The Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, has emerged as the consensus candidate of the rulling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2018 governorship election.
Prof. Olusola emerged from the list of strong contenders for the governorship ticket as the “most preferred candidate” at a meeting held on Wednesday by party bigwigs in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State capital.
In attendance at the meeting were serving and former members of the PDP State Working Committee, members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, chieftains of the party at the 16 local governments and 177 wards, as well as chairmen and members of Boards and Parastatals, among others.
Olusola, an indigene of Ikere Ekiti, which is the second largest town in Ekiti, was adopted before the commencement of a retreat organised for members to sensitise them ahead of the 2018 election.
The adoption of the deputy governor, who is a Professor of Building Technology from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, was the major decision reached at the party’s stakeholders’ meeting.
The communique issued at the end of the meeting read, “After due consultation, without prejudice to the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), we formally endorse His Excellency, Prof. Kolapo Olusola (the current deputy governor), from Ekiti South Senatorial District, as our preferred aspirant/candidate.”
Those who signed the communique are Anifowose Mustapha for councillors; Alhaji Amuda Sunmonu for Ward chairmen; Mr. Femi Bamisile for Local Government Party Chairmen; Dapo Olagunju for Association of Local Government Chairmen; Senator Bode Ola for Chairmen of Boards and Parastatals; Dr. Modupe Alade (Secretary to the State Government) for State Executive Council; Speaker Kolawole Oluwawole for EKHA and the State Chairman of the party, Chief Gboyega Oguntuase.
Speaking with journalists after the adoption, Oguntuase said the party organs would abide by the decision taken by the stakeholders in the overall interest of the party and the entire people of Ekiti State.
He, however, said the adoption would not preclude any member of the party who is interested in the governorship ticket from contesting.
He added that open and transparent primary election would be held in accordance with the rules of the party.
Chairman of Forum of Ward Chairmen, Alhaji Amuda Sunmonu, also hailed the decision to adopt Olusola, maintaining that “Wherever Governor Fayose goes, we will follow him.”
Also speaking on behalf of councillors, Mustapha said all the 177 councillors in the state were solidly behind the governor and that “the decision of the party’s stakeholders remained binding on all of us.”
The SSG described the deputy governor as a competent and loyal member of Governor Ayodele Fayose’s political family, adding that his adoption was a reward for loyalty, dedication and commitment.
However, some chieftains of the party in the state has reacted against the consensus emergence of the Deputy Governor, in his reaction the immediate past Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the State, Owoseni Ajayi; and a former Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada, Dare Bejide, who are aspirants on the party’s platform have dismissed the development, saying it does not pose any threat to their ambition.
Bejide said, “Any caucus of the party can adopt any candidate, whether the choice of Olusola by his caucus has Fayose’s backing holds no water, as no one can impose a candidate on the party.
“This would not stop me from emerging the party’s governorship flagbearer for the poll in March 2018.”
Ajayi added that the decision to conduct primaries and determine who gets the party’s ticket belongs to the National Working Committee of the PDP.
In another reaction, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Prince Adedayo Adeyeye, said the adoption was a clear breach of the PDP’s Constitution and the provisions of the Electoral Act (as amended).
His campaign group, Prince Adedayo Adeyeye Movement, claimed the meeting of the “amorphous group” was hastily convened out of fear for the overwhelming popularity of Adeyeye
“It is important to note that PDP as a political party is bigger and larger than an individual, no matter how highly placed he or she may be as to override the rules and regulations of the party which are sacrosanct in the election of any candidate for elective position.