- Says its triumph of democracy
- Tinubu congratulates him
- Fayose: It’s pyrrhic victory
Victor Ogunje and Adedayo Adejobi in Ado Ekiti
It was sweet victory for Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, saturday as he emerged the winner of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary in Ekiti State. Picking up 941 out of the 2, 313 valid votes cast, Fayemi defeated 31 other contestants, including former Governor Segun Oni, who is also the deputy national chairman (South) of the party.
The victor, according to a reliable source, got a telephone call from the National Leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu, who congratulated him, shortly before he (Fayemi) mounted the podium to deliver his acceptance speech.
But in a swift reaction, Governor Ayo Fayose, who is from the ruling party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), attempted to pour cold water on Fayemi’s triumphant steam, dismissing it as a pyrrhic victory that would not last.
“I thank the APC for giving Ekiti people a candidate they love to vote against all times,” he said cynically, adding, “Fayemi should not celebrate this pyrrhic victory yet because it is nothing but a flame that will be quenched on July 14. He should expect to suffer worse defeat compared to that of 2014.”
The rescheduled primary election that was held under a very tight security saw Oni coming a distant second with 481 votes.
An aggregate of 2, 327 delegates were accredited for the election, out of which 2,313 valid votes were cast while 11 were invalidated.
Declaring the results, the chairman of the APC Primary Election Committee and Nasarawa State Governor, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura, said other contestants, including Kayode Ojo, got 281; Femi Bamisile, 179; Oluwole Oluyede, 110; Gbenga Aluko, 86; and Bimbo Daramola, 28. Bamidele Faparusi polled 23 votes; Babafemi Ojudu, who had stepped down got, 10 votes; Opeyemi Bamidele, 8; Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, 4; Ayo Arise, 2; Muyiwa Olumilua 2; Oladipo Ogunkoyode, 8; Kola Alabi, 14; Bisi Aloba , 7; Sesan Fatoba, 45; and Victor Kolade, 16.
Ojudu was said to have failed to notify the committee officially about his withdrawal from the race.
With this victory, Fayemi will slug it out with Deputy Governor Kolapo Olusola, who had picked the ticket of PDP last week.
Almakura said, “Fayemi, having polled the highest number of valid votes, is hereby declared the candidate of the APC for the July 14 Governorship election.”
He said, “I commend and appreciate you for your patience, commitment, and believe in the great party. I thank you for making this exercise a great success. I am proud to be a member of APC in Nigeria.”
Al-Makura commended the aspirants for their doggedness and sacrifice for the party, saying the same spirit should be exhibited at the July 14 election for APC to be able to win the election.
In his acceptance speech, Fayemi said he felt humbled to have been found worthy to be the APC flag bearer just as he thanked the delegates for reposing confidence in him. The winner, who was followed to the podium by all the other aspirants, appealed to them to support him in the task of winning Ekiti.
He said Al-Makura and his team did a good job by being transparent in the conduct of the election, saying he would work with all stakeholders in the interest of the party.
Feyemi advised the aspirants to forget whatever division the primary must have caused and focus attention on the coming election and how best to make APC relevant in the state, saying, “No one, including myself, is greater than the party.”
He appreciated Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande, Chief Segun Osoba, and Otunba Niyi Adebayo for their contributions to the success of the primary election.
According to the minister, “Ekiti people should be rest assured that I am not on vengeance mission. In the course of ruling as a governor, I must have committed some errors by omission or commission, I hereby apologise to those who must have been adversely affected by our policies.
“I thank my co-contestants, we are in this journey together and we must be committed to the struggle to reclaim Ekiti and banish poverty from our land.”
He announced the formation of a Candidate Advisory Committee, with all the contestants as members and said he would be ready to work with all of them to achieve victory for the APC.
Initially, 33 aspirants showed interest in the plum seat before the withdrawal, on Thursday, of Ojudu, who is also Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters.
The election was truncated by irate party men on May 5, who trooped to the venue and smashed the ballot boxes, citing cases of electoral malfeasance allegedly perpetrated by one of the aspirants.
The winner was the last to declare interest in the contest and this accounted for the seeming bellicosity displayed by other contestants, who said he ought to play a leadership role rather than plunging into the race with those that passed through his political tutelage.