Ahead of its primaries scheduled to hold this month, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has conceded senatorial tickets in Ekiti State to its former National Deputy Chairman, Chief Segun Oni, ex- Commissioner for Information & Strategy in Lagos State, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele and former National Publicity Secretary of Peoples Democratic (PDP), Prince Adedayo Adeyeye, THISDAY can report.
By implication, the concession has already cast pall on the aspiration of Sen. Fatimat Raji-Rasaki to return to the Senate in 2019 despite her decision to defect to the APC at the height of internal rift that plagued the Ekiti PDP before the just concluded governorship election in the state.
Multiple sources at national and state level revealed this development to THISDAY at the weekend, which they justified on the need to pacify Oni, Bamidele and Adeyeye considering the role they played to ensure the APC and its candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi win the July 14 governorship election.
One of the sources said while the governor-elect favoured Opeyemi for Ekiti Central Senatorial District, the APC had already resolved to nominate Oni and Adeyeye in Ekiti North and South respectively.
However, according to the source, the APC will still hold free and fair primaries in the three senatorial districts in line with the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). All senatorial aspirants are free to participate in the primaries despite the concession.
He explained that Fayemi was not oblivious of the impending crisis that might erupt in the Ekiti APC if the political gladiators “are accorded with due recognition after working for his victory in the last election. Opeyemi, for instance, paid supreme price just to ensure the victory of the APC and Fayemi.”
Another source confirmed that Fayemi had “to make the concession before the governorship election because it was evident he would not be able to defeat the PDP candidate, Prof. Olusola Kolapo due to the overbearing political influence of the incumbent governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose in the state.”
Even though his former Chief of Staff, Mr. Yemi Adaramodu had indicated interest to contest senatorial race in Ekiti South, the source said Fayemi would not support him because he had already conceded the three senatorial nominations to Oni, Bamidele and Adeyeye.
The source confirmed that rather than contesting the senatorial race, Oni had already given the slot to his die-hard adherent, Sen. Olubunmi Adetunmbi, who occupied the seat between 2011 and 2015.
Unlike the case of Oni, the source revealed that both Bamidele and Adeyeye “have accepted to contest the senatorial race with the support of the APC National Deputy Chairman, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo.”
An entirely different source revealed the plan to reward former Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon. Femi Bamisile, who was the Director of Contact & Mobilisation of the Fayemi Campaign
Apart from Bamisile, the source disclosed that Fayemi might also pacify other governorship aspirants including Dr. Wole Oluyede and Hon. Funminiyi Afuye, who had declared to contest the state legislative race.
The source said: “A lot of concessions have been made to stabilise our party. But Fayemi seems not ready to gamble with the 26 Assembly members. He wanted those that will be loyal to him because he has just four years. He may choose not less than 20 of the would-be state lawmakers.”
Despite this political permutation, an APC chieftain in the state, Dr. Olusegun Osinkolu yesterday clarified that Fayemi’s victory would serve as a catalyst to his senatorial ambition rather than stalling it.
Osinkolu, who is seeking to represent Ekiti North in the Senate in 2019, said the fact that he came from the same local government with Fayemi would not serve as an impediment to his senatorial aspiration.
He added that he “is still pursuing his aspiration with vigour and that he stands a good
prognosis to get the party’s ticket and win the election based on his acceptability among the members of the party.
He said the constitution of the APC does not foreclose people’s aspiration based on territorial location for any elective position provided such aspirant is acceptable to his party and the electorate.
“Fayemi’s victory in the last election will help in propelling my victory if given the party’s ticket. Our party members are ready to give me their nods to get the ticket, having laboured hard to launder the APC in the past.
“I was one of the few heroes that fought the party’s course during the long drawn legal battle culminating in Dr Fayemi’s first coming as a governor of this state. I contested for Senatorial seat twice in Ekiti North and lost narrowly to Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi in 2011 and 2015 respectively.