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Sacked governor, Fayose’s anointee, ex-SSG — top contenders for Etiki governorship election

Sacked governor, Fayose’s anointee, ex-SSG — top contenders for Etiki governorship election
June 17
14:50 2022

In less than 48 hours, the Nigerian electoral machinery will spring to life in Ekiti as the race to become the state’s fourth democratically elected governor begins.

Since Ekiti was fractioned from Ondo in 1996, the state has had nine governors or administrators, but only three were duly elected by the people of the state that prides itself as the “land of honour and integrity”. The rest, except one, were sole administrators or acting governors shoehorned into the role by the federal government.

The illustrious rank is about to swell as the state careens into the June 18 gubernatorial election with a fascinating set of contenders across the top political parties.

The major candidates for the job include a sacked governor, an ex-lawmaker anointed by a former governor and the immediate past secretary to the state government (SSG).

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Here are some of the top contenders for the gubernatorial election:

BIODUN OYEBANJI

Biodun Oyebanji is the immediate past SSG of the state and the flagbearer for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). The 54-year-old is believed to have the backing of Kayode Fayemi, governor of the state.

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The support led to a squabble during the APC primary in the state, with seven aspirants withdrawing from the poll over the allegation that the election committee is made up of loyalists of Fayemi.

The hopefuls — Kayode Mojo, Demola Popoola, Femi Bamisile, Bamidele Faparusi, Dayo Adeyeye, Opeyemi Bamidele and Afolabi Oluwasola — claimed that the governor attempted to foist Oyebanji on the party.

Despite their protest, the primary was held, and Oyebanji polled 101,703 votes, with no other challenger crossing the one thousand mark.

Reacting to the claims of favouritism, the flagbearer said all the aspirants are “close” to Fayemi and that he does not have “an exclusive preserve of relationship” with the governor.

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Having been in public service for several years and with the ruling party’s machinery behind him, Oyebanji stands as one of the strongest contenders for the position.

But Ekiti has a peculiarity to its politics, and no ruling party has been able to retain control of the state for a long spell — not even incumbents gunning for a second term could achieve such.

Can Oyebanji arrest the waving loyalty of the people of the state to political parties and lead APC to win two consecutive governorship elections in Ekiti?

BISI KOLAWOLE

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Bisi Kolawole, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, enjoys the support of a former governor. Ayodele Fayose backed the former PDP chairman in the state in the primary as he defeated Segun Oni to emerge victorious.

TheCable had reported how some delegates displayed their ballot papers to Fayose while in a queue to cast their votes during the primary.

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The poll was marred by allegations of irregularities as Biodun Olujimi, an aspirant in the race, pulled out from the contest, saying the party disenfranchised her.

Speaking on the accusation of imposition, Kolawole had said he doesn’t see anything wrong in having the support of a godfather.

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Kolawole however maintained that he is no stooge of Fayose, adding that he is taking advantage of the experience and network of the former governor.

With the backing of Fayose, who helped the PDP win the 2019 presidential poll in Ekiti, Kolawole is among the foremost contenders for the governorship seat. However, he has to battle with the splintered power of the party in the state.

Can the sheer popularity of Fayose be enough to get him the Ado-Ekiti seat?

SEGUN ONI

Segun Oni belongs to the short and unfortunate list of Nigerian governors sacked by courts. He was thrown out of office in 2010 after the appeal court ruled that the 2007 election that brought him into power had been rigged. He was replaced by Fayemi, who was then with the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

He has remained a political heavyweight in the state ever since, often switching allegiance between parties. 

His latest party is the Social Democratic Party (SDP), where he is the governorship candidate. 

Oni joined the party after losing to Kolawole in the PDP primary. 

He said he left the party because he doesn’t associate with “cheating”.

Despite his serial defections, Oni still has a significantly strong base that can upset the chances of the two leading parties. However, the popularity and acceptability of SDP in the state will make or mar his chances. 

Can Oni lead an underdog third force to win the Ekiti governorship election? 

WOLE OLUYEDE

Wole Oluyede is the African Democratic Congress (ADC) candidate in the June 18 poll. 

The medical practitioner was formerly a member of the APC. He was among the party members suspended indefinitely for instituting court actions against the ruling party.

He joined ADC and, subsequently, the upcoming governorship race. 

Against the towering influence and popularity of the PDP and APC, Oluyede and ADC on paper have a slim chance of nicking the required criteria to win the election.

But with the bigger parties dealing with aggrieved factions, can Oluyede pull the clout that would exploit their division?

OTHER CONTENDERS

The heavyweights aside, there are twelve other candidates on the ballot for the Ekiti governorship election on Saturday.

Reuben Boye Famuyibo — Accord (A)
Ajagunigbala Moses Olajide — African Action Congress (AAC)
Elebute-Halle Josephine Kemi — Action Democratic Party (ADP)
Benjamin Olufemi Obidoyin — All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA)
Fagbemi Peter Adegbenro — Allied Peoples Movement (APM)
Christiana Modupe Olatawura — Action Peoples Party (APP)
Daramola Rowland Olugbenga — Labour Party
Fatomilola Oladosu Abiodun — New Nigeria People Party (NNPP)
Iyaniwura Tope Ifedayo — National Rescue Movement (NRM)
Agboola Olaniyi Ben — Peoples Redemption Party (PRP)
Adebowale Oluranti Ajayi — Youth Progressive Party (YPP)
Adeolu Kolade Akinyemi — Zenith Labour Party (ZLP)

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