* I will challenge your victory, Olusola tells ex-minister
Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The newly elected governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has told Governor Ayodele Fayose and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturdayâ€™s election, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, to accept the electoral defeat in good faith.
Fayemi, who was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election, said Fayose and the PDP candidate must emulate what he did on June 21, 2014 when he accepted Fayoseâ€™s victory and congratulated him.
Fayemi polled 197,459 to defeat Olusola, who scored 178,121 votes in the keenly contested election.
Fayemi, in his official reaction to his victory, assured workers that his government would accord priority to the payment of backlog of salary arrears and youth empowerment as well as rural development.
This is as Olusola rejected Fayemiâ€™s declaration as the validly elected governor, describing the incidences of electoral malfeasance that allegedly dogged the election as unfortunate and dangerous events in the history of elections in the country.
Olusola accused the APC, which he described as â€˜desperadoâ€™ of
hijacking the process leveraging on what he termed â€œfederal mightâ€ to pervert the electoral process and subvert the will of Ekiti people.
Olusola said: â€œThey viciously stole the mandate willingly and freely given to me on a massive scale by our people. PDP and I won the election overwhelmingly, receiving more than 70% of lawful votes cast and winning in almost all of the stateâ€™s 16 local government areas. I
therefore reject the falsified results being bandied by the Independent National Electoral Commission, which purportedly gave the election to the APC on Dr. Fayemi.
â€œThis is the most audacious electoral robbery of our recent history. It shall not stand. By the grace of Almighty God and your support, I will pursue and regain my mandate.
â€œTo rig this election, the APC leveraged on its well-advertised but patently obnoxious and anti-democratic ‘federal might’ to intimidate, harass, victimise, oppress, and brutalise PDP leaders, members, and the voting public all over Ekiti. This brutal and barbaric process,
which started well before the election, did not spare Governor Ayo Fayose and me; as the whole world had seen and had condemned. It is quite unfortunate that the harassment has continued even after the election.â€
Fayemi, who addressed party supporters at the party secretariat during a victory rally, said he would inaugurate a transition committee on Tuesday that would prepare grounds on how his government will hit the ground running on October 16.
The former governor assured workers that the backlog of their salary arrears
will be cleared shortly after he assumes office, saying the welfare of the people will be treated as a matter of premium priority to raise the standards of living of the populace.
â€œToday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has
affirmed your collective verdict and formally returned our party the All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the 2018 Ekiti gubernatorial election.
â€œTodayâ€™s victory is to the resilient people of Ekiti State whose brightness and hope never dimmed in the face of untold hardship and all forms of indignity under the PDP leadership who have ruled them
like a conquered people.
â€œAs a survival strategy, our people were forced to hail them on the streets all in a bid to survive. They brandished this as a mark of approval, validation and popularity with our people. Ekiti Kete, this is not just a day of our victory through the ballot.
“This is indeed the day of the liberation of Ekiti land. Our collective rescue mission and the audacious dream to reclaim our land and restore our values have attained a new height on the journey to full realisation.
â€œWe are particularly pleased that while there were reports of minor breaches as you would find with any high stakes contest, the entire process was adjudged to be generally free, fair, and credible.
“The very nature of elections are divisive as we cannot all see things from the same perspective, neither can we all have the same preference for political parties and candidates. However, regardless of how we voted yesterday, I encourage us all to accept the results in true democratic spirit and commence the journey to reuniting our state.
â€œDespite the divisive nature of the contest, I want you to remember our bond of unity as Ekiti people. I, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, hereby offer myself to be the governor of all irrespective of faith, creed or political belief.
â€œI salute all fellow candidates for enriching the process and for your
civility and patriotism in accepting the outcome of this exercise. I look forward to consulting with you all to secure your input as we fine-tune our governance agenda for the years ahead.
â€œI also thank all government entities that participated in the process in one way or the other, especially the INEC and our security agencies, for upholding their neutrality and professionalism in the discharge of their respective mandates.
â€œLikewise, I thank all civic society actors, the international community, our traditional institutions, religious organisations, trade and labour organisations, and the media, for their activities which have in no small measure contributed to the success of the elections.
â€œLastly, we thank our President, Muhammadu Buhari, and the leadership
of our party at all levels for the support in bringing Ekiti back to the progressive fold.
â€œWe shall also ensure the business of governance is once again conducted in an atmosphere of transparency and accountability as we would cooperate with the relevant agencies of state to determine why our people have experienced so much suffering in spite of the vast resources that has been available to the current administration.
â€œIn the same vein, we would commence immediate consultations with the many corporate organisations and development agencies that had left the state due to the draconian measures put in place by the outgoing administration, in order to once again attract the participation of such enablers of jobs creation, peace, and prosperity in our state.
â€œEkiti kete, I conclude by thanking and congratulating you all again for this your victory, and pray that this day shall be remembered for the good of our state for generations to come.”
Recounting how the electoral rigging was allegedly perpetrated, Olusola stated: â€œOn Saturday, July 14th, the security agencies and INEC upped the ante, threw all caution to the wind, went back on their Promises to be impartial and to conduct credible elections; they sided with APC and Fayemi to the chagrin of our party, myself, and the good people of Ekiti State. Despite the alarm we had earlier raised, the security agencies not only supported but also supervised.”
Olusola regretted the indiscriminate arrest of party leaders and agents, harassment and brutalisation of voters on a massive scale, especially in Ado-Ekiti, Ikere and the suburbs, ballot snatching fomenting of troubles at PDP strongholds to create confusion.
He added: â€œThey were giving cover to APC agents as they financially and openly induced voters and bought votes at polling stations; and driving away our polling agents from collation centres and illegal seizure of documents and materials in their possession, among many other infractions.
â€œINEC on its own part reneged on its promise to have results counted, declared, and pasted on the wall of each polling station. There was nowhere INEC transmitted results from the polling centres as earlier promised. Ballot boxes were illegally moved to INEC offices while our agents were disallowed from following the process.
â€œWithout doubt, what has played out in Ekiti is the APC template for the 2019 general election, where they have mapped out Rivers and Akwa Ibom as states they must capture at all costs, like they are now trying to do Ekiti. It is now left for the opposition and opposition figures, most especially presidential hopefuls in 2019, to stand up to be counted in the struggle to roll back President Muhammadu Buhariâ€™s
creeping fascism, or throw in the towel without a fight.
â€œThis is not just a sad day for Ekiti but also for democracy in Nigeria. Nothing demonstrates this better than the gloom that has enveloped our dear state since they announced their convoluted result.
Ekiti mourns! But I ask our people not to be despondent but to keep hope alive, quoting the inimitable Chief MKO Abiola. This is another battle we will fight and win.
â€œIn doing this, however, I appeal to all Ekiti sons and daughters to eschew violence. They will try and provoke you but the good Lord will help you to keep calm. Taking a cue from our great leader and democrat par excellence, ex-President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, I wish to reiterate that my ambition is not worth the blood of a single Ekiti son or daughter. We are not cultists and bloody hounds like them and shall therefore not allow them turn Ekiti into a killing field like they have done in the Middle Belt.
â€œIt remains for me to thank Ekiti for standing by me and our great party. Our royal fathers and the Oloris, teachers, civil servants, Okada riders, labour leaders, market women, artisans, and students. I appreciate your unflinching support. We thank every Nigerian desirous to see the growth and defence of our renascent democracy.
“We thank the international community for their efforts and trust they will not let our people down in this their most trying moment. Those bent on setting this country on fire for selfish reasons must be restrained and turned back by the international community, mindful of the recent experience of Rwanda, Kosovo, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, Cote
dâ€™Ivoire, to mention but a few.