Ekiti State electorate will be going to the polls on Saturday, July 14, to elect a new governor to take over governance from Governor Ayodele Fayose in October; but from the list of 40 candidates jostling for the job, only two are regarded as frontrunners in the election
By Olu Ojewale
IT is election time in Ekiti State. On Saturday, July 14, the electorate in the state are to file out and elect a new governor who will take over from Governor Ayodele Fayose in October this year. Interestingly, the state electorate have a good number of choices to pick from. There are 40 candidates jostling to get the state plum job.
In May this year, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, published the names of candidates who emerged from the primary conducted by their various parties.
According to the INEC, the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the state is fielding Kolapo Olusola Eleka, 49, the incumbent deputy governor, Kayode Fayemi, 53, erstwhile minister of Mines and Steel Development, is running on the platform of the main opposition All Progressives Congress, APC.
Two women are among the candidates jostling for the Ekiti governorship seat. They are: Margaret Ilesanmi of Accord Party, AP, and Olajumoke Saheed of the Democratic Alternative, DA.
Similarly, on the list of candidates are: Shola Omolola of the Action Alliance, AA; Lawrence Ogundipe of the Advanced Congress of Democrats, ACD; Jide Ayenibiowo of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN; Olaniyi Agboola of the Alliance for Democracy, AD, and Ayodele David Adesua of the African Democratic Congress, ADC.
Further on the list are Segun Adewale of the Action Democratic Party, ADP; Lucas Arubuloye of the AGA; Stephen Oribamise of the All Grand Alliance Party, AGAP; Tunde Afe of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party, ANRP; Saheed Jimoh of the African People’s Alliance, APA; Tope Adebayo of the Advanced People’s Democratic Alliance, APDA and Gbenga Adekunle of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
Others are: Adegboye Ajayi of the Better Nigeria People’s Party, BNPP; Olalekan Olanrewaju of the Democratic People’s Congress, DPC; Stephen Oladejo of the Democratic People’s Party, DPP; Adewale Akinyele of the GPN; Tosin Ajibare of the Independent Democrats, ID, and Temitope Amuda of Kowa Party, KP.
The list also has Sikiru Lawal, a former deputy governor, of the Labour Party, LP; Olabode Jegede of the Masses Movement of Nigeria, MMN; Sunday Balogun of the Mega Progressive People’s Party, MPPP; Sunday Ogundana of the National Conscience Party, NCP; Bode Olowoporoku, a former senator, of the Nigeria Democratic Congress Party, NDCP, and Adebisi Omoyeni, a former deputy governor of the PANDEF.
Others are: Ayoyinka Dada of the PDC; Goke Animasaun of Progressives People’s Alliance, PPA, Stephen Obasanmi of the Providence People’s Congress, PPC; Ebenezer Ogunsakin of the People’s Party of Nigeria, PPN, and Akinloye Ayegbusi of the Social Democratic Party, SDP.
The rest are: Olusegun Adeleye of the United Democratic Party, UDP; Femi Bade-Gboyega of the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN; Ayodeji Faokorede of the Young Democratic Party, YDP, and Temitope Omotayo of the Young Progressive Party, YPP.
As obligatory, a good number of the candidates have been travelling round state to sell their ideas and canvass for votes.
Nevertheless, reports from the state have shown that only Fayemi of the APC and Eleka of the PDP, are considered to be really in contention and that either of them is likely to win at the polls.
Indeed, Fayemi is not a stranger to Ekiti State politics. He had been the state governor for four years between 2010 and 2014. He was defeated by Governor Ayodele Fayose of the PDP while seeking for a second term in office. Incidentally, Fayose was also seeking a second term in office, having earlier served as governor between May 2003 and October 2006 when he was impeached and removed from office by the state legislators.
Since Fayose assumed office for the second term, the outgoing governor has been at loggerheads with Fayemi, his predecessor. If it were to be left to him, Fayose would not want Fayemi to be on the ballot for the July 14, governorship election.
In fact, the Ekiti State government under Fayose, in January banned the former minister from holding political office in the state and other parts of the country for 10 years.
This was based on a government white paper released in Ado Ekiti, capital of Ekiti State, on Monday, January 15, on the outcome of the report of the Justice Silas Oyewole-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry, which investigated the financial transactions during the tenure of Fayemi as state governor between 2010 and 2014.
According to the white paper, both Fayemi and Dapo Kolawole, his commissioner for Finance, were found culpable in the mismanagement of funds belonging to the state. They were thus, declared unfit to hold any public position in the state and any part of Nigeria.
Specifically, Fayemi was asked to account for N2.75 billion allocated from the N25 billion bond obtained by his administration.
Both Fayemi and Kolawole, during the investigative hearing, refused to appear before the commission, citing a court action filed against the probe by the former governor.
In any case, a Federal Capital Territory, FCT, high court, Bwari division, on Tuesday, July 3, voided the report of the Commission of Enquiry set up by Fayose. Delivering judgement in a case filed by the Action Peoples Party, APP, challenging the eligibility of Fayemi to contest the office of governor of Ekiti State on the grounds that he had been indicted by the commission, Justice O.A. Musa, the presiding judge, dismissed the suit by the APP on the grounds that it lacked merit.
Musa held that the process leading to the report and white paper was tainted with bias as Fayemi, a gubernatorial candidate in the July 14, election in Ekiti, was not accorded fair hearing.
The judge noted that Section 182(1)(i) of the Constitution, on which the suit was based, was no longer in existence having been deleted by the National Assembly through the first alteration of the Constitution in 2011.