As the D-day approaches, the battle for the Presidency in Ekiti State is between President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP Doyin Adebusuyi, Ado Ekiti
The two major parties are only contesting for the presidential, national and state assemblies elections as the state just held its governorship election on July 14 last year which was won by Dr. Kayode Fayemi of the APC. The election petition tribunal has confirmed Fayemi as the dully elected governor, but the PDP candidate, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, vowed to appeal the court’s verdict and this is causing a lot of distractions for the party.
Leading campaigns of the PDP are faces like former governor Ayodele Fayose, the Minority Senate Leader Senator Abiodun Olujimi, Duro Faseyi representing Ekiti North, former deputy governors Paul Alabi and Prof. Kolapo Olusola.
On the other hand, the APC boasts of the likes of Governor Fayemi, Senator Fatimat Raji-Rasaki, former governors Niyi Adebayo and Segun Oni, former Minister of State for Works Prince Dayo Adeyeye and former Speaker, House of Assembly, Femi Bamisile, among others.
While the APC is being embraced and new defectors from other parties are increasing its membership by the days, the PDP on the other hand, is battling to put an end to the crisis of supremacy between former governor Fayose, said to be a major promoter and financier of the party in the state, and Senator Olujimi.
Many PDP faithful are seeing this development between the two titans as a clog that could affect the chances of PDP candidates in the elections, including Atiku.
Since Fayose left office in October last year after completing his second-term, he insists that he remained the leader of the party in the state. On the other hand, Senator Olujimi said she is now the leader because she is the most senior political office holder in the state and the Southwest geo-political zone.
The hard stance of both leaders is having a serious toll on the campaigns of the party as both Fayose and Olujimi now have parallel groups.
However, the APC is reaping from the crisis of its rival to deepen its love in the hearts of the electorate, especially civil servants who form the bulk of the about 961, 000 eligible voters in the state.
Governor Fayemi’s actions since he came back are also being embraced by the people of the state. The APC-controlled state has rolled out many mouth-watering incentives to workers across board, in addition to prompt payment of salaries and even payment of part of the salary arrears inherited from the Fayose administration. But the governor has said the actions were not meant to appease the workers for electoral purposes.
Aside those in the civil service, Fayemi has also cancelled some of the actions of the former governor described as “anti-people” such as the education tax imposed on students in public and private primary and secondary schools across the state and subsequently announced free education from primary to secondary school levels. Besides, Fayemi announced payment of WAEC/NECO fees for hundreds of final year students in secondary schools.
The state government has also approved free JAMB forms for over 3000 brilliant but indigent persons seeking admission into universities. Owners of buildings demolished without compensation by the former governor are now being allowed to re-build them.
Many residents see the governor’s actions as timely, strategic and in the right direction, and this is fast affecting their psychology, going by the way many of them responded to questions regarding the coming elections.
In terms of the campaign tempo, more of President Buhari’s billboards and posters are seen in almost every corner of the towns, compared to those of Atiku, ostensibly because of the internal crisis that is daily affecting the PDP fold negatively.
Notwithstanding the amount of publicity in the ongoing campaigns, both political parties are claiming that they would win the forthcoming election.
Governor Fayemi who doubles as chairman of the Presidential Campaign Council in the state, during the inauguration of the Buhari/ Osinbajo Campaign Organisation, said he was sure of delivering the state to Buhari and others contesting on the platform of the APC.
The chairman of the party in the state, Mr. Paul Omotosho, spoke in the same vein, expressing happiness and gratitude to Fayemi for the good image he is giving the APC in the state by his programmes and actions since he assumed power.
As for the PDP, only events of the next few days would determine the fate of the party, as a good number of those that are supposed to be its foot soldiers are currently having one problem or the other.
It would be recalled that not too long ago, all the PDP members serving as local government chairmen in the 16 councils were sacked alongside all the 177 councillors by the state assembly. The chairmen of boards and members of state-owned agencies and corporations were also shown the way out, leaving the PDP in the cold.
Monarchs also extended overtures to Buhari when they told him that the state was in dire need of fast development during his campaign to the state on Tuesday, February 5.
The monarchs requested that Ekiti should be connected to the national railway project. They also asked for the appointment of a minister to replace Governor Fayemi in the Federal Executive Council, rehabilitation of all federal roads in the state as well refund of state money expended on some roads.
The monarchs made the demands in a position paper read by their Secretary, who is also the Ajero of Ijero Ekiti, Oba Joseph Adewole, while interacting with them during his ‘Next Level’ presidential campaign train to the state.
“You must also work hard to end the ASUU strike so that our children can go back to school. Your success is our success, we assure you of our support in the arduous task to take Nigeria to the next level,” they said.
Fayemi, who had earlier promised the president of getting 90 percent of the votes, assured that the government was planning to dualise the Ado-Akure road, complete the federal housing units, the federal secretariat and the Lagos-Kano rail line, adding, “So we have no option but to return President Buhari, because Ekiti people are progressives. “