Ekiti 2014: Can PDP give APC a good fight?
Barely two months to the governorship election in Ekiti State, candidates of the PDP and the APC, former governor Ayodele Fayose and the incumbent governor Kayode Fayemi, are attracting more attention on a daily basis. Our correspondent examines the PDP c
The political atmosphere in Ekiti State is now full of jostling and systematic scheming ahead of the June 21 governorship election. Political parties and their candidates are warming up ahead of the election as it is believed that the election would mark another significant milestone in the political history of the state.
Opposition political parties are strategizing towards wrestling the state’s mantle of leadership from Governor Kayode Fayemi, the current governor, who is ruling on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Tension is rising as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is exploring all means and visiting all the nooks and crannies to ensure its victory at the polls.
The emergence of former governor Ayodele Fayose as PDP’s candidate is shaping the race, looking at his political antecedent and credentials. This is especially so as he has track record of grassroots politics and pedigree in mobilizing the people coupled with the fact that he had been there before and is now in a position to know the inner workings of the office.
The 13 aspirants who contested the PDP primaries and lost to Fayose later teamed up against him that they would not allow him the ticket.
One of the aggrieved aspirants, Dayo Adeyeye however, turned a new leaf and danced to the tune of the party by allowing the PDP’s interest to reign supreme, having noticed that Fayose and the party were ready for genuine dialogue and reconciliation.
Adeyeye had briefed journalists after a long meeting with Fayose and the national leadership of the party, at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, last week, saying: “I have fully reconciled with the candidate of the party, Ayo Fayose and we have fully resolved to work together to win the coming election and by the grace of God we will win the election.”
President Goodluck Jonathan last Thursday also keyed into reconciling the aggrieved aspirants who later resolved to work with Fayose to ensure PDP victory at the polls as they were all assured of the party’s readiness to carry them along in the scheme of things if it wins.
It was learnt that he is likely to be compensated with the position of a minister if Fayose becomes governor. While some of the 12 aspirants may receive financial compensation, others will be given various positions based on the resolutions reached with Fayose and the party, it was further learnt.
With this victory in the party so far, the big question remains: Can Fayose make PDP proud in the election looking at Governor Fayemi’s antecedents? No doubt, the battle is seemingly tough.
Fayose’s move for Jonathan to flag-off his campaign ahead of the elections was truncated last week when he was denied use of Oluyemisi Kayode Stadium, Ado Ekiti. Commissioner of Youth and Sports, Mr Kayode Olaosebikan, later told journalists that the facility had been booked for a league match same day. But many interpreted it as efforts by the ruling APC to thwart the PDP’s campaigns in the state.
Similarly, Fayose’s campaign organization was allegedly attacked. The act was also alleged to have been perpetrated by supporters of the APC, which many say does not want the opposition to stand firm ahead the governorship election in the state.
Just few days later, Fayemi’s convoy was allegedly attacked. The governor had claimed in a statement by his chief press secretary, Yinka Oyebode, that his convoy was attacked at about 6.pm by suspected thugs working for Fayose while returning from a campaign rally in Ekiti East local government area.
But reacting to the allegation, Fayose said: “It was in the convoy of the governor, the governor was said to have been pacifying them and they were shooting. The evidence could tell how the glass were shattered, how vehicles were broken; it was a deliberate action, but I have told all my supporters not to be provoked. We are only looking at June 21; we will ease them out of power.
“When you see a boat that is sinking, anybody in that boat could hang on to anything. I will win without violence, I have made up my mind, I will not respond to any propaganda. I brought Fayemi and I must take him to where I brought him from,” he said.
While Fayemi and Fayose are seriously attracting attention in the race, careful observers say PDP may alter the state governorship race and clinch the governorship ticket. But others entertain fears that Fayemi has the advantage of being the incumbent as he controls all the political structures and institutions in the state, thus he may not be easily dislodged.
The power of incumbency has, however, not daunted the former governor as he continues to express confidence in his ability to dislodge the APC. To buttress this, when Fayose received his certificate of return as the flagbearer of the PDP in the election at the PDP secretariat in Abuja, on March 28, 2014, he said: “I brought Fayemi into limelight. I supported him in the 2009 re-run. Today, the story has changed, but I want to assure Nigerians that I will never come to Abuja to ask for appointment if Fayemi does not go. If I fail to defeat Fayemi, my wife and my family must not be given appointment.”
Fayemi seems to be under political pressure from the opposition with all the major opposition parties throwing stones at him.
Only recently, the governorship candidate of Labour Party (LP), Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, at the national secretariat of his party in Abuja attacked Fayemi’s administration.
He said: “People said they wanted a governor from Ekiti North, but go to Ekiti people and ask them how happy they are. The same governor has refused for the past three and half years to conduct local government elections in the state. Today, the state is indebted. In two years, the governor has borrowed N25 billion spent on misplacement of priorities.”
Observers say the national leadership of the PDP has seen Fayose worthy of the task ahead of him considering its role in resolving the skirmishes between him and the 13 aspirants for the former governor to pick the party’s ticket. Senator Gbenga Aluko, the initial consensus candidate of the