FORMER governor Ayodele Fayose may have clinched the ticket to contest Ekiti State governorship elections on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he still has hurdles to cross.
On Saturday, March 22, 2014, Mr. Ayodele Fayose dusted other contenders to pick the only ticket that will qualify him to contest the Ekiti governorship election. Incidentally, his case of alleged misappropriation of funds while in office brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was reopened on Thursday, March 27, 2014. It was that day his request to delay his trial suffered a setback as the Federal High Court in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State threw out his request.
The former governor is under trial for allegedly misappropriating state funds to the tune of N416 million between 2003 and 2006.
At the resumed hearing, Fayose’s counsel, Raji Ahmed (SAN), prayed the court to adjourn the matter till another time to allow his client concentrate on his electoral campaign. The request was turned down by the presiding judge, Adamu Hobon, after an objection was raised by Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), counsel to the EFCC, who voted for an accelerated hearing of the case. The case was, however, adjourned till May 6, 2014. That is just one of the hurdles confronting the former Ekiti State governor.
Just days after this, another challenge cropped up. Some of the aggrieved party members who lost out in the March 21, 2014 PDP primary elections in the state had formed an opposition group to Fayose’s candidature. Led by the former Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (retd), the group, which met in Abuja to plot their strategy also has Mr. Wale Aribisala, Mr. Ropo Ogunbolude, Modupe Ogundipe, Dr. Khadijat Adubiaro, Mr. Peter Obafemi, Deji Ajayi, Dare Bejide and Bodunde Adeyanju as members. They were said to have met in Abuja, on Friday, March 28, 2014, and adopted Senator Gbenga Aluko as their consensus candidate. This development has already torn the party into different caucuses and there is a protest on the conduct of the primary claiming it was manipulated to favour Fayose and that he (Fayose) is ineligible to seek the PDP ticket.
According to information, because of this mounting opposition, Mr. Ayodele Fayose is seeking spiritual solution by visiting Prophet T. B. Joshua. The politician was at the church on Sunday, March 30, 2014, as part of his strategy to occupy Government House in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State come July 2014.
We reached out to Mr. Fayose through his chief press secretary, Idowu Awolusi on Saturday, March 29, 2014. Repeated calls to him were not answered, our text to him was not also replied.
Mr. Ayodele Fayose is seeking to return as governor of Ekiti State after he was impeached while in office in 2006. Since then, he has been having a running battle with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over allegation of funds mismanagement while in office. Mr. Fayose was first arraigned in 2007, at the Federal High Court, Lagos. The matter was then reassigned to the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State.
Now, he is seeking to unseat the incumbent governor of the state, Mr. Kayode Fayemi in the election which will hold on June 21, 2014.
– FOLUSO SAMUEL