By Miftaudeen Raji
The Governor-elect of Ekiti State, Biodun Oyebanji, candidate of the All Progressives Congress APC, was declared winner of the Ekiti State governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday.
Oyebanji polled a total of 187, 057 votes to win the election, and was declared winner by Prof. Oyebode Adebowale, the INEC returning officer, having certified the requirements of the law.
Oyebanji defeated his closest contender and former governor of Ekiti, Segun Oni of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate, who scored 82, 211, to come second.
At the end of collation of total votes, Oyebanji won his opponents in 15 of the 16 local government areas of the state, an unarguably 94 per cent of the state by majority, while Kolawole of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP won in only one local government, which is Efon Alaye LG.
Against the above background Vanguard seeks to bring to consciousness some few notable things to know about the Ekiti governor-elect,as well as some political peculiarities of the State in its history governorship elections.
With his landslide victory at the just concluded governoship election, Oyebanji has set a new record in the political and electoral history of Ekiti state. Since inception of the State, it was the first time an incumbent governor would produce a successor from the same party.
From the get-go, Oyebanji, the candidate of the APC leveraged on the strength of incumbent and support of governor, Kayode Fayemi whose second tenure will be coming to an end in few months.
Oyebanji also enjoyed the support of the APC presidential candidate in the 2023 general election, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Similarly, Oyebanji’s victory marks the first time a political party will record a back-to-back victory in governorship in the state.
The first governor to make the attempt in 2003 and first civilian governor of the state, Niyi Adebayo, of the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD) failed to win his re-election.
Adebayo was knocked down and thrown out of office by the candidate of the People’s DemocraticParty PDP, Ayo Fayose.
A phenomenal Fayose, was consequently impeached over allegations of corruption and was made to exile Ekiti State in circumstances best described as controversial.
Past court litigations:
But, in 2007, Segun Oni, who was then the candidate of the PDP, won governorship election. Oni’s victory was sternly challenged in the courts by Kayode Fayemi, the candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
The court later declared Fayemi winner of the election and was sworn in in 2010 after conducting a re-run election in Ido-Osi local government area.
Seeking his reelection bid in 2014, Fayemi, however, lost his second term election Fayose, the candidate of the PDP.
Incredibly, Fayose won in all the 16 local governments of the state in the election, but not without allegations of voter suppression and intimidation of opposition elements, among other electoral irregularities.
In 2018, Fayemi stated a come-back, after serving as a minister in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari. He defeated the candidate of the PDP, then deputy governor to Fayose, Olusola Eleka. His come-back scuttled the PDP’s attempt of winning a back-to-back Ekiti gubernatorial election.
Who is the Ekiti Governor-elect: Biodun Oyebanji?
The Ekiti governor-elect, Oyebanji is the immediate past Secretary to the State Government (SSG). had previously served in the first tenure of Mr Fayemi, from 2010 to 2014, traversing a couple of ministries as commissioner.
Fayemi appointed him 2018 appointed as SSG, but Oyebanji resigned the position in December 2021 to contest for the governorship ticket of the APC.
He had previously served as a special assistant to the pioneer civilian governor of the state, Niyi Adebayo, on parliamentary affairs before his appointment as a special adviser.He later served as the Chief of Staff to the governor in the concluding part of the administration.
Oyebanji has been described as a core grassroots politician, who lived almost all his life in his homestead.
Political analysts also said he has a deep understanding of the issues of governance and development confronting Ekiti. This was traced to his presence in the state for the best part of his public life serving in the government.
In hear of the quest for the creation of Ekiti State from the old Ondo State, he was on ground, Oyebanji was appointed the secretary of the committee that negotiated and lobbied for the state creation at a relatively young age of 27.
He was born on December 21, 1967 and hails from Ikogosi Ekiti in Ekiti West Local Government Area.
After his secondary school education, Oyebanji proceeded to the then Ondo State University, now Ekiti State University, where he bagged a BSc in Political Science in 1989.
He also bagged an MSc in Political Science from the University of Ibadan in 1992.
The governor-elect worked as a lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the Ekiti State University from 1994 to 1997 before veering into private practice and farming.
Today, Oyebanji is married and blessed with children.