When Dr John Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Solid Minerals Development was slammed with a 10 years ban from holding public office by the Governor Ayo Fayose administration, a feeble minded man would have called it quit and chickened out of this well contrived political web.
This pundits knew was a politically calculated attempt by Fayose to witch-hunt, rubbish, disgrace, and kill Fayemi politically.
But, Fayemi being a robust, and dogged fighter was not deterred by such obstacles as he forged ahead in his determination to contest the governorship candidacy of the APC in the July 14 election.
They first said he lacks the effrontery to declare intention but he did. He did not only come out, his declaration of intent sent jitters down the spines of other aspirants in the party because of his intimidating antecedents and overwhelming and enormous political muscle he enjoyed who cut across the 16 Local governments of the state .
Later, they said he would not be screened, but Ilufemiloye as he is fondly called by his admirers but the panelists gave Fayemi a clean bill to contest the election and thereby throwing all the petitions and the said Fayose’s white paper into dustbin of history.
Following this, he was described as unpopular and that he can no longer win any election in Ekiti since he was sacked by Fayose with 16-0 in 2014 governorship election, but Fayemi was not bothered by the number of attacks and campaign of calumny and abuses against him, branding him as a misfit and one who has lost steam to win election.
But Fayemi who was determined to make it neither answered nor responded to any of the vituperation that ordinarily would have made a lesser person to lose focus, but he forged ahead in his struggle to reclaim the land and he preoccupied himself with the journey of how he would restore the glory of Ekiti.
Therefore, it is of no surprise that the first party primary that took place at Oluyemi Kayode Stadium Ado Ekiti was disrupted after delegates from five local governments had cast their votes and it was apparent that he was leading.
At first, 28 aspirants had ganged up against him while the state secretariat was in turmoil following the alleged removal of the State Exco which was replaced by a caretaker committee and the secretariat was laced with fetish objects.
The rescheduling of the primary for the last weekend afforded the aspirants a veritable window to re-strategise . Amid tight security, the rerun primary was conducted under a peaceful atmosphere at Damlek event centre, Ado Ekiti in Ekiti State capital.
At the end of the exercise which was described by participants, the aspirants and members of the public as free, fair, acceptable and transparent, Fayemi proved his mettle by garnering 941 votes out of 2,326 cast by the delegates.
His closest rival, former Governor Segun Oni got 454, Kayode Ojo pulled 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 signpost that of self confidence and innate ability to operate under any harsh and scorching condition and ride gleefully to success.
Ekiti had been depraved and degraded in the last three and half years. People are feeling the heat and need an astute administrator with modest temperament to fix the broken home and heal the broken heart. Taking cognizance of the present and past, Fayemi is best fit to take the mantle of leadership and cleanse up the Aegean’s stable.
In his acceptance speech, Fayemi appealed to other aspirants to join him in his effort to rescue the state and make it better.
He said he was not on any vengeance mission against anybody or group of people while urging the people of the state with other aspirants to join him in rescuing the state from the misrule of the present government.
JKF Centre, a leadership training and development outfit in Ado-Ekiti, has rejoiced with Dr. Fayemi, on his victory in the party primary.
In a statement in Ado-Ekiti shortly after the Tanko Al-Makura-led Ekiti State Election Committee announced the result of the May 12 primary election declaring Fayemi as the winner, the Director of the centre, Biodun Omoleye, urged the winner to cultivate the spirit of sportsmanship to embrace other contestants to share in the glory of the victory.
He also congratulated other contestants for their urbane conduct and show of maturity throughout the exercise, noting that the victory is not for Fayemi alone, but also a collective victory for the other leaders who ran issue debased campaigns for the progress, growth and development of Ekiti State.
Omoleye urged leaders and supporters of all contestants to close rank for the challenges ahead, saying that the July 14 governorship election called for cohesion and focus among members to enable APC clinch victory, to seize control of Ekiti State government to begin repair works on the damage caused by PDP government led by Governor Ayo Fayose.
He also congratulated the delegates and members of the party generally for conducting themselves in orderly manner devoid of violence and threat to peace throughout the exercise.
Omoleye urged leaders and members to work together as campaign activities gather momentum, saying that the victory that APC seeks in the election is for the collective good of all members and progress of the state in general.
He also congratulated Al-Makura and members of his committee for their openness, forthrightness and commitment to ensure the success of their assignment while also praising Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led National Executive Committee for providing a level-playing field for the conclusion of the election without rancour.
Fayemi who has since began his visit to all other aspirant who contested the primary with him has visited Engr. Oni, Oluyede, Kola Alabi, Muyiwa Olumilua and Femi Bamisile among other has urged all his followers to treat other aspirants with respect.
Fayemi who warned his supporters against treating his co-contestants with disrespect, said they are party leaders that have contributed in no small measure to grow the party.
He said all the aspirants are worthy Ekiti sons and daughters who are qualified to lead the state and perform better than the present occupier of the governorship seat, Governor Ayodele Fayose.
Speaking with his crowd of supporters at his campaign office at about midnight after the Tanko Al-Makura Election Committee declared him the winner of the governorship primary, Fayemi warned his supporters against carrying over pre-primary hostilities in the treatment of his fellow contestants.
“We cannot all win in an election, but one thing I know is that all the contestants are eminent Ekiti sons and daughters who are qualified to govern the state better than the present occupier of the office.
“Therefore, as we go into the election, we must see ourselves as members of the same family who deserve mutual respect.
“Note that the opposition tried all tricks to cause maximum damage to our unter-personal relationships, but they failed to achieve their aim as manifested in the primary we conducted today.
“I want to plead with you not to help them to achieve their aim. We have a big job to do to reclaim our state and that should be your focus so that we can succeed in the restoration of our dignity and provide good life for our people again,” Fayemi said.
Meanwhile, Fayose in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary Idowu Adelusi said to Fayemi: Don’t celebrate yet as this victory is Pyrrhic victory.
Specifically, Fayose said “In 2014 when he was the sitting governor and I was not in power, I trounced him mercilessly. I gave him 16 – 0, defeating him in all the local governments, including in his home town. He did not win a single local government.
“Now, I have been in power for more than three years and have served the people of Ekiti well. My legacy projects are there to speak for me, and for my party the PDP, as well as for our candidate in the July 14 governorship election, Prof. Kolapo Olusola Eleka.
“Fayemi will suffer the worst defeat of his political career. After the July 14 election, he will go into political oblivion.
“He has nothing to celebrate because of the electoral disaster awaiting him. The manner of his so-called victory also leaves much to be desired as it has turned many of their party leaders and followers against him,” he added.
“Fayemi’s victory has made the condition of APC worse in Ekiti. The party leaders and members know that Fayemi has no use for any of them beyond the July 14 election.”
But, Oni, Bamidele, Bamisile and other aspirants who have congratulated Fayemi had described the Fayemi’s victory at the party’s in a keenly contested election as a pointer to APC’s sure victory in the coming July 14 election
“We are one big family and we remain one, we are ready to work with Fayemi to ensure our party’s total victory in the coming July 14 governorship election, and we will give Fayose back his 16-0 at the election,” they stated.
Now that Fayemi has found himself in a familiar turf, history is beckoning onto him and it is expected that this reclamation war will be resolutely prosecuted by all APC stakeholders for the party, not even the minister to bounce back to reckoning in Ekiti politics.
We cannot all win in an election, but one thing I know is that all the contestants are eminent Ekiti sons and daughters who are qualified to govern the state better than the present occupier of the office. Therefore, as we go into the election, we must see ourselves as members of the same family who deserve mutual respect. Note that the opposition tried all tricks to cause maximum damage to our unter-personal relationships, but they failed to achieve their aim as manifested in the primary we conducted today.