The battle to succeed Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State will take place today (Thursday) as the All Progressives Congress (APC) is set to conduct its governorship primary election in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
Naija News reports that seven aspirants have declared their interest in contesting the gubernatorial ticket of the APC and retaining power for the ruling party in the state on June 18.
Some of the contenders include a serving Senator, a former Minister, a member of the House of Representatives, a former Commissioner and a former Chief of Staff to the state governor.
Below are the seven governorship hopefuls aspiring to take over from Fayemi after completing two terms in office.
Senator Opeyemi Bamidele is a lawyer and lawmaker representing Ekiti Central in the National Assembly. Bamidele was shot by hoodlums in Lagos two years ago during an event.
Bamidele was a former member of the House of Representatives and a top contender to succeed Governor Fayemi. He was the Director-General of the Fayemi Campaign Organisation in 2018.
The lawmaker served as an aide to the former Governor of Lagos State and the National Leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He was also the former Commissioner of Information in Lagos.
Speaking at the APC headquarters in Abuja in December, Bamidele said he has what it takes to lead the state to the next level and he is the most competent, experienced and qualified to succeed Fayemi.
Senator Dayo Adeyeye is former Minister of State for Works under the Goodluck Jonathan administration and ex-Senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District in the National Assembly.
The member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was sacked by the court and replaced with Senator Biodun Olujimi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Adeyeye was the former spokesman of the PDP and the Nigerian Senate. He was also the National Publicity Secretary of the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere.
The former senator is the National Chairman, Southwest Agenda for Tinubu 2023 presidential ambition (SWAGA) and a former member of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO).
Biodun Oyebanji is a former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and former Chief of Staff to Governor Fayemi in his first term.
He served as the Special Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs in the Niyi Adebayo administration. The former SSG has worked as a university lecturer and a banker.
Oyebanji is a seasoned administrator who has served in at least three governments since Ekiti was created in 1996 by the late Sani Abacha.
The politician worked as liaison officer between Ekiti state and the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission. Oyebanji is rumoured to have the backing of Fayemi for the ticket.
Hon. Bamidele Faparusi is the immediate past Commissioner for Infrastructure and Public Utilities in the state. He is a top contender for the APC ticket.
Faparusi was a member of the House of Representatives between 2011 and 2015.
Under his stewardship as commissioner for public utilities, the state is said to have recorded a good water supply across the councils.
While the former commissioner may not have the popularity of the other contenders at the national level, he is known to be a grassroots politician.
Faparusi is said to understand the workings of the state, and if he eventually becomes governor, the knowledge will prove useful in meeting the aspirations of the people.
Kayode Ojo is an engineer who is well known in the Ekiti political scene. He aspired to be governor in 2018 but came third in the APC primary poll.
Aside from politics, Ojo is a successful businessman who is active in the oil and gas industry. Ojo is from Ekiti Central Senatorial District.
The aspirant had recently said if elected governor, he will work towards increasing the revenue of the state without burdening the people.
His entrepreneurial skill is believed to give him an edge over other aspirants.
Femi Bamisile is a current member of the house of representatives and a grassroots politician.
The aspirant was first elected into the Ekiti house of assembly on the platform of the PDP in 2007 and later became the speaker.
His tenure was short-lived after falling out with some members of the assembly. He later stepped down from the speakership position.
Bamisile also served as PDP deputy chairman in the state but he defected to the APC after a row with Ayo Fayose, a former governor of the state.
The aspirant is from Kota in Ekiti south senatorial district.
Ademola Popoola is a chieftain of the ruling party and relatively new to Ekiti politics. He is from Ekiti North Senatorial District.
The APC member is largely known for a football tournament he sponsors in the state.
Popoola believes that football could be an avenue talented youths in the state could make a livelihood from, hence the tournaments he organises.
The aspirant is gunning to make Ekiti an “industrial state” and he has boasted of having “international connections”.