Ekiti: APC, PDP primaries of controversies -2

Bola Bolawole

Bola Bolawole

On June 1, 2018, there was pandemonium (“b’oolo, yaa’mi) at the All Progressives Congress (APC) rally in Ado-Ekiti as a chieftain of the party, Opeyemi Bamidele, was accidentally shot by a policeman at a rally organised by the APC; the rally was to welcome Dr. Kayode Fayemi, its governorship candidate in the July 14, 2018 Ekiti State governorship election, to the state after his resignation from the Federal Executive Council where he had been the Minister of Mines and Steel Development.

The shooting took place at the APC secretariat in Ajilosun, Ado-Ekiti. Opeyemi was a sitting member of the House of Representatives; the Director-General of the Fayemi campaign and had himself been governorship aspirant/candidate for the coveted stool of Governor, Ekiti State.

A news medium reported the incident thus: A member of the seventh House of Representatives and erstwhile governorship aspirant in Ekiti State, Opeyemi Bamidele, and one other person have been shot.

The shooting took place at the All Progressives Congress secretariat in Ajilosun, Ado-Ekiti, during a reception organised for the governorship candidate of the party, Dr. Kayode Fayemi. It was learnt that the bullet came from the rifle of a mobile policeman who was among those deployed to ensure security.

Bamidele has been rushed to an unknown hospital for treatment…Bamidele was standing with the governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), Fayemi, and the former Minister of State for Works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, when the policeman pulled the trigger. Bamidele started muttering, ‘I have been hit by a bullet, I have been hit by a bullet’ repeatedly before he was rushed into a waiting car”.

Bamidele was subsequently flown abroad for further treatment, where he spent many months. On his return, Bamidele described his escape as a miracle. A news medium also reported it this way: A former member of the House of Representatives and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele (has) returned to Ekiti after spending 96 days seeking medical treatment in London over gunshot wounds he sustained during a rally in the state.

Bamidele…while relaying his experience said: ‘Even the London doctors told me clearly that I got my healing through a miracle. I want to say that it wasn’t money that saved me but I received the grace of God… I was shot in the stomach and thigh, in spite of these, I escaped and I didn’t die…It was a miracle that I survived; it was God that did it.

I thought I would spend more than a year in the London hospital but I only spent less than 50 days after which I got miraculous healing’”

Today, the same Bamidele, who literally bit the bullet for Fayemi, is not Fayemi’s favourite for the Ekiti State Government House. Fayemi has reportedly pitched a tent with his erstwhile SSG, Biodun Oyebanji. Although he discredited the primaries that produced Oyebanji, Bamidele has said he will neither go to court nor defect from the party. But had he died immediately he was shot on June 1, 2018, he would have gone to an early grave thinking he died for a worthy cause and believing he had a trusted and reliable political ally in Fayemi!

Prince Dayo Adeyeye was one of those who escaped the policeman’s bullets on June 1, 2018. Adeyeye had decamped into the APC from the PDP as a result of the party’s primaries won by Prof. Kolapo Olusola Eleka, the then deputy governor and anointed godson of the then sitting governor, Ayodele Fayose.

The PDP primaries were keenly contested and Adeyeye actually gave an over-confident Fayose a fright. But, as our people will say, “Kaka k’ile ku, ile a sa”; so also “kii tan ni’gba osun k’a ma ri fi pa omo l’ara” Fayose managed to defeat Adeyeye for his godson, Eleka, and an enraged Adeyeye stormed out of the PDP to join forces with the APC.

Many other PDP leaders acted similarly, including Owoseni Ajayi, the trusted attorney of Fayose when the going was rough for the erstwhile governor. Biodun Olujimi, who pulled out of the PDP primaries at the 11th hour, also momentarily left the party but returned later to settle for the PDP Ekiti South Senatorial District ticket.

Adeyeye said at the event where Bamidele was shot: “I have returned home and my mission is to ensure that we kill Fayose politically by burying him. We shall mobilise well to achieve this task and by the grace of God, this is a must-win and must-accomplish task for all of us”.

Adeyeye had been an Afenifere and Alliance for Democracy (AD) chieftain. When he lost the same PDP governorship ticket to Fayose in 2014, he was compensated with appointment as Minister of State for Works.

Unfortunately, with the then President Goodluck Jonathan losing the 2015 presidential election, Adeyeye’s tenure as Minister was cut short. Joining the APC in 2018, he also got the party’s ticket to contest the Ekiti South Senatorial District election against Olujimi.

He was declared the winner but the courts overturned his victory after just a few months in the Senate. Adeyeye and others’ defection from the PDP into the APC was one of the excuses given by the APC for its winning the 2018 Ekiti governorship election, which it actually massively rigged using “Federal might” (of APC’s President Muhammadu Buhari) in what it termed a “return match”, which is euphemism for the alleged rigging of the 2014 Ekiti governorship election by the PDP using the Federal might (of PDP’s President Goodluck Jonathan).

Today, Adeyeye is one of the APC leaders condemning the party’s governorship primaries, having been left in the lurch by the same Fayemi they gave up everything to support in 2018.

In PDP, Senator Biodun Olujimi has functioned in various capacities as Fayose’s special assistant; later, member, House of Representatives at Fayose’s behest, and then as Fayose’s deputy governor. They have been allies and they have also been political foes.

Fayose and Olujimi political relationship has been cat and dog, like that of quarrelsome lovers who will not let go all the same! When, in 2006, Fayose was run out of town during his first term as governor by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, Olujimi as deputy governor dragged the governor’s seat with the then speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Friday Aderemi, and Fayose (who was still laying claim to the seat from his hiding place) before Obasanjo imposed a state of emergency and appointed retired Major-General Idowu Olurin as administrator.

When Engr. Segun Oni was put forward by PDP as replacement for Fayose in the governorship election of 2007, Fayose, still smarting, directed his supporters to support Fayemi and vote against Segun Oni/PDP. That election will go down as one of the most contentious in Nigeria’s history.

What with the unending Ido-Osi rerun and the controversies surrounding the INEC resident electoral commissioner, Madam Ayoka Adebayo! In the end, Oni was declared winner of the election; Olujimi served as Oni’s Commissioner for Works while Adeyeye was Oni’s Chairman of SUBEB.

Olujimi returned to Fayose in 2014 and got the Ekiti South Senatorial ticket. Lere Olayinka, the vociferous spokesperson of Fayose, was, in 2007, Media Assistant to Segun Oni, and in 2014 was spokesperson for Adeyeye – but Adeyeye lost the primaries to Fayose.

Read and marvel at the scathing remarks made by Lere over Oni’s complaint that the 2022 Ekiti PDP primaries were rigged! After serving Adeyeye, Lere returned to Fayose. Before then, however, Lere had been a thorn in the flesh of Fayose, according to Fayose’s own admission, when, together with Morakinyo Ogele, Lere published Classique from their Akure base, devoted solely to tearing at Fayose under the unction of Ekiti E–11 professionals and the Kayode Fayemi-inspired Collective Rescue Mission opposed to Fayose.

Fayemi and his party, Action Congress (AC) approached the courts after INEC’s declaration of Oni as governor, and Oni was removed after some legal rigmarole The seed of discord had been sown between Oni and Fayose. Oni defected from the PDP to the APC in 2014 and in 2018 paid Fayose back in kind when he stood against Eleka, Fayose’s godson.

Interestingly, the same Eleka has now accused Fayose of imposing the PDP flag bearer, Otunba Bisi Kolawole aka Bisi K on the PDP! Coincidentally, Bisi K was the Director-General of Eleka’s campaign in 2018. Should that have endeared him to Eleka? Such is not the way of Nigerian politicians!

From stories told by Fayose himself, his intention was to make Prof. Eleka’s father his running mate but the PDP national secretariat turned the choice down on grounds of old age. Somehow, Fayose got to know that Pa Eleka had a PH.D-holder son – and that was how the then Dr. Kolapo Olusola Eleka, who was never a politician, became Fayose’s running mate to the chagrin of the other politicians eyeing the slot.

According to stories told, Fayose calmed frayed nerves by saying he chose Eleka so that both of them could vacate office together but as the departure date drew near, Fayose swore he heard from God that Eleka should succeed him! That decision caused quite a stir but Fayose put his feet down and imposed Eleka.

From my own observation, Eleka won the 2018 election hands down but his mandate was brazenly stolen in broad daylight. That might have accounted for his resolve to “stay put” in Ekiti politics; otherwise, a man so favoured by God should have quietly and contentedly returned to his teaching job at the Obafemi Awolowo University rather than become a beneficiary of double imposition kicking against imposition!

As you can see, Ekiti politics is full of defections, political prostitution, back-stabbings, shifting alliances, and anti-party activities. Fayose himself defected from the PDP to Orji Kalu’s PPA and a few other parties, the Labour Party inclusive, on which platform he contested the Ekiti central senatorial district election but lost in controversial circumstances to Babafemi Ojudu.

Recall that Fayose also supported Fayemi/AC against Segun Oni/PDP in 2007 as well as campaigned against Olujimi in the February 23, 2019 National Assembly polls. But Fayose’s support of Fayemi/AC ended in a fiasco as they simply used and dumped him!

Not one of the promises made to him by Fayemi and the AC national leaders was kept! Lick our arses, they told him – as my Owo people will say! Fayose recounted how he was chased out of Gov. Fayemi’s waiting room by Otunba Niyi Adebayo (first civilian governor of Ekiti on the platform of AD and now Minister of Industries) with Adebayo sternly warning him never to make a return visit!

But as God will have it, Fayose returned majestically to the same office as elected governor in 2014! Man proposes but God disposes! Last week’s projection that Segun Oni could move has come to pass as he has reportedly berthed in APGA. Ekiti waits with bated breath to see the political heavyweights and juggernauts that will follow him there.

Characteristically, Olujimi is still flying kites! What of Adeyeye? Will his SWAGA 2023 (South West Agenda for Asiwaju) commitments be a barrier? Who benefits and who loses from the emerging three-horse race? We should expect interesting times in Ekiti!

Proverbs 30: 18 – 19 says: There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not. The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid” A fifth must now be added: The way of Nigerian politicians with one another; Ekiti politicians especially! NOW CONCLUDED!

By Bolanle Bolawole

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