•The Stories Of BIODUN OYEBANJI, BISI KOLAWOLE & SEGUN ONI
The politicking in Ekiti is in top gear now because the governorship election will hold in about a month’s time. The 2022 Ekiti State gubernatorial election will take place on June 18, 2022, to elect the Governor of Ekiti State. Incumbent APC Governor Kayode Fayemi is term-limited and cannot seek re-election to a third term. Therefore, the race is between three major candidates who have been slugging it out via different campaign strategies and will hope to emerge victorious at the polls.
As it stands, the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC after several internal politicking chose to pitch tent with Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji (BAO) who won the party primaries in January 2022. BOA as he is popularly called is the anointed candidate of the incumbent governor. This singular fact makes the battle very interesting as he is set to slug it out with the main opposition party, PDP’s candidate, Bisi Kolawole. Bisi Kolawole is the political son of the former governor, Ayo Fayose who has always had a political score to settle with governor Fayemi. Interestingly, another former governor, Segun Oni is in the contest. He is the flag bearer of the Social Democratic Party, SDP.
Traditionally, the governorship of the state since its creation in 1996 has been rotated between the APC and the PDP, both parties have been alternating the position with none being able to succeed itself. But with Segun Oni having ported from PDP to APC and now SDP, it is giving the June 18 polls another shape and narration.
Obviously, the Ekiti State governorship election is the battle of former governors. Each of the former governors has had a romantic affair with the people of Ekiti and whoever emerges the winner already has a bragging right above the others.
In this article, City People’s DAMILARE SALAMI 08155134152 takes a look at how these top three candidates plan to outsmart one another in their quest to become the next governor of Ekiti State, enjoy.
BIODUN OYEBANJI BAO (APC)
BAO is a former secretary to the state government (SSG), under gov. Kayode Fayemi. His popularity was first tested during the party primaries. He slugged it out against some other seemingly popular candidates like Ojo Kayode, Opeyemi Bamidele (MOB) and Dayo Adeyeye. This victory gave him the much-needed confidence to face other political party candidates at the polls.
One of the biggest strategies employed by BAO is his collaboration with the members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW in the state. Today in Ekiti, all commercial busses carry BOA’s campaign materials across the state. This strategy amongst others has proven to be effective as both the young and old have become conversant with the name and slogan.
City People found out that BAO’s campaign strategy meets the need of the Ekiti People. According to him, focuses on continuity. His intention is to complete some of the projects for his successor if he emerges the winner. According to him, his target was to complete 500 kilometres of rural farm roads in four years to enhance agricultural development and ensure food surplus in Ekiti. He said that other areas of focus would be youth development and job creation, human capital development, agricultural and rural development, infrastructure and industrialisation.
BAO relies majorly on the incumbent power to rally round him and deliver. He has the backing of both the state and federal government; being a member of the ruling party. If elections are won on paper, one could conclude that he would emerge. However, the history of elections in Ekiti State has shown that the people to a large extent decide who they want to be their leader. This singular fact gives other contestants a level playing ground.
BISI KOLAWOLE (PDP)
Bisi Kolawole’s emergence as the flag bearer of the PDP in the next Ekiti State guber polls came as a rude shock to many. This is because the PDP aspirant list was star-studded. It had the biggest names in the Ekiti politics but then, it was all decided by internal democracy.
Ever since Bisi Kolawole emerged, the PDP in Ekiti has been putting heads together in a bid to return to power which was relinquished to the ruling APC four years ago. For former Governor Ayo Fayose, it would be sweet to revenge for the loss he recorded against his political opponent, Gov. Fayemi.
The Osoko Political Assembly (OPA) a political group created and led by Fayose himself has be perfecting its campaign strategies to return PDP back to power. Everyone knows Fayose to be a hardcore grassroots politician and he has employed this same strategy via the OPA to reach out to the people of Ekiti.
The spokesman for the Bisi Kolawole Campaign Organisation, Lere Olayinka, speaking on the chances of SDP and APC revealed that “The SDP is not in this race. We (PDP) are going to win. All the indices are there. You can see the failure of the party in government, the APC, everywhere.
“You can see insecurity; you can see decaying infrastructure, non-payment of salaries through not paying deductions. The government owes about eight months’ deductions. The indicators are there that the people have rejected the APC at the state and the federal level. The people are with us, they want to go back to a government that they can feel; they want a situation whereby they can see their governor and can discuss with their governor, unlike a governor who in a month spends only two days in Ekiti and the remaining in Abuja. People are tired of that kind of situation.
“The PDP has remained the predominant party in Ekiti State. The strength of the PDP as a party is in the people. The strength of the PDP is in what we have done in the past; the strength is in the record of our achievements. Our party has the record of employing people, but the APC government has the record of sacking workers. You cannot drive on the roads in many areas in Ekiti State without being kidnapped for ransom. That never happened when the PDP was there.”
SEGUN ONI (SDP)
Segun Oni is not new in the game. He has governed Ekiti under the platform of the PDP before decamping to the APC. When he lost in the primaries, he sought solace with the SDP who gave him the platform to run with. Oni as an individual has the weight to contest against the two candidates from the APC and PDP but individuals don’t win elections in the kind of politics played in Nigeria.
However, the SDP, which came as a third force with large and loud crowds following it all about, is giving the impression that it will change the status quo by winning the election. The SDP is a party that has garnered a lot of followers from both the APC and PDP. The majority of its members and followers are aggrieved because of the lack of fair play in the two big parties and are hell-bent on changing the narratives for the betterment of the people of Ekiti.
While many people were thinking that Segun Oni is a minor force to reckon with, he has been gathering support here and there and this would count a great deal for him. For instance, Militia groups in Ekiti State have volunteered to provide security for the campaign of the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Segun Oni. The offer was in response to an attack carried out by political thugs on his campaign rally last Wednesday in Efon Alaaye, in Efon Local Government Area.
The attackers injured several persons and damaged vehicles belonging to SDP supporters during the incident. Although Mr Oni was not at the venue of the rally when the hoodlums unleashed mayhem, he had since petitioned the security apparatus on the country, alleging an attempt on his life. The militia groups who are willing to provide men and equipment to protect the SDP candidate include the O’odua People’s Congress (OPC), Agbekoya, and the Vigilance Group of Nigeria.
Another factor that could work for Segun Oni is the fact that he could get sympathy votes. The attacks his followers have been receiving from hoodlums, particularly from other parties could work in his favour at the end of the day.
June 18 is just about a month to go and a winner will emerge. There are about 16 candidates from the 16 political parties campaigning to win the election but only one candidate can emerge. Beyond politicking, good governance is what Ekiti needs for proper development. There is a need for the rural areas to become developed. Ekiti has the potential to become a force to reckon with in the Southwest and a right-thinking government should be able to achieve this.