A top analyst has predicted top contenders in this race is between the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; APC Deputy National Chairman (South), Engr. Segun Oni, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu and a former member of the House of Representatives Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele.
Two out of the four, Fayemi and Oni, have held sway as governor in the southwestern state at various times since Nigeria returned to civil rule in 1999. However, the duo of Ojudu and Bamidele are no pushovers given their respective political pedigrees.
Other aspirants include those from Ekiti South Senatorial District are Senator Gbenga Aluko, Hon. Femi Bamisile, Hon. Bamidele Faparusi, Dr. Wole Oluyede, Mr. Debo Ajayi, Chief Diran Adesua, Mr. Kola Alabi, Dr. Makanjuola Owolabi, Captain Sunday Adebomi, Chief Dele Okeya, Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua, Chief Bisi Aloba, Mr. Adekunle Esan, Chief Sesan Fatoba, and Barr. Ajayi Olatunji Olowo. Cleared from Ekiti Central Senatorial District are Senator Femi Ojudu, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, Mr. Victor Kolade, Mr. Dipo Ogunkoyode, Dr. Oluwole Oluleye, Prince Tosin Olofinluyi, Engr. Kayode Ojo, Dr. Adebayo Orire, Mr. Bodunde Adeyanju, Hon. Charles Dahunsi and Mrs. Matesun.
Those from Ekiti North Senatorial District are Senator Ayo Arise, Hon. Bimbo Daramola, Mr. Muyiwa Coker, Christanah Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, Mr. Yinka Akerele, Engr. Segun Oni and Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
Expectedly, the build-up to the primaries had not been a tea party. It has been tensed, with the various aspirants inundating party delegates with their respective programmes.
The national leadership of the APC, on its part, has repeatedly assured of a level playing ground. Ahead the exercise, that party on Wednesday appointed the governor of Nasarawa State, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura as chairman of the five-member primary election committee.
APC National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso on behalf of the Party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun also inaugurated a three-member primary appeal committee chaired by Amb. Fati Balla. Other members of the primary election committee include Hon. Magaji Aliyu (Secretary); Mr. Duke Oshodin; Barr. Robert Okwuego and Mr. Tunde Balogun.
He declared that the party has no preferred candidate. “If we conduct a transparent primary, any aspirant that wins will surely become the next governor of Ekiti state. The party has no preferred candidate, there is no such thing in our lexicon. It does not exist.
All aspirants are equal until after the election,” he said. Izubaso disclosed that the official delegates list has been given to all aspirants and that no petition has been received on the list. He added that 33 aspirants have been cleared by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to contest the primaries.
Each of the aspirants paid the sum of N5 million for the governorship nomination form and N500,000 for the expression of interest form, aside and the N2 million development levy paid except the two female aspirants who were given free forms.