After months of dithering procrastination erstwhile governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi last Saturday entered the Ekiti 2018 governorship battle. Against the background of the sound defeat of four years ago, the question on many lips is ‘what magic wand has he found to charm the people of Ekiti?
What was first seen as a straight fight between the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC is increasingly being clouded by the increasing strength of the Social Democratic Party, SDP in the emerging contest.
The SDP has become a home to the aggrieved elements especially in the PDP who are not comfortable with what they describe as the “one-man show and rule of impunity” in the ruling party in the state.
The exit from the PDP increased after the outgoing governor of the state, Mr. Ayodele Fayose pitched his tent with his deputy, Prof Kolapo Olusola in the forthcoming governorship primaries.
The scenario in the APC even if it has not led to defections is, however, not the least less chaotic. At least 30 aspirants are believed to have indicated interest in the governorship ticket of the party.
The chaos took a higher decibel last week after the immediate past governor of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi indicated interest in picking the ticket of the party.
Prominent aspirants in APC
Among the aspirants, Fayemi is expected to contest the ticket with are the former deputy national chairman of the party and former governor of the state, Engr. Segun Oni, former member of the House of Representatives and onetime Commissioner for information and strategy in Lagos State, Opeyemi Bamidele, Special Adviser to President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu.
Two other members of the House of Representatives, Bimbo Daramola and Bamidele Faparusi, former Senators Ayo Arise, Gbenga Aluko, an Australian based Medical Practitioner, Dr. Wole Oluyede, the former United States based nurse, pharmacist and medical doctor, Dr. Mojisola Yaya-Kolade.
Aside from Fayemi, every other person here had at one time, or the other made public their intention. Before now, the words on everybody’s lips were on when Fayemi will declare his interest. The suspense was against the background of insinuations on the propriety of the former governor who lost the last election to Fayose coming out to seek another term.
Last Saturday, the former governor formally put the suspense to an end with his declaration that he would seek the party’s ticket.
Kayode Fayemi, his chances
Fayose has till date not let it lost on anyone how he routed Fayemi in the June 21, 2104 governorship election, when he defeated him in all 16 Local Government Areas of the state. Even though Fayose’s electoral feat went through the whole gamut of judicial scrutiny, up to the Supreme Court, which finally settled the matter, Fayemi and his supporters and members of his party refused to believe that Fayose victory was not aided by Federal might.
Fayemi’s decision to be an aspirant came after he reactivated his political machinery, set up a foundation to keep his foot soldiers on the field, and provided federal appointments to some of his supporters putting him in the ascendancy.
His grip on the state structure of the party has also made him the person to beat in any internal party primary.
The Jide Awe led State Working Committee of the party was installed by Fayemi while he was governor of the state and they are still very much in charge of the party affairs from the state secretariat of the party to the local government areas and in all 177 wards in the state.
Also, majority of the members of his cabinet during his days as the governor of the state are expected to queue behind him.
It is believed that Fayemi may have won the assurance of the presidency to enter the contest. His strength in Abuja was boosted after he fronted the interests of the presidency in pushing the aspiration of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu in the APC primaries in Ondo State.
However, against the background of the ban placed on him by the Fayose constituted panel and the issues raised against him by the civil servants, Fayemi has a cross to bear as he seeks a gubernatorial encore.