Personal ambition has been jettisoned by Opeyemi Bamidele for collective interest in Ekiti State All Progressives Congress (APC).
Bamidele stated that he will neither go to court nor move to another party because of the recent primary.
The governorship aspirant, lawyer and senator, had complained about the shadow poll, which threw up Biodun Oyebanji, a former university teacher and one-time Secretary to Government, as the standard flag bearer for the governorship election.
To observers, the window of reconciliation has been thrown open. Cracks are counter-productive. If power moves from the progressives, it may be very difficult to retrieve it. Only in oneness can the ruling party wade off threats by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to recapture power.
Subsequent to complaints about the primary, many stakeholders, including Bamidele’s supporters, kinsmen, friends, family members, colleagues and associates within and outside Ekiti, were waiting to hear from him his next move.
In 2014, when he left the party to the Labor Party(LP), it unsettled the fold. Both Governor Kayode Fayemi and himself lost to Governor Ayodele Fayose. Disturbed party faithful asked: should history repeat itself?
Bamidele stated that he has been consulting after the primary. He said: “The need to widely consult in situations like these cannot be overemphasized and it is in that respect that I had spent the last ten days engaging in broad spiritual, political, legal and personal consultations and I remain entirely grateful to all those who had given quality time and attention to my matter in the course of the consultations.”
Bamidele is faced by a dilemma. He said that whatever he decided to do and in whichever direction he chose to go, he cannot possibly react in a way that will satisfy all the shades of opinion or make all the tendencies, with varying and sometimes conflicting perspectives, simultaneously happy. Therefore, he decided to take some final decisions, based on his personal convictions and accept responsibility for his actions.
He said: “Sometimes, leadership is also about standing up to posit even when such positions may not be popular with some or even majority of our admirers and supporters at the very beginning and in the face of initial and raging anger and disappointment.
“Has my position changed on the fact that what took place in Ekiti on the night of Wednesday, 26th and the morning of Thursday, 27th January, 2022 in the name of Governorship primaries was a charade and sheer impunity?
“No. I still strongly hold the position that it was a mockery of democracy that should be condemned by all means. Am I happy with the present political situation in Ekiti? Not at all. Am I hurting like many genuine Democrats are doing in Ekiti today? Yes. Am I convinced that failure or any further hesitation on the part of the national leadership of APC to specifically and decisively address the current and previous crises in Ekiti State would amount to playing the Ostrich and waiting for a doom’s day? Yes. Am I giving up on the ongoing struggle for justice and internal party democracy in Ekiti State? Never.”
What is his decision? “I have chosen to drop the option of going to court to sue the party,” he said, this means that the post-primary tussle have reduced in geometric proportions.
Also, Bamidele made it crystal clear that he and his supporters will not defect from APC.” The implication is that the prospects of polarization have also reduced.
Bamidele stated that he would inform Nigerians later about his reasons behind his decisions.
He added:” It is about the unity and progress of Ekiti State and her politically undermined and economically afflicted people. It is also about ensuring that the ground is not prepared for reactionary beneficiaries to take advantage of the seeming lack of capacity to manage our affairs as a ruling party in the State.
“I also must coordinate and lead my own aspect of this popular struggle in a way to ensure that my supporters and stakeholders who had been isolated from the mainstream of the party become relevant again, for anything short of that can only be a highway to nowhere.
“We have all contributed so much to building this party in Ekiti State and the management as well as its decision making process cannot be an exclusive preserve of a few. That is the new reality that those in control, including our national leadership must accept or it becomes a popular subject matter of a struggle around which a popular movement must be built. This is where I stand.”
Fayemi is an outgoing governor. He has ruled in the state as a two-term governor. His works will speak for him. There is no perfect political leader. The governor is not different to the nature and tendency of his successor. That has shaped the succession struggle in Ekiti APC.
Post-primary crisis should be addressed before the campaign commence. Ekiti APC should put its house in order so that concerned party members who are not defecting will not ruin or undermine the platform on poll day.
The responsibility is on the governorship candidate, Oyebanji, to humbly approach his elder brothers-Bamidele, Prince Dayo Adeyeye and other concerned aspirants – and seek their support and cooperation for the election ahead so that APC can retain power in Ekiti during the election.