Senator Opeyemi Bamidele,(APC)the serving senator representing Ekiti Central in the upper chamber of the National Assembly Tuesday picked his nomination form to contest the party primaries for the office of governor in Ekiti State which has been slated for January 2022, just a few weeks away.
He came amidst massive support of his colleagues as 21senators were in tow as he came to submit the form.
“I want to emphasize that I am not in this race alone, by the grace of God I have the support of many people in Ekiti including a good number of the leaders of our party.
“I have come in here today with 21 of my colleagues in the Senate who felt there is a need for them to come here with me and identify with my aspirations because they know the kind of person I am.
According to him, some of his friends and supporters under the aegis of Concerned Ekiti Professionals rallied among themselves and raised the N22.5m for the purchase of the form.
Opeyemi stated his conviction that everyone must live not just for themselves alone but for others too, adding that he feels most qualified to lead the state considering his wealth of experience in the workings of the three arms of government over the years.
“I am in this race because I’m truly convinced that no man owns himself to himself alone. By my own philosophy, I believe that everyone owns himself partly to himself, partly to his family, partly to his community and partly to the society at large. At the end of the day, whatever talent given by God almighty, we will have to account for everyoneof them.
I have had privileges and opportunities, extreme and extended exposure in the three arms of government. One, as a solicitor of the Supreme court of Nigeria and as an attorney and council at law in the state of New York in the United States. All of these in the last 30 years has given me the opportunity to network extensively within the judicial arm of government.
“Today, by the grace of God, I am a member of the body of benchers which is the highest decision making organ of the legal profession.
“I have also been privileged to serve in the executive arm of government. I served in the cabinet of Lagos state for 11 and a half years under two governors and that was an opportunity to operate and get exposure within the executive arm of government.
“I got elected into the legislative arm in 2011 and today, by the grace of God, I ama serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That makes the exposure for me, complete.
“So, having traversed the three arms of government, I want to say with due respect and with every sense of modesty, that I’ve got what it takes to lead a state like Ekiti at a time like this when everyone who has a scientific understanding of what is wrong and what needs to be done, needs to come forward and present himself.
” I’m convinced that more than anyone else, I know Ekiti like no one does, among those of us who have indicated interest in being governor of Ekiti State and I know the workings of government in the three arms like no one does among those of us that are aspiring.
His plan to take the state to a higher level is encoded in the acronym H- E-A-R-T
” I’ll be governing the state on the basis of the policy thrust from the HEART representing Health and Human Services, Education and Economic Advancement, Agriculture and Mineral development, Rural and Infrastructural Development, Transformation of Youths and Women.
“Finally, I must say that Ekiti is today led by a governor who understands the languageof internal democracy and party politics, HE John Kayode Fayemi and his administration has done so well and so much for Ekiti State and the administration deserves to have a worthy and well focussed successor who will not only protect the legacies of our party and the administration in Ekiti State, but will also build upon and take the state to the very next level of development.
Responding to insinuations that Gov Fayemi may have anointed another aspirant, Opeyemi said:
“I believe that in politics all manner of rumours will take place. I also believe it is customary, traditional and conventional for people to drop the name of governors or presidents when they are seeking political office.
He went on, “But like I said, Ekiti today is privileged to have a governor who understands the language of democracy and development. I believe we have a governor who believes so much in the principle of internal party democracy.
‘If it was the wish of our governor to anoint an aspirant, if it was the wish of our party to have an aspirant anointed, they will not be organising or be preparing to hold the party primary, neither will they be asking to come and spend N22.5 million to come and buy form. They would have said this is the candidate of the party by consensus.
“I do not believe that His Excellency Governor Kayode Fayemi has anointed any candidate. I believe that other people are probably interested in dropping the names of the governor and time will tell.
“I believe this is going to be a very serious race and I also believe that what is important is for each aspirant to go back, discuss with the members of the party and reach a covenant with the members of the party- covenant of Service , convenant of commitment to the ideals, to the manifesto of the party and to show that we also understand what is actually pinching our people in their shoes.
” I believe it is going to be a popular race and it is a collective aspiration on the part of many people. There is no room for name dropping.
“As to the relationship between Governor Fayemi and I, I will say succinctly, extremely cordial, it is a cordial relationship. And I emphasize again, our governor understands the purport of internal party democracy. You cannot stop people from dropping the governor’s name.
“The governor has not told anybody, this is who I am supporting and if I know Governor Fayemi well enough and I believe I do, I don’t see him coming out at any point. Even if I were to be his own chosen candidate or anointed candidate, the best he can do is to have sympathy for me. He still would not have raised my hand to say this is the anointed candidate.
“So, we are not there yet. It is too early for anybody to begin to say ‘i am the anointed candidate of the governor’.
“I understand politics better than being upset by such a claim by some people who just want to drop names.
Asked about his preferred method of primary election, the aspirant said he is open to whatever method the party chooses.
“I will say to you that I am open to any form of primary election. As a member of the 9th National Assembly, we have indicated a preference for direct primary. We have passed the bill, the bill is awaiting the decision to Mr. President. We mean well for the country,
“I also believe that Mr. President means well for the country. Mr. President also said when he was being sworn in for a second term that part of his legacy will be to leave an enduring and credible electoral law for this country. If Mr. President chooses to sign, I’m sure he will also tell the country why he has chosen to sign the bill. If on the other hand for whatever reasons he has chosen not to sign, I believe he will also have his reasons.
“But as a Senator, we have done our job and I believe Mr. President who is being awaited by the nation to take a decision for country means well for the country and he will take a decision based on what is in the best interest of this country.