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EkitiDecides2022: Meet the top candidates aspiring to be governor

In less than 24 hours, residents of Ekiti State in Nigeria’s South West region will choose their next governor.

Ahead of the election, Channels Television organised a debate for six out of the 16 candidates on Sunday, June 12, 2022. 

The candidates are: Oluwole Oluyede of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Kemi Elebute Halle of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Biodun Oyebanji of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Olabisi Kolawole of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Segun Oni of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and Ranti Ajayi from the Young Progressives Party (YPP).

Earlier in May, BBC Yoruba also held a debate for some candidates. 

Out of a total 16 candidates, there are 14 male and two females. Judging from pre-election activities and debate, here are some candidates referred to as frontline contenders in the election. 

Abiodun Oyebanji of the APC

Abiodun Oyebanji (@biodunaoyebanji) who is the immediate past secretary to the Ekiti state government emerged as the candidate of the APC after polling 101,703 votes in the primaries. The 54-year-old politician is contesting with Afuye Monisade as his running mate. 

He has served as the Special Assistant, Parliament Affairs to the governor of Ekiti from 1999-2001, Chief of Staff to the governor of Ekiti State from 2001 to 2003 and was the chairman, Governing Board, Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development from 2009 to 2010.

He was also the State Commissioner, Ministry of Integration and Inter-Governmental Affairs and served as the head, Office of Transformation Strategy and Delivery (OTSD), Ekiti State.

Image of Abiodun Oyebanji.

Olabisi Kolawole of the PDP

Olabisi Kolawole, former chairman of PDP in Ekiti State, emerged as the party’s candidate for the Ekiti governorship election after defeating Segun Oni, a former governor, and Kolapo Olusola, a former deputy governor of the state.

The 64-year-old politician enjoys the support of former governor, Ayodele Fayose. Mr Kolawole who is running with Kolapo Olugbenga Kolade is a former lawmaker representing Efon constituency in the state house of assembly between 2007 to 2011. He has also served as commissioner of environment between 2015 and 2018.

He proposes a six-point agenda which includes security of lives and properties, participatory governance, provision of social services and a sustainable environment. 

Image of Olabisi Kolawole

Segun Oni of the SDP

Former governor, Segun Oni, is also in the race under the SDP. In February this year, Mr Oni defected from the leading opposition PDP following what was described as “a high degree of injustice” meted to him by some “powerful forces” in the party during its primaries. 

The 67-year-old politician is contesting this election with James Oladipo Owolabi as his running mate. He said his focus will be on job creation with the goal to create 100,000 jobs in his first year in office.

Image of Segun Oni

Elebute-Halle Kemi of the ADP

Elevate-Halle Kemi, one of the two female candidates in the race, emerged as the winner of the ADP February 7 governorship primaries. She has done well to put herself in the frontline with her activities and participation in pre-election debates. 

The 40-year-old engineer and politician is running with 41-year-old Afuye Sunday. She is the founder and grand matron of the Dominion Group, an organisation that seeks to impact the lives of her community through empowerment programs.

She has served in the Ministry of Environment as the assistant quantity surveyor from 2001 to 2002. She has also served as the assistant site engineer at the Ekiti State Ministry of Work and Transport. 

Between 2010 and 2012, she served as quantity surveyor at Julius Berger Plc Abuja. 

Image of Elebute-Halle Kemi

Oluwole Oluyede of the ADC

Oluwole Oluyede, who defected from the APC to join ADC became the party’s candidate through a voice vote at the primary election of the party. 

The Ikere-Ekiti-born medical expert and politician is running with Popoola Simbo. 

The 57-year-old is a member of Ekiti Knowledge Zone, a think-tank set up by the current governor.

Image of Oluwole Oluyede

Ranti Ajayi of the YPP

Ranti Ajayi, a former member of the APC is running for governor under the YPP with Olaseni Babatunde as his running mate. 

The 62-year-old says his government will focus on building necessary collaboration for the development of the state, reviving agriculture, education, healthcare, purpose-driven infrastructure and tourism. 

In 2011, he became the pioneer Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning in Ekiti. Subsequently, in 2013, he became the Commissioner for Trade, Investments and Innovations (rebranded Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives). 

In 2015, Mr Ajayi inaugurated a group of young people (referred to as Arrows) from all the 16 local government areas of Ekiti. This group, designed to connect Ekiti Professionals and Youth for mentoring and creating a productive and self-reliant culture,  was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission as Ekitikete WandA (Warriors and Arrows) International Organization. 

Image of Ranti Ajayi

Find below the full list of candidates by INEC.

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