As the jostle for who takes over as governor of Ekiti State after the election slated for July 14, 2018 gathers momentum, serious upset has erupted in the camp of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), over feelers that ousted governor Kayode Fayemi may not join the race after all.
In one fell swoop, the camp of incumbent governor Ayodele Peter Fayose, collapsed into confusion following news that the former governor who is currently the Minister of Mines and Steel Development may jettison his ambition to join the race due to the position put forward at the meetings he held with loyalists and stakeholders during the yuletide.
Fayemi who put up a massive political resurrection jamboree during the festive season, invited perceived loyalists, including commissioners and special advisers who served in his cabinet as well as other aides and party chieftains and other stakeholders to his Isan Ekiti homeland at different times during the period. At the various events, he splashed his ‘guests’ with commodity and monetary gifts, ostensibly to lead them into buying into his aspiration to vie for the ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the upcoming governorship contest.
It was gathered that Fayemi who opted to seek the opinion of about 25 of his Commissioners who were in attendance at a meeting presided over by his former deputy, Professor Modupe Adelabu, over whether to run or not, received a shocker as 20 of them advised to the contrary while the other five abstained.
Inside sources who attended the meeting disclosed that Fayemi who was apparently rattled by the development had to wave the idea of declaring to the larger gathering as planned but instead announced to the crowd that the gifts they were going home with were sent to them by President Mohammadu Buhari in appreciation of their support.
The development was however a spanner on the wheel of a smooth ride to victory as contemplated by Governor Fayose who had been hoping that featuring Fayemi as opposition in the contest would make the July 14 governor election a walkover since the horrors of the Fayemi-led administration are still fresh in the minds of Ekiti people.
Fayose had picked his deputy, Professor Kolapo Olusola boasting of victory even as he has also signified interest to run as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Close sources informed that Fayose’s confidence is rooted in the belief that the current list of delegates would throw up Fayemi as candidate of the APC, judging by the fact that the state APC is still holding onto the old delegates’ list which if followed, would be to the favour of the former governor.
In 2014, Ayo Fayose contested the governorship election on the platform of the PDP and polled a total of 203,090 votes, winning the highest number of votes in all the 16 Local Go,vernment Areas of the state. Kayode Fayemi of the APC who was his closest challenger, and the incumbent at that time came a distant second, garnering 120,433 votes while the candidate of the Labour Party [LP], Opeyemi Bamidele, received a paltry 18,135 votes.
“Having satisfied the requirements of the law and scoring the highest numbers of votes, Ayodele Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party is therefore returned elected,” the chief returning officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Isaac Asuzu, said while announcing the result which was uncontested by Fayemi at that time.
Sequel to the landslide victory over the then incumbent Fayemi, Fayose had at several party meetings, boasted that it would be another 16-0 victory in the upcoming election should APC field Fayemi against his endorsed candidate, Olusola, in apparent reference to his earlier defeat in all the state’s 16 local councils.
Sensing danger, APC youths had recently staged a protest to advise Fayemi not to contest, saying featuring him by the party would mar the chances of APC clinching victory in the July election.
The youths are of the opinion that to put an end to the lingering leadership deficit in the state and its attendant socio-economic woes, the party needed to sieve thoroughly to narrow down on a credible candidate capable of bringing quick economic recovery and infrastructural development to the state.
The youths are also clamouring for unity among the party so as to present a common, united front to wrestle government from the incumbent whose leadership they believed have brought tale of woes to people of the state.
Sources close to Fayose disclosed that he has been banking on the fact that Fayemi candidacy would present a divided APC against a more united PDP in an election he believed would not be influenced, judging by the offhand approach of the presidency to elections in other parts of the country in the recent past.