Ekiti 2014: PDP men after Fayemi’s job

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Will Fayemi break  four-year jinx?

BY GBENGA ARIYIBI

When it comes to high rate of churning out governors, no state can be compared to Ekiti  in Nigeria. Within the last eight years, Ekiti has produced  seven governors after the exit of the Second Civilian Governor of the State,Mr Ayo Fayose in October 2006.

fayAmong the seven people, who have ruled the state since 1999,  Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo,the first civilian governor of the state is the luckiest. So far, he is the only one who has completed a tenure in the Government House even though he failed to secure a second term.

No other governor of the state since then had recorded such a feat, to make the matter worse, the people of Ekiti State had  witnessed tenure of a governor as short as two days, 79 days, three months and three and- half years.

All things being equal, Governor Kayode Fayemi, the current governor of the state is  expected to also complete  his four-year first term but whether or not he will be handed a second term mandate is  contentious given unfolding events in the state christened the Fountain of Knowledge.

With the fixing of the governorship election for June by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the leading political parties and aspirants are currently engaged in a flurry of activities to claim the Ekit Government House.

Though, there in no doubt that the state is currently in the process of re-engineering, rehabilitation, and reconstruction, as opportunity has provided itself in this year June for people to take their destiny in their hands by voting a person of their choice as the next civilian governor of the state, they would have ample opportunity of either re-electing the current governor, Dr. Fayemi or voting for a new governor among the scores of gubernatorial aspirants parading themselves on the platforms of various political parties in the state.

The leading political parties angling the top seat in the state include the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP) and Accord Party(AP). Among the parties, the PDP has the highest number of gubernatorial aspirants.

As at last count, the party has 32 aspirants. In the list are Mr Ayo Fayose, Navy Captain Caleb Omoniyi Olubolade, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, Chief Abiodun Aluko, Mr Dele Omoyeni, Senator Gbenga Aluko, Hon Tunji Odeyemi,  Dr Peter Obafemi, Dr Bode Olowoporoku, Ambassador Dare Bejide, Mr Bodunde Adeyanju, Chief Ropo Ogunbolude, Chief Reuben Famuyibo, Mr Ranti Akerele and Mr Bimbo Adeyanju among others.

It will be recalled that PDP was formally in control of the political affairs of the state before the Fayemi- led administration came on board through the law courts. Dr. Fayemi, who has declared his intention to seek re-election on the banner of the APC came on board through judicial pronouncement on October 16, 2010 having engaged  Engr Oni of the PDP in a fierce and delicate legal battle that lasted three and a half years.

With the court nullifying Engr Segun Oni’s election and awarding same to Fayemi, the PDP became  the biggest opposition party in the state with huge party faithful and followers in all the 177 wards of the state.

To return to the Government House, the PDP  has to get its acts together. from the look of things, it appears all is not well with the leadership of Ekiti PDP as the problems in the party seem enormous.  Keen political observers have wondered why the party that hardly solves its internal affairs without violence.

The ruling APC also has a fair of crisis. Since members of the present State Working Committee (SWC) under the chairmanship of Ijesa Isu Ekiti born Mr Makanjuola Ogundipe, the state executive council has been enmeshed in internal wrangling, which began in 2011 when the Ogundipe-led exco came on board.

Though, one of the problems the leadership of the party met on ground is the difficult question of which of the three senatorial districts  should produce the next governor of the state, an issue must have informed agitation for a rotation of governorship slot to the South Senatorial District

Protagonists of zoning

Protagonists of zoning are of the view that since the North and Central have produced  governors at different times in the past,  it is only natural that the governorship slot be zoned to the South District.

This group further argued that any attempt to zone the governorship slot to the South Senatorial District would produce a weak candidate, since the PDP is currently an opposition party in the state.

Thus, in the PDP, members went to the last governorship primary with sharp group loyalties.

During the primary, the loyalty of individual members were tilted towards its three leading leaders- ,Mr Fayose, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade and Engr Segun Oni. The alliance between Fayose and Olubolade had produced Ogundipe against Hon. Akin Omole which was the candidate of Irewolede Group led by Oni.

Consensus candidate

Interestingly Ogundipe later fought Fayose when it was alleged that he, Ogundipe,the state chairman of the party was routing for Olubolade to become a consensus candidate of the party.

The last straw that brought the camel’s back was the appointment of an 11-member template committee to select the consensus candidate of the party headed by a retired High Court judge, Justice Edward Ojuolape in July last year, an exercise  the State Working Committee had no input.

The issue was said to have set the whole stage on fire . Despite the opposition mounted by some of the aspirants to the setting up of the body, and when it was apparent that Ogundipe was determined to get his way at all cost, on the fateful day members of the committee were to be inaugurated, supporters of those opposed to the committee mobilized to the party secretariat to disrupt the programme.

In the skirmish that ensued, a former speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Kola Adefemi was hit on the head, injured and was later admitted for treatment in an hospital while others sustained various degrees of injuries

This singular incident has led to the polarization of the party exco, a development that led to the state secretary of the party, Dr Tope Aluko, a sympathizer of Fayose, leading  his own faction of the party exco to jettison the party’s activities at the party’s secretariat since July despite the intervention of the Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson- led reconciliation committee.

Throughout this period virtually all the party’s activities were grounded, business at the party’s secretariat was at the lowest ebb.

However, respite came the way of the party recently following the  meeting of President Goodluck Jonathan with some notable gubernatorial aspirants and other critical stake holders.

Though, at the meeting it was reported that the president said he did not have any anointed candidate he was said to have echoed it to the hearing of those in attendance that he would still support a consensus candidate.

Considering the limited time left before the gubernatorial election and the time for primary, whether or not the PDP will resolve the wrangling and come up with a consensus candidate is a question of time. their action

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