Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, has just been suspended by a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in his own state.

In this piece, we take you through how Fayemi got here and why his name keeps coming up ahead of the 2023 presidential race.

The Tinubu factor

Fayemi and national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, are not the best of friends right now. That should be the worst kept secret in the political sphere.

The relationship between both men has actually been frosty for a while.

Highly placed sources have repeatedly told Pulse that Fayemi is very interested in the 2023 presidency, even though he hasn’t come out to say so publicly. He hasn't denied it either.

Fayemi is pitching to be vice president or president in the next dispensation and he considers APC godfather Tinubu one of the impediments to this ambition.

Tinubu is also interested in the presidency. There’s some likelihood that Tinubu will run in 2023 or nominate someone who will. It is why the man has increased the frequency of his public appearances and press statements.

President Muhammadu Buhari (left) and APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. [Twitter/@Buharisallau1]
President Muhammadu Buhari (left) and APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. [Twitter/@Buharisallau1]

By the APC’s rotational agreement, the presidency will return to the south in 2023, when Buhari, a northern Muslim, would have served his constitutionally permissible two terms of eight years in office.

Bourdillon (Tinubu’s famous Lagos address in highbrow Ikoyi) doesn’t like Fayemi and Fayemi doesn’t like Bourdillon. It's pretty much mutual disdain for both camps.

Behind the scenes, Fayemi has severed all ties with Tinubu and his Bourdillon as he continues to set his gaze on the big prize in 2023.

In APC circles, most now consider Fayemi a traitor who works with the opposition to undermine APC candidates during elections.

What exactly is happening in Ekiti politics?

Babafemi Ojudu, who is the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on political matters, is openly rebelling against Fayemi in Ekiti.

Ojudu is Tinubu’s man. All the members of the APC who just signed that statement announcing Fayemi’s suspension, are Tinubu’s men.

Former House of Representatives member, Omotunde Ojo, who is also up against Fayemi in Ekiti right now, is Tinubu’s son-in-law.

Former senator Babafemi Ojudu rebels against Fayemi in Ekiti (Punch)
Former senator Babafemi Ojudu rebels against Fayemi in Ekiti (Punch)

This is Tinubu’s proxy war going on in Ekiti and it’s all highwire, strategic politics from a neutral standpoint.

Fayemi knows this, which is why on September 23, a faction of the APC loyal to the governor suspended Ojudu, Ojo and nine other APC chieftains from Ekiti who are loyal to Tinubu, for “contravening the party’s directive."

Two days later, specifically on September 25, Ojudu and the rest of Tinubu’s men in Ekiti hit back: they suspended Fayemi from the APC for “anti-party activities.”

Across the nation, a faction of the APC that is loyal to Tinubu thinks Fayemi has been working with PDP politicians to undermine his own political party, the APC. They have accused Fayemi of funding PDP candidates. One source calls Fayemi a "janus-faced snake."

Adams Oshiomhole, who was APC National Chairman until June this year, doesn’t like Fayemi and considers Fayemi one of the governors who made his reign difficult.

President Muhammadu Buhari receives the immediate past chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole at the Aso Rock Villa in August [Twitter/@NigeriaGov]
President Muhammadu Buhari receives the immediate past chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole at the Aso Rock Villa in August [Twitter/@NigeriaGov]

After his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House on August 17, 2020, Oshiomhole verbally attacked Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum Salihu Lukman, who works under Fayemi; and likened the man to a pig.

Oshiomhole also referenced “the cowards” (read Fayemi) behind Lukman.

“He is just like the cowards that are using him...that are not able to come out,” Oshiomhole said, after Lukman reminded him that the Edo election wasn’t about him.

Oshiomhole is very loyal to Tinubu, need we add.

What is Tinubu’s faction of APC in Ekiti accusing Fayemi of?

Not surprisingly, in the statement announcing Fayemi’s suspension from the APC as signed by Ojudu and Co, the Ekiti State Governor has been accused of:

  1. Working with Femi Fani-Kayode of the PDP.
  2. Working with Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike of the APC.
  3. Working behind the scenes to ensure Osagie Ize-Iyamu lost the Edo election.

"For five days prior to the Edo election, Gov Fayemi hosted PDP big wig Mr. Femi Fani- Kayode in the government house in Ado Ekiti. It was here they perfected the coup against our party in Edo State,” Tinubu’s faction of the APC in Edo writes.

"His fraternisation with the PDP in continuation of his bid for vice presidential candidate under the party ( if his bid for presidential candidate in APC fails ) was masked by the commissioning of projects in Rivers State, a smokescreen for his consultation to woo the support of Governor Nyesom Wike last year.

Wike (left) receives Obaseki in Port Harcourt after the latter was denied the APC governorship ticket for Edo
Wike (left) receives Obaseki in Port Harcourt after the latter was denied the APC governorship ticket for Edo

“We also recall his role in the gubernatorial election in Oyo State where he supported the PDP candidate to defeat the APC candidate,” the statement says.

You can read the full statement here.

So, what now?

The different APC camps in Ekiti and elsewhere will continue this feud for a while until something gives.

Fayemi may leave the APC if he considers the party and 'Tinubu’s boys' too hostile toward him. He may not drop his presidential or vice presidential ambition however.

Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi (Guardian)
Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi (Guardian)

The battle line in Ekiti politics has however been drawn. No governor likes to be dictated to by an overbearing godfather. Ask Obaseki and the people of Edo State.

Fayemi will fancy his chances. In politics, as in life, it’s the hope that kills.