By Victor OgunjeÂ in Ado EkitiÂ
No fewer than 33 aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), will today slug it out as the party holds its primary to elect its candidate for theÂ July 14Â governorship poll.
The party had initially received letters of intent from 37 aspirants, but only Â 33 formally bought the expression of interest form in Abuja.
This appears to be the most keenly contested primary in the history of the state, probably due to the caliber of personalities involved.
The event will hold at the Oluyemi Kayode stadium, situated in the heart of Ado Ekiti, the capital city.
Former governors Kayode Fayemi, who is the present Minister of Mines and Steel Development and Mr. Segun Oni are among those that would square it up in the highly pulsating race.
Also having their eyes fixed on the ticket are Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Senator Gbenga Aluko, Hon. Femi Bamisile, Dr. Wole Oluyede, Hon. Bamidele Faparusi, Hon. Bimbo Daramola, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, Senator Ayo Arise, Dr. Wole Oluleye and Dr. Adebayo Orire.
Others are Mr. Kola Alabi, Mr. Kayode Ojo, Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua, Mr. Victor Kolade, Mr. Debo Ajayi, Chief Dele Okeya, Chief Diran Adesua, Chief Sesan Fatoba, Dr. Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, Mr. Olumuyiwa Coker and Deacon Adekunle Esan.
The rest are Mr. Dipo Ogunkoyode, Mr. Bodunde Adeyanju, CaptainÂ SundayÂ Adebomi, Otunba Bisi Aloba, Otunba Yinka Akerele, Hon. Charles Dahunsi, Mr. Ajayi Olowo, Prince Tosin Olofinluyi and Mrs. Taye Matesun.
Â The National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has assured that the primary would be devoid of manipulation.
The National Chairman personally came to Ekiti to interact with the aspirants, assuring that the Ekiti primary would be better handled to avert the kind of controversies that trailed Ondo primary which produced Governor Olurotimi Akeredolu as the candidate.
In the last few days, all the aspirants have been engaging in last minute horse-trading and serious scouting for delegates .
The delegates have also been savouring huge pecuniary gains, as the aspirants enticed them with goodies to influence their senses of judgement on who to vote for.
Most disturbing to the party hierarchy was how the aspirants had been attacking one another in the media, particularly on social media platforms, in a manner that had further demarketed the party.
The APC State Chairman, Chief Jide Awe, at a function warned that the party members may end up defaming their own candidate with the desperation being exhibited and make it difficult for the party to sell whoever would emerge.
Meanwhile, the outgoing police commissioner, Mr. Abdullahi Chafe, has advised that all the aspirants should reach consensus on delegatesâ€™ list before the election.
Chafe, who is from Zamfara State in Northwest geo political zone, will today retire from the service after clocking the mandatory 60 years of age.
In his valedictory press conference at the Commandâ€™s headquarters in Ado EkitiÂ on Friday, Chafe said the police were ready to provide sufficient security for the APC delegates.
He said there was need for the primary to be rancour-free for Ekiti to be at peace, adding that nobody would be allowed to threaten the relative peace.
Chafe advised that for the election to be crisis free, there was need for the Nasarawa State Governor, AlhajiÂ Tanko Almakura-led Governorship panel to extract commitment from all the aspirants through agreement on the delegatesâ€™ list.
â€œI will only advise that His Excellency, Alhaji Almakura should meet with all the aspirants before the primary and allow them to reach agreement on the list of delegates.
â€œThis is the only thing I think can generate crisis after the conduct of the election. I know it will be difficult to agree on the list and later change that the list was not genuine
â€œBut as regards security, our men will be on ground and we shall ensure adequate security for all leaders and delegatesâ€, he assured.
The police boss also commissioned the new Police Hospital built within the premises of Okesa Police Station to offer healthcare services toÂ policemen and other residents of the state.