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Although the senatorial election is still many months away, pressures are currently mounting on the leadership of the All Progressives Congress(APC) in Ekiti, seeking the replacement of Opeyemi Bamidele as Senator representing Ekiti Central.

The controversies over the zoning of the ticket for the Senatorial District is now creating unrest within the party in the zone.

It was reliably gathered that there are pressures on the leadership of the party to zone the ticket to Ado Ekiti if it must emerge victorious in the coming election.

The pressure groups are seeking to deny Opeyemi Bamidele, the current senator for the district, the ticket to return to the Senate.

Mr Bamidele is from Irelodun/Ifelodun, one of the area councils in Ekiti Central, which also has Ado Ekiti, Ijero, Efon and Ekiti West Local Government areas.

A faction of the party with the name, Ado Ekiti Frontiers(AEF), has warned the party against feilding Mr Bamidele for the next senatorial election.

Instead it urged the party to field a candidate from Ado Ekiti it it intends to be victorious in the coming National Assembly election.

AEF Coordinator, Taiwo Salami, argued before newsmen in Ado Ekiti that allowing Ado Ekiti to produce the party’s senatorial candidate would boost its chances in the June 18, 2022 governorship election and general elections scheduled for 2023.

Mr Salami urged Governor Kayode Fayemi and other party stakeholders to consider allowing the senatorial candidate to come from Ado Ekiti Local Government.

“Ado Ekiti had produced likes of Prof ‘Banji Akintoye as senator and Hon Gabriel Falayi as a member of House of Representatives in 1979, hence we are not asking for too much, if we pleading for a senatorial seat in 2022,” he said.

“We shall continue to be peaceful and patient to demand for our rightful positions as community that hosted entire Ekiti. The voting strength of Ado Ekiti secured victory for our party in 2018, because we were able to bridge the gap of 2014 governorship election to the minimum level. 

“For instance, in 2014 governorship election, APC polled 13,927, while PDP scored 41, 169 with a wide margin of 27,242, but in 2018 gubernatorial election, we reduced the wide margin to 4,699, which actually gave victory to our party.”

However, an opposing faction has come out strong to defend the senator, saying he remains the best option for victory.

The group, Ekiti Central Progressive Alliance(ECPA), maintained that  the current occupant of the seat should be given the right of first refusal for the party to win the election.

ECPA’s Chairman, Mayowa Olowoyeye, said the party needs Mr Bamidele’s popularity to win the June 18 governorship poll, saying the candidate of the Social Democratic Party(SDP), Segun Oni is posing serious threat to APC candidate, Biodun Oyebanji.

“We are not in any way against Ado Ekiti producing the Senator in our zone, but as we are today, Senator Bamidele should be a natural choice for APC on account of his experience as a ranking Senator and popularity in the district,” he said.

“Except APC is deceiving itself, the SDP is gaining grounds on daily basis in Ekiti and threatening our chances of winning the election. So, we need to give our ticket  to a popular person to be able to galvanise support for our party.

“Again, a ranking Senator always command respect in the Senate, so we need people with experience to be able to give Ekiti a strong voice and that person is Senator Bamidele.

“In the last election, I mean 2019 elections, Senator Bamidele scored over 94,000 votes in Ekiti Central Senatorial Election. This confirmed how popular he is. He is also the Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary as a first termer and if given the ticket and wins, he will go higher and give Ekiti a better representation.”

Spokesman for the party, Segun Dipe, said on Monday in Ado Ekiti, that the agitations and aspirations of the groups are legitimate.

“What we would however not do is to enforce any person on the people,” he said.

According to him, the different interest groups could present their arguments to the appropriate quarters,. but the choice will be made by the proper elective structures of the party as laid down in its constitution.
Sen. Bamidele was a member of the House of Representatives between 2011 and 2015 before he contested for Senate.

He was an aspirant at the last governorship primaries of the APC in Ekiti State where he lost to Biodun Oyebanji.

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