Mike Ojoobanikan

Ekiti Governorship Election: When Two Elephants Fight

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It is when the human development index of the people is squarely addressed by the government (APC or PDP) that governance will have meaning to the people. Otherwise, the way politicians hover around the electorate when election approaches will turn out to be the love between the goat and cocoyam or the affection of the landlord towards a cock being reared for Christmas.


BY MIKE OJOOBANIKAN

The battles for who would become governorship candidates in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have, apologies to William Shakespeare, been lost and won. On 14 July 2018, two major gladiators, Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development of APC and Prof. Kolapo Olusola-Eleka, PDP, will joust for survival in the arena. Spectators in Ekiti, South West, Nigeria and the world at large will be watching, even howling, at what happens. These two fighters in heavy armours, shields, swords, trident, will circle each other with threatening glare and growl, menacing teeth, heavy breath, penetrating eyes and bulging muscles. Only one survivor will be carried shoulder high or enter the city triumphantly the way Julius Caesar did after his defeat of Pompeh.

On Saturday 12 May, APC held its primary election in Ado Ekiti, the state capital. That was after the first one, held at the same venue on Saturday 5 May was disrupted by a group of men, led by Adeusi Ademola, aka Oosha (Deity), the APC Youth Leader, Ekiti Central Senatorial Zone. He said he acted that way to save the future of Ekiti people and also the face of the party. He went further: “I hold all the 33 governorship aspirants in high regards and I make bold to say that nobody sent me, but the reflex action was because the electoral committee weren’t playing to the laid down rules agreed upon by us (the State Chapter of the APC) and the governorship aspirants”

He argued further that those that make peaceful negotiations impossible makes violent ones inevitable. “I have challenged severally why the accredited delegates were allowed to roam about outside of the stadium when they actually haven’t voted. I questioned why an aspirant would have more agents than the other. I questioned why the security officers were not armed while protecting the ballot boxes. I questioned with no answers why people went to the booths with their phones to snap, probably so that they can collect the balance of their financial inducements from the aspirants. All these are against the process to a free, fair and credible election.” So, with just backhand hit at the ballot box, others took their cue from that and joined the fray. The election was postponed to Saturday 12 May. That day Fayemi, emerged winner, got 941 to spank other 31 aspirants. One of them, Chief Segun Oni,a former governor of the state like Fayemi, clinched 481.

The PDP, which wanted to tell all who cared to listen that it is better organised held its own 8 May 2018 and that threw up Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Prof. Kolapo Olusola-Eleka as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate. He scored 1,190 votes as against Mr Dayo Adeyeye’s 771. He beat his chest that a duel with Fayemi on election day would be a walk in the park.

Prof. Kolapo Olusola Eleka

While Fayemi was a governor in Ekiti before, Eleka is still wet behind the ears in terms of administering a state. However, Fayose, the incumbent will, between now and election day (and after) be breathing down the neck of the PDP candidate. Put differently, therefore, the fight is between Fayemi and Fayose.

Whichever side the pendulum swings, I have two issues to address here: security of the people and the fundamental matters of development in Ekiti. On security and free election, not a few in Ekiti are shouting themselves hoarse now that it is the turn of Fayemi to use federal might the way Fayose dealt with him in 2014.

Fayose boasted: “In 2014 when Fayemi was the sitting governor and I was not in power, I trounced him mercilessly. I gave him 16 – 0, defeating him in all the 16 local governments, including in his home town, Isan Ekiti, he did not win a single local government. Now, I have been in power for more than three years and have served the people of Ekiti well. My legacy projects are there to speak for me, and for my party the PDP, as well as for our candidate in the July 14 governorship election, Prof. Kolapo Olusola-Eleka. I promise that Fayemi will suffer the worst defeat of his political career after the July 14election, he will not only suffer embarrassing defeat, he will go into political oblivion afterwards”

The Ekiti governor said further: “Fayemi has nothing to celebrate because of the electoral disaster awaiting him. The manner of his so-called victory also leaves much to be desired as it has turned many of their party leaders and followers against him. To those who may not know, the choice of Fayemi has made the condition of APC worse in Ekiti. The party leaders and members know that Fayemi has no use for any of them beyond the July 14election”

To Fayemi’s supporters too, this is payback time! They believe their candidate will bring down military might to Ekiti, intimidate the daylight out of some anti-APC elements and even, with his massive war chest, outspend Fayose in buying voters. My major concern here is not about money but using federal or security might. That Jonathan deployed such to help Fayose the other time does not make it right. The whole world is watching if a Spartan Muhammadu Buhari will allow intimidation of the people to gain political advantage. The federal government should make sure that politicians should not be allowed to set the state on fire.

Dr. Kayode Fayemi

The other issue I like to raise is the welfare of the people which, according to the Nigerian Constititution, should be the fundamental objective of government. Whether it is Fayemi or Eleka that gets elected, there are serious problems on ground, even under the watch of Fayose that need serious attention of the government that comes on board post 14 July to address.

These are: Civil servants and secondary school teachers going about without salaries in the last six months; local government staff, primary school teachers and pensioners that have not been paid for the past eight months; retirees that have not gotten their gratuity since 2013. There are workers who have not received salaries for the past seven months: EKSU staff; College of Education Workers; workers of Health Tech, Ijero Ekiti.

When the current government came on board in 2014, that government is continuum is not in its dictionary. With vengeance, it scrapped the existing Youth and Farmers Empowerment Scheme

The new administration should revisit the complaints of Ekiti youths that were sacked in Ekiti Transport Management Agency (EKTMA), VOLUNTEERS, IKOGOSI WARM SPRING; 153 youths booted out of Ekiti State House of Assembly. Worse still, the new government should revive the payment of N5,000 to 20,000 elderly citizens that the incumbent stopped and compensation for Ekiti people whose houses were demolished for urban renewal.

It is when the human development index of the people is squarely addressed by the government (APC or PDP) that governance will have meaning to the people. Otherwise, the way politicians hover around the electorate when election approaches will turn out to be the love between the goat and cocoyam or the affection of the landlord towards a cock being reared for Christmas.

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