The hope that there could be a first Nigerian elected female State Governor between 2022 and 2023 finally dimmed on Wednesday, January 26 2022.
Senator Biodun Olujimi, who many thought could pick the ticket and, perhaps, go ahead to win the upcoming Governorship election in Ekiti State lost it.
Aspiring under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olujimi gave up even before the voting at the Primary Election began.
In the morning of the Primary to choose a candidate who will fly PDP’s flag, Olujimi threw in the towel. She cited an alleged corrupted Delegates’ list, and threw in the towel.
Not a few people were disappointed when she did. A former Deputy Governor of the State under the first coming of former Governor Ayo Fayose as a Governor, Olujimi is a grassroots politician. He is a good mixer, and a great mobiliser.
She had the opportunity of becoming a Governor on a platter of Gold when Fayose was impeached from office under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Presidency. But according to the story, she refused to betray her then boss. She let that opportunity slide.
However, Fayose has not reciprocated that sacrifice. He has not quite backed her. Against all odds, it is said, Olujimi became a Senator during Fayose’s second coming as Governor. Yet, not a few people said it was with support from Fayose, a claim some other people dispute. But, perhaps, it’s true. In Nigeria, not many people become Senators without the support of their Governors, particularly, when they are of the same political party. But soon, her relationship with Fayose went awry.
In 2019, again, Olujimi prevailed against all odds. He snatched victory from the lion’s mouth, thanks to the Court who saw merit in her claim that she, and not Senator Adeyeye, won the Senatorial election in her Zone.
In 2022/2023, Olujimi upped the ante. Even though protocol-wise, Senators come first before Governors, she set her eyes on becoming the Governor of the State. She wanted executive powers. Olujimi has the poise and the confidence to get it. More important, she is popular.
But in politics, one plus one hardly add up to two. At times, it is minus two, or even four.
Olujimi did her homework. But she never had the support of Fayose, the man who seem to want to be in charge all the time. He is in control of Ekiti State’s political structure. Fayose backed another aspirant, Bisi Kolawole. Not Olujimi. Not even, as many had expected him to do, the former Governor of the State, Segun Oni, who was defeated after a one term in office. Fayose backed Bisi Kolawole.
Signs that things had gone awry for Olujimi, inspite of the confidence she was exuding, began after the earlier Primary which was won by Bankole. Olujimi led the other aspirants to protest vehemently to the National Leadership of the party. They said the list of delegates was hijacked and corrupted. They accused the Governor of the Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, who was the Chairman of the Primary Election Committee, of colluding with Fayose to rubbish the Primary. They asked for a cancelation.
A couple of days ago, the PDP Leadership listened to them, canceled that Primary, and rescheduled it for Wednesday, January 26.
There was no difference in the result.
Just before the voting began, Olujimi pulled out. She insisted the delegates’ list was still corrupted. Then, she flaunted her gender, and the disadvantages that go with it. She said even her delegates were denied her.
Finally, when voting ended, after a physical fight, and results released, she was insulted by the announcement that she scored only two votes. Even though she had pulled out earlier, her name was still left on the ballot.
Olujimi’s failure to clinch victory is a minus for women in politics. The time for any woman to be elected Governor still seem far.
With the result, Bankole, Fayose’s choice, who polled a total of 671 votes will fly PDP’s flag. Former Governor Oni came a distant second with a total of 330 votes.
It is not known what the reaction of the defeated aspirants will be. Oni, for example, will be very disappointed.
He was a Governor on the ticket of the PDP. When he failed for a second term, and felt he had become irrelevant in the party, he defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC. He later dumped the APC and went back to his vomit – the PDP – when his desires in the APC were not met.
He felt he could pick the PDP ticket, a reason many adduced for his re-defection to the PDP. For sometime, it seemed it would work. He was in same camp with Fayose, and the talk in town was that Fayose was backing him. But they soon fell apart.
Now, any hope of his completing a second term is dashed, just as the hope of Olujimi becoming the first female elected Governor has been dashed.
For the PDP, the problem will be how to reconcile all the aspirants for the task ahead. For now, all the aspirants, but Bankole, holds Fayose responsible for their fate.