Ekiti governorship: A peep into the various political parties
In this piece, SAM NWAOKO looks at the activities of the various political parties participating in the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State.
THE 35 political parties jostling for the Ekiti State governorship seat have been trying to outdo themselves to curry the favour of the electorate. With the election less than 30 days away, the parties have got busy, combing the state for votes. Here are some of the most recent activities of some of the political parties and their candidates last week:
The outlook in Ekiti is that Accord has just been revived with the entry of a former deputy governor of the state, Chief Abiodun Aluko, as its candidate. The emergence of Aluko has given a new tinge to the politicking of Accord in the state.
Last Thursday, the party announced that its candidate was making a grand entry to Ekiti from Abuja, where the Accord big wigs had been to put finishing touches on their acceptance of Chief Aluko and the new status of Chief Banji Ojo, who had been their point man in Ekiti up till now.
With the arrival of Aluko and his entourage to Ekiti, it is expected that real campaigns would commence, and many are watching how he would run the race against his Ikere-Ekiti kinsmen in the other political parties.
All Progressives Congress (APC):
On Saturday, June 2, the APC in Ekiti State announced a suspension of its campaigns as a result of the shooting that occurred at the party’s secretariat the day before, Friday June 1. The shooting, which the police authorities in the state said was “accidental”, had occurred when a policeman attached to one of the dignitaries at the party’s “welcome rally” for its candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi, mishandled his rifle and released some ammunition which injured six people, including a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele.
After the accident, Chairman of Ekiti APC, Chief Olajide Awe told newsmen that they wanted to ensure that some steps were taken before campaigns would commence. He had also insisted that there was more to the shooting than meets the eye, and had called on the police to investigate further.
However, on Tuesday June 5, Dr Fayemi was at the secretariat of Prince Adedayo Adeyeye Movement (PAAM) to formally receive Adeyeye and his supporters to the APC. The significance of the event was not lost on the people of the state and even the gladiators.
Last week, the APC inaugurated its governorship campaign council in the state, with Bamidele as the director-general. All the other committees were also inaugurated and they have all commenced work.
Dr Fayemi also last week, began his campaigns at Ekiti East Local Government Area and has so far covered Ikole and Irepodun/Ifelodun and would have been in Efon on Friday, but suspended campaigns to celebrate the end of Ramadan fast. It resumed on Saturday, and the beat goes on.
However, APC was at a parley with the state’s Council of Traditional Rulers held on Thursday, at the palace of the Ewi of Ado Ekiti.
Social Democratic Party (SDP)
It is now a common saying in Ekiti that the SDP has increased its presence in the state in the build up to the July 14 election with its various activities. Last Friday, the leaders of the party from across the nation were in Ekiti to formally flag off the campaign of the SDP governorship candidate, Mr Akinloye Aiyegbusi.
The national chairman, Chief Olu Falae, represented by his deputy, Dr Abdul Ahmed; its national leader, Professor Tunde Adeniran, Professor Jerry Gana, Senator Iyiola Omisore from Osun State and many other dignitaries were on hand, in Ado Ekiti, to formally usher Aiyegbusi and his running mate into the field of campaign.
Earlier in the week, the SDP had announced the nomination of Mrs Mary Yemisi Adetayo Adefolalu as the party’s running mate in the election. Her nomination thus cleared the air on the initial submission of the name of Mr. Yemi Akinbode to the INEC, which was published.
The people of the state expect the SDP to exert its influence and hit the ground running as the campaigns hot up. And Aiyegbusi has asked Governor Ayodele Fayose to prepare handover notes for his take over. The people are waiting.
Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN)
More popularly known as Mega, the MPN has been in and out of “internal wrangling”, following moves to substitute Mr Sunday Balogun as the candidate of the party after his emergence, by some power brokers in the party.
Chairman of the party in the state had risen in condemnation of what he and many of the supporters saw as “interference”, and insisted that the party’s candidate was Mr. Balogun, while he remains the chairman of the party.
But only on Thursday, the party through one of its social media platforms announced Chief Bisi Omoyeni as its candidate, and thereby rekindled the confusion in its ranks.
Some MPN members had thought they had moved on from the initial brouhaha, but the pangs of the event is still with the party. That notwithstanding, Mega Party is going on with its activities and campaigns to win the Ekiti governorship in July, and the people are watching to know what would happen in the end.
People’s Party of Nigeria (PPN)
A former Nigerian envoy to Canada, Ambassador Dare Bejide, has announced his presence in the party, thereby reinvigorating it. His entrance into the party as its governorship candidate has left people in no doubt of his desire to pursue his democratic ambition to a logical conclusion, a source in the state stated.
While the paperwork is being perfected at the INEC, Bejide has relaunched his aspiration, which was twice truncated in PDP and SDP.
The supporters of Bejide have been telling the people of Ekiti State that PPN is The way to go come July 14, and that “Bejide holds the key to proper and comprehensive development of Ekiti State in all fronts.”
Will the electorate heed the call? Time will tell.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
The duo of Professor Kolapo Olusola and Mr Kazeem ‘Deji Ogunsakin, the PDP candidate and running mate respectively, have been nearly everywhere with their chief promoter, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State. Their campaigns have been on long before the nomination of Ogunsakin as the party’s running mate, and that, some pundits believe, has put the party ahead.
Many believe that recurrent activities such as the free eye service and issuance of medicated glasses, tagged “Oju Ayo,” meetings with teachers, private sector workers and sundry activities by both the government of the PDP, have also been a source of campaign for the party.
Professor Olusola was at the finals of the Ekiti State Spelling Bee competition and personally handed winners their gifts, just as he was also the first candidate to arrive at the meeting convened by the state’s Council of Traditional Rulers on the quest to achieve safe and violent-free election come July 14.
It is not in doubt among Ekiti people that PDP and Olusola are considered among the real front runners in the race, but they are not resting on that when some facts, such as the resignation of some of the party’s supporters are considered. On Wednesday, a member of the state’s House of Assembly, Mr. Sunday Akinniyi, was suspended idefinitely from the House, an action many saw as a pointer to some troubles in the house of PDP in the state. Some even said Akinniyi has moved to the opposition APC after his suspension.
However, the party is making gains in other areas, with a former Ijero Council chairman joining the party, among others.
The campaigns are continuing with Olusola wooing voters with his SHIELD (Security, Healthcare delivery, Infrastructure, Education/Economy, Leadership, Development) Agenda and the people are gearing up to accept him or otherwise.
Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP)
The people of Ekiti State have come to reckon with the what some of them refer to as the finesse of candidate, Reverend Tunde Afe and his running mate, Mr Kazeem Sanusi, as they campaign around the state for votes in the election.
ANRP is also believed to be leveraging on Reverend Afe’s popular radio programmes in the state, which thus readily put the man and his party in the psyche of the people even before he approaches them for their votes.
How much this would be useful for their candidature would be seen in the coming month.
Action Democratic Party (ADP)
Since Segun Adewale chose to run his race in ADP, he has remained true to his ambitious move, deploying his resources and catching the fancy of the Ekiti crowd with his often outlandish gifts, which people say include mobile handsets and TV sets.
His campaign convoy which is constituted by numerous Hummer SUVs, also adds to the hype of Adewale, popularly known as “OSAprapra” in Ekiti. He has also been around the state and was at the meeting with traditional rulers on Thursday.
How much the electorate believe in him is left to be seen in the coming election.
All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)
The candidate of APGA for the July election, Ambassador Ayodeji Lawrence Ayodele, hosted leaders and members of the party their secretariat in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday. The event appears to have put an end to the confusion some said had been the order of the day with the various names that had been touted as the party’s candidate.
For instance, Evangelist Gbenga Adekunle, on Monday, raised the alarm in a petition to the chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees and governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, that his ticket was allegedly being snatched through the connivance of INEC and national party officials.
With Amb. Ayodele now firmly on the scene, APGA seems set to begin campaigns in full swing, with the hope among members that there would not be other developments.
Green Party of Nigeria (GPN)
The people asked about Green Party were not sure what the reporter meant and many are of the opinion that the party will not be miffed if they contend that they do not know the party.
However, Adewale Olushola Akinleye and Dhikrat Funmilola Salami are both in the July governorship race as governorship and deputy governorship candidates respectively and even INEC knows that.
The party is believed to be operating from a point of view that, after the quiet and spawning grassroots campaign, it would come to the open with a different kind of bang.
Independent Democrats (ID)
The candidate of ID, Mr Tosin Ajibare and his running mate, Olalekan Sikiru Olowoyo often attract the cognomen “ID Noble”, from among the people of the state. It is believed to be a sobriquet that flows from the ID acronym of the party.
However, considering the opinion of some Ekiti people, apart from that and the campaign posters, the party has been largely quiet.
Some of the people are of the belief that ID and its candidates are also campaigning, and they are in line for election as governor and deputy governor in July.
Labour Party (LP)
A former deputy governor of Ekiti State, Dr Sikiru Tae-Lawal got the ticket of the LP to contest the election and he has lifted the party from the descended into after the 2014 election.
The former PDP chief is carrying the LP on his shoulders, and how far he can carry the party will be seen by July 15.
Alliance for Democracy (AD)
The contention in Ekiti is that AD settled its candidature issues early and has been on the field since. With Ben Olaniyi Agboola as candidate and Babafemi Bbatunde Omotosho as his running mate, the AD is in the race like many others.
There are so many other political parties, including PDC, DPP, PPD, YDP, MPC, DA, UDP, Kowa, ACD, AA, Mass Movement, all in the race. However, many of the Ekiti electorate are of the opinion that the race is not for these parties, but some also believe that politics isn’t about names.