Thursday, March 1, 2018 3:08 pm
A voter in an election
Kamal-Tayo Oropo, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
In lead-up events preceding any elections, political analysts note that there are usually noticeable interests among players, involving political intrigues and subterfuge.
According to them, the governorship election scheduled for July 14 in Ekiti will not be an exception of such expectations, even as they admit that the state can pass as one of the most politically volatile.
Presence of other political parties in the state notwithstanding, observers believe that the contest is expected to be a straight-fight between the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a strategy, APC is, somewhat, exploiting disagreement on succession plan of PDP by which Gov. Ayodele Fayose preferred his deputy, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, the decision that has been criticized by PDP members.
Some PDP stakeholders in the state have described the decision as unilateral and dictatorial; shielding other aspirants’ interests.
In view of this, some aspirants in the PDP have warned that the party stands to lose the coming governorship election if the governor is allowed to impose a candidate.
The aspirants in PDP include Sen. Biodun Olujimi, Ekiti South Senatorial District, former Minister of Works Adedayo Adeyeye, former Nigerian Ambassador to Canada, Dare Bejide and the immediate past state Commissioner for Justice Owoseeni Ajayi.
Expressing his view on Fayose’s decision, Adeyeye said the aspirants rejected the adoption of Olusola as the sole candidate of the for the governorship election.
He suggested that Fayose and Mr Gboyega Oguntuase, State Chairman of PDP ought not to be involved in the conduct of the primary, alleging that they had compromised the principles guiding such political exercise.
“The relevant provisions of the electoral act and the PDP constitution should be followed strictly and arbitrary and illegal use of state apparatus like radio and television stations to subvert the truth must stop,’’ he said.
Leading the APC list of aspirants being considered for the contest is the Deputy National Chairman (South) of the party, Mr Olusegun Oni, whose tenure as the state governor was annulled by a court ruling.
Also in the list are Dr Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, who in turn lost to Gov. Fayose in 2014 and Sen. Babafemi Ojudu, President Muhammadu Buhari’s, Special Adviser on Political Matters.
They include former Sen.Gbenga Aluko, former Ekiti House of Assembly Speaker Olufemi Bamisile, former Labour Party candidate Opeyemi Bamidele and former Chairman of the Ekiti State Hospitals Management Board, Bamidele Faparusi, among others.
Although the spokesperson of the party Mr Taiwo Olatunbosun, expressed concern about the growing number of aspirants, he said the party had planned to address the issue.
Optimistic of APC’s victory in the contest, Ojudu said the party had engaged all political stakeholders in the state on scheme of things.
“We would accelerate efforts in achieving our goals; the task before us is the rebirth of our state and no amount of distractions would stop our march to putting back Ekiti where it truly belongs in the annals of history,’’ he said.
Ojudu said he would declare his ambition on March 9 in his town –Ado-Ekiti — to unfold his plans for moving the state forward.
Concerned citizens in the state, however, rate Ojudu’s credentials high, describing him as one of the acceptable options for the state house in 2019.
They note that in spite of his closeness to the presidency, he may not enjoy the presidency’s support after all but he has the benefit of increasing popularity in the state.
However, Ojudu also has to contend with suspicious plan of defection to another party to actualise his political goals, should he failed to clinch the party’s ticket.
Recently, he had to embark on a spirited disclaimer of his purported plans of defection to another political party.
“Such a plan only exist only in the imaginations of idle politicians and rumour merchants; the purpose of the insinuation is to distract us from serious task of engaging stakeholders strategically in the bid to rescuing Ekiti.
“We are not going to submit to such misleading antics. Rather, we would accelerate efforts in achieving our goals,’’ he said.
The human rights activist and media mogul has, therefore, taken steps to reaffirm his belief in the selection process of the party.
However, number of aspirants in APC notwithstanding, only one of them can fly the party’s flag at the end of the APC primary scheduled for April.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announces that activities leading to the election will begin on April 4 with the issuance of the election notice.
According to it, forms for the election will be available for interested political parties on April 16.
Political parties are expected to conduct primaries and resolve all arising disputes between April 15 and May 14 while campaigns can begin on April 15.
Working with this arrangement therefore, analysts, predict that a wrong candidate or inconsistent political plans may spell doom for any of the two contending parties.
Irrespective of the prediction and time frame, Oni and Dr Olusegun Osinkolu, a chieftain of APC, insist that the party has enough strategy to win the governorship election.
Oni said in Ayede Ekiti, Oye Local Government Area of the state in a political gathering that APC ought to be in control of power in Ekiti to complement the anti-corruption and rebranding policies of the present administration.
He insisted that part of what influenced the last 2014 governorship election in the state was protest vote.
“If the party fails to put forward the right candidate for the 2019 race, it means the fault is ours, as political party members.
“What the APC is hoping for is to present the right candidate; if we have the right credentials we would win easily,’’ he said.
In the same vein, Osinkolu boasted that the outcome of the 2014 elections in which Fayemi lost in all the 16 local government areas was an eye-opener to the party to evolve new strategies.
Similarly, former Minister of Works Dayo Adeyeye of the PDP insisted that the party’s strength was supreme in the state.
He, nonetheless, decry the alleged imposition of a candidate by Fayose, insisting that the governor’s plan to muzzle all the aspirants with the exception of his preferred candidate, Olusola, would be frustrated.
“I will defeat Fayose’s candidate in a free and fair primary. I will use myself to lay a foundation that you can emerge the flag bearer of a party even without governor’s support, because nobody can play God,’’ he said.
In whatever calculations of the parties, analysts note that going by the experience of previous elections in Edo, Ondo State and Anambra, none of the aspirants should expect active support from Abuja in pursuant of the party’s ticket.
According to them, politicking under the current dispensation has shown that Buhari’s style of political engagement is significantly different from the past administrations.(NANFeatures)