Less than 48 hours after saying he was waiting on God for the choice of his successor, Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose may have settled for his deputy, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, as his successor.
Stakeholders in the state’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including party leaders, political office holders and supporters of Fayose, yesterday adopted Olusola as “the sole candidate” for the 2018 governorship poll.
At a meeting at the Government House in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, the governor’s loyalists said adopting Olusola as the “PDP sole candidate” did not preclude other aspirants from competing for the party’s ticket at the primary.
Olusola, who was recently appointed Professor of Building Technology by Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) at Ile-Ife in Osun State, hails from Ikere-Ekiti in Ekiti South.
His adoption may have ended the governorship ambition of Senate Deputy Minority Whip Abiodun Olujimi; PDP’s national spokesman Dayo Adeyeye; former Deputy Governor Sikiru Lawal; former High Commissioner in Canada Dare Bejide and former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Owoseni Ajayi.
Olujimi and Adeyeye have resisted Fayose’s insistence that they drop their ambition.
Party sources said Fayose anointed Olusola after receiving a field report that his preferred candidate and former Commissioner for Works, Mr. Kayode Oso, “may not be sellable” to the electorate.
One of the sources said the governor briefed prominent indigenes of Ado-Ekiti, Oso’s hometown, including a prominent lawyer and a traditional ruler, at a meeting Tuesday night.
The source added that Fayose called a stakeholders’ meeting where he announced his decision to endorse Olusola.
The meeting was said to have been attended by 177 councillors, 177 ward chairmen, 16 local government party chairmen, 16 local council chairmen, chairmen and members of boards and corporations.
Others at the meeting include State Executive Council (Exco) members, House of Assembly members, serving and former members of PDP State Working Committee (SWC) and the ex-deputy governor.
A communique issued at the end of the meeting reads: “After due consultation, without prejudice to provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), we formally endorse Prof Kolapo Olusola (the current deputy governor), from Ekiti South Senatorial District, as our preferred aspirant/candidate.”
Those who signed the communique are: Anifowose Mustapha (for councillors), Alhaji Amuda Sunmonu (for ward chairmen), Femi Bamisile (for local government party chairmen), Dapo Olagunju (for local government chairmen, ALGON) and Senator Bode Ola (for chairmen of boards and corporations).
Others are: Dr Modupe Alade, the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, (for State Executive Council, Exco), Kolawole Oluwawole, House of Assembly Speaker and PDP’s State Chairman, Chief Gboyega Oguntuase.
After Olusola’s adoption, Oguntuase said the party’s organs would abide by the decision of the stakeholders in the interest of the party and people of Ekiti State.
The party chairman noted that the adoption will not preclude any member of the party interested in the governorship from contesting.
He pledged that an open and transparent primary will be held in accordance with party rules. Chairman, Forum of Ward Chairmen, Alhaji Amuda Sunmonu, hailed the decision, adding: “Wherever Governor Fayose goes, we will follow him.”
Mustapha said the 177 councillors supported the governor and “the decision of the party stakeholders remained binding on us”.
Dr Alade described Olusola as “a competent and loyal member of the Fayose political family”.
She added that his adoption was a reward for loyalty, dedication and commitment.