Monday, June 30, 2014 2:38 pm
By Gbenro Adesina
At a youth rally of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ado-Ekiti during the recent electioneering campaign, Mr. Ayodele Fayose of PDP, who was a former governor of the state, boasted that for him to have ousted his predecessor in 2003, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, the political godfather of Dr. Kayode Fayemi of All Progressives Party, APC, it would not cost him anything to oust Fayemi. To some people, the boast sounded blasphemous, until after the state’s governorship election conducted on Saturday 21 June, when the state returning officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Isaac Asuzu, who is the vice-chancellor of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, declared Fayose the winner.Fayose’s victory is historic, at least in Ekiti, because it is the first time the opposition would beat the incumbent in all the 16 local government areas of the state. Many people could not fathom why Fayemi, a sitting governor, had become so unpopular, even in Oye, his own local government area, that he was beaten hands down. But Fayemi can take solace in the fact that his kin in Isan-Ekiti voted overwhemingly for him in what is considered ‘the freest, fairest and most credible’ election in the state. Fayemi polled 157 votes against Fayose’s one.
The total votes cast in the election which saw 18 candidates jostling for the governorship post, was 360,455, representing 64.96 per cent of the 732,166 that had registered. Mr. Fayose polled 203,090 votes, to Fayemi’s 120,433, while Bamidele Opeyemi of Labour Party, LP, came third with 18,135 votes.
See box for the breakdown of the results of the three candidates in all the local government areas
As credible as the election was adjudged, some accredited journalists and members of monitoring groups experienced harassment and arrest by the police led by Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, Patrick Ejedawe, while performing their statutory responsibilities. Journalists arrested in the Ifaki-Isan axis – the domain of Fayemi and his predecessor, Segun Oni – included Jadesola Ajibola of Inspiration FM; Toyin Yusuf, Oyetunji Ojo, Akin Ogunsola, and Aremu Awolola, all of the Osun State Broadcasting Corporation, OSBC; and Adesina Oluwagbemiro of TheNEWS and PM News. Other arrested were: Charles Fashuba, Tolu Ajayi, Elesun, Olu Hero, Gboyega Fabuaro, and members of the Transition Monitoring Group, TMG.
Shortly after the declaration of Fayose as winner of the election, jubilant members of PDP took to the streets in a convoy of motorcycles and assorted cars.
Virtually the first to congratulate Fayose on phone and in a state broadcast was Governor Fayemi, who described Fayose’s victory as the people’s wish. Other prominent Nigerians who have congratulated the governor-elect are: President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President, David Mark; Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; Mohammed Dele Belgore, SAN, Enugu State governor, Sullivan Chime; Plateau State governor, Jonah David Jang; Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State, Ondo State governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko; the senator representing Kwara Central District and Chairman, Senate committee on Environment and Ecology, Bukola Sarak; Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation; the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP; Secretary-General of the National Union of Textiles, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, Mr. Issa Aremu; PDP’s governorship candidate in the forthcoming Osun State Governorship election, Iyiola Omisore; Ministerial nominee from Ekiti State, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, and LP candidate in the election, Bamidele Opeyemi.
All of them described Fayose’s victory as well deserved, divine, and a victory for Nigeria and people of Ekiti State.
President Jonathan, urging Fayose to be magnanimous in his victory charged him to bear in mind that it was the expression of the people, hence, he should commit himself to forming an administration that would work for the advancement of the interests of all Ekiti people irrespective of their political affiliations or loyalties. He equally urged him to regard his second chance to serve as a sacred mandate from God and his people, which he must discharge with immense dedication, wisdom and vigour to achieve a much more rapid pace of socio-economic development in Ekiti State for the benefit of all.
Tambuwal described the victory as a clear proof that the nation’s politics was imbibing best global practices associated with electioneering process.
However, Governor Fayemi has been applauded by all and sundry for his spirit of sportsmanship, stressing that his conceding defeat is a good sign for the nation’s democracy. Among those that showered encomium on him as a hero are the PDP leadership, governors, senators and other eminent Nigerians. PDP commended Fayemi for his rare show of patriotism and sportsmanship in conceding defeat and congratulating the PDP and Fayose. According to the statement signed by the party’s National Publicity, Olisa Metuh, “…This exceptional show of statesmanship has indeed earned Governor Fayemi the respect and admiration of Nigerians as a man of honour, a true democrat and a patriot. Governor Fayemi exhibited the spirit of sportsmanship.”
For Senate Leader, Chief Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN, Governor Fayemi is a rare breed that has introduced a new, positive dimension into the nation’s politics by being a sitting governor that immediately conceded defeat after election.
While the former senator representing Anambra North, Emma Anosike, said that Fayemi’s action was an indication that he loved his people and respected their wishes, the chairman, Senate committee on Rules and Business, Ita Enang, said what Fayemi did was an indication that the country was moving forward and that the stability in the nation’s election process was catching up with everybody.
While Senator Ayo Arise saluted Fayemi’s courage, Senator Kabiru Marafa, representing Zamfara Central, said the outgoing governor’s action was an indication that he was the people’s servant, stressing: “It is a good thing. It shows that he is an educated person and that he is into politics to provide leadership. Nigerians need to learn from Fayemi. By conceding victory, he showed that he is the people’s servant and that election is not a do-or-die affair.”