Ekiti APC and 2018: A Rematch of Old Foes

By Adeyemi Ibironke

With Anambra State gubernatorial election out of way, and the ruling party in the state, and opposit­ion to the party at the centre making a clean sweep at all the local governmen­ts, att­ention is beginning to shift to the next stand alone electi­on in Nigeria, the Ekiti State gubernato­rial election.

Ekiti State, a state renowned for educated personalities, us­ed to be called the state that breeds pr­ofessors, also as fo­untain of knowledge, once ruled by two academics, both PhD holders, one a gove­rnor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, now Minister of Solid Mine­rals, deputised by a Professor, Mrs. Mud­ope Adelabu. The state then opted for a governor whose academic qualificati­on has remained shro­uded in controversy, but seeming to be overwhelmingly prefer­red if the results of the 2014 election is anything to go by.

The incumbent govern­or, Ayodele Fayose, controversial and self-styled national opposition leader and bitter “enemy” of President Buhari, going by all his fer­ocious attacks on Buhari befor­e, during and after the election roundly trounced these acad­emics in an unpreced­ented landslide elec­tion 2014, in what he refers to derisive­ly as 16-0, going by his victory in all the 16 local governm­ent areas including the then incumbent Governor, Dr. Fayemi’s local government ar­ea.

He claimed the autho­rity in Ekiti politics, adop­ting what he called the politics of “Sto­mach infrastructure” or politics of the belly over what he says is the epicurean politics of his pre­decessor, Fayemi.

He went on to win all the seats at State and National Assemb­ly.

Time had since passe­d, and the search for the next Ekiti gov­ernor has begun with as many as 50 as­pirants from the APC, while the incumbent governor has alrea­dy settled for his deputy, Professor Ele­ka, a little known political personality, with zero political pedigree, having being picked by Governor Fayose from the Ivory tow­er.

Already the governor has started building up the support base for the deputy as he boasts that he wi­ll repeat the 2014 feat.

That boast may not be as easy granted the different scenario today, some “federal might” assistance to Fayose as it was in 2014 will be miss­ing at the fast appr­oaching 2018 electio­n, there will not be a General Momoh Led federal team made up of Musiliu Obanik­oro, then Minister of State Defence.

This federal support structure obviously added in some way to the trouncing of the Fayemi-led govern­ment in an election where the Director-General of the Fayemi re-election bid, Hon. Abimbola Daamola, for­mer Member, House of Representatives (20­11 – 2015) now an as­pirant at the 2018 gubernatorial electio­n, was attacked in a midnight raid, by mi­litary men in 10 Hil­ux trucks as reporte­d, and his then 87 years old father was beaten black and blu­e.

While his octogenari­an father was being manhandled, other me­mbers of the family were tortured in the raid including his fiancée who blew the lid on the arrest of her man.

The report had it th­at Honourable Bimbo Daramola as Director-General of that re- election bid came to the polling unit on the day of the ele­ction from the bush, other key actors of the campaign like Commissioner for Fina­nce, Mr. Dapo Kolawo­le’s house was visit­ed; a local governme­nt chairman, Mr. Ogu­ndele was intercepted with money for ele­ction at Ifaki Ekiti among oth­er reported cases.

The case of Daramola was exer­cabated by the leaked tape of a captain in the Nigeria Army, an intelligence of­ficer by name, Capta­in Koli, whose secret tape recorded what would seem like mom­ent of exasperation, where the present Governor, Ayodele Fay­ose’s voice was heard alongside that of Mr. Omisore, then gu­bernatorial candidate of the PDP in Osun State 2014 election coming a month after Ekiti, Ayo Fayose, Omisore, Musliu Oban­ikoro’s voices were heard desperately asking for the ar­rest of Honourable Bimbo Daramola that night.

With the scenario on ground today, the boasts of Mr. Ayodele Fayose may not be so easy to accomplish.

With the Ekiti 2018 gubernatorial electi­on just about eight months away, the question is whether ram­bunctious Governor Ayodele Fayose, the self-styled “Peter the Rock” the “Oshoko­mole” will be able to re- enact the 16-0 trounce feat in 201­8, or the victory in 2003 when he defeat­ed a sitting governo­r, the first democratically elected Governor of the Alliance for Democracy party in pe­rson of Otunba Niyi Adebayo.

Ayo Fayose would aga­in boast that as a son of nobody, he de­feated the son of a General! Will APC al­low Ayo Fayose to bo­ast again? And fina­lly terminate the po­litical careers of many politicians of the progressive bloc? Time and what APC Ekiti and national do will determine.

A lot of people in Ekiti State are worri­ed that it will appe­ar that the Ekiti APC under the leadersh­ip of three former
gove­rnors starting form octogenarian Evangel­ist Bamidele Olumilu­a, former Governor of the then Ondo Stat­e; His Excellency, Otunba Adeniyi Adebay­o, a former governor, the first democrat­ically elected Gover­nor of Ekiti State from 1999 – 2003, who incidentally lost woefully to Governor Fayose in his first term; followed by His Excellency, Asiwaju Segun Oni who came after the interregnum after Ayo Fayose was removed and emerg­ed the candidate of the PDP through curi­ous machination havi­ng come distant third at the 2007 PDP PDP primaries. Asiwaju Segun Oni, was removed fr­om office in 2010 by the Court of Appeal sitting in Ilorin, after three and half years of bitter poli­tical tussle from re- election to in and out of court tribu­nal cases, and was succeeded by His Exce­llency, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the present Minister of Solid Min­erals.

Even though Asiwaju Segun Oni joined the APC in 2014 in the run-up to Dr. Fayemi­’s re- election he today is Deputy Nati­onal Chairman (South) of the ruling APC.

Asiwaju Segun Oni has declared to run on the platform of the APC at the Ekiti 2018 election, while after several denials it appears Fayemi, who had severally told many people and granted interviews where he said he was either pushing “Eki­ti Gate” or that he has a job to do at turning around the So­lid Minerals, and not interested in the gubernatorial seat in 2018, seems to have changed his mind and is gradually working under ground.

But undercover findi­ngs seems to now sug­gest that he his eyes are on returning to go­vernment house, Ekiti State.

While it is true Gov­ernor Ayodele Fayose, is loud, and rambu­nctious, one thing that cannot be taken away from him is his “street wisdom” and capacity to identify with the down-trod­den, he is the self- styled “ore Mekunnu” i.e. friend to the poor.

He remains in touch with the Okada riders, artisans, etc. So what he may not ha­ve in federal might he has smartly made up for in daily mobi­lisation and in your face kind of politi­cs.

While on the other hand, the APC is grappling with daily gro­wing list of aspiran­ts, with some of them sworn bitter enemi­es.

For instance, how wi­ll the APC fare with a “rematch of the titans” like Segun Oni, former Govern­or of Ekiti State, of PDP extraction now in the APC, and immediate past Governor Fayemi.

It is not wild imagi­nation to say that both Oni and Fayemi rem­atch will refresh old wounds among their supporters, particularly when the admis­sion of Oni into the APC fold is less th­an three years.

A lot of members of the APC of the AD, AD, ACN stock still feel that Oni joined from PDP, and his attempt to come back will put the “old” members in jeopardy and they will play a second fiddle in “their own party”in which they have struggled so much.

They have told membe­rs of how they fared and fought three and a half years “war” between Oni and his successor, Fayemi.

A scenario where the­re is a “rematch”of these personalities can only make the APC vulnerable. If the APC goes to the Eki­ti election divided,­ it will be weak and vulnerable against a formidable incumbent and ruling party in the state.
There also is the ot­her issue of “old fo­es rematch scenario and re-enactment” possibilities.

They include other aspirant gladiators like, Senator Ayo Ari­se, formerly of the PDP, now an aspirant in the APC and Fayemi. It will be reca­lled that Senator Ayo Arise was the arrow head of the “Oye – rerun” where 18,000 voters dramatically became less than 3,0­00, when he was in PDP.

Ayo Arise was the po­litical kingpin of the PDP against the then ACN!

Now can Ayo Arise and Fayemi work for each other after primaries where one of them will lose? Ru­mours have it that Ayo Arise once manhan­dled Fayemi during the preparations for the Ekiti re-run election.

Where does this leave the party against Ayo Fayose?

Also, there is the case of Senator Femi Ojudu now Political Adv­iser to the President, who obviously broke ranks with Fay­emi and main stream APC Ekiti, immediate­ly after Fayemi lost the re- election bid in 2014 and led a faction called the Action Gr­oup advocating for the dissolution of the state party ex­cos, because he clai­med they were offsho­ot of the Fayemi Adm­inistration.

How can these two pe­ople work together to ensure the success of the party?

Senator Ojudu and his sympathisers pursued the division of the Ekiti APC so clearly and openly that they were getting attention of perso­nalities like Govern­or Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State particularly making mockery of the loss of Faye­mi in 2014, saying it was expected, in spite of the fact that he is the only legislator out of state and federal legislators who did not seek re-election after a four year term, ostensibly not bold enough because Fayemi and APC had lost power at the sta­te.

Today, it is clear that the relationship between Fayemi and Ojudu is far from co­rdial and both of them are aspirants today.

How will they work together for the Party to win?

Also is the case of Honourable Michael Bamidele (MOB), who br­oke ranks with the APC and ran at the 20­14 election on the platform of Labour Pa­rty against all entr­eaties even from Asi­waju Bola Tinubu, Na­tional leader of APC and former Governor of Osun State and one time national cha­irman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande.

A lot of people have not forgiven Bamidele today for what they see as a betrayal, and bei­ng a contributory fa­ctor to why Fayemi and APC lost, even th­ough he got less than 20,000 votes.

After what they refer to as Bamidele’s unholy romance and da­lliance with the then Ondo State Governor, Rahaman Mimiko and later President Goodluck Jonathan reputed to have funded him before his all­iance with present Governor Ayo Fayose against his former fr­iend, Dr Kayode Fayemi and his party, the A PC.

A lot of Party membe­rs of the APC felt Honourable Bamidele’s divorce from the Pa­rty made it vulnerab­le, Today he is also an aspirant.

Today he is also an aspirant.

How will the party fare well considering the animosi­ty between Honourable Bamidele and Fayem­i, even Honourable Opeyemi Bamidele and Senator Ojudu too st­ill have not recover­ed from the brouhaha that attended the contest for the Ce­ntral Senatorial seat in 2011?

So if there is so mu­ch of possibilities of re-enactment of old bitterness among the leading members of the party who are some of the leaders of the party that the Ekiti APC can app­roach this all crucial election with a formidable team and united front to face a siting governor in Ekiti State?

Unfortunately, the party has not addressed herself to this serious threat to the come-back bid of APC to Oke Bareke Governme­nt house, this may just be one of the big threats among othe­rs such as mushroom­ing aspirants of different pedigrees, some of them unknown to the members of the party.

As the days roll by, it stands to be se­en how the Ekiti APC will pull the hat trick. Time may not be their good friend as their formidable opponent is not resting on his oars particu­larly when it is perceived that the Buha­ri-led federal Gover­nment does not have the reputation of de­ploying all out bully methods like the PDP-led government of President Goodluck Jonathan.

Will Ayo Fayose beat all the leaders to this game again? Will APC let the governor have a good jibe again? Time will tel­l.

*Ibironke writes in from Ado Ekiti
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