A former Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, and an ex- member of House of Representatives, Opeyemi Bamidele, have ended their long standing conflict and agreed to work together to end the reign of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in the state in the July 14 governorship election.
Mr. Bamidele, a governorship aspirant, parted ways with Mr. Fayemi, now the Minister of Mines and Power, before the 2014 polls over his ambition to become governor.
He moved over to the Labour Party to contest the governorship election, while Mr. Fayemi was the incumbent. Both men lost the election to Ayo Fayose.
Mr. Fayemi is yet to announce his intention to run in the coming election, but his close aides have maintained that he was still making consultations and would announce his decision when it is ripe.
While it was rumoured that the new alliance between the two Ekiti politicians was to pave the way for Mr. Fayemi to become the preferred candidate of the APC, Mr. Bamidele revealed that it was only aimed at removing the PDP government from the Ekiti government house.
He said he decided to settle his rift with Mr. Fayemi because they needed to work together to enthrone the APC at the polls.
He described the agitations by aspirants from Ekiti south senatorial district that power must shift to the zone as a legitimate one, clarifying that such would not preclude contestants from other districts from exercising their rights in line with the constitution.
While formally declaring his intention to seek the APC’s ticket for the governorship in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday, Mr. Bamidele said his pact with Mr. Fayemi was not for personal gains, but in the interest of the party.
“Yes, the minister visited my office in Abuja and the Special Adviser on Political Matters to the President, Mr. Babafemi Ojudu, also wrote a goodwill message to me as I declare my intention today. To me, this is a sign of good development,” he said.
“All these shouldn’t give room for speculation that someone was trying to persuade the other to shelve ambition for the other. All the party leaders must work together, so our working together and their visits to my office were not for selfish interest or about our ambitions
“What these signalled was that, it is no longer the old story. It showed that the APC is no longer in war. It shows that the party is becoming more united and stronger. It showed that we are giving each other mutual respect.
“I have made it clear at every political gathering I attended that I have settled rift with Fayemi. The two of us are front line party men and we have to work together to rescue our party. We are doing same with Engr. Segun Oni, all in the interest of our party.”
Mr. Bamidele however said he left the ACN for LP in 2013 before the APC was formed and asserted his loyalty to the APC.
“I was one of the legal team that returned the Certificate of Registration of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria to INEC for APC to be consummated,” he said.
“I stood with the ACN till the last time when the certificate was returned. The progressives then were not unaware of the need for us to merge with other parties to be able to win at the centre and that led to the death of ACN.
“But because of the misunderstanding among the leaders of our party, I then quit even before the registration of the new party.”
The Deputy Chairman of the party, Kemi Olaleye, while receiving the aspirant, said the party held Mr. Bamidele in high regard, saying his declaration would be an impetus to the party to reclaim the state back from the PDP.
Mrs. Olaleye assured that the party would conduct free and credible primaries in order to ensure a united party for the election.