Raheem Akingbolu takes a cursory look at the significance of the 2018 governorship election in Ekiti State, especially the political fortune of the major characters
APC: For the All Progressive Congress (APC), the political platform of Ekiti State Governor-elect, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, triumphing in the July 14 governorship election was an important feat, given its relevance to the current political permutation in the country. Before the election political pundits predicted that whatever comes out of the election, will set the tone for the 2019 presidential election. With its victory at the polls, APC has demonstrated that it is still relevant in the South-west. This has sent a strong message to the opposition.
President Buhari: During the build-up campaign to the election, it was believed in some quarters that the contest was actually between the Federal Government, headed by President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State. The reason for such insinuation was because of the way the governor and members of the opposition attacked Buhari and rode on the perceived flaws of his administration to campaign againstFayemi. Governor Fayose’s insolent attitude during Buhari’s visit to Ekiti for the APC’s mega rally was an affront to the President. With his party’s victory, the president can walk with his head high.
INEC: Before the election, all eyes were on the nation’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), because of its strategic importance to the conduct of the election. As promised by its chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakub, the election was conducted with utmost fairness to all the parties involved. The body provided a level playing field to all. As a result of this, the exercise went on smoothly, devoid of rancor or controversy.
Bola Tinubu: The national leader of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu was actively involved in the campaign to re-elect Fayemi. As a father figure of the party, especially in the South-west, apc’s victory reaffirmed Tinubu as the Commander-in-Chief of the APC garrison. He has successfully brought all the states in the South-west under the progressive umbrella.
Kayode Fayemi: Considering the wayFayemi was ousted in 2014, with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winning in the entire 16 local government areas of the state, the re-election has vindicated Fayemi and his followers, who have consistently insisted that what happened in 2014 was not a reflection of the situation at the time. Perhaps, more than any other former governor in the country, Fayemi was the most criticised by his successor. The situation got to the peak when he was pronounced unfit for elective post for 10 years by a panel set up by Fayose. He had to approach the court to clear his name. With his victory at the polls, Fayemi has been handed another opportunity to reunite with Ekiti people.
Adams Oshiomole: That Comrade Adams Oshiomole led his party to the victory barely one month after he assumed office as Chairman is no mean feat. At a time when the party was contending with the formation of rAPC, a collection of disgruntled nPDP, the outcome of the Ekiti governorship election may be an indication that Oshiomole’s leadership will strengthen the party. The victory will also boost and position the new chairman as he prepares to take his party on a journey to re-elect President Buhari.
Ekiti People: Saturday, July 14 was a day Ekiti people demonstrated that they are brothers and sisters. At various polling booths, agents of the various parties didn’t only conduct themselves; they viewed the exercise like sportsmen. The people cast aside all the dire predictions as they conducted themselves with the patience, sobriety and collective wisdom befitting the moment.
Other Contestants: The fact that other contestants for the APC ticket like Chief Segun Oni, Opeyemi Bamidele, Senator Femi Ojudu and others stayed put in the party and worked for Fayemi’s victory also makes them winners. Contrary to insinuations that they might work for other parties, they remained loyal to the APC.
Security Agents: Contrary to the overzealousness that often is associated with activities of security men in Nigeria. The men and women from various security agencies at the Ekiti governorship election went about their assignment with every sense of civility. Before, during and after the election, there was no report of harassment of Ekiti people and no report of aiding snatching of ballot boxes.
Dayo Adeyeye and Other Decampees: Twice he has tried to be the governor of the state and twice his ambition was frustrated by Fayose. After Prince Dayo Adeyeye’s inability to win 2018 PDP primaries as a result of Fayose’s backing his opponent and deputy governor of the state, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, forced the former minister’s exit from the. He teamed up with the APC. Other prominent PDP members in the state, like a former Attorney-General of the State and Fayose’s strong ally, Owoseni Ajayi, a serving Senator, Fatimoh Raji Rasaki, a House of Representative member, Olumide Oni and a host of others also left PDP as a result of what they described as Fayose’s selfishness and high handedness.
PDP: From any angle one chooses to look at the July 14 election, it was a major setback for the PDP in the South-west. As the only PDP-controlled state, there was high expectation that the party could retain it.
Uche Secondus: Under the current chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, the party has participated in two gubernatorial elections and lost the two; First in Anambra State and now in Ekiti. For a party that is just coming out of the effect of its failure in the 2015 presidential election, the recent development is a minus to the leadership of Mr. Secondus.
Governor Fayose: Before the election, Fayose was viewed as someone with the key to the heart of Ekiti people. At every slight opportunity, he never failed to emphasise his popularity and acceptability. By rejecting his candidate and his party, Fayose’s political shrewdness has been punctured. Also, his spirit as the face of the opposition might have been dampened with the outcome of the election and this may affect the fortunes of PDP.
Kolapo Olusola : A humble and loyal individual, Prof. Kolapo Olusola saw himself on the exalted seat of the state’s number one seat come October, but on the day of the election, Ekiti people gave the mandate to Fayemi. Unfortunately Olusola would not be able to use the election as launch pad for his political adventure.