Political electioneering is often laden with emotions and at the same time laced with some landmines. As that of the governorship election in Ekiti State is coasting home with bated breath, any candidate that is sincere to himself can begin to rate his performance, based on the reception he has got from the people during the campaign run. If indeed the morning shows the day, then we already have the top three candidates, while others could only lay claims to false starts, which can only translate to trailing the first three far from behind.
Should we begin to review the performance of each of the three leading candidates based on the field activities and how the electorate received them, then, we can unequivocally say that Dr. John Kayode Fayemi (JKF) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been clairvoyant, focused and running an issue-based campaign. He is tapping from a strong legacy of positive performance with no known baggage to drag him back.
Peter Ayo Fayose (PAF) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has, to a very large extent, displayed some Dutch courage derived from obstinacy and perversity. Having been there before and was forced to leave in a questionable circumstance, he now wants to bully his way back with the hope of righting the initial wrongs. And if he doesn’t as a result of the heavy baggage he is carrying, well, he must have shown his benefactors how reliably strong he could be.
Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (MOB) of the Labour Party on the other hand has shown some foetal gut, believing that having served as a commissioner in Lagos State and being a member of the House of Representatives in Abuja, he is now fit to govern Ekiti State better than the incumbent. Yet he has a Plan B: if not him, then it should not be Fayemi who he is beefing seriously and cannot stand his return for a second term. To this extent, he has concentrated his energy on giving Fayemi hard tackles, running his campaign on a rail of violence and at the same time putting on the garb of red-herring. Put succinctly, Bamidele’s LP may be an appendage of Fayose’s PDP and the two may be pulling forces together to fight a common enemy in Fayemi the incumbent.
Of the three, only Dr. Fayemi stands tall with intimidating credentials in and out of office. He seems to have what he is selling to the electorate. As a man of ideas, culture and integrity, Fayemi has an avowed belief in the future of the state and his facts are speaking for themselves. He has had a good run so far, having traversed the length and breadth of the state and accepted as a reliable person by all the kings, chiefs and people at every point.
Fayemi’s eight-point agenda, which became a covenant between him and Ekiti people, had been fulfilled to the letter and this is where he is drawing his strength and confidence. That he successfully rounded off his campaign across the 131 towns without recording any incidence of violence is a pointer to his level of acceptability among the people.
Meanwhile, as the clock ticks, the storm gathers and the cloud thickens, observers continue to watch with keen interest, while party faithful of each candidate continue to raise the tempo of euphoria. Citizen duty and show of commitment to democracy has a role to play in conferring on everyone of voting age domiciled in Ekiti State to go to polls on election day and vote for the candidate they consider fit enough to govern them.
And, as a general rule, the people with love for democracy and concern for the future of Ekiti State would love to vote for the man after their heart, with whom they already have a pact of service.
Largely, Ekiti voters who hope for more deliverables would persist in their hope that the present government of Dr. John Kayode Fayemi having done enough, still has more than enough in its kitty to deliver.
But for the exemptions, those still cynical to the extent that they expect empty promises, hollow words, repetition of stale undertakings and disappearing acts by the politicians immediately after the election only to reappear when another election is underway, are being advised to look before they leap this time around, since thunder would hardly strike a spot twice except such place is accursed.
Truth be told, these ones are still there for a reason not far-fetched. The political setting in the Ekiti State as of today is no longer normal. The influence of money and other arm-twisting tactics are looming large. Commitment to vote is no more like it used to be and this is a reflection of the wear and tear that has characterized the consistently imperfect democracy in the country as a whole.
Today, voters are cynics when it comes to election candidates and party campaigns. They are angry at their leaders, the lack of representation and the self-serving behaviours of many politicians.
Some may even choose a “siddon look” approach. It is for these ones that this bell tolls.
Segun Dipe is Director of Media and Publicity, All Progressives Congress (APC), Ekiti State.