“Everywhere a performing leader has lost, it is choreographed as the people’s will”-Sam Omatseye
In the past one and half week, many Nigerians have continued to be riveted by the outcome of the governorship polls in Ekiti. It is understandable, given that the Fayose of the PDP, with a tainted history emerged winner beating the mostly perceived performing incumbent governor, Kayode Fayemi of the APC. Reports of what happen and what didn’t happen, leading to the “tsunami”, have since featured severally on print, broadcast and online platforms. Some analyses, though engaging and reflective have failed to portray the whole truth. A classical example is the notion that JKF’s loss is mainly because of his distant and elitist posturing. This notion is fast gaining acceptance even by those who ought to know better.
Many tout Fayose as a grass root politician, whose hem of garment can be touched by the common folks whilst not Fayemi is seen as aloof and failing to cultivate a sizeable followership by not dispensing patronage. While failure of having a strong political base is sufficient grounds to fail in an election, I readily admit that trekking and doling out pittance can be of advantage in our clime given the sheer weight of poverty, especially of the mind. Rather, elementary knowledge should choose the teaching of how to fish to the temporary gains of having fish ideally given per time.
That with all its legacy projects the government was rejected by its people, a people often touted as politically savvy and extremely enlighten is mind boggling. I think it is simplistic when people refer to what happen as the people’s preference for stomach infrastructure as against physical infrastructure. Since the outcome of the result, no day has passed without my discussing the event with people within and beyond the state and there are concerns, albeit strong enough to do a thorough introspection by the APC, especially its present crop of leadership in Ekiti.
The election is over and it is only fitting to understand what went wrong within the historical context of Nigeria. Within the context of protest vote, it is true that incumbent governors have been unseated in the past. There are sufficient examples of such. In Kwara State during the second republic, Cornelius Adebayo of the Unity Party of Nigeria defeated Adamu Attah of the National Party of Nigeria.
In 2003, Chinwoke Mbadinuju was defeated by Chirs Ngige just as the Late Mala Kachallah was unseated by Senator Ali Modu Sherrif. In the distant past, Samuel Ogbemudia defeated Ambrose Alli. Same fate happened to Christian Onu who was made to kiss the dust by Jim Nwobodo. More recently, Olusegun Mimiko defeated Olusegun Agagu, Alao Akala was defeated by Ajumobi while Rochas Okoroafor defeated Ikedi Ohakim. In 2003, Ayo Fayose defeated incumbent Adeniyi Adebayo. In all of these examples, incumbent lost but not totally in all local government areas.
The result of the June 21st election in Ekiti, showed a rarity. The winner pulled 203, 090 votes, winning in the entire 177 wards, save two, while Fayemi scored 120,433 votes and didn’t win in a single Local Government Area. This would, perhaps rate as the worst defeat ever suffered by an incumbent in Nigeria’s political history.
Pundits maintain that such a rare feat in Nigeria calls for scrutiny given that primordial sentiment is high in Nigeria and that Fayemi was defeated in his polling unit and Local government area though, not in itself an anathema in a mature democracy but is even the reason for crying wolf by his supporters. Opeyemi Bamidele who was never a serious contender won in his native land, some argue, why not Fayemi? The plain question is how did Fayemi score a zero electoral allocation?
After hailing Fayose as the winner of the election by the governor, Kayode Fayemi, the APC have come out to the public space with a litany of complaints against the election. It cited the massive deployment of troops of security forces and the hounding and arrest of several of its leaders in the wake of the polls as possible grounds to vitiate the polls. Coupled with this, is the growing insinuations that though there was no reported case of infractions characteristics of elections in Nigeria, some APC sympathisers, says it was rigged out via scientific means. It must be noted; however, that whatever step(s) the party is contemplating, it has a moral burden to grapple with.
I must confess that I am gutted by the result but would rather that the APC must be certain of its claim. Sure, if the leadership of the party has proof of any untoward action which borders on electoral heist then it has to pursue its case legally and to a logical end. Recent action of the Peoples Democratic Part, (PDP), by using the Police and regrettable the Army, especially since the pugilistic Abdul-Jelil Adesiyan and Musiliu Obanikoro took over as ministers of Police Affairs and the Defence respectively calls for grave concern. They were fingered as the arrowhead of a sinister enterprise shortly before and during the elections in league with Chris Uba, a notorious election rigger and abductor of a former governor.
The ultimate insult is that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has found its voice in saying that it will continue with its prosecution of fayose. The comedy is crude and a slap on the face.
After the election, it has provoked legions to ask, cui bono? (To whom is it an advantage?). Who, can possibly say in all honestly that Fayemi’s electoral loss is a personal one, given his style and achievements in office. Sure, it is not a disaster that he lost, many other greats have loss election and their contributions to the advancement of humanity and their communities stand imperishable. The likes of the governor in or out of office is an asset. In the final analysis, APC’s loss is the people’s choice, after all, a people deserve the kind of government they elect. APC must be mindful that this loss is neither fatal nor final. That for me is the alluring reality of democracy.
Rotimi Opeyeoluwa is a Legislative Aide to Senator Babafemi Ojudu and the South West Coordinator of the Young Patriots.