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Assurances of fairness as Ekiti APC guber primaries hold

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Ahead of the governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State scheduled to hold tomorrow, Southwest leaders of the party have assured the aspirants the exercise would be free, fair and credible.

At a meeting which took place at the Governor’s Lodge Marina Lagos last Friday was attended by all the aspirants except the erstwhile governor of the state, Mr. Segun Oni and the party’s leaders, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a national leader of APC, former governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba, former governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akanbde and APC National Vice-Chairman, South-West, Pius Akinyelure.

The meeting was held sequel to the fear that less than four months to the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti, the major opposition APC is still grappling with the problem of pruning the number of aspirants jostling to contest on its platform.

 
As at last count, not less than 27 aspirants have indicated interest to use the party’s platform to run in the race against the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
 
Although, there is strong indication other parties may form a third force with the aim of defeating APC and PDP, which have held sway in Ekiti since 1999.
 
Before the Friday meeting, the State’s chairman of APC, Chief Jide Awe had hinted that the national leadership and the Southwest zonal leaders would meet with the aspirants to appeal to them to accept the outcome of the primary in good faith.

The meeting was said to have ended successfully with all the contestants reaching a compromise to accept the outcome of the primary in good faith and in the interest of the state and the party.

One of the reasons that necessitated the meeting was the concern raised by the aspirants that the party should not allow the repeat of what happened in the Ondo governorship primary tomorrow.

The contestants also urged the National Working Committee (NWC) to ensure that credible people from the national secretariat to conduct the primary and the need to have an equally non-partisan team from Abuja to conduct the primary.

The contestants also cited the case of the last governorship primary of the party in Anambra State, which was trailed by allegations of fraud and corruption.

In response to the issues raised by the aspirants, Tinubu said the APC leadership in the zone would be non-partisan and non-aligned with any of them in the exercise.

The national leader said his joy was that the contestants responded appropriately to the call by the leaders, saying the meeting ended well. He stressed: “we were able to get their commitments to abide by the outcome of the primary scheduled for May 5.”

According to him, “There would be no interference, no collusion with any of them. But we told them they must all maintain the peace and once we all recognise our roles and play the roles, we will all move forward.”

Speaking on behalf of the governorship aspirants, Mr Dele Okeya described the meeting as fruitful and thanked the leaders for their intervention.

Other APC leaders at the meeting include a former Ogun State governor, Segun Osoba; former Ekiti State governor, Niyi Adebayo; Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, and Ekiti State APC Chairman, Jide Awe.

Some of the aspirants present were Senator Babafemi Ojodu, Minister of Mines and Solid Mineral, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, member of the House of Representatives, Bimbo Daramola, former Lagos Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, Femi Bamisile, Bamidele Faparusi, and Bayo Idowu, among others.

Fortnight ago, Awe had urged the aspirants to remain loyal party men after the party primary.
   
He warned the party’s leadership against bribe collection from the aspirants, just as he said the delegates must listen to the people before voting for any aspirant because it is the electorate that will ultimately decide who wins the election.
  
Meanwhile, one of the aspirants, Special Adviser on Political Matters to the President, Senator Babafemi Ojudu has dispelled the rumour making the rounds that he is being sponsored by the presidency. 
 
Ojudu who recalled his years in the trenches against military rule maintained that he has the wherewithal to make a successful bid for the governorship of Ekiti without relying on any godfather. 
 
Ojudu who promised to turn around the fortunes of the citizenry, accused the outgoing governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose of profligacy and wastefulness. He promised that if elected in the July Ekiti poll, he would surely convert the newly built Ekiti villa House into a Yoruba Museum that would serve as a tourist attraction.
 
According to him, “I am not Mr. President’s candidate. I’m nobody’s candidate. The president is a father to all of us. I have told you my history in this country.

I started fighting the military at the age of 27. I wrote my first ‘will’ at the age of 29. I was locked up 15 times between 1993 and 1998. I am a man of myself. I fought erstwhile Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, I fought his successor, Gen. Sani Abacha and former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
 
“ I campaigned for democracy, I campaigned for good governance, I campaigned for human rights and I suffered for it. I was in prison for nine months; I wore one cloth for nine months. That cloth I wore for nine months is in the museum at the epicenter of Ekiti.
 
Ojudu disclosed that even without being elected he is I already making contact with private investors to come and invest in agriculture in the state.
   
Another contestant and probably the only female in the race on the APC’s platform, Dr. Mojisola Yaya-Kolade said the only remedy to the challenges facing the Ekiti at present can only be solved by a ‘woman of vision’.
 
Speaking on how she planned to make the state viable economically, Yaya-Kolade, a entrepreneur, medical practitioner with years of experience in the United States, said, “I am bringing in my international, entrepreneurial and charity experiences into the state and my passion for the people.

Basically, what I am bringing in is what I am doing and what I have done with my life. I have been a business and a career woman, an employer of labour and a philanthropist.  
 
Responding to question about her chances of defeating personalities like former governor of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who is also a serving Minister of Solid Minerals, Yaya-Kolade said, she said: “If we are mentioning names, if the former governor is that good he wont be defeated in the first place.

On the other part, I am a woman and I have done a lot on the international scene and locally. This is a plane field for everybody to prove him or herself.

I think I stand a chance. There are many things Ekiti people need.

There is huge unemployment rate in the state. College graduates are driving tricycles and commercial motorbikes in the state and that is not a pleasant situation.

For me, providing jobs and supporting the women empowerment is going to give me an edge.”
  
Former Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, who is also aspiring to rule the state, Femi Bamisile, told The Guardian the success of the party in the election would depend on the delegates whom he urged to shun monetary inducement and cast their votes for aspirant from the southern senatorial district.
   
Speaking in Ado yesterday, Bamislie said the southern zone remains the only area that has not produced a governor since Ekiti was created from the old Ondo State.
 
He said the APC needs someone who has the capability, acceptability and can confront Fayose whom he described as a grassroots politician.


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