Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
After surviving gunshots at a political rally three months ago, former Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele at the weekend emerged the senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State for Ekiti Central Senatorial District.
In another development, however, aspirants that participated in the APC House of Representatives primary held in Ekiti the state called on the APC National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole to cancel the outcome of the election.
Bamidele, former National Publicity Secretary of Alliance for Democracy (AD) and ex-Chairman of the House of Representatives on Legislative Research & Budget and, defeated the incumbent Senator, Mrs. Fatimat Raji-Rasaki to emerge the APC candidate.
Declaring the result yesterday at the party’s secretariat in Ado Ekiti, the Chairman of the National Working Committee on Senatorial primary in Ekiti, Mr Ibrahim Sule, said Bamidele polled a total of 61,823 votes to defeat his closest rival, who garnered 3,289.
In the election in Ekiti North, Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi clinched the senatorial ticket with a total of 2,763 while former National Publicity Secretary off Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Dayo Adeyeye won in the South with a total vote of 51, 443.
Former Chief of Staff to the Governor-elect, Mr Yemi Adaramodu won the House of Representatives ticket in Ekiti South Federal constituency 1.
After the declaration, Bamidele commended former Governor Niyi Adebayo and the Governor-elect, Dr Kayode Fayemi for standing by him and prevented some powerful individuals from imposing Raji-Rasaki on the party.
He noted that the direct primary conducted in Ekiti had afforded every member the right of participation as entrenched in democratic ideals, noting that the act of imposition would only brew ill-feelings among party members.
He lauded party members for exhibiting so much love for him, urging them to replicate the gesture next year’s February 16, when the presidential and National Assembly elections will be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said, “I will continue to hold Raji-Rasaki in high esteem. We are in this party together and there was need for us to coalesce efforts and build a virile party of our choice. It was history that repeated itself, because I succeeded her in the House of Representatives. The same thing is about to happen. I give glory to God.
“I want her to exhibit the spirit of sportsmanship by working for me
in the coming election in the interest of Ekiti and our party, APC. I am of the conviction that my being voted as the senatorial candidate was borne out of the need to have popular candidates that can enhance the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in Ekiti in the 2019 presidential election,” Bamidele said.
However, aspirants from Ekiti North Federal Constituency I; Hon Bimbo Daramola, Bunmi Ogunleye and Olufemi Ajayi accused the Dr. Ibrahim Sule
National Working Committee for the National Assembly primary in Ekiti
of manipulating the process in favour of aspirant found to have political tie with some party leaders.
They insisted that there was no ward where election was held in Oye Local Government Area and Ikole Local Government Area, alleging that the results were concocted in favour of Mr. Peter Owolabi.
At a news conference held in Ado Ekiti yesterday, Daramola urged the APC to abide by the tenets of democracy they were found of preaching, rather than being hypocritical by doing what negates the ideals they preached.
He challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Department of State Services (DSS) and the police to present the reports of the primary to substantiate whether election was truly held in the federal constituency.
He said, “This brazen daylight robbery has the capacity to injure not only the reputation of our party but also create bad blood among our members. They should stop behaving in an unruly manner because we are facing
the PDP next year’s February in major elections.
“What we saw yesterday in Ekiti North Federal Constituency 1, was a
travesty. It was not a reflection of the peoples will. The result was a disappointment and brazen desecration of democracy in our land. APC was supposed to be a party for change.
“I have been part of its struggles giving everything to the party. If I will lose a poll, it should be in an honourable manner. The primary is not about us, but about our people. If we must practice what we preach, I do not expect what happened in Oye and Ikole Ekiti on Friday.”