The political drumbeat towards the gubernatorial race in Ekiti State assumed an audible volume today as one-time governor of the State and Deputy National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), South, Chief Segun Oni, defected to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Oni, who became governor of the state on May 29, 2007 was ousted October October 15, 2010, following the judgement of an appeal court which upturned the validation of his election.
The declaration of Oni, a very notable politician in the state for the PDP is considered by many APC members as a big set-back for an easy ride for the incumbent ruling party, the APC in the coming governorship election scheduled to hold in the state in 2022.
It was gathered that Oni’s exit from the APC in Ekiti, attracted the quitting of the party by some of his loyalists who chose to move with him to the PDP.
Oni’s electoral journey as governor in 2007 has been contentious with his main opponent in the 2007 general election, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, challenging his victory at the Election Petition Tribunal in Ekiti State.
Segun Oni was briefly thrown out of office after the court of appeal upturned the decision of a lower court after the April 2007 general election.
In Ekiti State, effort to get a governor at a point during his tenure using the re-run election of 2009 was “marked by violence and intimidation since the man elected back in 2007, Segun Oni, was thrown out of office after massive vote-rigging emerged”.
Apart from violence, adding to the controversy was the conduct of the electoral commissioner who initially refused to announce the results of the re-run election.
In May 2010, Oni won by a split decision at the election petition tribunal. The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, upheld the election of then incumbent Governor Segun Oni, thereby dismissing the petition filed by the Action Congress (AC) Governorship candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
The Majority ruling declares Oni winner with 109,000 to Dr. Kayode Fayemi’s 106,000 after deductions of unlawful votes were made.
The appeal court ruling opposed this by upholding that “We hold that the Petitioners have duly and dutifully proved their case”. Two judges supported the minority judgement while three judges endorsed the majority ruling. And he was removed from office on 15 October following the Judgement of the Appeal Court which ruled against him in favour of his opponent, Kayode Fayemi.
Oni crossed to the APC in 2014 majorly because of his disapproval to the overbearing influence of a former governor of the state, Peter Ayodele Fayose and soon after became a Deputy National Chairman of the APC.