By Opeyemi Aremu-Gbemiro
Former Governor of Ekiti, Mr Ayodele Fayose, on Tuesday, unveiled the Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Mr Bisi Kolawole, as his preferred choice for the 2022 governorship election in the state.
Kolawole, a former House of Assembly member, representing the Efon constituency, was formally presented by Fayose to his supporters in all the 177 wards in the state.
The occasion was attended by some party chieftains, including a former member of the House of Representatives from Ogun, Mr Ladi Adebutu, a former PDP South-West Zonal Chairman, Dr Eddy Olafeso, PDP Chairman in Ogun, Alhaji Sikirukahi Ogundele and Mr Kayode Alufa, among others.
Speaking at the occasion, Fayose described Kolawole as a bridge-builder, who would usher in a better future for Ekiti and the party.
He commended two former House of Representatives members, Messrs Ayodeji Oladimeji and Segun Adekola for stepping down for Kolawole to allow peace to reign, saying “this is a mark of respect for my leadership.
“The man you have come to honour, Bisi Kolawole, is our collective project. I made him my preferred candidate in the overall interest of our party, but this does not foreclose due process of nomination in PDP.
“We are not going to attack anybody on social media. We are not going to do that, and even if you are doing that without your voter cards, you are just wasting your time; just go and get your voter cards,” he said.
Fayose, however, said that whoever won the primary among the aspirants would have his support.
“PDP is what we are supporting; it is what we are marketing, and all we want is a winner; we have started consultations and I know that victory is sure for us,” he said.
In his address, Adebutu appealed to Fayose to mend fences with his aggrieved supporters to keep and strengthen his political base.
“It is sad that some people, who used to be with Fayose, had abandoned him barely three years he left office.
“Why should this be? When and what actually caused the enmity? I am particularly worried.
“We have to beg them. We must appeal to them; they have dined and wined with the Fayose political family; they have benefited from you; we won’t allow anyone to ruin PDP. So Fayose must bring them back,” Adebutu said.
Kolawole, in his remarks, promised that he would not betray the confidence reposed in him.
“I never wanted to be a governorship aspirant. All I wanted was to remain as PDP chairman, but when the leadership beckoned, I have to agree.
“This endorsement does not mean an imposition; that Fayose is endorsing me only shows that I have been adopted by his supporters and admirers.
“I am going to make sure we have free and fair primary. I won’t take advantage of my position. I am going to become the candidate through popular votes.
“I am sure that this is not going to be an impossible task. Above all, I will not betray Fayose who is our leader.
“For him (Fayose) to have endorsed me, I consider myself to have received uncommon mercy from God. I thank God for showing me mercy,” the governorship aspirant said.