FORMER Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose defeated the incumbent governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi in a generally adjudged free and fair election.
Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party polled 203,090 of the votes cast on Saturday, June 21 governorship election in Ekiti State trouncing Governor Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who scored 120,433 votes.
His victory, political pundits said has now altered 2015 calculations, as PDP has made a major inroad into the South-West, APC’s stronghold. The number of states under the control of APC in the South-West has now reduced to four, with the Labour Party in control of Ondo State and PDP now the in-coming government in Ekiti.
The final results announced about 4.15am, Sunday, June 22, also showed that Labour Party’s candidate, Opeyemi Bamidele polled 18,135 votes.
Announcing the results at the state capital, Ado-Ekiti, the state’s returning officer, Prof. Isaac Azuzu Uzoma said, “Having satisfied the law and scored the majority votes, Ayo Fayose of PDP is hereby declared the winner of the election.”
Signs that Fayose would win the election emerged early during voting as most of the votes counted showed he was the man to beat at the poll monitored by local and international observers.
Surprisingly, the incumbent Governor Fayemi, was trailing badly in many of the results earlier released at the various polling units.
But PDP’s sweet victory has, however, been blighted by the allegation of the wounded APC that there was a crackdown on its leaders during the election.
In a statement in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said some of its leaders and members were arrested. It claimed one Mr. Awodolu and 22 others were arrested at Egbe-Ekiti and taken to Ikere-Ekiti, while two leaders were arrested from Ilawe, just as 11 others were picked up from Ado-Ekiti.
According to the APC, those arrested at Ado Ward A units 1,6,8 and 11 included Charles Fashuba, Tolu Ajayi, Elesun, Olu Hero, Gboyega Fabuero, all of whom, it said, were pointed out to the security agents by one Femi Ogunleye, a PDP member.
APC said those arrested were the party’s leaders at their wards and local governments, alleging that they were apparently picked up to prevent them from casting their votes, monitoring the election, and subsequently being present at the collation centres.
“Ekiti witnessed a massive turnout of voters despite the massive deployment of troops and policemen, ostensibly, to provide security for the election but in reality to intimidate and harass voters to stay away from the polling units.
“Now that the strategy of the PDP-led federal government has failed, despite their over-militarisation of the state, they have unleashed security agents on the leaders of the APC to prevent them from monitoring the collation of results,” APC stated.
18 political parties participated in the election in the 16 local government areas of the state.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), 732,166 voters were registered to vote in the election, comprising 371,419 females, representing 51 per cent, and 360,747 male voters, representing 49 per cent of the voting population.
He said, “There were arrests or what I would call abduction of our party leaders…
“We also heard of a number of incidents in the communities, particularly in Egbe, in Gboyin Local Government Area, where the residence of one of our leaders was surrounded by soldiers for reasons that are all together not clear to me.”
Similarly, APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu equally had warned the ruling PDP to play by the rules or expect unimaginable disaster: “The election in Ekiti is important not only to the fate of that state but of the entire nation. No doubt, the PDP gang will stop at nothing to abridge the right of the people so that their brutish loser may win. This gives rise to the question of the day: Will INEC bend as always or will it finally bend or do its duty as is proper? Will the people decide that enough is enough and not only vote but defend their votes in all proper and right ways? Will we see the advance of democracy or its retreat in the face of mounting suppression?
“These are the questions of the day and the answers that arise not only will determine the governorship in Ekiti but will augur for good or evil regarding the 2015 general elections. As such, the fate of Nigeria lies in the balance and is being shaped rightly before us. All eyes must be on Ekiti, for what we see there today will be what we will see for the rest of Nigeria in the months to come. Pray what we see will be democracy, if not, then it is something that pushes us closer to disaster.”
Also lending his voice, Fayemi alleged that, “The other issue is the presence of people who have no business in Ekiti: Musiliu Obanikoro, the Minister of State for Defence; Jelili Adesiyan, the Minister for Police Affairs; and a gentleman, I’m not even sure that is the appropriate word to describe him, Chris Uba, who has been going round with men of the security agencies. I don’t know in what capacity he is doing that.
“It is unacceptable. The security agencies must be scrupulously firm and neutral. They must insist on the Electoral Act being respected by all players regardless of whose ox is gored. If I, as the Chief Security Officer of the state remained indoors, I don’t see why anyone; anyone at all would be found violating the no-movement prescription.”
But Adesiyan reportedly justified his presence in Ekiti State on the election day, saying, “I am not a Minister of Police Affairs for the PDP alone, but a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and I am duty bound to ensure that the lives of all the people of this country are protected.”
Fayose, who voted about 2 p.m at his ward, Unit 001 Afao-Ekiti, in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area said shortly after casting his vote that he would accept the outcome of the polls, “Whichever way it goes.”
“I have campaigned enough; I did all that was necessary in this election. I know my people love me and they want to see me return as governor, but I will leave my fate to God.”
His landslide victory at the polls has been attributed to several factors. Whereas, people believed Fayemi performed fairly well as governor, many said he had lost touch with the masses. Fayose, another school of thought posited, is a grass roots politician with mass appeal.
Also explaining PDP’s victory, some APC faithful re-echoed the allegation of intimidation touted by their leaders who were intimidated by the heavy security presence in the state.
Some PDP sympathisers, however advised the opposition APC to look at the issue of internal democracy which their party leaders constantly toy with.
“We suspect the protest vote was against Tinubu and APC leaders not just Governor Fayemi.”
FAYEMI’S FUTURE IN POLITICS
Life after power is an important issue that troubles politicians when they are kicked out of power. And that would be Dr Fayemi’s dilemma too. What would he be doing in the next four years? Is he going to quit politics or proceed to the Senate? What about the Vice Presidential offer APC is allegedly arranging for him?
Questions and more questions only Fayemi has the answer. Head or tail, his future in politics as a former governor is at least fairly guaranteed.