Many persons are wont to see the coming election in Ekiti as a battle between the incumbent Ayo Fayose and the former governor Kayode Fayemi. Thus it has been tagged 2014 part 2. While we may be tempted to see it as such, it is an injustice to the PDP candidate and an escape from reality. This contest is between Prof Olusola Eleka and Dr Kayode Fayemi.
Persons who considered this as Fayemi vs Fayose II do so in view of the latter’s displacement of the former in the 2014 election. Moreso, this is viewed so considering the manner in which the former Governor was defeated at the poll. Many persons suspected foul play and considered that Fayemi was rigged out by federal might. I argue on the contrary that viewing the victory of Fayose in 2014 on the benefit of federal might alone is insincerity and an injustice to the people of Ekiti state. The runnings to the election and the happenings in the state in conjunction with the pulse of the people shows discontent and anger in view of the different policies Fayemi embarked upon. Moreso, the emergence of Fayose as the Guber candidate under PDP brought back the feelings and sympathy people had for Fayose considering his popularity and the manner in which he was ousted ingloriously from the state house in his first tenure as governor largely through the machination of the then Commander- in- Chief of the federation Olusegun Obasanjo.
The fact is the 2014 election was one that left a diverse taste in the mouth of many people. The present governor Ayo Fayose defeated the incumbent governor Kayode Fayemi against predictions from various columnist and scholars of different persuasions who felt he deserved a second term based on his achievement sand success in his first term. The outcome of the election did not obviously go down well with many persons who in a bid to wrap their heads around the outcome labeled it as the triumph of stomach infrastructure; a coinage from Fayose’s food distribution drives and campaign. Ekiti people were derided and subjected to various abuses from arm chair critics who besieged the social and conventional media to hurl invectives at the people out of lack of proper understanding of the socio-cultural climate and political plays that ensued. Many felt the election was rigged in favour of the federal government supported PDP candidate. Latter revelations by Sahara Reporters about the antics the military personnel deployed to the state by the federal government gave vent to their presupposition and belief in the fact that Fayemi was rigged out.
Now Fayemi is back and all indications point to the seeking of his own pound of flesh.
In hindsight however, and with the benefit of the understanding of the socio-economic condition of the Fayemi first administration in the state it was obvious that Fayemi shot himself in the foot. He sure embarked on projects but they constituted capital flight from the state. Through policies and project execution and management he was seen as a conduit pipe for lining the pocket of Bola Tinubu and his Lagos boys. Ekitis did not feel the impact of the projects in their pockets and in the market.
His recognition of his mistakes made him embark on an apology campaign. It must be stated that this is not out of humility rather it is out of the realization that if he must stage a comeback he must acknowledge his errors that assuage the feelings of the people. Well you can call that humility.
The Ekiti election is an election of huge significance as it sets itself as a precursor to the election season being the first major election towards the 2019 general election. Again Ekiti is in the eyes of the world with political gladiators scheming and running the length and breadth of the state canvassing for political support from the people.
Interestingly, Unlike the 2014 election which was seen as a contest between the a Elite and intelligent Fayemi who is a Phd holder and a Fayose who is considered as uncivil and crude HND holder, unbefitting for the image of the Ekiti people as very educated set of people and in fact a fountain of Knowledge, this 2018 contest is between a Professor, Kolapo Olusola Eleka, who is the current deputy to outgoing governor Ayo Fayose and Doctor (academic) Kayode Fayemi who was one of the June 12 pro-democracy activist. Kolapo Olusola is a Professor of building Structures at Obafemi Awolowo University where he has thought for 24 years. Kayode Fayemi’s credentials are nothing short of accolades. A pro democracy activist and a man of great personal achievements, both national and international.
The election though can be seen as a referendum on the performance of the Fayose administration, can as well be seen as a referendum on the value of the current Buhari administration. It is also a recheck of the acceptability of Fayemi’s first tenure. Recheck, because the pervading argument among APC chieftains and members is that Fayemi was rigged out through federal might. Be that as it may, the people have a voice and a choice to make as the battle line is drawn.
The three senatorial zones in Ekiti are actively involved in this coming election. The APC candidate Kayode Fayemi is from Isan, Oye local Government and the Ekiti North senat6orial district. The PDP candidate Olusola Eleka is from Ikere Ekiti, Ikere Local government and Ekiti South Senatorial district. Both Governorship aspirants have central senatorial district candidate as their Deputy. While Fayemi has an Elder in Bisi Egbeyemi, Kolapo Olusola has a young Deji Ogunsakin. Interestingly both are from the state capital Ado Ekiti and in fact were former Ado Ekiti local Government chairmen at various points. This development makes the central senatorial district and importantly Ado local government a battle ground for vote. This reality becomes more interesting considering the fact that another indigene of Ado Ekiti and the former deputy governor during Segun Oni short term as Governor, Sikiru Lawal is also contesting under the Labour party. This development is quite strategic, an effort to effectively split the votes from Ado Local Government. Consequently, whoever garners the highest vote from the Central senatorial district will definitely be in a pole position to win the election.
The Ekiti South Senatorial district is also a very interesting case to study. While the popularity of Olushola Eleka cannot be questioned within Ikere local government, the situation in other local governments in the senatorial district does not bode well for him. The internal strife within the PDP before and during the party primaries, was apparently not well managed, a development that has played itself into the opposition’s hand. Active party members who felt disgruntled by the choice of Eleka as the party candidate have decamped thus swelling the ranks of the opposition and their electoral value in the senatorial district particular considering the fact that those who decamped were heavy weights from Ise Orun local Government. These party big wigs are Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, Owoseeni Ajayi and the Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly Ebenezer Alagbada and some others. The effect this would have on the victory of PDP in the senatorial zone is anybody’s guess.
This gale of defection is also evident in the North Senatorial district earlier in the year. A member of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan who after being suspended for anti party activities called it quit with the party. There is no gainsaying the fact that these defections will hurt the PDP’s chances in the state. This much was stated by the former deputy governor in State Sen Olujimi who complained that the high handedness of the governor and lack of internal democracy in the Primary could hamper the chances of the party at the polls.
Thus, while the PDP has been losing members, APC has been gaining members and momentum as well and with a federal might as its disposal. The battle is set to be formidable.
Already, tensions in the state are palpable. a sense of déjà vu of what transpired in 2014 is all evident. 30,000 police officers, NSCDC officer, DSS and other security operatives are on ground in an evident show of force from the APC. It looks so much like it is indeed payback time. With APC’s change slogan and drive, one would wonder what has changed after all. However, while the shenanigans and dramas of the political actors unfold it is important we don’t lose sight of the goal.
The importance of this election is to chart and further the good course for the State reputed as the fountain of knowledge. We have educated elites from all the parties jostling for the highest seat in the state. The two main contenders are Phd holder, the highest qualification in the academics, exactly the kind of intellectual image the state is meant to project into the political sphere. Nothing gets better than this. Even Plato and Aristotle would be indeed proud of this.
The people are now left with the power to decide. They must be allowed to exercise their franchise based on their belief, passion and desire. Not to discountenance the other aspirants from other political party, the battle is between the PDP and the APC. Whoever emerges eventually is a good product and a proud son and ambassador of Ekiti land and can only further help to project Ekiti in a more positive light for the world.
It will come as a surprise and a big blow to the Opposition if PDP wins at the polls.
Victor Alagogooko, @alagogooko