Ekiti APC guber aspirants jostle for space ahead of 2018
• PDP says opposition is no match
If the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State is desirous of defeating the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2018 governorship election, the party must put its house in order and conduct free and fair primaries.
That was the position of most of the governorship aspirants of the party that had signified their intention to fly the party’s flag in the 2018 election where it will slug it out with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
But a division between the old members and those that joined later is bogging down the party. This situation has prompted the leadership of the APC in the state to warn that it would wield the big stick on anyone discriminating against the newcomers.
Accordingly the acting Chairman of the party, Mrs. Kemi Olaleye advised those tagging some members of the party as ‘decampees’ to desist from such acts because APC has only one united family.
“All the contestants are our children. The State Working Committee (SWC) in Ekiti will be fair to all. We will treat everybody as equals because no law in the country bars anybody from joining any political party of his choice,” she stated.
She also promised that the party would ensure a level playing field for all aspirants. “Even Governor Ayo Fayose can join APC, but it is only that we don’t want a character like him among us,” she said.
Besides, Olaleye cautioned that no aspirant must lobby the SWC members, disclosing that the party has “barred State Executive members from hobnobbing with aspirants; rather they should go and lobby the delegates, that is where you can get your votes.”
The opposition APC lost the governorship election to the PDP in June 21, 2014.Some of the aspirants that have been going round the 16 local government areas to preach the ‘gospel’ of free and fair primaries as against picking candidates through consensus include former Speaker of the State Hon Femi, Bamishile; former Works Commissioner in the state, Mr. Diran Adesua; and a Senatorial aspirant, Mr. Olusegun Osikolu.
Adesua who led a large number of his supporters to the party secretariat in Ajilosun area of Ado Ekiti where he met members of the State Working Committee (SWC), said Ekiti State is ready for APC because of the alleged “dismal performance” of Governor Ayodele Fayose. He, however, advised the party to ensure that a credible candidate should emerge from free and fair primaries.
The aspirants warned the party leadership against picking a candidate through consensus, which he noted has robbed the party from presenting a popular candidate acceptable to the electorate.
According to him, Governor Fayose is too ‘uncivilized’ to be governor the state, taking “cognizance of his public conduct and outbursts” in recent times.
Adesua who was a former Commissioner under Otunba Niyi Adebayo-led administration, argued that if APC puts its acts together, the party would displace PDP.
Said he: “In voting at the primary, the delegates must think of a candidate who has the potentials, who understands the problems and the people. I have been a civil servant and I never imagined salaries being owed for three months and this I believe can’t happen under a people-oriented governor.”
He explained that APC lost in in 2014 because there was disconnect between the government of that time and the people. Speaking in the same vein, Bamishile who just concluded the tour of 177 wards across the state, was more poignant in his message to the leadership of the party. He urged that they should desist from hand picking candidates for the 2018 governorship election.
“We have started working from the beginning of this year because of our love for the party and our people. In the last 18 months, I have toured 124 villages and towns in all 177 wards in the state to sell our party. Everybody is looking forward to see APC back to Government House but they want a free and fair primaries, credible enough to produce the right candidate that will flush out PDP out of the state,” he stated.
The former Speaker advised Fayose to start packing his personal effects from the Government House saying, “a movement to enthrone a people-oriented APC-led government has commenced.”
He boasted that a “political hurricane” would soon sweep Fayose and his government away accusing the governor of unleashing more hardship on the people through wrong policies, misplacement of priorities, poverty of ideas and government by impulse.”
To him, APC is the party with the right manifesto to turn around the fortunes of Ekiti, which he claimed has nosedived under Fayose, having failed to build on the achievements of his immediate predecessor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
Addressing the members of the SWC at the APC secretariat, Bamisile unfolded his ‘Octopus Agenda for Human Capital Development,’ which he described as his treaty with the people.
The Octopus Agenda, according to him, has eight legs, which include agriculture, infrastructure development, economic and industrial development, education, health sector development, security, social security and governance.
He urged the leadership of the APC in the state to organize a transparent, free and fair primary for all aspirants aiming to run for governor expressing confidence that he would clinch the ticket to fly the party’s flag in the 2018 poll.
But Ekiti State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Jackson Adebayo disagreed with the assessment of the performance of Governor Fayose and described them as “small irritants that do not know what good governance is all about”.
Adebayo who said he was not expecting the APC aspirants to commend Fayose because doing that would have defeated their ambition before election, however, said they should not be blindfolded by their ambition not to see what the blind can feel and the deaf appreciates.
He said, “How can anybody describe the performance of Fayose as ‘dismal’ with the construction of overhead bridge, first of its kind in the state going on, the construction of the ultra modern Oja Oba market, the dualisation of major roads in the local council headquarters and the much embraced stomach infrastructure programme of Mr. Governor just to mention few.
“The truth is that Ekiti people are happy with the PDP and the earlier the APC goon appreciates that fact the better for them.”But some political analysts believe that major contenders for the governorship ticket of the APC have not shown face. Minister of Solid Minerals and former Governor of the state, Dr Kayode Fayemi, former Governor Segun Oni, Senator Babafemi Ojudu and former governorship aspirant in the state under Labour Party (LP) Hon Opeyemi Bamidele who joined the APC after 2014 election are being touted as the big masquerades that anyone of them will either clinch the ticket or decide who gets the ticket.