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Ekiti 2014: “Who Shall We Send, Who Will Go For Us”

Ayo Fayose, Ekiti-state

By Prince ‘Tosin Jegede

Without doubt, this is one pertinent question with several answers on the minds of a larger percentage of Ekiti people as we match toward the June 21 Governorship elections. Now that political parties flag bearer are emerging, finding answers to this question and fast is imperative. Every politically active Ekiti is as confused as the other, each taking solace in their partisan interest in making a choice that may adversely affect even generations yet unborn.

Ayo Fayose

Ayo Fayose

The People Democratic Party (PDP) was the only Political Party that the electorate needed to wait for its flag bearer to emerge; the others were done deals from the onset. APC did not mince words with its preference for the incumbent, Governor Kayode Fayemi, preferring to shut its door at any of its members who dared to challenge the decision of the party to zero down on the incumbent.

Honourable Opeyemi Bamidele’s Bibiire Coalition was a product of the APC hardline decision on who flies its flag in the June 21 election. The Labour Party (LP), an underdog in the Ekiti political calculation became prominent when some APC members aggrieved by the undemocratic decision of the party to impose the incumbent as its candidate and a faction of the PDP led by the now chairman of LP, Bar. Akin Omole joined its fold. That Opeyemi Bamidele will emerge as the sole candidate of the LP needed no introduction as the party’s present fame in the Ekiti State can only be attributed to the MOB Bibiire syndrome. The Accord Party which came into being in response to Barrister Kole Ajayi’s governorship ambition is another political party that came into the race of the State Governorship seat with a known candidate.

The PDP literarily kept the Ekiti governorship race at a “standstill”, political gladiators anxiously waited the emergence of its candidate which eventually emerged on Saturday 22nd of March, 2014 amidst interesting political dramas. The former Governor, Ayodele Fayose was declared PDP flag bearer for the June 21 governorship election at a controversial governorship primary held in Ado Ekiti, a decision the Party National Working Committee later upheld. Fayose’s emergence shouldn’t come as a surprise to an unbiased observer of happenings within the PDP as he was seen to have worked more than the other aspirants; while others were busy jumping across offices in Abuja seeking a shorter cut to becoming the PDP candidate via consensus or endorsement, Fayose was busy gathering members support for his ambition. Most PDP aspirants seem not to have understood the rudiments of a primary election; they went about it as if it was time for a general election, they must have confused the word aspiration with candidature. Fayose’s street wisdom and the understanding of the State PDP party machinery obviously paid off as all other aspirants conceded defeat by boycotting the primary immediately after the delegates’ election. Fayose’s preparation for his victory at the PDP primary dated back to his success at installing his cronies as members of the State party executives, every other contestant also staged a walk out in protest, while Fayose stayed to complete his plans of installing his loyalists; one would have expected them to have learnt their lessons that winners don’t quit.

It is pertinent to state at this point my resentment for having this garrulous politician, Ayo Fayose as the Governor of my State again even while I cannot but acknowledge his ability to mobilize political support within the PDP which he helped to build in Ekiti and his doggedness at staying politically relevant against all odds.

Now that we know the choices thrown at us by the Political Parties, what is our best option when the time to answer the big question, “who shall we send, who will go for us” comes? With these four candidates saying here “I am send me”, who is our best choice, or do we seek for another?

Governor Kayode Fayemi, a product of a judicial verdict that saw Engineer Segun Oni out of the Ekiti State Governor’s office is a man who practically mismanaged the unprecedented goodwill he enjoyed on his assumption of office in October 2010. He rode into the Government house on the wings of political propaganda and attempted sustaining himself in office with same but may have failed. From his maiden speech, it became obvious to keen observers that he wasn’t prepared for the task ahead of him; why he had to announce the reduction of fees paid by students in the Ekiti State University in his inaugural speech without the understanding of the workings of this institution is one question I may never get an answer to, I kept asking myself, why the rush? Announcing the location of a Federal University is another action of the governor in his early days in office that gave him away as a “baby” in governance. Fayemi by his actions and inaction gradually lost favour with most of his staunch supporters whose expectations he had raised to high heavens by promising the impossible. Fayemi’s first year in office was a disappointment to many of his believers, they obviously expected more from a man they have waited and made unthinkable sacrifices for.

They could see a sharp dichotomy in the promises and the realities of the Kayode Fayemi led administration, this must have led to the huge debt profile of his administration in a frantic effort to impress the people in his second year in office. Fayemi needed to do something urgently to remedy his non-performing status, the reality of governance might have dawn on him that he wouldn’t be able to do as promised with the State regular allocation and IGR, hence the resolve to run to the capital market and banks to raise fund. Again his unprepared propagandist nature came into force in the choice of projects to be executed with the borrowed fund, he was more concerned with projects that are achievable within a short term without consideration for the real need of the people and the enhancement of the citizens economic value. His government was too far from the people he seeks to govern again.

Fayemi’s inability to ensure his supporters peaceful co-habitation in the party, political arrogance that led him to thinking that he had all it takes to succeed, lack of the ability to correctly interpret political signs and the inability to hit the ground running immediately he reclaimed his mandate are reasons why he will sweat to be re-elected if he is fortunate not to lose the seat. But for these reasons, Fayemi would have entered this contest unbeatable. There is one certainty observed, the people are fed up with the present All Progressives Congress (APC) government led by Dr Kayode Fayemi. This revelation may shock you, majority of the APC members and supporters in the state are desirable of a change in the occupant of the Oke-Bareke Government House by October 2014, but cannot give their desires expression as a change that will not produce their party member as occupant of the number one seat may affect their personal selfish interest.

However, determined, as Ekiti people are to send Fayemi out of the government house in October, the puzzle remains “who shall we send, who will go for us”.

Unfortunately, Ekiti is once again saddled with the burden of considering former Governor Ayodele Fayose for her first man seat. His first coming was characterized by violence among other vices. According to a report published on http://247ureports.com/?p=34748, Comrade Ebenezer Olayele gave 15 fundamental reasons why Fayose cannot be Governor again in Ekiti State. In his write-up, comrade Olayele and his group libeled Fayose “a Governor Ekiti do not want” in their attempt to warn the PDP of the impending danger of fielding him again. (please read at link).

Fayose is not alone in the area of political intolerance of the opposition or in the accusation of politically motivated killings under his watch. Among others, there has being accusations and counter accusation of political violence in the past 41 months of the Kayode Fayemi administration. In a report published by Daily Trust online on the 6th of April 2013, the publicity secretary of the South West Defenders (SWD), Lere Olayinka in protest of the murder of one Ayo Murphy Jeje and Mrs Juliana Adewumi in Arijiyan Ekiti said “Chief Adeleye Awolumate, PDP Chairman for Osun Ward in Moba Local Government was killed in broad daylight on November 18, 2010 while Teslim Abiola, a 400 level Accounting student of Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti was killed on September 26, 2012.” According to the report, the murdered Ayo Jeje was among the aggrieved members of the defunct ACN that were billed to decamp to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday, March 31, 2013. Chief Jide Awe, Chairman of the APC is currently standing trial for the murder of Ayo Murphy Jeje.

In the same vein, a statement credited to the Prince Dayo Adeyeye Movement and published on The Nigerian Voice (TNV) online, Adeyeye accused Dr. Kayode Fayemi of planning to free suspected murderers of 34 years old Foluso Ogundare killed in broad day light in Emure Ekiti on November 3rd 2013. In the statement, Adeyeye said “Nigerians should be reminded that it was the Fayemi-led government that has frustrated the trial of the State Interim Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Jide Awe and others being tried for alleged involvement in the murder of Ayo Murphy Jeje and Mrs Juliana Adewumi.

“It was also the Fayemi-led state government that made a ‘no case’ submission to free the State Chairman of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Rotimi Olabiwonu (Mentilo) and former Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Tajudeen Hassan and others arrested by the police and charged to court for alleged involvement in the murder of Chief Adeleye Awolumate and attempted murder of Mrs Adeola Akande in Otun-Ekiti on November 18, 2010.

“Again, Fayemi’s government it was, who made sure that the killer of Teslim Abiola, a 400 Level Accounting student of the Ekiti State University, who was hit by a vehicle driven by the governor’s aide on September 26, 2012, was not tried.

Michael Opeyemi Bamidele’s governorship ambition declaration rally was gruesomely disrupted by hoodlums and security agents allegedly acting on the instruction of the incumbent Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

It is interesting to note that a number of Dr. Kayode Fayemi’s political aides were also actively involved with the Fayose Administration. One can only wonder if there is a significant difference in the government led by Fayose and what is being experienced with the Kayode Fayemi’s administration as far as political violence accusations and intolerance of opposing views are concerned.

Honourable Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, although has a long history in the Lagos politics can best be described as a young blood as far as Ekiti politics in concerned. He became prominent in the Ekiti politics when he decided to contest the senate seat of the Ekiti Central Senatorial District, a mission that was allegedly truncated by the incumbent Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi. He was later allotted the House of Representative ticket by the power-that-be in the party. It is very difficult to determine the root of the rift between the one time jolly good fellows, Opeyemi Bamidele and Kayode Fayemi, but the palpability of their political acrimony cannot be denied. The Ekiti Labour Party, whose flag Opeyemi Bamidele will be flying in the june 21 election is the product of their unresolvable political difference.

MOB as he is fondly called is one candidate in Ekiti who singlehandedly built a political structure that has become a phenomenon in the Ekiti political calculation today. Fayose who attempted such in the build up to the 2003 general election enjoyed the support of the Federal PDP government. I would have conveniently placed a bet on the LP candidate victory at the poll but for the fact that it takes a longer period to build a structure that is formidable enough to win a governorship race than he has access to. His winning this race therefore depends on how much of the PDP wide spread structure he is able to convert to his advantage especially now that the PDP seems to be in disarray after the party’s primary.

The PDP has a very formidable political structure spread across the state but its reputation has been significantly bruised by the ruling APC in the last 8years. In fact, former Governor Ayodele Fayose contributed immensely to the dented image of the party in Ekiti State. Hence, for the PDP to generate electoral gains from its state wide structure, it must as a matter of necessity present a candidate with a very high mass appeal, a candidate without blemish in who’s behind the Elites can comfortably queue.

Kole Ajayi, the Accord Party governorship candidate from all indications is in the race to secure a political appointment in the next dispensation. He is obviously not in the race to win as his party cannot boast of its presence in more than 5 LGAs of the state, even his attempt at presenting himself as a beautiful bride is being poorly managed. According to the electoral act, to be declared as the winner of a governorship election, the candidate must have won the majority vote and 25% of votes cast in 2/3 of the State; Kole Ajayi being a lawyer must be aware that with the strength of his preparation and political structure, he cannot fulfill the 2/3 provision of the electoral law.

Indeed, this is a contest of uncertainties; a contest that will be won or lost with a very slim margin if nothing is done to upset existing balance in what will be a tripod kind of contest. In a free and fair electoral contest, Governor Kayode Fayemi’s victory depends on his camp ability to effectively manage the political tantrum of former governor Ayo Fayose and beat the LP to game of converting the PDP crises to their advantage. Managing the PDP candidate is a task I doubt the APC can achieve considering the antecedents of its supporters.

Ayo Fayose’s victory in this contest will be a miracle with over 90% of the elite class speaking against his candidacy; considering the outburst that greeted his victory at the PDP primary, it is obvious the elites in his support are doing it covertly. No doubt Osoko has about 60% masses support; it takes more than the masses to win a governorship election in a state like Ekiti State. The elites often times determine the masses voting pattern.

A runoff election is a possibility if this existing balance is not upset in a free and fair contest. A major political upset in the present political equation lies in who eventually becomes the beneficiary of the PDP structure. The aggrieved PDP members and supporters are the beautiful prides of the June 21 election, the question of who shall go for us may be answered by their choices.

* Price ‘Tosin Jegede writes from Aafin Compound Ilogbo Ekiti

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