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Lessons From 2014 Ekiti State Governorship Election

Prof. R. A. Ipinyomi

By Prof. R.A. Ipinyomi, Department of Statistics, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

Mr Ayodele Peter Fayose of the People Democratic Party PDP has been declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC of Nigeria as the Governor Elect of Ekiti State. This follows the results of the just concluded election in that State on Saturday June 21, 2014. Many of his friends and well wishers including the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the incumbent governor of Ekiti State, who was also a candidate in the said election, have been congratulating Mr. Fayose and the good people of Ekiti State that elected him as their next Governor. We also wish to join the chorus singers and congratulate all the people of Ekiti State who we believe are trying to teach Nigeria and its politicians some lessons.

Ayo Fayose

Ayo Fayose

Ekiti State seems to be very unique in every sense and it is a state of many paradoxes. For example since May 1999 Ekiti has had the most turnout of governors and probably only Dr. Famyemi, the out-going governor, may have succeeded in running a full and crisis free four-year term apart from Mr. Adebayo the son of the famous military Administrator in the old Western Region. Some of the unwritten competitions and competitors include each of the following, namely, PDP against APC, an ND holder against the incumbent PhD graduate, Jonathan versus those who call themselves activities or comrades. Ekiti is also a home for the Lawyers, Professors and high intellects but also harbouring many “Do or Die politicians”, money bags, riggers or roasters, and general thugs. It is a State on its own class and therefore we were expecting big surprises.

The inequalities in our society, that we abhor and frequently write about, is very pronounced in Ekiti State just as it is prevalent in every section of our societies. Hence everyone may wish to reflect on the just concluded election in Ekiti State as he or she perceives. What were absent in the election were factors of Boko Haram and others bedeviling Nigeria because although there are a number of religions and different adherents in Ekiti State the Christian religion seems still predominant, especially Anglican Communion, Roman Catholic and several others. Secondly Ekiti State elections have always almost ended in court rather than at the desk of INEC but Dr Fayemi has sent a congratulatory message which is what we all desire. Each election must be won or lost and the victor or victim must be magnanimous each time in the spirit of democracy. On this we can also congratulate Dr. Fayemi and Ekiti People. Nevertheless the election was between the big boys in the country and the lowest social or economic class of a community who eventually won. But what did Dr. Fayemi do or say that made him anti-people? Or what has changed between when Fayose was booted out from same office he has just won back and now that has made the youths, the unemployed to be turning to him suddenly?

The first lesson is that the aspiration of our youth and their plights could make a difference in our elections and this is heartwarming. The police did not allow us into Ekiti State despite the fact that their road is on our way. We all sacrificed that Saturday for Ekiti election. Can Nigeria afford such wastage of man-hour and keep the cost of practicing our democracy higher and higher all in the name “to forestall violence and rigging; their own handworks?” The Nigeria youth and Nigeria woman (their mothers) must join hands as the unregistered party and make a voice for change. President Jonathan may not be able to help Nigeria but neither would Alhaji Tinubu of Lagos because they will always see things in their own glasses. Only a relevant government can understand the need of our youth in terms of good education, job creation, youth empowerment and nation building. The money being stolen from national treasuries is freighted away to foreign banks or kept unused in different kind of places. Only one billion naira given out to one thousand NYSC graduates annually as startup business loan can go a long way to change our economy outlook in five years. The time for more oratories and speech reading is over in Nigeria for politicians. Performance and door to door campaign are the indices of democracy and should not be replaced by monetary and thugs in Nigeria.

The second lesson to take home is that Dr. Fayemi did not lose this election because of his personal character or poor performance in office or some gross negative things he said or did. Neither has Mr. Fayose won the election because of a beautiful programme of action he has promised the people or anything else. It has just been another side of Nigerian politics for y us to analyze. Today they throw you out tomorrow they welcome you with both arms but you are to think of your name and the legacy you wish to build. Friendship with the prevailing world and its people is deceptive and uncalled for. From fair record we can classify Dr. John Kayode Fayemi as a scholar, an intellect, an activist, a comrade, a unionist. We also believe that he is loved across party lines and by his people. He has unassuming robust welcoming and attracting style and approach to debates, public interviews or party politics. The bottom line is that we will still find Dr. Fayemi’s and his politicking relevant in Nigeria.

The third lesson is that Dr. Fayemi seems to be a kind of bridge between political parties especially between President Jonathan and the Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi. There is another time to address President Jonathan, Mrs. Jonathan and Governor Amaechi and advising them to settle. For now it is safe to write that the PDP of President Jonathan should never be blind to mixing their food with sand any time. There is always the need to separate stones and sand from food. Dr. Fayemi has been in the forefront from the NADECO days and also almost the one that dragged the South West leaders to participate on the ongoing National Confab against the wishes of APC, his party. Nigeria politics is dynamic only in things that are often twisted and negative in intrigues; it ought not to be so. PDP of Jonathan should reach out to like minds across the nation, irrespective of party lines.

Another lesson is a similar case during Lawal of ANPP a governor in Kwara state 1999 to 2003, when the civil servants in his regime made his re-election a nightmare. Dr. Fayemi on the other hand entered into Ekiti Guber race in 2007 against the same Mr. Fayose and others. His campaign was an attempt to rescue Ekiti State principally because of the serial crises that characterized Mr. Fayose’s first term at the time. Those who joined and worked with Dr. Fayemi then were the Ekiti masses and including the Lord Bishops, human right activists, professors, okada riders, market women, civil society groups, youths, and many others. They all worked and identified with Fayemi campaign mission. It seems to us a few years later there has entered into the politics of Ekiti some disconnection and inconsistency in focus and oneness. What went wrong? The state civil servants cannot be said to be more than 10% of the population of voters in that state but the small figure carried enormous voice.

Another lesson for all of us to learn from is the complex situation of youth unemployment that we all wish to eliminate or reduce to bearable minimum and the youth themselves who’s limited understanding remains their readiness to accepting campaign T-shirts from politicians rather than embanking on programmes that will be making these youth manufacturers of the T-shirts and others. Similarly the civil servants prefer not to attend their duties or report at work at any time to a governor like Fayami who has been making them to sign attendance register. Fayemi has also re-organised the education sector drastically by posting NCE teachers back to primary schools while only degree holders are in secondary schools and above. The society generally, led by the civil servants, failed to see the long term benefits of a real Fayemi’s programme that could translate to eventual development of the entire State. If Fayemi grew a poultry farm there would be enough birds in that farm. Pensioners under Fayemi got their gratuities and pensions as at when due. The people also frowned at the taxes at the end of the month. They however now stand to lose more than they have thought unless the second coming of Fayose will be difference from his first. All Ekiti citizens must work on and with Fayose through their advice, prayers and goodwill so that he may lead aright and avoid creating situations leading emergency rule from Abuja in Ekiti State.

We may also write about styles and involvement of extraneous factors following the usual inroads of national politicians into local issues. Dr. Fayemi was able to handle his state if he had been left alone but not when big weights from Abuja, Lagos or Katsina, Port Harcourt came to enter what is purely an issue between Ekiti people only and the selection of their governor. The election of Ekiti State that held this last Saturday 21st June 2014 was not about who would be the president of Nigeria in 2015 which it was wrongly read to mean. In general each election should be contested on its own merit and at their own times and places so that they would have explanation, purpose and relevance. In particular state elections should be separate from national elections and the results of elections ought to be an index of the performance of local politicians. Ekiti State election remains a class of its own. Ayodele Fayose has a great job to do to keep up the relative development and the peaceful atmosphere currently been enjoyed in Ekiti on track.

Prof. R.A. Ipinyomi,

ipinyomira@yahoo.co.uk or/and raipinyomi@unilorin.edu.ng




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