By Rotimi Ojomoyela
ALTHOUGH tomorrow’s governorship election will be contested by 35 political parties, the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and main opposition, All Progressives Congress, APC, are obviously the front runners.
This is despite the presence of influential candidates such as Bisi Omoyeni of Mega Party of Nigeria, MPN, Sikiru Lawal of Labour Party, LP, and the latest sensation, Otunba Segun Adewale of the Action Democratic Party, ADP.
Flying the flag of the APC is Dr. Kayode Fayemi, a former governor and former minister of Solid Minerals Development while the PDP has the incumbent Deputy Governor, Professor Kolapo Olusola, as its candidate.
The race is panning out as a two-horse contest between PDP and APC because of their huge membership, financial muscle, spread and strength in the 16 local councils and 177 wards where they have enduring structures.
Most of the other political parties presenting candidates for this election lack these advantages and some of them are only operational during election periods and disappear into oblivion after elections.
Based on this, political pundits in the state have narrowed the race to a two-horse race, which is the APC and PDP, even though the LP, MPN, ADP, and SDP are expected to make a significant impact.
Ahead of the election, a peep into how the two parties stand in all the 16 local councils indicates that an interesting contest is in the offing.
The Ekiti State capital is a cosmopolitan town. It is the meeting and melting pot of all Ekiti indigenes both home and abroad, it is also the commercial nerve centre of the state. It is the most populous town in the state, and it harbours more people from other tribes and parts of the country than any other town in the state.
The Deputy Governorship candidates of the PDP, Deji Kazeem Ogunsakin and that of APC, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, are from the town. The votes will definitely be divided among the indigenes of the town. But residents who are largely strangers usually determine where the pendulum of victory swings.
Egbeyemi is a strong political factor in Ado Ekiti. He was chairman of the council and commissioner. He has a strong political base. He also enjoys one special privilege, he is a Chief. These are some of the factors that could make the APC garner votes in the town.
Ogunsakin, 39, an ex-banker, is a youth with a lot of vitality. He enjoys popularity among the youths and a section of the Muslim community. As a former council chairman, he also enjoys the goodwill of people in the town.
Egbeyemi will be supported by Senator Babafemi Ojudu, former Deputy Governor, Modupe Adelabu, Sunday Ibitoye, Tope Olanipekun, Chief David Adigun, David Taiwo, and Ahmed Shittu among others.
The SUBEB chairman, Senator Bode Ola, Hon. Femi Bamisile, Hon. Musa Arogundade, and Hon. Tope Fasanmi are expected to wield some influence on election day.
This is the headquarters of Ekiti South Senatorial District, as well as the second most populated town, after Ado-Ekiti. It is also the hometown of the PDP candidate, Prof. Kolapo Olusola.
Apart from Olusola, the town parades four other governorship candidates, among whom are Bisi Omoyeni of MPN, Abiodun Aluko of AC, and Ajibare Tosin of the Independent Democrats.
This community is home to some of the most vociferous and politically active youths of the state. It is also a community that has been active in the agitation for southern agenda. The elite of the town have been mobilising for the Deputy Governor among other interest groups, like the chiefs and heads of quarters.
Olusola will be supported by a member of the House of Assembly, Hon. Wole Ayeni, Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Ogundayomi, Mr. Gboyega Akinola and Sesan Omoyeni.
To fight on the side of the APC are: Former Majority leader of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Funminiyi Afuye, Senator Tony Adeniyi, Dr Wole Oluyede, Mr. Kola Alabi, Muyiwa Olumilua, and Sesan Fatoba among others.
This is a council where the PDP has dominance. Hon. Kehinde Odebunmi, the Commissioner for Agriculture and former member of House of Representatives holds the fort here and he is expected to lead the foot soldiers in the council for the PDP. He will be supported by Hon. members of the House of Assembly, Sina Animasaun and Segun Adewumi, Lere Olayinka, Chief James Adeosun and others.
But on the ground for the APC in this council are the State Chairman of the party, Chief Jide Awe; former House of Representatives member, Oyetunde Ojo; Akogun Tai Oguntayo; Kehinde Odebunmi, Sunday Owolabi, and Kayode Fasakin, among others.
The two parties have equal followership and strength in this council. The APC will be led by the new decampee and member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Olamide Oni. He will be backed by old horses like Hon. Dapo Karounwi and Chief Dele Olowoyeye.
The PDP will be led by a serving member of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Afolabi Akanni, Chief Idowu Akinyele, and Hon. Bolaji Jeje among others.
The votes in this council will be keenly contested. The two parties are strong in this local government and the votes may go either way. APC parades the likes of Chief Ojo Atibioke, Hon. Wumi Ogunlola, Dapo Kolawole, Chief Femi Oyebanji and Chief Ayo Folowosele.
These are strong politicians that would make things hard for the PDP.
The PDP will counter the APC forces through politicians that made things happen for Fayose in 2014. They are Commissioner for Finance, Chief Toyin Ojo, Hon. Dayo Akinleye, and other Fayose die-hards.
Situated in Ekiti North Senatorial District, Moba seems to be the natural habitat of the progressives until the 2014 election when Governor Ayodele Fayose won in this council.
In 2003, when Fayose bestrode the state like a colossus and won his first term, the then Alliance for Democracy still won in the council. A son of the town, Chief James Kolawole also won the Senatorial seat.
The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Kola Oluwawole is from this Council. He will be backed by his colleague in the Assembly and the Commissioner for Information, Hon. Lanre Ogunsuyi to make the PDP grab the highest number of votes in this council.
APC is expected to prove a hard nut to crack because it has former Commissioner for Youths, Hon. Kayode Olaosebikan and ex-member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Robert Ajiboye, leading the pack. He will be backed by former Assembly members, Hons Michael Olajide and Jide Ogunsuyi to make the game tough for the ruling party.
PDP has always been a dominant party in this council until former Governor Segun Oni defected to the APC. Oni has a lot of influence going for him in this council and he may deploy these to win for Fayemi. He will be supported by former Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi, Cyril Fasuyi, Prince Akintade Olayisade, and Gbenga Agbeyo among others to do the magic for the APC.
PDP too won’t be easy to crush in this council. The likes of Hon. Thaddeus Aina, a serving House of Assembly member, Abiola Jeje, Secretary to the State Government, Dr Modupe Alade, the Commissioner for Works, Mrs Funmi Ogun, will make the winning hard for the APC
This council has the third largest number of voters in the state. It is fairly big and forms part of the councils that generate swing votes.
The PDP is very strong in this council. It parades a serving member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Kehinde Agboola, the PDP Chairman in the state, Chief Gboyega Oguntuase, two House of Assembly members, Mrs. Titi Owolabi Akerele, Chief Aremo Ogunleye and the present council boss.
The opposition APC has Hon. Bunmi Awotiku, Ranti Akerele, Hon. Wole Ayeni, Hon. Dele Olugbemi, Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan and others that will give the party a leverage.
This is the local government of the candidate of the APC, Dr Fayemi. It is expected to be a comfort zone. Though, he was defeated in Oye in 2014, it is going to be a different kettle of fish this time around. Fayemi has been having aggressive campaigns in the council to prevent a serious backlash like was witnessed four years ago. Fayemi will be backed by political giants like Senator Ayo Arise, Hon. Bimbo Daramola, Dr. Mojisola Kolade, Dr. Segun Osinkolu, Hon. Rufus Adunmo, Bamitale Oguntoyinbo and others.
However, PDP has reliable and hard-fighting politicians in this council. They will be led by the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Hon. Samuel Omotoso, leader of Government Business in the Assembly, Hon. Tunji Akinyele and others, to make things difficult for Fayemi on election day.
This is the council of the serving Senator representing Ekiti North, Duro Faseyi, who is a strong PDP chieftain. He will be supported by a serving state lawmaker, Hon. Cecilia Dada, Hon. Oladipo Arogunmasa and others. Fayose is popular in this council and has cult-like followers that will do the magic except APC fights back in a deft and tactical manner.
Meanwhile, APC parades the likes of Hon. Segun Erinle, former Commissioner for Rural Development, Mr. Folorunso Olabode and ex-council boss, Prince Bamgboye Adegoroye among other topnotchers in the local government and this will make the battle very fierce.
Emure Local Government is one of the smallest local governments in the state. The PDP may have serious problems winning the council because of the influence of the former Minister of Works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, who just defected to the APC. Though Adeyeye is from a neighbouring Ise/Orun Local Government.
The incumbent Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Kolapo Kolade is from the council. He has moderate influence in the town that may be of help to the PDP.
APC also has the likes of former Majority Leader in the State House of Assembly, Hon. Muyiwa Abegunde and former Commissioner for Labour in the state, Mrs. Bunmi Adelugba.
This council has always been a stronghold of the PDP before the defection of former Minister of Works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye to the APC, a couple of months ago. He fell out with Fayose because of the bedlam that dogged the governorship primary ticket of the party. The Governor supported his deputy, Prof. Kolapo Olusola in the primary.
Prince Adeyeye has enormous influence in the community and he would want to prove to the PDP that it has lost an eminent member to the opposition. He will be helped by former Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Owoseeni Ajayi and the Deputy Majority leader of the Assembly, Hon. Ebenezer Alagbada to garner votes for the APC.
The PDP doesn’t have enough bigwigs in the council that can wrest power from the duo of Adeyeye and Ajayi. It will be upset if the PDP wins the council in this election.
Gbonyin Local Government has always been a stronghold of the PDP. But the defection of bigwigs like Chief Ropo Adesanya, Senator Gbenga Aluko, and their supporters will affect the party in a way. The Deputy Director-General of Kayode Fayemi Campaign organisation, Hon. Bamidele Faparusi is from the local government. He will be backed by former Speaker Adewale Omirin, Mr. Remi Olorunleke, Hon. Femi Awe, Wole Olujobi, Muyiwa Abegunde, Paul Omotoso and others.
Those that will fight on the side of the PDP include: a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Akin Awodunmila, Mrs Sade Akinrinmola, and Hon. Dele Fajemilehin.
The PDP appears to have a slight edge in this council because of the influence of Senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District, Mrs. Biodun Olujimi. The former Deputy Governor has been spending and empowering so many groups across the council and this will make it difficult for APC to make an inroad in the council. She will be supported by members of the House of Assembly, Hons Dare Pelemo and Adeojo Fajana, Commissioner for Lands, Hon. Taelolu Otitoju, Hon. Samuel Ajibola.
The former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Femi Bamisile will lead the APC to this battle. He enjoys high acceptability in the council that will pose some problems to the PDP. He will be backed by Alhaji Tiwon Loju, Mr. Muyiwa Idiowo, Hon. Rotimi Ajidara, and Mr. Adewumi Apalara among others.
There will be a balance of forces in this council. The governorship ambition of Senator Bode Olowoporoku and Ambassador Dare Bejide, who are from Ilawe-Ekiti, the largest town, may affect the chances of the PDP and APC in this election. Olowoporoku is the candidate of African Democratic Congress, ACD while Bejide is presently carrying the flag of the People’s Party of Nigeria, PPN.
The council looks urbane in the pattern of voting. In 2003, Femi Falana, SAN, of the National Conscience Party, NCP, won the council as a governorship candidate and this may play out in this election.
Olowoporoku has been the political leader of the local government for long and is widely loved by his people. He may cause an upset for the two dominant parties.
However, Fayose has a lot of foot-soldiers that will help the PDP such as Mr. Lanre Omolase, Hon. Bunmi Olugbade, Hon. Michael Adedeji, a member of the House of Representatives, and Hon. Segun Adekola.
There will be a balance of forces in this council because this is where the political titans are domiciled. Governor Fayose is from the council. He is not only a hard nut to crack, but also highly enigmatic and tactical. He will be supported by Hon. Dapo Olagunju, Chief of Staff, Chief Dipo Anisulowo, a member of House of Representatives, Hon. Ayodeji Oladimeji and Hon. Henry Aladeyelu among others.
The APC has giants like former Governor Niyi Adebayo, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, Mr. Jamiu Mojeed, Akeem Jamiu, Major Tajudeen Femi Awe, Toba Adaramola and other top stalwarts.
The votes from the council will be keenly contested, but it is too dicey to predict who will emerge victoriously.