieved aspirant in APC. The man Oluyode, an Australian based tycoon, is rated as a silent achiever who has been using his wealth to better the lots of the people.

He was described as a game changer by his numerous supporters in the State. He, like Fayose is popular among the down trodden in the state, and has been using his wealth to empower the people – artisans, Oķada riders and petty traders – who have continuously banked on his benevolence for succor.

Mr. Tunde Ogundele, one of the youths championing his campaigns in Aramoko, Ekiti, told Business Hallmark that people are looking at Oluyode as someone without clout because he is not from any of the big political parties but “they have forgotten that the man has been around for a long time and has been helping people and he believed this would be a pay back from the masses he has been empowering over the years.

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He is also regarded as a man to watch because he has all it takes to change the tempo of the election even if he would not win, he could not be outrightly underrated and could be a spoiler for both PDP and APC in favour of SDP’s Segun Oni.

Other political parties, which carried big names as flag bearers but not actually in the race are the Accord Party with a prominent lawyer, Reuben Famuyibo as its candidate and the only prominent woman in the race, Mrs. Kemi Elebute Halle of the African Democratic Party (ADP). Though she and Fàmuyibo are not highly rated they are somehow recognised as contestants in the race.

Campaign promises:

As they continue with their campaigns, all the key candidates have doled out what they intent to do for the people.

Bisi Kokawole  (PDP)

He has been highlighting his achievements as a lawmaker, commissioner and chairman of the PDP, and promised to industrialize the state and improve agriculture. He promised to attract local and and foreign investors, while he declared that he would improve on the security system of the state and ensure that the citizens are well protected.

Biodun Oyebamiji (APC)

As the immediate past Secretary to the state APC government of Dr. Kayode Fayemi, he promised to embark on the continuation of the work of his boss, Fayemi if elected.
He too, promised to improved agriculture and education and the elevation of the rural areas in line with the six cardinal programs of the APC in the State.

Segunn Oni (SDP)

He claimed that he has been tested and would not let the people down.
He promised regular payments of salaries and pension just as he did the first time he was in office

He described Fayose as a tout with abysmal performance while he said that the APC dwelled on unfulfilled promises. He promised to improve the security of the state. According to him, he would utilise the little resources of the state and refrain from corruption.

Oluyode ADC:

He said he would carry out radical development, with his wealth creation programmes and improve Agric and commerce of the state. He also said that he would ensure proper Industrialisation of the state with the invitation of both local and foreign investors and build the economy around the people in the State.

Famuyibo of Accord, Said he is prepared to transform the state into an enviable one and ensure that that the rule of law prevails.

Prospect for candidates

It is important to note that the coming governorship election means a lot to some powerful player. For instance, Oni is on the last lap of his political journey and if he fails to win the election, he may be shot out of political relevance both in the state and at the National level.

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The incumbent Governor Fayemi too needs the election to solidify his political career. If the APC and his political son, Oyebamiji loses, his political relevance in the state would no longer count and this could affect his posture at the national level since he is spending his last days in office and would always want to be relevant and be heard as a strong political father in Ekiti state.

To Fayose too, he need Kolawole to win and to boost his political pedigree since he is not sure what becomes of the PDP at the centre. However both Fayemi and Fayose still have very big prospect at the centre if their political parties clinch the presidency.

Right from the inception of democracy in the state the Ekiti electorate have been unpredictable and that is why no candidate or party has been able to win a straight second term. They would come and go and come back.
It happened to Fayose and Fayemi.
Oni who is contesting now has come and he wants to come back.

It is only the first executive governor of the state, Otunba Niyi Adebayo who had a first stint In governance and never ventured to come back. Also, election in the state has always been centered on the strongholds of the aspirants as the people always protect their own.

Elections are also determined by the senatorial zones, where a candidate comes from, especially between the people of the Ekiti Central and Ekiti North. These two zones have held on to power leaving the Ekiti South to always aspire and hang on to faith.

That was what Senator Olujimi was fighting for before she was edged out by Fayose, who later reconciled with her knowing fully well that PDP has no chance if people like Olujimi wa3s not appeased. The zone was near clinching the ticket of both the PDP and the APC in the last primaries but it lost to the North and the Central.

As a matter of fact, the June 18 election, would be between the usual two senatorial zones of the North and central. The candidates of both the PDP and the APC are from the central,
and that is why their election, and votes and result, would be very tight in the central.

Survey:

The state has 16 Local government and based on the survey conducted by the Business hallmarks, the APC and SDP stand very tall. On the other hand, the PDP which came third still has the chances of taken over with the margins of local governments in its favour

From what was discovered on the ground in Ekiti and from the opinions and what is said to be the reality now, before the election, the chances of SDP appears brighter than the two
other major political parties. The APC has five local governments in its kitty, SDP also five, while the PDP has only four.

This means the parties are running neck to neck and with votes from Ado Ado Ekiti which has the largest voting strength, the winner would have to emerge through the votes in Ado Ekiti, which is now a free zone based on the fact that it is the state capital where all nationalities and ethnic groups converge.
Ado Ekiti has always been a determinant local government with votes that produce the governor.

Breakdown

Kolawolee PDP:
Ekiti East
Gboyi
Irepodun Ifelodun
Efon.
Ijero

Oyebamiji APC:
Emure
Ise Orun
Ekiti West
Ekiti South.

Oni SDP:
Ido /Osi
Ikole
Ileje Meje
Moba
Oye.

Oluyode ADC:
Ikere Ekiti LG

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Ado Ekit local govenment is for anybody to grab but it is likely to be between three candidates of PDP, SDP and APC if they play their games very well. Even if the issue of candidates for the senatorial zone is considered, the two from the central, Oyebamiji of APC, and Kolawole of the PDP would share the votes which would eventually be an advantage for Oni the SDP candidate.

With this outlook Business Hallmark carried out a survey on the parties and the aspirants based on these formats:

1. Popularity of the candidates
2. Personality
3. Party’s popularity
4. Ability to perform
5. Past records

Those interviewed cut across women, youths, Okada riders passersby on the street and traders. In all 200 people were talked to.
Five candidates were surveyed:
Oni of SDP, Oyebamiji of APC, Kolawole of PDP, Oluyode of ADC and Famuyibo of Accord.

Personal popularity and personality.
Oni got 100 people in his favour
Oyebamiji … 30
Bisi Kolawole.. 40
Wole Oluyode… 30
Famuyibo…. 10

Political parties’ Popularity

SDP… 50
APC…60
PDP….60
ADC…10
Accord..20

Ability to perform
Oni/SDP…70
Oyebamiji/APC…45
Bisi kawole/PDP…50
Oluyed/ADC…20
Famuyibo…15

Past antecedents:
Oni/SDP…80
Oyebamiji/APC…50
Kolawole/PDP…50.
Oluyode/ADC…20
Famuyibo/Accord…Nil

Although the APC and PDP candidates are well known in the state, the people argued that they have not done anything in the state to make an impact on the people despite their popularity.
They pointed out that both have been operating under the shadows of their bosses who imposed them over other aspirants in their parties, which some of them condemned as undemocratic.

As for Oni, they said that apart from his popularity, his tenure as governor made significant impact on the people, as the people of the state benefited, from his welfare packages, while the pensioners, the civil servants and the teachers continue to praise him for that.

As for Oluyode they pointed out that as an upcoming politician he has been doing his best for the masses.

On Famuyibo they pointed out that they know him, he is popular but he has not been seen by the people except his posters and that he is always present whenever there is election.

Comments and Reactions

A contestant on the platform of the SDP for the House of Representative, for the Ado/Irepodun/Ifelodun federal constituency, Toyin Obayemi, said that the emergence of Oni in SDP would bring an end to the dominance of PDP and APÇ in Ekiti politics. He said Oni is tested, and he is well accepted by the people.

Also the Director General Segun Oni Campaign organisation, Ambassador Dare Bejide said personality matters in the coming governorship election in Ekiti this time around and not about party.

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“This is where Oni comes. He is a gentleman with credibility, a grassroots politicians with a lot of admirers and that is why some of us went with him to SDP. He is a credible alternative who has strong structures He did well while in government he empowered people and he is loved by the civil servant for what he did which no governor after him has never surpassed.”

He said Oni’s coming to the SDP has created problems for the APC and the PDP pointing out that “even majority of those not happy in PDP and APC who had worked with him before are working for him underground.

In his own reaction on the election, the PDP chairman in the State, Lanre Omolase said that APC is a fraudulent party. He said as far as he was concerned the battle is still with us and the APC.

“I don’t reckon with the SDP and its candidate Engineer Oni who he said refused to accept defeat in PDP.

He described Oni as an unstable politician who left the PDP for the APC and then came back to PDP.

“SDP is a third force and Ekiti doesn’t depend on third force political party because no third force has ever won elections in the state. For example Opeyemi Bamidele tried it with the Labour party when he felt cheated in APC and he lost and had to go back to the APC where he is now a senator representing Ekiti central.”

According to Omolase “only.the disgruntled element APC and PDP went to Oni.”
He argued “all the strong bones in PDP are still with us. People like Professor Kolapo Olusola Eleka, Wale Aribisalla, Senator Olujimi and others that count in PDP and Ekiti politics are solidly behind Kolawole and we have all settled and they are ready to deliver all their constituencies to the PDP. We are sure of Victory come June 18”

The Publicity Secretary of the APC in the state, Dr. Segun Dipe said that the APC candidate Oyebamiji is unbeatable.

“APC would win hands down. PDP, according to him is just making noise all about. We know them for their propaganda which can’t carry them anywhere”

 

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