Ekiti AD- APC in retrospect and the tale of the two Politically compliant Progressive Governors – Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo and Dr. Kayode Fayemi(1998 – 2020)

By Karounwi Oladapo

April 18, 2020.

22 years ago, precisely September 1998, the Alliance for Democracy, AD, came into existence in Nigeria and Ekiti State as a Progressive Party built on the Social Democratic philosophy of the defunct Action Group, AG, (1950 – 1966) and Unity Party Of Nigeria, UPN, (1978 – 1983) led by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

The Alliance for Democracy, AD, was founded on the Structures of Afenifere ; the group that stands to propagate the Progressive Ideals of Chief Awolowo and the Yoruba people. Senator Ayo Fasanmi was the representative of Ekiti in the core Afenifere foremost leadership. The Structure of Afenifere in Ekiti State was headed by Dr. Nathaniel Falaye Aina and he automatically became the State Chairman of AD in 1998. He was supported by other Afenifere figures. Chief George Akosile became the State Secretary ; Chief Ibidapo Awojolu was the State Vice Chairman, South ; Chief Femi Oyebanjo was the State Vice Chairman, Central ; Chief Olawumi Falodun was the State Vice Chairman, North ; Chief Michael. A. Babatunde was the State Treasurer ; while Chief Remi Oguntuase Owolanje , Remog, was the State Assistant Welfare Officer.

It was the tradition of the Afenifere cum AD to Pick their Gubernatorial Candidates based on their set out criteria, primary of which is active membership of Afenifere. Like they did in other South West States, Chief Samuel Kayode Babalola, a chieftain of Afenifere and former Commissioner for Education under Chief Adekunle Ajasin, was their Preferred Gubernatorial Candidate for Ekiti State. However, the potency of the Political Camp of Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, called AFG, (Adebayo for Governor) disrupted the Afenifere tradition in Ekiti State and the Party was forced to accept Primary election to decide the Party Candidate. A Primary election was organized to elect the Candidate of AD in Ekiti State. 177 wards Chairmen, 16 Local Government Party Chairmen and their 16 Local Government Party Secretaries, Plus the State Exco constituted the delegates of less than 250 people that participated in the Gubernatorial Primaries at the Sigma Hotel, Ado, in December 1998. As the foundation Secretary of AD in Efon Local Government, Karounwi Oladapo was a delegate at the said Primaries.
It should be placed on record that Alhaji Azeez Adeyemo, aka Alhaji How are you, was the most colourful politician of that period. He was a fine Political orator. His handsomeness, charisma and oratorical skills stood him out. Chief Bisi Egbeyemi and Chief Dayo Fajuyi were towering figures at the time.

At the end of the Primaries, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo came first, Otunba Reuben Famuyibo came distant second, Barr. Obafemi Adewale came third, Dr. Kunle Olajide came fourth and Chief S. K. Babalola came fifth.
Sadly, very uncharacteristic of Awolowo disciples and Afenifere devotees, Chief S. K. Babalola defected to the Conservative PDP in July 2000. Later, Barr. Obafemi Adewale and Reuben Famuyibo defected to the PDP at different times in history, leaving only Otunba Niyi Adebayo in the Progressive fold.

Otunba Niyi Adebayo of AD defeated Prof. Tunde Adeniran of the PDP in the Gubernatorial general election of February 1999 to emerge the first elected and Executive Governor of Ekiti State.
Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo was sworn into office on May 29, 1999.

Shortly after the general election, the AD State Party Chairman, Dr. N. F. Aina, stepped aside due to old age and his Secretary, Chief George Akosile was elevated to the position of the State Chairman. Chief Olusoga David from Moba, where Dr N. F. Aina hailed from, was nominated to the vacant position of the State Secretary.

The first civilian administration was led by Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo with Chief Paul Olatunde Alabi as the Deputy Governor, Chief Afolabi Ojuawo as the Secretary to the Government while Mr. Abiodun Oyebanji who was initially appointed Special Adviser Parliamentary Affairs, SAPA, was later appointed and became the first Chief of Staff, CoS, to the Governor in Ekiti State.

Rt. Hon. Kola Adefemi emerged the Pioneer Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Karounwi Oladapo was the Deputy Speaker while Hon. Akinbowale Omole was the Majority Leader.
Justice Ademola Ajakaye was the State Chief Judge.

The Alliance for Democracy, AD, had another Congress in 2003 with Chief George Akosile as the State Chairman, Chief Biodun Akin Fasae as the State Secretary, Rt. Hon. Karounwi Oladapo as the State Assistant Secretary, Chief Jide Ajayi as the State Treasurer, Chief Mrs Ronke Okunsanya as the State Women leader, Hon. Kayode Olaosebikan as the State Youth leader, Alhaji Ayodele Jinadu as the State Organizing Secretary while Hon. Akin Oluwadare was the National Officer from the State.

This State Executive had about 30 Gubernatorial Aspirants on Parade for the 2007 Gubernatorial election. Prominent among them were Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Chief Paul Alabi, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, Dr. Bode Olowoporoku, Chief Ayo Arise, Dr. Afolabi Popoola, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade, Chief Babatunde Odetola, Chief Ranti Adebisi Opomulero and Barr. Biodun Fasakin.

In September 2006, AD merged with the Advance Congress of Democrats, ACD, Justice Party, JP, and other minor Opposition Parties to form Action Congress, AC. In Ekiti State, a congress to elect new set of Party leadership became imperative. Dr. Kayode Fayemi, strongly Supported by Otunba Niyi Adebayo, had the exclusive information about the merger and the arrangements for its Structures ahead of other Aspirants. This became manifest at the State Congress of the Party at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado, when members of Dr. Kayode Fayemi Political Camp literally dominated the emerging State Executive. At that point, It wasn’t difficult for any Skillful Politicians, who didn’t want to deceive themselves, to know that Dr. Kayode Fayemi would easily defeat other Gubernatorial Aspirants in the upcoming Primaries , having taking control of the Party Structures. At the end of the Congress, Chief Jide Awe was elected State Chairman, Chief Dele Falusi became State Deputy Chairman, Hon Bayo Idowu became the State Secretary, Chief Alaba Abejide became the State Treasurer, Chief Jide Ajayi became the State Vice Chairman, Central, while Chief Mrs Ronke Okunsanya was reelected the State Women leader.

It is important to mention here that the emergence of Erelu Bisi Fayemi, the wife of Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in the Political arena was a moral booster to the women in Politics in the AD and later, in Ekiti State generally. She provided the needed resources and leadership to scale up the capacity and the fighting spirit of the women in Politics. She came into Ekiti Political scene with her Gender equality and balance advocacy!

Shortly after the emergence of the Action Congress State Executive, there was the Gubernatorial Primaries, using direct Primary methods, where AC members queued behind the Posters of their preferred Aspirants in all the 177 wards across the State. At the end of the collation of results, Dr. Kayode Fayemi defeated others. Prince Dayo Adeyeye came distant second. The outcome of the results was not acceptable to the other Aspirants.

Navy Captain, (Rtd) Caleb Olubolade Campaign office at Basiri, Ado, Ekiti, became the meeting point for all the aggrieved Gubernatorial Aspirants and their numerous supporters. It was there they resolved to decamp enmass to PDP to make sure AC and Dr Kayode Fayemi didn’t win the general election. About 28 Aspirants defected to PDP. Chief Ranti Adebisi was the only Aspirant that didn’t defect. Their exodus aided the rigging of Dr. Kayode Fayemi ‘s victory for Chief Segun Oni PDP in the Gubernatorial general election of 2007. The assertion that Kayode Fayemi was rigged out of victory was contained in the Court Judgement that restored his stolen mandate in October 15, 2010, after three and half years of legal battle.

Dr Kayode Fayemi was sworn in as Ekiti Governor and Mrs Aduni Olayinka was sworn in as the Deputy Governor on October 16, 2010. At the demise of Mrs Aduni Olayinka on April 6, 2013, Prof. Modupe Adelabu was sworn in as the Deputy Governor. Alhaji Gani Owolabi was appointed the Secretary to the Government and Hon. Yemi Adaramodu was appointed Chief of Staff to the Governor, CoS.

Earlier in 2010, the Action Congress, AC, had a mini National Convention at Ikeja in Lagos where Action Congress, AC, was transformed to Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.

Shortly after Kayode Fayemi became Governor, specifically in December 2010, another State Congress of ACN was due in Ekiti State.

The State Congress was Conducted at the Trade fair ground, along Iyin road, Ado, through an affirmation votes empowering the Jide Awe led State Executive to continue in office for another 4 years. That is 2010 to 2014. Hon. Yomi Oso was brought into the exco as the State Youth leader.

In August 2013, ACN merged with CPC of Muhamadu Buhari, ANPP and a faction of APGA to form the All Progressives Congress, APC. Chief Bisi Akande became the interim National Chairman with Otunba Niyi Adebayo and other officers that were saddled with the responsibility to steer the affairs of the Party pending the National Convention, which eventually came up in June, 2014. It should be noted that some breakaway from the PDP, called the New PDP, joined APC before the National Convention in 2014. This was at a time Chief Segun Oni and his associates joined APC. And Chief Segun Oni became the Deputy National Chairman barely 2 weeks when he joined the Party, taking advantage of the Political intrigues that denied Otunba Niyi Adebayo that has been positioned for the office.

While serving as the Deputy National Chairman, South, Chief Segun Oni was appointed Chairman of the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority, NEPZA, in December, 2017, for a period of four years, by President Muhamadu Buhari.

Chief Segun Oni’s associate, Senator Ayo Arise was appointed Chairman of Sheda science and technology Complex
They still remain the Chairmen of those Federal Boards to date.

Ekiti State APC State Congress, which was to come up alongside other States in Nigeria in June 2014, was postponed to September 2014, because, Ekiti Gubernatorial election was coincidentally June 2014. The State Congress was conducted and Party officers emerged through the Consensus option. The Congress was coordinated by Chief Ibidapo Awojolu. The State Exco was designed to fully integrate those who decamped with Chief Segun Oni in the Party Structures.
The Chief Jide Awe led APC State Executive had Chief Mrs Kemi Olaleye as the State Deputy Chairman, Barr. Paul Omotoso as the State Secretary, Hon. Gbenga Agbeyo as the State Assistant Secretary, Chief George Femi Ojo as the State Vice Chairman, Central, Hon Amire Kolade as the State Organizing Secretary, Chief Mrs Dupe Bakare as the State Women leader and Hon. Femi Ogundare as the the State Youth leader. The following were the nominees of chief Segun Oni in the State Working Committe ; Rt. Hon. Taiwo Olatunbosun as the State Publicity Secretary, Prince Biodun Bamiteko as the State Vice Chairman, North, Hon Kayode Babade as the State Vice Chairman, South, Erelu Iyabo Babatunde as the State Auditor. His other nominees became members of the State Executive ; Hon. Femi Fakorede, Hon. Mrs Iyabo Fakunle, Mrs Moji Aregbesola, etc.

After Dr Kayode Fayemi left Government in 2014, a rebellious Group, called Ekiti APC Action Group, emerged in 2015, with the sole aim of dissolving the APC Structures put in place while Fayemi was in the office. The Group was eventually defeated and the Party Structures remained intact till the end of their tenure in September, 2018.

The State Executive had about 33 Gubernatorial Aspirants jostling for the Party ticket to contest 2018 Ekiti Gubernatorial election. It should be noted that Otunba Niyi Adebayo strongly Supported Kayode Fayemi to win the Primary election and he was very unapologetic about it! The Party adopted delegates option for the Primaries. The Primary election that was conducted on Saturday May 12, 2018 had 2,377 delegates accredited. 11 votes were invalidated while 2,313 were valid votes cast.

At the end of the election, Dr Kayode Fayemi came first scoring 914 out of the 2,313 valid Votes cast. Chief Segun Oni came a distant second with 481 Votes. Engr Kayode Ojo came third with 281 votes and others in a descending order thus ; Femi Bamisile, 179 Votes, Dr. Oluwole Oluyede, 110 Votes, Senator Gbenga Aluko, 86 Votes, Chief Sesan Fatoba, 45 Votes, Hon. Bimbo Daramola, 28 Votes, Hon. Bamidele Faparusi, 23 Votes, Barr. Victor Kolade, 16 Votes, Chief Kola Alabi, 14 Votes, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, 8 Votes, Chief Oladipo Ogunkoyode, 8 Votes, Chief Bisi Aloba, 7 Votes, Dr. Wole Oluleye, 6 Votes, and so on, down to those that got 2 Votes.

Dr Kayode Fayemi, who scored 197,459 Votes, defeated the candidate of PDP, Prof Olusola Eleka, who scored 178,121 Votes, in the July 14, 2018 general election, to become Ekiti Governor for the second time.

The tenure of the Jide Awe led executive expired in September 2018 and a new Congress was conducted to elect new Party Officers. The Party adopted Consensus option. The affirmation votes to ratify the new officers who will pilot the affairs of the Party from September 2018 to September 2022 were conducted at the expansive lawn of the Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo Iyin Ekiti Country home. The event was climaxed by an affirmation motion moved by Senator Ayo Arise and seconded by Prince Dayo Adeyeye.

At the end of the exercise, Barr. Paul Omotosho emerged as the Party State Chairman, Hon. Sola Elesin became the State Deputy Chairman, Hon. Ogunsakin Kayode became the State Party Secretary, Hon. Ade Ajayi became the State Publicity Secretary, Hon. Kolawole Omotayo became the State Welfare officer, Chief Mrs Moni Afuye became the State Women leader and Mr. Asekun Sunday became the State Youth leader.

It should be noted that Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo had earlier been elected as the Deputy National Chairman at the June 2018 National Convention of the Party in Abuja.
Subsequently, Rt. Hon. Karounwi Oladapo was nominated to occupy the position of the Zonal Publicity Secretary, South West Zone.

Dr Kayode Fayemi was inaugurated for the second term in office on October 16, 2018. Chief Bisi Egbeyemi became the Deputy Governor, Hon Biodun Oyebanji was appointed Secretary to the Government, SSG while Hon. Biodun Omoleye was appointed the Chief of Staff to the Governor, CoS.

Otunba Niyi Adebayo was appointed a Minister of the Federal Republic. He assumed office on August 21, 2019. His position as the Deputy National Chairman, South, became vacant.

In 2020, Ekiti APC nominated Senator Gbenga Aluko as the replacement for Otunba Niyi Adebayo as the Deputy National Chairman but some South West leaders nominated Senator Abiola Ajimobi. The controversy generated is presently before the court for resolution.

In March 2020, Chief Segun Oni defected back to the PDP.

The conclusion to draw from here is that the Progressive Party, APC, in Ekiti State has been more stable and cohesive than Ekiti PDP because the two Progressive Governors Adeniyi Adebayo and Kayode Fayemi are compliant and united by a shared vision of a Social Democratic Political ideology. In fact, the two are Social Democrats.

The stability is reflected not only in the party Structures but on the Governance architecture, judging from the stability of the Parliament under each of the two Administrations of Otunba Niyi Adebayo and Dr Kayode Fayemi ; Each of their Ekiti State House of Assembly Speakers served out their tenure of four years without impeachment, as opposed to the multiple Speakers and serial impeachment that Characterized the Administrations of Chief Ayodele Fayose and Chief Segun Oni.

Comparatively, Ekiti PDP has been largely unstable and crisis ridden because the two former Governors produced by the Party, Ayodele Fayose and Segun Oni, have nothing in common. They are not bonded by any known Political ideology and that accounted for the easy with which the former Governors defect from one Party to another at the slightest disagreements or provocations. The two PDP Governors and their camps always engaged in constant Political struggles for the soul of the Party in the State, thereby making the Party characteristically unstable.