A recent presidential declaration by the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, is a condemnable distraction, writes Olawale Olaleye
The Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, penultimate Thursday, treated Nigerians to another ignoble episode of his familiar comedy show. He wants to be the next president of Nigeria. That, of course, is within his right as an eligible Nigerian to exercise. The timing, however, was in clear contravention of the Electoral Act, which prescribes the commencement of campaigns 90 days before the election.
Contemptuous of this legal provision, Fayose held a major declaration in Abuja, the nation’s capital that fateful Thursday, with his branded vehicles and posters donning the capital city. He had in attendance many of his regular crowd, including party men and women, who shared the sentiment of his aspiration, amidst whom he talked tough.
“I am a supporter of competence and capacity, especially now that this country needs young and able leaders that can take our country out of this present state of hopelessness… Most importantly, despite that the party has zoned the presidency to the North, it may interest you that no one has come out in this manner to show interest, and our party should not wait or beg anyone to fly its flag.
“Do we now say that if no one comes out from the North, the party won’t have a candidate? When I was contesting for the governorship of Ekiti State, they were about 22 aspirants but I defeated them to become the governor. The party needs a candidate like me with a penchant for defeating the incumbents in electoral contests,” he said.
Taking a swipe at the All Progressives Congress (APC) for alleged incompetence and poor governance, Fayose said, “Like they lied to win election, the APC government of President Buhari has been deceitful for over two years, and an end must come to this deceptive government by 2019.
“My party leaders, standing before you is Peter (The Rock) Ayodele Fayose, the man already destined by God to take Nigeria out of the present political and economic stagnations. You are all witnesses to my commitment to this party in this difficult period, where I have demonstrated uncommon courage that makes me stand out as capable of leading our country at this time,” he posited amongst other things.
Surprised that this is coming from Fayose? Certainly not! So, what is the hue about? Good question! The shock, however, is that here is a sitting governor, completely ignorant of the extant provisions guiding the electoral process. Therefore, when you place such electoral illiteracy side-by-side with the fact that ignorance is not permissible in the court of law, you can’t but wonder how the Ekiti people arrived at the Fayose governorship.
For a man privileged to experience power again after a humiliating exit many years ago, Fayose has been nothing but utter embarrassment to even rudimentary leadership traits. His idea of leadership is pedestrian. His school of thought is perverted. His principles of power is rash and of course, his age of ideas is so tawdry that his like should never have been found anywhere near where he is now.
Thus, when you take a holistic look at Fayose, it is not enough to worry about the defective age of his ideas; the real worry is ensconced in his capacity to see through new vistas of ideas, if and when introduced to him. But what is evident now is that Fayose still lives in his ugly past – a past so primitive and overwhelming that he is unable to see beyond it.
Although the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has come out to warn politicians and political parties to immediately end all forms of campaign connected to the 2019 general election, INEC’s approach to such blatant infraction should be stiffer than merely talking and with commensurate sanctions.
Yakubu, who handed down the warning during a consultative meeting with the media in Abuja on Tuesday, said any such electioneering campaign was contrary to Section 99 of the Electoral Act 201 (as amended). The section says: “For the purpose of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day.
It was against this backdrop that the INEC chair said, “We want to draw the attention of political parties and candidates that are already going round the country campaigning for 2019 that INEC, the only agency responsible for the release of timetable and schedule of activities, hasn’t done so. And anything that anybody does is illegal under the law. We should wait for the timetable for the campaign. The release of timetable does not mean the commencement of campaign.”
Whilst INEC’s statement here is deemed weak and unable to do justice to the issue at hand, it is important to make scapegoats of this deliberate disregard for the laws of the land especially by those, who not only should know by virtue of their status and position in the society, but swore to uphold these laws. Fayose is a clear example and deserves to learn from his intentional violation of the Electoral Act.