As the D-Day arrives for the much anticipated Ekiti State governorship election, KAMARUDEEN OGUNDELE analyses the strengths of the parties in each of the 16 local governments of the state
All is set for today’s governorship poll in Ekiti State as political campaigns had come to an end on Thursday.
The Independent National Electoral Commission began the sharing of sensitive materials to all the secretariats of the 16 local government areas on Thursday under tight security.
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Our correspondent reviews how political gladiators in the state have been deploying energy and resources to boost the chances of their parties in the election. Arguably, the two leading political parties in the contest are the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in the state and the Federal Government-led All Progressives Congress.
The tenure of Governor Ayodele Fayose comes to an end on October 15, 2018 having taken the oath of office on October 16, 2014. Fayose in the June 21, 2014 governorship election had defeated the then sitting governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who ran on the platform of the APC.
Fayose is in his second term having first taken oath of office in 2003 when he governed till 2006 before his impeachment. He is hoping to hand over to his deputy, Prof. Kolapo Olusola. Olusola emerged as the PDP candidate at a primary election conducted on May 8, 2018 and he is contesting against Fayemi, who defeated 32 other aspirants to emerge as the APC candidate at a keenly contested primary held on May 12, 2018.
The former Minister of Mines and Steel Development is seeking a return to the office he lost in the 2014 poll.
Will Fayose succeed in installing a successor, a feat no outgoing governor had achieved since Ekiti became a state in 1996 and produced a civilian governor in 1999?
Will Fayemi, on the other hand, stop Fayose from achieving the record by staging his own comeback to power?
It must be stated that the APC and PDP have more reach, presence, structures, resources, manpower and members in all the 16 local government areas of the state than other political parties. But would this count in the election?
Ekiti State is divided into three senatorial districts: Ekiti North, Ekiti Central and Ekiti South with16 local government areas.
Ekiti North and Ekiti Central have five local government areas each while Ekiti South has six local government areas.
The local government areas in Ekiti North are Moba (11 wards); Ido/Osi, (11 wards); Ilejemeje (10 wards); Oye (12 wards); and Ikole (12 wards).
In Ekiti Central, there are Ado (13 wards;, Irepodun/Ifelodun (11 wards); Ekiti West (11 wards); Ijero (12 wards); and Efon (10 wards).
Ekiti South is made up of Ekiti South West (11 wards); Ikere (11 wards); Ise/Orun (10 wards); Emure (10 wards); Gbonyin (10 wards); and Ekiti East (12 wards).
Votes are up for grabs in 177 wards and 2,195 polling units. Total number of registered voters in the state is 913,334. But, according to INEC, only 630,000 have collected their Permanent Voter Cards.
Factors that will determine the winner in this election will include the candidate’s personality and acceptability, party strength, support of critical segments of the population, policies of the government in power, manifestos of the parties seeking to upstage it and of course, the party’s financial war chest.
The two parties have some party chieftains they are relying upon in their respective domains to swing victory in their favour today.
However, it must be noted that the projections below are subject to changes in the dynamics of politics as the game is highly unpredictable.
In Ado Local Government Area, it will be a battle between the two running mates of both parties: the 74-year old former Local Government Chairman, Adebisi Egbeyemi, of the APC and the 39-year-old Kazeem Ogunsakin of the PDP, who is the immediate past chairman of the council.
Some prominent persons in the local government that are with the PDP include Mr. Clement Bamisile; House of Assembly member representing Ado 1, Mr. Musa Arogundade; Assembly member representing Ado 2, Mr. Tope Fasanmi; State Universal Basic Education Board Chairman, Senator Bode Ola; and two former council chairmen, Mrs. Tosin Ajisafe-Aluko and Mr. Taye Fasuba.
For the APC, there are a former deputy governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu; former National Assembly member, Senator Babafemi Ojudu; former commissioner, Alhaji Ayodele Jinadu; oil magnate, Chief Remi Oguntuase; former presidential aide, Mr. Bodunde Adeyanju, and a former President of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, Chief Oluyemi Esan, among others.
Considering that the PDP won by a landslide in Ado Ekiti in 2014, it may have an advantage there.
The APC ‘warriors’ in Ikere include five governorship aspirants: Dr. Wole Oluyede, Chief Sesan Fatoba, Mr. Kola Alabi, Mr. Funminiyi Afuye and Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua.
Others include a former old Ondo State Governor, Bamidele Olumilua, and a House of Assembly member, Mr. Sunday Akinniyi.
Leading the PDP forces in Ikere include the deputy governor and the PDP governorship candidate, Olusola; House of Assembly member representing Ikere 1, Mr. Wale Ayeni; Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Olayinka Ogundayomi; current Ikere Local Government Chairman, Mr. Aderemi Ayeni; and a former chairman of the local government, Mr. Ola Alonge.
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Ikere is the hometown of the PDP governorship candidate and he is expected to win there.
However, the town has three other governorship candidates including two former governors – Chief Adebisi Omoyeni of Mega Party of Nigeria and Chief Abiodun Aluko of Accord Party. Both of them left the PDP over the crisis that trailed the alleged imposition of Olusola by Fayose before the primary was conducted. A young candidate, Mr. Tosin Ajibare, of Independent Democrats is also vying for governorship.
But with the developmental projects brought to Ikere by Fayose’s administration, the odds favour the PDP.
The PDP has won consistently in this area since 1999 but the winning streak appears to be under threat for the first time in 19 years. This is because many of those who made it happen for the PDP in the past have left the party. They include a former governor of the state, Segun Oni; a former Minister of Education, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, who has moved to the Social Democratic Party.
However, it must be stated that Oni had joined the APC before the 2014 election that the PDP won. Many also argued that Adeniran’s influence did not achieve much in the election.
The PDP gladiators in the area include Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Modupe Alade; House of Representatives member for Ido/Osi/Moba/Ilejemeje Federal Constituency, Mr. Thaddeus Aina; House of Assembly member for Ido/Osi 1; Mr. Jacob Olayode; House of Assembly member for Ido/Osi 2, Mr. Abiola Jeje, and Commissioner for Works, Mrs. Funmilayo Ogun.
This local government area used to be considered as a stronghold of the ‘progressives’, but it went to the PDP in the 2014 election. It is believed that the contest will be stiff this time round. The PDP will be relying on the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Kola Oluwawole; House of Assembly member for Moba 2, Mr. Badejo Anifowose and Commissioner for Information, Mr. Lanre Ogunsuyi, to deliver the local government area to the party.
Leading the APC onslaught are: a former Assembly member Mr. Olajide Olaniyi; a former Moba Local Government Area Chairman, Mr. David Olusoga; a former Senior Special Assistant to Fayemi on Legal Matters, Mr. Ibrahim Olanrewaju; and a veteran politician, Chief Michael Atejioye.
Considering that nothing much has changed in the local government, the PDP is at an advantage.
The PDP chieftains in this area include the senator representing Ekiti North, Duro Fasey;, House of Assembly member for Ilejemeje, Mrs. Cecilia Dada; and the local government chairman, Mr. Ebenezer Oladipupo.
On the APC side are Afenifere chieftain and Second Republic Senator, Chief Ayo Fasanmi; a former lawmaker, Mr. Segun Erinle; a former local government chairman, Prince Adegoroye Bamigboye; and a former commissioner, Mr. Folorunso Olabode.
The PDP may still retain the local government area.
Leading the PDP in the local goverment are Senate Deputy Minority Whip, Mrs. Biodun Olujimi; House of Assembly member for Ekiti East 1, Mr. Ojo Ade Fajana; House of Assembly member for Ekiti East 2, Mr. Dare Pelemo; a former House of Assembly member, Mr. Dele Ajibola; and Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Mr. Taelolu Otitoju.
The APC chieftains working to deliver the area to their party include a former Speaker, Mr. Femi Bamisile; a former commissioner, Mr. Apalara Wole-Adewumi; a former lawmaker/council chairman, Mr. Rotimi Ajidara; and former Assembly members, Mr. Akinloye Akinyemi and Mr. Gbenga Falaye.
The battle is seen more as a battle between Olujimi and Bamisile.
Leading the fight for the PDP is Fayose’s Special Assistant on New Media and Public Communications, Lere Olayinka; House of Assembly Deputy Speaker, Sina Animasaun; former Deputy Speaker, Olusegun Adewumi; Commissioner for Agriculture, Kehinde Odebunmi; current chairman of the local government area, Mr. Francis Ayodele; and his predecessor, Mr. Kolawole Omotunde.
The APC bigwigs expected to be on the field for the party include the state chairman of the party, Chief Olajide Awe; former lawmakers, Mr. Gbenga Odebunmi and Mr. Kayode Fasakin; a former chairman of the local government, Mr. Tajudeen Akingbolu; and a former Attorney General, Mr. Wale Fapohunda.
EKITI SOUTH WEST
Here, the APC received many PDP members into its fold which may be the deciding factor. Fayemi’s foot soldiers in this council area include a former Chief of Staff, Yemi Adaramodu; a former lawmaker, Tope Agidi; and former chairmen of the local government, Mr. Genge Kola and Dr. Azeez Olaniyan.
On the side of the PDP are the chairman of the local government, Mr. Lanre Omolase; House of Assembly member for Ekiti South West 1; Mr. Wale Onigiobi; House of Assembly member for Ekiti West 2, Mr. Michael Adedeji; Commissioner for Education, Mr. Jide Egunjobi, and Alhaji Gani Bankole.
APC has an advantage.
A former Deputy Governor, Chief Paul Alabi, and House of Representatives member, Mr. Kehinde Agboola, are expected to lead Fayose’s foot soldiers.
Among the APC stalwarts expected to make a difference are the suspended House of Assembly Minority Leader, Chief Gboyega Aribisogan; a former lawmaker, Chief Adebayo Morakinyo, and a former Civil Service Commission Chairman, Alhaji Afolabi Ogunlayi.
Verdict: Slim chance for the APC
This local government area is the home base of Governor Fayose and former Governor Adeniyi Adebayo and they will want to win it for their party. Fayose defeated Adebayo in the 2003 governorship election and won again in 2014.
Verdict: PDP has a great chance but it will be an election battleground.
This is a PDP zone but the defection of many of its members to other parties may have weakened its chances here. Former House of Assembly Majority Leader, Mr. Lai Oke, and the party’s Women Leader, Mrs. Yemisi Afolabi, are leading the fight for the party here. But the APC also has chieftains that include a former House of Assembly Chief Whip, Mrs. Omowumi Ogunlola, and a former governorship aspirant, Mr. Kayode Ojo, there to fight it out.
It will be a herculean task for the APC to change the narrative.
Fayose’s henchmen are led by the Director-General of Kolapo Olusola Campaign Organisation, Chief Bisi Kolawole; a member of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Afolabi Akanni, and a former chairman of the local government, Chief Idowu Akinyele.
The APC’s chieftains here include a former Executive Secretary of Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency/Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Dr. Oluwole Oluleye; a former Deputy Speaker, state House of Assembly, Mr. Oladapo Karonwi; and a former lawmaker, Mr. Folorunso Ogundele.
The odds favour the PDP.
Among the leaders of the PDP is the current Attorney General, Mr. Kolapo Kolade. But the APC has former commissioners: Chief Dele Okeya and Mr. Debo Ajayi, among its leading forces. Considering the link between Emure and Ise – the town of former Minister of State for Works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, who left the PDP for the APC, the opposition party (APC) in the state is at an advantage.
This has been a PDP stronghold since 1999 but the trend could change in the forthcoming poll. Adeyeye; a former Secretary to the State Government, Chief Afolabi Ojuawo, a former Attorney General, Mr. Owoseni Ajayi, and a lawmaker, Mr. Adeniran Alagbada, led key PDP members and leaders to join the APC. The APC has a great chance.
The PDP troops are led by a former Acting Governor/Speaker, Mr. Olatunji Odeyemi; House of Representatives member representing Gbonyin/Emure/Ekiti East, Mr. Akin Awodumila; current SUBEB Commissioner, Mrs. Sade Akinrinmola; current chairman of the local government, Mr. Tope Ogidi, and a lawmaker, Mr. Ayodele Fajemilehin.
The APC firepower is led by a former Senate Minority Whip, Senator Gbenga Aluko; a former House of Representatives member and a Deputy Director-General of Fayemi Campaign, Mr. Bamidele Faparusi. Faparusi is also a former governorship aspirant.
Anything could happen in this local government area.
This is Fayemi’s home base and he will be complemented by party stalwarts like Senator Ayo Arise; a former House of Representatives member, Mr. Bimbo Daramola; a former lawmaker, Mr. Sunday Adunmo; and a former Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Gani Owolabi.
The PDP gladiators are led by the House of Assembly member representing Oye 1, Dr. Samuel Omotoso; his counterpart in Oye 2, Mr. Tunji Akinyele; and Oye Local Government Chairman, Mr. Sunday Alonge.
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