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One ex-governor and two former deputies — the strong contenders in Ekiti PDP primary poll

One ex-governor and two former deputies — the strong contenders in Ekiti PDP primary poll
January 25
09:42 2022

In less than 24 hours from now, members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti will cast their vote to elect a candidate to represent the party in the June 18 governorship election in the state.

At the last count, 17 contenders have expressed interest in being the PDP’s candidate in the election which is just about five months away.

Despite being the state’s opposition party, political pundits believe the PDP has a good chance of winning the governorship election because of the high calibre of candidates competing to fly the flag of the party.

The PDP’s newly inaugurated national working committee (NWC) led by Iyorchia Ayu is working hard to reclaim the state. The opposition party has vowed to capture at least 25 states by 2023, including Osun in July.

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“We are determined to reclaim at least 25 states in the country. We will stop the drift of people who migrated from PDP to other parties, we shall move on a serious drive for more people in the party,” Ayu had said.

Here is a rundown of the main contenders.

SEGUN ONI

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Oni

Oni was the governor of Ekiti from May 2007 to October 2010. Going by his antecedents, he is one of the strongest candidates who could emerge winner of the PDP primary poll. An engineer by training, he became a corporate member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers in 1987.

He became a member of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria  (COREN) in 1988. Oni, who was elected governor on the PDP platform, was hit by a court ruling and did not complete his term.

He was removed by a court judgment that ruled in favour of his main challenger Kayode Fayemi, the then-candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), in the 2007 governorship election.

In 2014, the former governor defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to support the second term bid of Fayemi, the incumbent governor of Ekiti who lost to Ayo Fayose, candidate of the PDP.

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Oni would later earn himself the position of deputy national chairman (south) of the party. He ran for governor again in 2018 but came second in the APC governorship primary, which was won by Fayemi.

He rejoined the PDP in 2020.

As a former governor, he would benefit from his extensive network of political allies within the party. Political analysts say if the 67-year-old secures the party ticket, his long-standing structure will offer him an advantage in the governorship election.

If he is successful in securing the PDP ticket, he will be a formidable opponent to contend with in the June gubernatorial poll.

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BIODUN OLUJIMI

Olujimi

Smart, ambitious and relentless — Biodun Olujimi, senator representing Ekiti south, is one of the aspirants who make the PDP primary election a keen contest.

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She is without a doubt an experienced female politician, having risen through the ranks of politics to become a senator.

Olujimi entered politics in 1997 and served as the national publicity secretary of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) at a time.

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In 2002, Olujimi joined the PDP, which marked the start of her impressive political career. She was subsequently appointed special assistant to Ayodele Fayose, the then-governor of the state.

She is a former member of the house of representatives and had also served as the commissioner for works and infrastructure. In 2005, she became the deputy governor to Fayose, replacing Bisi Omoyeni.

The 63-year-old politician contested and won the Ekiti south senatorial seat on the platform of the PDP in 2015.

Olujimi emerged as the deputy minority leader of the senate in the eighth assembly after Godswill Akpabio defected to the APC.

The Omuo-Ekiti politician remains a formidable challenger because of her popularity and extensive experience.

Last year, while declaring her intention to contest the governorship election in the state, the journalist-turned-politician said she wants to break the ”age-long jinx” to emerge the first female governor in the country.

“This time around I am poised to break the age-long jinx to be the first female elected governor in Nigeria. I believe that a woman has never been able to shatter the glass ceiling and the time has come for us to do it. This won’t be my first time to try and become governor,” she said.

BISI KOLAWOLE

Kolawole

Kolawole, former chairman of the PDP in Ekiti, resigned his position to contest the governorship election.

He is the preferred aspirant of Fayose, former governor of the state.

Kolawole is a grassroots politician who had served as councillor. He is a former lawmaker representing Efon constituency in the state house of assembly. He also served as commissioner for the environment between 2015 and 2018.

While endorsing Kolawole for the governorship election, Fayose described him as a bridge-builder who will usher in a better future for Ekiti and the PDP.

“The man you have come to honour, Bisi Kolawole, is our collective project. I made him my preferred candidate in the overall interest of our party, but this does not foreclose due process of nomination in PDP,” Fayose said.

“PDP is what we are supporting; it is what we are marketing. And all we want is a winner. We have started consultations and I know that victory is sure for us.”

KOLAPO OLUSOLA

Olusola

Olusola served as the deputy governor of Ekiti from 2014 to 2018 under Fayose.

Born in Ikere-Ekiti, he ran unsuccessfully in the 2018 governorship election in the state on the platform of the PDP. He was defeated by Fayemi by a razor-thin margin.

Olusola was unknown in the state’s political circle before becoming deputy governor.

He is a professor of building technology with a long list of laurels to his name.

Olusola is a strong candidate in the race, notwithstanding his seeming lack of grassroots politics experience.

He is 64 years old.

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