Fayemi beats Oni, emerges Ekiti APC gov candidate



Olufemi Atoyebi, Kamarudeen Ogundele and Femi Makinde

A former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has won the governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress in the state

He polled 941 to defeat other aspirants including a former governor of the state, Segun Oni, in the primary conducted under a tight security.

The minister of mines and steel development won the primary despite stiff opposition from some of the aspirants, who campaigned vigorously against him.

Other results as declared by the committee are, Adesua Oladiran (04), Adeyanju Bodunde (03), Ajayi Adebowale Oluranti (01), Yinka Akerele (11), Kola Alabi (14), Aloba Adebisi (07), Gbenga Aluko (86), Ayo Arise (02), and Opeyemi Bamidele(08).

They also included Femi Bamisile, (179), Bimbo Daramola (28), Oladipupo Ogunkoya (01) and Adekunle Esan with no vote, Bamidele Faparusi (23) and Sesan Fatoba (43).

Fayemi in an interview with one of our correspondents, said he owed the victory to God, his fellow aspirants, the APC and the people of Ekiti who he wanted to serve.

He said, “The confidence repose in me by delegates who are exco members of our party is truly humbling. I owe the gratitude to them. We have a challenge, we must rescue Ekiti State.”

At the rescheduled APC governorship primary on Saturday, tight security was put in place to forestall a repeat of the ugly incident that marred the exercise when it was first held a week ago.

There were fears of disruption of the primary by thugs, with the time given by the Independent National Electoral Commission to all political parties to submit their governorship candidates remaining a few days. Such disruption could have resulted in the APC’s possible inability to present a candidate.

But such fears were allayed at the Oke-Ila venue of the primary, with several detachments of security agencies from Oyo, Anambra, Lagos and other states, drafted to maintain law and order at the venue.

As early as 6.30 am, the adjoining streets leading to the venue were condoned off, with restriction of movements observed with force. There were 16 security checkpoints mounted on Afao Road where the venue is located. Every accredited person had to go through each of the security checkpoints which were manned by heavily-armed security men. Movement of vehicles was also prohibited into the area except those conveying security operatives.

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All aspirants, irrespective of status or present political position, were made to walk to the gate of the venue and they were not allowed to enter with more than an aide or supporter. Former governor of the state, Kayode Fayemi, who came at exactly 10.39am to the venue, endured the strict security policy put in place. He went in with an aide and was allowed to move ahead of the queue,

Another past governor of the state, Niyi Adebayo, came in six minutes later. He was without an aide and walked through without the usual praise singing synonymous with politicians of his status.

The accreditation process ended at 12:40 pm while voting started at about 1 pm.

The chairman of the Election Committee and Nasarawa State Governor, Umar Al-Makura, said 2,327 delegates were accredited for the primary out of the 2,618 delegates submitted by the National Secretariat of the party.

First to cast their votes were the statutory delegates comprised of former governors, as well as past members of the national and state assemblies in the party. They were joined by members of the State Executive Committee, before other delegates cast their votes.

Voting ended at about 4:13 pm while sorting began at 4:57 pm after calling out the agents of the aspirants.

However, despite the presence of heavily armed security operatives, the exercise did not go without few incidents that were quickly checked by policemen and other security agencies at the venue.

A few delegates and agents of some aspirants, who attempted to smuggle bottles and sachets of an alcoholic drink into the venue, were turned back by policemen, while such products were immediately destroyed. There were some suspected hoodlums who also attempted to force their way in by aggressively confronting security operatives. Some of them were drunk.

At around 10.13am, a man tried to force his way in but he was stopped and promptly arrested by policemen at the gate. At 11.02am, another suspected hoodlum was bundled into a police van and taken away, while a middle-aged man, who hitherto claimed to be an agent without any form of identification, engaged the police in an argument when he was stopped at the gate.

Upon his arrest, he was searched and charms were found on him. While pleading for his freedom, he said he was just an observer with no link to any of the aspirants or the party.

Four others were arrested together at the gate as they tried to force their way in. After interrogation, they claimed to be agents of some of the aspirants but they had no form of identification. When searched, they were found with N158,000. They were promptly arrested and taken away.

The heavy security at the area where the exercise was held also paralysed economic activities. The NNPC mega petrol station and Five Os petrol station on the street of the venue were closed, with the staff seen idling around.

The two petrol stations were converted to temporary car parks and control stations by combined security forces at the venue. Most of the vehicles belonging to security agencies were parked inside the premises of the two companies. Some of the workers said their bosses did not inform them that the Afao road in Oke-Ila area of Ado-Ekiti would be closed while the exercise lasted.

Apart from the two companies, owners of lock-up shops in the area did not open to customers because of the restrictions on movement and presence of heavily armed policemen.

Supporters and aides of the aspirants were seen loitering around other streets, waiting anxiously for the results. But some of them who spoke to one of our correspondents claimed that the security operatives at the gate deliberately denied them access to the venue despite having the necessary requirements.

There were few accreditations for journalists also, which forced many of them to stay at the gate and rely on information from their colleagues who were allowed into the venue.

Aspirants who spoke with our correspondents commended the peaceful conduct of the primary.

A former Ekiti State Governor and governorship aspirant, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said the exercise was better arranged than the previous one.

“It was a much better arrangement today. It was orderly and the instructions were clear; there was no rowdiness in any part of the exercise.

“The committee has done an incredibly good job and the security was also tight. People who had no business being there were not allowed in.”

Another former governor of the state, Segun Oni, also commended the election committee. The former Deputy National Chairman of the APC said anyone could conduct the primary inasmuch as the integrity of the primary was not compromised.

He said, “No problems. The output was good.”

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