Jega, Gambari, Onaiyekan, others raise concern over 2019 election
INEC chairman Prof Mahmoud Yakubu
As Ekiti State governorship election draws near, the tempo of political activities has increased. According to the timetable released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the election will hold on July 14 this year.
Aside from the two major political parties, that is, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the major opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), snippets from other fringe parties show that they are not leaving anything to chance. Some of these parties may be the beneficiaries of a possible implosion that may occur in APC and PDP after the parties’ primaries. Currently, the parties with visible presence in the state include:
Social Democratic Party (SDP)
The Social Democratic Party, which has just come to Ekiti State, is yet to officially have a governorship aspirant. However, events in the past weeks showed it may be the third force that some of the bigwigs in the other political parties could flock to at the appointed time. As the party finds its feet in the state, many aggrieved aspirants on the platform of the PDP are already moving there in droves. They are the aspirants, who have been at loggerheads with the ruling party over the imposition of the Deputy Governor, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, as the sole candidate.
Some aspirants who could not stomach the alleged imposition were seen at the stakeholders meeting of the SDP, organised by the national leadership of the party, which held in Ado Ekiti, the state capital recently. They included the erstwhile Deputy Governor to Ayodele Fayose, Mr. Bisi Omoyeni, the former Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Dare Bejide, who was represented by Mr. Yemi Arokodare, while Senator Raji Rasaki was represented at the forum by Chief Titi Oluwatuyi, who announced her desire to join the party and the member representing Ekiti Central 2 Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr. Olamide Oni, was physically present at the forum.
Speaking at the stakeholders meeting, Omoyeni, a former Managing Director of Wema Bank, urged the SDP members not to fear as nobody can intimidate them. “This party was established by divine creation and it has become the third force. Be assured that our people are coming en masse to this party. Any support the party needs to occupy Oke Ayoba (government house) we will render it. Most of the aspirants who are still slugging it out in other parties are coming here. In fact, 70 percent of the members of PDP in Ekiti are moving to SDP.”
The National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yemi Akinbode, who led other National Working Committee (NWC) of the SDP to the stakeholders meeting, said that the meeting was called because of the Ekiti election, which he said was strategic to the party.
“This is the first meeting after the inauguration of the interim state working committee of SDP, because the election is fast approaching. The national leadership of the party mandated me and others, including former Minister of Education, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, to come to Ekiti and quickly put together the stakeholders meeting to explain the vision, programmes, as well as, the structure of the party and our expectations in the coming governorship election in the state. People are already coming out, who ordinarily will not have shown their faces. This is an indication that this is the party to beat.
“It is instructive that those sending representatives are already here. Bisi Omoyeni is here by himself. That is to show that he is here with us. Ambassador Dare Bejide and Mr. Lawrence Oluwawemimo Arokodare are here and that is to show that more are still coming and that is an indication that the house divided against itself can’t stand and that is to show that PDP is in trouble. Our goal and objective is to win the governorship election in Ekiti come July 14,” he said.
The party however constituted six standing committees to galvanize support for it ahead of the election. They are, the Contact and Mobilization, Youth, Women, Communication and strategy, Result and Funding and Elders Committees.
Meanwhile, the Advance People Democratic Party (APDA) in Ekiti State has said it has merged with the SDP. The leader of the party in the state, Chief S. O Elebute, led some members of the party to the SDP stakeholders meeting, where he made the declaration.
Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP)
As one of the newly registered political parties in the country, the ANRP is relying on the youth population, which are mostly listeners to the radio programme of its promoter and the governorship aspirant, Reverend Tunde Afe, who is the Lead Pastor of House of Faith Christian Centre, Ado Ekiti. Afe, who is popular as a life coach\motivational speaker and businessman, has motivational programme on radio that has endeared him to the people of the state. He had once contested for the House of Assembly but was told, shortly before the Assembly primary election that a candidate had been chosen and that action foreclosed his contest and ambition to represent his people. At a press briefing to announce his aspiration, Afe said his experience in that election had prepared him for the current contest, stressing that something urgent must be done to set Ekiti State on the path of growth.
Alliance for Democracy (AD)
AD was formed in 1998 among the three political parties that took part in the 1999 general election along with the PDP and the All Peoples Party (APP). The party once controlled the six states of the southwest before the PDP made inroads to the zone. The party gave birth to the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), but has continued to survive as a fringe party. Its governorship aspirant, Pastor Akinboye Fashogbon, also doubles as the National Secretary of the party. He is so far, the only known contender. He has said the party, which perennially comes third in the state, has changed strategies to help it come first this time round.
Accord Party (AD)
The party is not new, especially in Oyo State, where the founder holds sway. The party boasts of some members in both the state and National Assembly. Its governorship aspirant, Akogun Banji Ojo, said he has no rival, just like Pastor Fashogbon of AD. Members of the party say he has remained the symbol of the Accord in Ekiti State.
The Mega party
Two candidates are vying for the governorship on the platform of the Mega party. Senator Bode Olowoporoku, who was Minister in the Second Republic and Senator representing Ekiti South senatorial district in the National Assembly, from 2003 to 2007. He is an aggrieved PDP politician. He defected from the ruling party, because he felt his ambition was endangered.
The second aspirant, Mr. Biodun Aluko, was the deputy to Governor Fayose in his first tenure. He was removed in controversial circumstances. He was in the PDP before pitching his tent with the Mega Party. The two, no doubt are formidable aspirants that cannot be dismissed in the political calculation of the state, but it is yet to be seen if the platform on which they are aspiring can help their aspirations.
Read More: Ekiti 2018: Another ex-deputy governor quits PDP
The political situation in the state makes the future of these parties unpredictable. While some of them might spring surprises, being beneficiary of the crises being envisaged in APC and PDP, some of them may just not fly in the poll.
Meanwhile, INEC has released the notice of the governorship election in the state in accordance with Section 30 of the Electoral Law.
The State’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Abdul-Ganiyu Raji in a release disclosed that open campaign for political parties would start on April 15.
He also urged the parties to submit the lists of their party agents on the stipulated date and warned that any defaulter would not have party agents for the exercise.
He assured that security agents would continue to monitor those that flouted the rules and regulations of the conduct of the election, while he also warned that those who against it would be prosecuted.
The REC also urged electorate in the state that are yet to collect their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) to do so to enable them participate in the election.
According to him, “Over 513, 000 PVCs have been collected as at last month, while about 221 PVCs were yet to be collected.”