The prelude to the primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the July 14, governorship election in Ekiti State witnessed a lot of rancour and bitterness among the 33 aspirants in the party.
The first attempt at the primary was disrupted by hooligans after delegates from five local governments had cast their votes and the process was suspended as the organisers lost control of the situation.
Accusation and counter-accusation became the order of the day as the struggle spilled over to state secretariat of the party at Ajilosun Street, Ado Ekiti, where the state working committee was purportedly dissolved and a caretaker committee appointed in its stead.
Weapon wielding thugs who were shooting sporadically into the air took over the party secretariat while the premises were laced with fetish objects to discourage anyone from entering the place.
No fewer than 28 of the aspirants addressed newsmen through Hon. Bimbo Daramola, condemning the conduct of the botched primary and blamed Dr. Kayode Fayemi for it, while Fayemi in turn blamed them, pointing out that he was enjoying unassailable lead before the disruption.
The warring parties including the state working committee were summoned to Abuja for a meeting with the national leadership of the party which later fixed the rescheduled primary for May 12.
The rescheduled exercise took place in Damlek Event Centre, Ado Ekiti under a peaceful atmosphere and at the end, Dr. Fayemi garnered 941 votes out of 2,326 cast by the delegates.
Former governor Segun Oni got 454 votes to place second, Kayode Ojo was third with 245, Femi Bamisile 179, Oluyede Oluwole 110, Gbenga Aluko 83, Bimbo Daramola 29, Bamidele Faparusi 23, Babafemi Ojudu 11, Opeyemi Bamidele 11, Yaya Kolade 4, Ayo Arise 3 and Muyiwa Olumilua 2 votes.
Fayemi’s victory at the primary changed the atmosphere in town as his supporters with other people in the state rolled out the drums jubilating and dancing round the town.
The celebration also spread to many drinking joints, beer parlours and hotels in the state where Fayemi’s supporters temporarily took over the bars declaring free drinks for anyone who share In their joy, and chanting “olori Oko ti de, Fayemi ti de’.
They kept jubilating and telling whoever cared to listen that “with Fayemi, Ekiti will now have total liberation from hunger, poverty and shame and Ekiti will now join the league of real progressives and more Federal presence will be witnessed in the state.”
The people were probably feeling relieved in view of Fayemi’s legacy in the state during his first term, when they were not owed any salary, with social security for senior citizens under which about 20, 000 received stipend of N5,000 monthly.
On job creation for the youth, there were Youth Volunteer Scheme, Peace Corps, Ekiti State Transport Management Agency (EKSTMA), Paramedic and many other empowerment programs initiated by his wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi.
This time, the Ekiti State Market Women and Traders Association made a special request for a befitting market to JKF which he acceded to immediately through the Ekiti Economic and Enterprise Development Agency ( EEDA).
Then Management of ODUA Investment Ltd in partnership with EKSG allocated some unused portions of its land at the ODUA Enterprise Development Centre (Old Textile) for the state government to build a befitting fabric market for these market women.
In all, about 2.5 hectares of land were leased to these women through the state government under Fayemi’s administration for a period of 30 years with renewable options and this was leased out to these market women at no cost.
The construction plan of the market was to accommodate about 600 locked up shops including other social amenities put in place. The foundation laying ceremony was flagged off by Fayemi, during which he promised cooperative loans in N100 millions for trading purposes after the completion of the market.
Fayemi promised and made good the promise by constructing within one month a make shift market for them (adjacent the new market site) for temporary trading activities before the completion of the main market, and construction work started late in 2013, and by July 2014, some units of the market have been completed.
However, it is a sad story today to see what has come of the market. The present government of Ayo Fayose has completely abandoned the women and their dreams of having a befitting textile market.
Fayose did not only drive the market women away from the site, he also went to ODUA with his lands department team and demanded that the women must pay for the land allocated to them free by the previous government.
Unknown to Fayose, the women had an agreement signed by ODUA, Ekiti State Market Women Traders Association and the state government under JKF which was tendered to counter him.
Later, Gov. Fayose came up with a heavy state levy which each of the women must pay before construction works can continued. That was how the market women abandoned the site and moved back to their old site which was not even conducive for any business purpose.
Today, the story is that of an abandoned market site that has been covered with overgrown bush. All these and other development were probably the cause for people jubilating over the return of Fayemi whom some of them described as their ‘Messiah’
The day after his victory, Fayemi commenced his reconciliatory move by visiting no fewer than 15 of the aspirants in their respective homes, while he personally reached out on phone to those that were no longer in the state.
The Minister who was accompanied by APC Ekiti State Chairman, Chief Jide Awe, visited Engr. Segun Oni, Rt.Hon Femi Bamisile, Kola Alabi, Dr. Wole Oluyede in their Ikere homes and Senator Gbenga Aluko at his Ode Ekiti country home.
Other aspirants visited by Fayemi include Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua, Engr. Kayode Ojo, Bamidele Faparusi, Dr. Bayo Oriire, Dr. Oluwole Oluleye, Diran Adesua, Victor Kolade, Coker Olumuyiwa and Sesan Fatoba.
The response from them was commendation for the gesture with the promise to cooperate with him to ensure that APC wins the July 14 governorship election.
Particularly, some of them have declared that “with the emergence of Fayemi at the primary, the victory of APC is a sure banker come July 14 election.”
However, the Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, Hon. Taiwo Olatunbosun has declared that “The 32 aspirants are really happy on the choice of JKF as the candidate leading the party to victory.”
Olatunbosun, was addressing the (DFID) British Envoy who visited the Party Secretariat to ask about how the party is fairing, after the primary.
This development again has signaled Fayemi’s victory in the coming July 14 election because pundits had anticipated that the disagreement and the gang up against Fayemi would continue after the primary in the way that it would have been an advantage to Governor Ayo Fayose to ride on to election victory.
Meanwhile, Ekiti in Diaspora has endorsed Fayemi noting that his second shot as governorship will enable him to impact more positively on the lives of the people than his first term in office.
Undoubtedly, the hosting of the aspirants by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja would boost the chances of APC in Ekiti at the July 14, 2018 governorship election as Buhari charged the aspirants to regard the election as a collective struggle stressing that they should demonstrate unity of purpose and support Fayemi in order to rescue Ekiti State from poverty.
In a statement signed by its coordinator, Mr. Samuel Ayodele, he commended the APC aspirants for accepting the outcome of the election and expressing their readiness to work with the winner.
Ayodele noted that the spirit of sportsmanship remains the best way to foster unity in APC and give it opportunity to prove its mettle as a democratically fortified political alternative to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the coming election.
The group called on the APC governorship candidate to build on the cooperation of his co-contenders by cautioning his aides who could break his relationships with other stakeholders.
Ayodele described Fayemi as an accomplished scholar and clear-headed politician with exemplary blueprint that can transform the state and banish poverty from the land if given the second chance, saying the APC shouldn’t bungle the opportunity to win the coming election through arrogance and pursuit of selfish agenda.
“We congratulate Dr Fayemi for winning the primary, but it doesn’t stop at that he must work on the party people on the need to be able to win this election. He must work closely with the people at the grassroots and break away from elitist approach because APC must not bungle this opportunity.
“It is saddening that workers in the Ekiti State employ and pensioners were being owed between four and eight months salaries, local government staff as well in a state that is predominantly civil service state.
“This has increased hunger, poverty and deprivation to the extent that our people there at home were already disillusioned with lives. There must be concerted efforts by APC to bring back the lost glory and restore the hope and the only way this can happen is for APC to win the coming election.
“The party has abundant human resources, even the calibre of the 33 aspirants that stood for the primary confirmed how solid APC was, but this may not have impact if the gladiators are not united. If they are not ready to bury old differences and work together now”, he said.
Undoubtedly, the hosting of the aspirants by the President in Abuja by President Muhammudu Buhari would boost the chances of APC in Ekiti at the July 14, 2018 governorship election as Buhari charged the aspirants to regard the election as a collective struggle stressing that they should demonstrate unity of purpose and support Fayemi in order to rescue Ekiti State from poverty.
This has increased hunger, poverty and deprivation to the extent that our people there at home were already disillusioned with lives. There must be concerted efforts by APC to bring back the lost glory and restore the hope and the only way this can happen is for APC to win the coming election. The party has abundant human resources, even the calibre of the 33 aspirants that stood for the primary confirmed how solid APC was, but this may not have impact if the gladiators are not united. If they are not ready to bury old differences and work together now