Outgoing Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose’s plan to install his deputy, Professor Kolapo Olusola Eleka, as his successor may have been dealt a big blow as several key members of his party switched support to the All Progressives Congress.
President Muhammadu Buhari received the defectors today at the grand finale of the governorship campaign of Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the All Progressives Congress, APC, gubernatorial candidate in Saturday’s election. The mega rally took place at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium in Ado Ekiti.
The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that the two federal lawmakers were among the defectors, along with the chief whip of the state house of assembly. There were indications dropped by the new APC faithful, that many assembly members may also be getting ready to abandon the PDP, ahead of the crucial 14 July election.
Among the defectors was Sen. Fatimat Raji Rasaki, representing Ekiti Central Senatorial District. She is the wife of a former military governor of Lagos. Mr. Olamide Oni, House of Representatives representing Efon/Ijero/Ekiti West Federal Constituency also dumped PDP.
Senator Rasaki represents the largest constituency in the state, the same area where Fayemi picked his running mate, an old political war-horse Chief Bisi Egbeyemi.
Political pundits said if the Ekiti central senatorial constituency vote for Fayemi, the election will be lost by the PDP candidate, Olusola Eleka.
The switching of allegiances by the PDP legislators was one of the highlights of the today’s rally and it was seen as a big deal as the APC national leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, telling Senator Rasaki repeatedly: ‘God Bless You’, ‘God Bless you’, when they met before President Buhari arrived.
The Chief Whip of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Sunday Akinniyi, and the Commissioner for Justice and attorney-general under Fayose administration, Mr. Owoseni Ajayi, also switched allegiances to APC at the event.
Ajayi was also Fayose’s attorney-general in his truncated first term, 2003-2006.
NAN reports that the National Chairman of APC, Mr. Adams Oshiomole, was also on hand to receive the defectors. He assured them of equal treatment in the party.
Speaking on behalf of the defectors, Senator Rasaki, said they had to dump the PDP because of the selfishness of Governor Fayose in the state.
According to her, the PDP in the state has been monopolised by a single individual, who would not allow justice and fairplay in the day-to day running of the affairs of the party.
Former Minister of State for Works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye was the first to jump out of the Fayose PDP boat, after a controversial primary election, the outcome of which the lawyer-journalist said was predetermined in favour of Kolapo Olusola-Eleka.