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Regional News of Tuesday, 21 June 2022


Ekiti: Two key reasons why SDP beat PDP in the guber elections

The leading contenders in the Ekiti election The leading contenders in the Ekiti election

The race for who become governor of Ekiti state was concluded on Saturday, June 18 and the winner was announced in the early hours of Sunday, June 19.

The election was serious business for all political parties that contested it due to the political implications it will have in the 2023 presidential elections. Whoever controls the state, controls the structure that will be used in campaigning for the presidential candidate.

The power of the state comes in handy for the different political parties.

Biodun Oyebanji, the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was declared the winner, maintaining the party's grip on the state. He secured 187,057 votes to defeat his closest challengers, Segun Oni of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) who polled 82,211, and Bisi Kolawole of the Peoples Democratic Party who scored 67, 457 votes.

While the general commentary has been about the victory of the APC and its candidate, many have failed to notice the progress made by the SDP and its candidate, Segun Oni - or even if they notice, they simply are not talking about it.

Created by former President Ibrahim Babangida, the SDP was seen as a moderate party attractive to young radical intellectuals and socialists. In its manifesto, it called for concerted efforts to improve welfare and fight for social justice.

With the days of M.K.O Abiola far gone, the popularity of the SDP has dwindled. However, progress like that by Segun Oni can only be a foundation to galvanize the party's weak structure ahead of the elections in 2023.

Below are two keys reasons why the SDP did better than the PDP in the polls:

Former Governor Segun Oni has a structure and base

In a surprising turn of events, a fringe party was able to defeat one of the leading political parties in the country. This can only happen if the candidate of the party has the requisite experience and structure that can help influence the electorates in his favor.

Although for a brief spell, Oni was the governor of Ekiti State between May 29, 2007, to October 14, 2010, until he was thrown out of office after the court of appeal upturned the decision of a lower court after the April 2007 general election.

His main opponent at the time was Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

Oni's election as governor was contentious with his main opponent, Dr. Kayode Fayemi challenging his victory at the Election Petition Tribunal in Ekiti State.

Defected from the PDP

Apart from his popularity in Ekiti, Segun Oni was tipped by many to emerge as the candidate for the gubernatorial primary election held in January.

Unfortunately, he lost the seat to Bisi Kolawole, the preferred candidate of Ayodele Fayose, a former governor of the state.

Kolawole was announced as the winner of the election after polling 671 votes to beat Oni, his closest rival, who had 330 votes.

The Segun Oni Campaign Organisation rejected the result of the PDP primary while alleging that members of the organization were disenfranchised by the process. His defection to the PDP led to the breakdown of the party's structure as some party executives and supporters joined him in the SDP.