Mr. Fayose opposed the selection of a consensus candidate
No fewer than 12 aspirants have picked the nomination forms of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to contest the party`s March 12 primaries for the forthcoming Ekiti governorship election.
The aspirants include a former governor of the state, Ayo Fayose; a former Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Dayo Adeyeye; Nigeria’s immediate past Police Affairs Minister, Caleb Olubolade; a former senator, Gbenga Aluko; Biodun Aluko; and Adewale Aribisala.
Others are Bisi Omoyeni; Bola Oloyede and Peter Obafemi.
The sale of the nomination form, which commenced on February 24, ended on March 3.
The male aspirants paid N10 million for nomination forms, while the female aspirants had a waiver; but all aspirants paid one million naira for the expression of interest form.
While some aspirants canvassed for a consensus candidate, Mr. Fayose opposed such arrangement, which he said, was anti-democracy.
Mr. Obafemi, who spoke to journalists in Abuja on Monday, said though the aspirants were not afraid of going through the primaries, a consensus candidate was the best for the state.
He said this would not only ensure the interest of all factions, but would guarantee the safety of lives and property in the state and eschew acrimony.
The aspirant said the state was politically volatile, adding that it could run into crisis if a primary election was conducted.
“We are not afraid of primaries if that is the last resolve, but for the interest of our people and the state, we would rather opt for a consensus candidate,’’ Mr. Obafemi said.
Another aspirant and ex-aide to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Bodunde Adeyanju, appealed to the national leadership of the party to ensure the unity of its Ekiti State chapter.
He urged the party’s leadership to heed the advice if they wish to reclaim the state from the APC in the forthcoming gubernatorial poll slated for June 21.
“If you want go to the war with a factionalised team, you will not win.
“The best thing for the PDP now that it wants to face the APC is to ensure unity in its Ekiti chapter,’’ he said.
Mr. Adeyanju urged the party’s leadership to select a consensus candidate to contest the election to ensure the unity of members of the party in the state.
“A consensus candidate will ensure that the party and the various aspirants do not expend money unnecessarily on party primaries and other logistics,’’ he said.
He said that picking a consensus candidate would also provide opportunity for all the aspirants to accumulate resources with which to slug it out with the ruling APC.
“Consensus arrangement guarantees the interest of all aspirants unlike primaries where the winner takes all,” he said.
Mr. Adeyanju said that if he wins the election, he would ensure accelerated economic development of the state by embarking on mechanised agriculture and industrialisation.
He criticised zoning of the governorship position to a particular area of the state.
Mrs. Oloyede and Mr. Aribisala, who were also at the PDP secretariat to pick their nomination forms, also canvassed for consensus candidate for the election.
Mrs. Oloyede expressed concern that some party delegates would be bought over by rich aspirants if the party’s flag bearers emerges from primaries.
“In primaries, the highest bidder wins and he may not be the candidate that is most qualified to be governor,” she said.
She expressed hope that she would emerge as the governor if a level playing ground was given to all the aspirants.
The 12 aspirants are expected to return their nomination forms to the party secretariat ahead of its primaries slated for March 12.
The winner of the primaries will have as his/her main challenger, incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress, APC.