• As party fixes N21 million for nomination, interest forms• Factional group picks consensus aspirant• We must put our best foot forward to win ― Olujimi
Ahead of the June 18, 2022 governorship election in Ekiti State, major opposition, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its aspirants are gearing up for the contest that will produce the party’s flagbearer for the governorship poll.
The state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi will finish his second and final term by October 16, 2022.
Already, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP had last week released the timetable and schedule of activities leading to the primaries and the next year’s guber election. The party said the sales of nomination and expression of interest forms will commence next Monday, September 13 through to September 30.
Tribune Online reliably gathered from a top member of the party’s hierarchy that the price for the nomination form has been pegged for N20 million and the expression of interest form will go for N1 million for the governorship aspirants.
Some of the aspirants include; former governor, Chief Segun Oni; former governor, Ayo Fayose’s preferred candidate and current state chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Kolawole; former deputy governor and party’s candidate in the 2018 election, Professor Kolapo Olusola-Eleka; a financial expert, Mr Kayode Adaramodu; an architect, Mr Lateef Ajijola and the party’s national treasurer, Honourable Femi Aribisala.
It was gathered that the lawmaker representing Ekiti South Senatorial district, Senator Biodun Olujimi might declare her intention to contest for the governorship seat any moment from now.
A check in the camps of the major aspirants revealed that the governorship hopefuls are meeting and selling their aspirations to the party delegates across the 16 local government areas of the state in a bid to fly the party’s flag in the next year poll.
Meanwhile, a factional group under the aegis of Ekiti People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Repositioning Movement who are opposed to the faction loyal to Fayose, has elected Mr Lateef Ajijola, as a consensus candidate that would confront other aspirants in the primary.
At a shadow election conducted in Ado-Ekiti at the weekend, Ajijola who hails from Ado-Ekiti, the state capital polled a total of 50 votes to defeat former governorship aspirant, Yinka Akerele and ex-Deputy Governor, Dr Sikiru Lawal, who polled 26 and four votes respectively.
Announcing the outcome of the shadow poll, the Chairman of the Repositioning Movement Electoral Committee, Aderogba Agbaje, revealed that a total of 81 automatic delegates drawn across the 16 local government areas of the state voted in the exercise that produced Ajijola.
Agbaje, a two-time Chairman of the Efon council area said, “We conduct this shadow poll to ensure the proper democratic process in our primary. Before now, it has always been a one-man show, which we detested and we want to bring the party back to the people.
“Our loss during the last governorship election was as a result of a governor not conceding to free and fair primary. We formed this group two years ago under the leadership of Senators Biodun Olujimi and Duro Faseyi, who are collegiate leaders.”
Ajijola while commending other aspirants for conceding defeat, noted that the exercise was necessary to help the group in achieving its objectives of handing the party over to the people instead of being in the hand of one man and as well participate in the primary and speak with one voice.
According to him, “I appreciate my brothers, Dr Sikiru Lawal and Yinka Akerele for their supports. I am assuring them that I will honour all agreements. I plead with them to talk to their supporters to stand by me, united we stand, divided we fall.
“Senator Olujimi was in the know of all steps taken, though she was unavoidably absent. She was part of all we did. Is a leader of this group and we deferred to her at all stages.”
Assuring that he would work for Ajijola to emerge at the primary, Lawal, said, ” I feel okay, I feel good about the outcome. My becoming the governor of Ekiti is not at all cost.
“The election was free and fair and I have nothing against it. I have sent a congratulatory message to the winner. We want to serve the people and we have to accept how God wants things to be done.”
However, Senator Olujimi has distanced himself from the shadow election conducted by some members of the group, saying, ” from day one, I had not been convinced that we needed to go that route and I still stand firmly by my decision.”
The lawmaker added, “That is why I maintain that I am not part of the event. What happened is that the majority had their way!!
“As it stands, we need to work harder to bring cohesion back which we will so we can rejig and return to winning ways. The timetable is out. The announcement for local government elections is out.
” We must proceed to engage and ensure we succeed. Our best foot should be put forward. We must team up to get better.”
A product of the Grace of God, Kayode has successfully built an enviable career that has taken him from Nigeria to other parts of the World, rising to a top level with invaluable links and interfaces, and reputation built on character, passion and integrity.