Ekiti State is on the march again. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the voters will troop out on June 18, to elect a new governor that would occupy the Oke-Bareke Government House when the incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi completes his second term in office on October 15.
The governorship election timetable in Ekiti was altered when the legal battle between Segun Oni and Governor Fayemi over the 2007 governorship election was decided in favour of the latter. As a result, the Ekiti governorship election now takes place at a different time from the regular four-year cycle of general elections nationwide
Following the release of the timetable by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), this year’s contest has been generating excitement, as well as tension within and across party lines. Within the two dominant political parties, the governing All Progressives
Congress and the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), there have been a series of alignments and re-alignments, as political stakeholders reposition themselves for the contest. Since then, they have been engaging in nocturnal and clandestine meetings for consultations ahead of the party’s primary.
The contest for this year’s election in Ekiti is dominated by agitations for power shift to the Ekiti South senatorial district, which has not occupied the number one seat since 1996 when the state was carved out of old Ondo State by the late General Sani Abacha-led military government. Nevertheless, the aspirants angling for the parties’ tickets cut across the three senatorial districts. Unlike Ogun, Ondo and other states in the Southwest region,
Ekiti is a homogenous state where much emphasis is not placed on where the governor comes from. But, there are agitations nevertheless to zone the ticket to Ekiti South.
So far, the struggle for the plum position is fiercer within the governing All Progressives Congress (APC). No fewer than seven aspirants are jostling for the party’s ticket to succeed Governor Fayemi. Who among the array of aspirants eyeing the ticket for the election scheduled to hold on June 18 would fly the party’s flag?
Fayemi is said to be backing former Secretary to State Government, Biodun Oyebanji for the ticket. Unlike 2018, the battle for the APC ticket would not be a crowded contest; going by the number of those that have obtained nomination and expression of interest forms for the governorship ticket.
Aspirants like Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, Senator Dayo Adeyeye, Femi Bamisile and former Commissioner for Public Utilities, Bamidele Faparusi are believed to have virile political networks, the necessary background and experience for the epic battle for the APC ticket.
The quartet cannot be taken for granted in the race. But, indications are that the governor has the party structure in his pocket and anyone he backs is likely to emerge victorious.
Other aspirants seeking to fly the party’s ticket are Kayode Ojo and Demola Popoola. The last two aspirants are perceived as political lilliputians that cannot clinch the APC ticket because they have no political structure, even in their respective wards.
All the aspirants are currently traversing the length and breadth of the 16 local government areas, soliciting the support of party leaders, individuals and groups. Given the calibre of the aspirants, especially their political background, experience and the belief by many that the APC is the party to beat in the forthcoming governorship election, the struggle for the party’s ticket is fiecer.
Governor Fayemi is already feeling the heat of the impending showdown for the ticket. Although the governor is not contesting, he is keenly interested in who succeeds him. It was reliably gathered that the governor is mobilizing men and huge funds for his preferred choice, Oyebanji to grab the ticket.