The governorship primary of the Peoples Democratic Party came to an end on a peaceful note on Tuesday with the Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Kolapo Olusola, emerging the candidate of the party.
He defeated his closest rival and former minister of works, Dayo Adeyeye, after scoring 1,190 votes.
Mr Adeyeye polled 771 votes, a performance considered by his admirers as a good outing considering the fact that the state governor, Ayo Fayose, deployed all his arsenal against him, in support of the winner of the primaries.
Against all expectations, the election was rancour free and peacefully and transparently conducted, with both aspirants commending the process.
The Senate’s deputy minority whip and the third aspirant, Biodun Olujimi, stepped down earlier for Mr Adeyeye, in order to brighten his chances of winning.
That move, however, did not change the tide, as Mr Olusola still won with a margin of about 419 votes.
In the primary election, 2,086 were accredited for the election but 1,968 were eligible after others were disqualified. Seven votes were voided.
Mr Olusola entered the race with a clear advantage with his endorsement by the state working committee of the PDP in the state at the instance of Mr Fayose.
The chairman of the primary committee and Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, shortly after voting ended, sought the views of both aspirants on the conduct of the primaries.
Both of them agreed that the process was credible and expressed their support for its outcome.
Mr Okowa in announcing the results, hailed the contestants and delegates for displaying maturity, pointing out that this had again confirmed that the PDP was truly a democratic party.
“By the power vested in me as the Returning Officer, I hereby return Professor Kolapo Olusola as the duly nominated gubernatorial candidate of the PDP for Ekiti State governorship election, having scored the highest number of votes cast in this election,” he said.
“I want to congratulate Professor Kolapo Olusola for his victory, I wish him well.
“If you think this exercise was not peaceful, just look back and examine what happened in the past.”
He thanked Mr Fayose for his support, and commended the security officials and members of the panel for ensuring the success of the polls.
“Just before the commencement of voting, Senator Olujimi stepped down and this reduced the number of contestants to two,” Mr Okowa said.
“It was a very tough contention and just before Adeyeye left the hall, he came to tell me he was satisfied with the conduct of the exercise.
“I thank the members of the panel and PDP NWC for reposing confidence in us.”
Reacting to the outcome of the primaries, Prof. Olusola, a lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University, said he would continue to display loyalty to the party. He thanked those who facilitated his victory.
“I humbly thank all our party stalwarts who made this victory possible, particularly Governor Ayodele Fayose,” he said.
/“I want to thank the doggedness of my co-contestant, Prince Adeyeye. History will have it that he put in his best for a better Ekiti.
“I am determined to move Ekiti forward by sustaining those legacies that were started by our amiable governor.
“We are aware of the plans of the interlopers who wanted to grab power through the backdoor. Whether they like it or not, we shall give them another 16-0 again with the support of Ekiti people.
“I thank Governor Fayose for standing firm behind me despite all odds, I shall eternally be grateful to you for this love.”
Mr Fayose, in his remarks on the primaries, jokingly recommended Mr Okowa to the APC for the conduct of its rescheduled primaries.
“APC is worse than the PDP in every aspect,” he added.
He said he will reach out to Messrs Adeyeye and Olujimi to assure them of their relevance in the party.