Former Ekiti State Governor and Interim National Vice Chairman (South West) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, has described the defection of a House of Representatives member, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, to the Labour Party (LP) as the latter’s biggest mistake in his political career.
Speaking on a Murrhi International Television (MITV) programme, ‘AM CHAT’, which was monitored in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday, Adebayo also refuted the claim made by the federal legislator that he (Bamidele) introduced the Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, into partisan politics and brought him (Fayemi) from abroad to run for the state’s number one seat.
Adebayo who was the first civilian governor of Ekiti State said Fayemi has performed beyond the expectation of the people of the state and is now in a pole position to claim a second term victory in the 2014 governorship election.
While maintaining that Bamidele’s defection to LP won’t have any effect on the political fortunes of APC in the 2014 polls, Adebayo stated that the exit of the federal lawmaker would make things easier for the ruling party in the state who has since adopted Fayemi as its candidate on the strength of his well-documented achievements in all sectors.
Adebayo said: “I believe that his defection won’t have any negative effect on the fortunes of our party in the next year’s election. In fact, it will make things easier for the party.
“The biggest mistake he (Bamidele) made was leaving the party, his major grouse was that the ruling party has endorsed the current governor. If I am in his shoes, I would have stayed in the party because the party made him what he is today.
“It will not affect us in any other way, that is the biggest mistake he has made and I don’t think that it will work well for him. The people of Ekiti have embraced the APC and that is the winning party”.
While assessing the strength of other political parties in the state, Adebayo described them as “very, very weak” to challenge the APC in the 2014 polls adding that if elections are held today the APC will coast home with not less than 70 per cent of the vote.
Answering questions on Bamidele’s claim that he single-handedly dragged Fayemi into the arena of politics, Adebayo described the lawmaker’s assertion as untrue saying it was he himself (Adebayo) that invited the governor to leave political activism and development world for partisan politics.
Adebayo explained further: “What he (Bamidele) said was far from the truth, I was the first person that invited him (Fayemi) to come and run having assisted my administration when I was governor.
“I asked him to come and see the way he could assist us in our administration and he (Fayemi) brought the British Department for International Development (DFID) to Ekiti.
“My plan at the time was to bring him into the cabinet and make him Commissioner for Special Duties later but unfortunately I was unable to come back into office.
“Few years after I left office, I invited him for a discussion on his possibility of being our candidate at the next general election (in 2007). We discussed extensively, he showed interest and asked me to talk to his wife and convince her.
“I called his wife who was in Ghana at the time and she said I should give her assurance that I would not abandon them which I did.”
The APC chief said he has not regretted drafting Fayemi into the governorship race describing him as an “incredible governor who has succeeded in using the little resources available to him to turn around the fortunes of the state.
He explained that any other candidate gunning for the Governor’s seat would find it difficult to convince voters in Ekiti owing to Fayemi’s transformation which are very visible in road construction, urban renewal, schools and hospitals rehabilitation, social security for the elderly, among other laudable policies.
Adebayo stated that feedback received from Fayemi’s recently concluded tour of communities for next year’s budget formation was very positive for the governor which traditional rulers, community leaders and ordinary people promising to reward him with votes at the 2014 polls.
“He has been an incredible governor and he is doing a fantastic job, we believe that when somebody is doing well we should encourage him and we are clam outing that there should be continuity so that the development being witnessed in the state shall continue.
Adebayo warned against any attempt to subvert the electoral will of Ekiti people at the 2014 polls saying Ekiti people are resolute on protecting their votes as done at the 2007 election and 2009 rerun.
According to him, the electoral heist that happened in Anambra will not be allowed in Ekiti where voter awareness is very high and people are ready to defend their votes.
He revealed that fresh registration of members will soon commence which is expected to lead to congresses where ward, local government, state and national executives will be elected
Last modified: December 4, 2013