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Ekiti 2022 And Adoption Of Aspirants – Okeya Omotoso

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Agreed, it’s not too early to commence every necessary political maneuvering ahead of 2022 off-cycle governorship election in Ekiti State. Trust them, these politicians have started doing one permutation or the other to outsmart one another in the forthcoming election.

Barring any unforseen circumstances, if the bill proposing the conduct of party primaries six month before the general election is promptly signed into law, then every political party would elect its candidate within the next 8 or 9 months.

In preparation for the election, hardly can a week pass in Ekiti without receiving a news of adoption, anointment or endorsement of an aspirant.

Adoption, anointment or endorsement as being referred to in this piece, means the act of taking or choosing one of the aspirants as your favourite or son/daughter, that you would continue to campaign for, support morally and financially to a logical conclusion.

Cases of adoption have not been very rampart in the ruling APC in Ekiti, unlike the PDP. The strong man at the centre of the APC politics in the state has logically discouraged frivolous ambitions and adoption of aspirants. You know, the sitting governor as the leader of the party with all the powers of incumbency at his disposal may likely dictate where the pendulum oscillates in their forthcoming party primary. Ekiti PDP equally has Ayo Fayose as the leader, but since he’s no longer in power, some could erroneously perceive him as their equal with whom they could rub shoulders.

Realistically, endorsement of aspirants most especially in the election seasons is neither strange nor alien, it’s a usual practice amongst the politicians all over the world. Ahead of 2008 presidential primaries in America, some leaders in the Democratic party, such as the incumbent President Joe Biden, fmr Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton, openly declared their support for Barrack Obama.

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Adoption is legitimate and lawful. It is part of the freedom of association and choice for the protection of individual’s interest. Moreover, nobody is constitutionally restricted from adopting any aspirant or candidate of his or her choice. Adoption is therefore a free and common tool for all politicians

Logically, as a matter of fact, the election management bodies such as INEC or NWC, in case of party elections cannot adopt or endorse any aspirants. Umpires cannot simultaneously be judges and litigants. Nemo judes in casa sua: nobody shall be a judge in his own case.

Fayose is a party leader and not a member of the state or national working committee, hence the former governor has not violated any of the extant laws by mentioning his preferred aspirant.

Associations, party members, individuals and political leaders are free to express their desires through the adoption of their favourite among the aspirants or candidates

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In corollary to the above, the series of adoptions that have been so far done in Ekiti State ahead of 2022 governorship election were morally and legally carried-out. They were legitimately done within the ambit of the laws.

In the PDP, Engr. Segun Oni has been adopted as a preferred aspirant by various individuals, groups, political leaders and youth organizations without attracting much furore. Another aspirant, Hon. Bisi Kolawole, was adopted by Chief Ayo Fayose and his group members, and I have no doubts that more adoptions are in the pipeline and would be rolled-out in due course, the game which might continue until the party primaries.

Notably, the adopted aspirant does not automatically become the party’s candidate Also, adoption does not foreclose the conduct of the party primaries, through which the candidate would be legitimately elected.

Politicians usually adopt , promote and boost the image of their preferred aspirants and increase their chances of victory in the primaries.

Endorsement or adoption is just an expression of desire which does not amount to imposition. Anyway, if adoption is perceived as imposition, nearly all the politicians must have been guilty of it.

Adoption is not in any way synonymous with imposition, after all, other leaders and party members were not barred from adopting any aspirants of their choice. I am therefore vehemently of the opinion that, no aspirant has been given undue advantage over others. The level playing ground is still reserved for all the aspirants. Don’t forget that, the strength and political clout of the individual aspirants are also determined by the number, quality and influence of the leaders and party members supporting their cause.

Biblically, God preferred and favoured David, the last child in the household of Jesse, and he was anointed as the king of Israel after Saul. In a similar vein, Joseph was not the only son of Jacob but he was specially favoured among his brothers for reasons known to God.

Many politicians would not usually make their preference known until few days before the election during which many aspirants must have been financially strangulated. But, it’s better that Fayose has made his interest known in earliest without hiding behind a finger. With this, other aspirants among Fayose’s followers would stop spending or depending on his influence as a veritable factor that would help in the primary election. Nevertheless, Fayose would still be criticised by those who are not favoured should he delay the adoption till the last day to the party primaries.

How many party primaries or congresses were devoid of one interest or the other in the history of Nigeria’s politics. ? We should stop deceiving ourselves. Tomorrow may be the turn of those who are not favoured by the adoptions of today.

Undoubtedly, the message has been received and correctly decoded. Barely 24 hours after the endorsement of Bisi Kolawole, the likes of Deji Ogunsakin, Kayode Oso, Ayo Oladimeji and Segun Adekola, who were hitherto vigorously pursuing governorship ambition have voluntarily shed the ambition in respect for the decision taken by Fayose’s group. Other Osoko Assembly Members who are still in the race have been very constructive and decorous in their approach. This is a good development.

However, it is on record that many adoptions were muted before now without known to many people, perhaps, Bisi Kolawole’s remains the mother of all adoptions going by the virulent waves it has continued to generate across board.

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