Ekiti Poll Special
Omo Ekiti Ise Ya
It is voting season. The people of Ekiti will file out to the poll next Saturday to elect the governor (the captain) that will pilot the ship of the state in the next four years.
As Ekiti people go to the poll, three dominant factors will play critical roles in deciding who occupies the Governor’s seat: the scorecards of the contenders, which are in the public domain by virtue of the fact that they are public servants, the personalities of the three sons of the soil and their party affiliations.
The three contenders are incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress, ex-governor Ayodele Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party and Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele of the Labour Party.
Dr. Fayemi has been governor of Ekiti State from 2009 till date. Mr. Fayose was governor of the state from 2003 – 2006 and Hon. Bamidele is a current Member of the House of Representatives representing Irepodun-Ifelodun Federal Constituency of the state and two-term ex-Commissioner in Lagos State.
Since the candidates have served the state in different capacities and at different times, the people of Ekiti have the privilege to access the pedigrees, abilities, capabilities and personalities of the governorship candidates.
But party affiliation will play a major role in deciding who gets the cake. In the case of Amechi vs. Omehia, the court made it clear that it is party and not candidate that contests an election, meaning that voters vote for parties and not candidates. Besides, in practical terms, voters are faithful to parties over and above candidates, though candidates’ pedigrees and track records also play crucial roles.
Ekiti people have had a taste of the PDP and the APC (formerly AC and ACN) and can make their choice with near clinical accuracy. Although the same thing cannot be said of the Labour Party, the footprints of the party in the neighboring Ondo State are enough for them to know what the party stands for and is capable of delivering.
Thus, the June 21governorship election in Ekiti State is a mixed grill of performance, personality and party affiliation; and the baton goes to the candidate who has the strongest mix.
But this mix requires a fertile soil of free, fair and credible election to thrive. For this to be achieved, the workers in the electoral vineyar- the candidates. governments and their agencies and voters – must be committed, dedicated, patriotic and resolute.
If the right atmosphere is engendered this season, the plant will grow and bring up seeds that will produce harvests for this generation and posterity.
So Ekiti sons and daughters, roll up your sleeves (Omo Ekiti ise ya).
ABDULKAREEM OLALEYE in Ado Ekiti appraises the chances of the three major candidates in the race…
Come Saturday, June 21, precisely a week from now, about 733,000 eligible voters in Ekiti State will file out at the 2,195 polling units spread across the state to decide who governs them for the next four years. Though there are other candidates in the race, there are three main gladiators jostling for the diadem and they are the incumbent, Dr. Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Ayodele Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party and Hon. Bamidele Opeyemi of Labour Party
For the past three months, the trio have locked horns in a battle to get voters on their sides. They have gone round the 132 towns and numerous farmsteads in the state seeking for votes and selling their manifestoes.
But the task of electing the governor of the state rests squarely on the shoulders of the voters in the state and a lot of issues come to play in taking a decision on who to cast their votes for.
To Fayemi’s advantage is the power of incumbency. And coupled with this is the fact that he is said to have delivered in office. Fayemi holds back opposition fire with his achievements, which he has been showcasing like a badge of honour. At all his rallies, from the inaugural one he held at Oluyemi Kayode Stadium in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, a few weeks ago, to the last one a few days ago, he had always alluded to his scorecard while at the same time promising to do more to better the lives of Ekiti people and ensure a better transformation of the state if re-elected. He said he had faithfully implemented his eight-point agenda and fulfilled all the promises contained in his inaugural address when he was sworn into office on October 16, 2010.
Again, at the last registration exercise of the APC in Ekiti State, over 300,000 members were allegedly registered by the party.
The total number of registered voters in Ekiti is 733,000. The result of the last election in the state put the total numbers of votes polled by the two leading candidates in excess of 200,000. Therefore if the APC membership registration figure is anything to go by, it will not be arithmetically wrong to place the chances of the incumbent governor high.
“The advantage I am having is that I am running on record and there are people who will promise heaven and earth but I can tell you what I have done in education and how I have banished poverty among our elderly,” he said.
He added: “I can tell you what I have done in infrastructure, how we have transformed Ikogosi Warm Spring to an international tourist centre, how we have empowered our women, how we have revived our industries. Those who looted our resources in the past are threatening that they are coming back. We know where we are coming from and you know our history. It is not only Fayemi’s election; we don’t want to return to the dark days of one week, one trouble.
“In the APC, we are not arraigned in court over fraud because we are using our money to serve Ekiti people,” he added.
No doubt many believe Fayemi has done well in office and has discharged himself creditably.
Elections are won on the basis of many other factors beyond achievement, among which is the relative strength of political parties. There is no doubt that the APC is a big party and holds sway in the South-west. But the strength of the PDP as a party and its desire to reclaim Ekiti State can also not be discountenanced.
Fayose was governor of Ekiti State from May 29, 2003 to October 16, 2006, when he was impeached and he vanished into thin air. He fell back on his magic wand to get the people to literally eat from his palm once again. Political analysts contend that Fayose was one of the most popular governors of his time, but sadly, the controversies that dogged his steps in office may have damaged him and thus may work in favour of Fayemi.
But if the mammoth crowd witnessed during his campaign rally attended by President Goodluck Jonathan two weeks ago is anything to go by and if the crowd was not brought from neighbouring states as alleged, then Governor Fayemi has enough to worry about. Fayemi’s associates had described the crowd that followed Fayose about as rented and fake but the sign that those crowd could be genuine soon emerged at Oluyemi Kayode Stadium when Fayose asked them to display their voters cards for President Jonathan to see. And virtually all of them did so. The crowd wowed the president who declared that PDP would win the state.
Speaking on the chances of Fayose at the poll, the Director-General of his Campaign Organisation, Chief Dipo Anisulowo, said: “Ekiti people have made up their minds on who their next governor will be.The situation as per the June 21 election is clear enough even to two-year-olds. Ekiti people have made up their minds on who their next governor is and he is not going to be Kayode Fayemi.
“If the voting on June 21 will be done by Ekiti people and not ghost voters, we are sure of landslide victory, such that challenging our victory in court will be a ridiculous effort.
“However, Fayemi and his APC are entitled to their self-deceit, but we in the PDP know that Mr. Ayodele Fayose is the next governor of Ekiti State.
“We are confident because we have the unflinching support of the common people of Ekiti, the Okada riders, the farmers, teachers, civil servants, local government workers, artisans, market men and women behind us”.
The Labour Party candidate and member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, is also a factor to consider when examining Fayemi’s second term chances. Since the duo were formerly from the same party, all the party members loyal to Bamidele had moved over with him to the LP. But many point to how flat the LP campaigns have been so far to discountenance his claim of having many of APC men. Bamidele may be out to play a spoiler’s game. As per his chances, it would seem that his chances began to dip the moment it emerged that Abuja had backed out of the initial plan to adopt him as its candidate as opposed to any PDP candidate. That changed after President Jonathan was allegedly accused of not doing enough for his party’s candidates in recent elections in Ondo and Anambra states.
Speaking with WESTERN POST, however, Bamidele said his chances were the brightest in the race. He said he had political edge over others, giving assurances that this would certainly favour him at the polls.He said his unionism background and political exposure spanning over two decades were his selling points regardless the limited resources at his disposal. Bamidele insisted that he is not a gambler and that the outcome of the election would be a rude shock to his opponents.
Bamidele said: “I have no doubt in my mind that I’m the best candidate in this race. I’m neither a gambler nor a believer in fluke victory. I’m adequately prepared for this job and this is not born out of self-delusion but my inspiration is drawn from a profile of my past achievements in political offices.
“I have been in leadership positions and successfully piloted affairs of men from a tender age of seventeen. There is no gainsaying about our victory. Our ongoing campaigns and rallies have taken us to nooks and crannies of about 132 towns and villages in Ekiti. In several of our meetings, these people have told us their minds and we are currently on the same page.”
The Man JKF
Two recent events will help to illustrate the person of John Kayode Fayemi. One spoke to the changing JKF, the other to the unwavering man that he is. The dateline for the first was Wednesday May 21 in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital. The occasion was a mega rally at which he was given his party’s official flag to contest for re-election and where he also unfolded his manifestoes to the people. As he walked up the rostrum to give his acceptance speech, shouts of JKF, the acronym for his name-John Kayode Fayemi-, rend the air. He pumped into the air, chanting the All Progressives Congress slogan. The people chorused “Change”. They all chorused in Yoruba- “Kodurosoke,” meaning he should remain right at the top, right in office as governor. Others simply mouthed “4+4=8,” meaning add another term of four years to his first term of four years to complete his two terms of four years, making eight years in office.
Governor Fayemi spoke amid a thunderous applause. With the way and manner he gave his speech, the adroitness he showed, not many dignitaries at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium venue of the rally agreed that JKF has truly mastered the art, the nuances of the political game. He spoke in measures tones, with his cadences rhyming with the applause from the people. No more the rookie politician of those days; no more the man from the ivory tower, the academic blowing big grammar, shy to back up his speeches with political song and dance.
That was one instance wherein Fayemi showed that he is no longer the Fayemi his friends and associates used to know.
But he remained his courageous, fire-spiting crusader for whatever he believes in reminiscent of his days as an activist. This aspect of him was also on display recently. It was a day after the rally by his main challenger, former Governor Ayo Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party, attended by President Jonathan, Vice President Sambo and many PDP bigwigs. Fayemi and his supporters and APC leaders, characteristic of the party, had reached out for their brooms to literarily sweep away the mercenaries allegedly brought by PDP for the rally. But the police in Ekiti had stopped them in their tracks, firing teargas and guns at them, in the process killing one APC sympathizer. When he heard the distress call, Fayemi came and join the APC stalwarts. The police were still firing teargas even at his convoy, he came out, charging at the Commissioner of Police and the head of the MOPOL leading the policemen. “I’m the governor, the Chief Security Officer of this state. You are shooting at the governor’s convoy. From where did you get your authority I like to know? Now, you have killed one person,” he had said. The moral of that incident: he is not one to abandon the people when it matters most.
Fayemi seems to have fully readied himself for the race. In terms of performance, many in the state believe he has delivered. But he also seems to be ready for whichever way the opposition wants next weekend election to go. In an interview with a national newspaper, he had painted three scenarios about the impending election: “Scenario 1, the election is free and fair and I win. Scenario 2, the election is free and fair and the opposition wins and Scenario 3, the election is rigged, and there is violence and crisis.”
As a doctorate student in war Studies specializing in civil-military relations, he is trained to build scenarios and work with them. So nothing about the impending election can take him unawares, though his associates say he is not praying for violence. Indeed, the June 21 election goes beyond Ekiti. It would signpost what is to come in other elections in Osun- August 9, 2014- and the 2015 general poll. It is a test case for 2015 so to say. Fayemi knows this so well and believes other stakeholders know this as well. In his message to the people, he has always asked them to shun violence but to defend their votes.
Doctorate in War Studies
Fayemi was born on February 9, 1965 and he hails from Isan-Ekiti in Oye Local Government of the state.He attended Christ’s School, Ado-Ekiti and received degrees in History, Politics andInternational Relations from the Universities of Lagos and Ife later named Obafemi Awolowo University. He had his Doctorate in War Studies from the prestigious King’s College, University of London, England, specializing in civil-military relations. His research and policy interests include: Democratisation, Constitutionalism, Security Sector Governance, and Regionalism in the Global Context. According to Wikipedia, Fayemi was formerly Director of the Centre for Democracy & Development, a research and training institution dedicated to the study and promotion of democratic development, peace-building and human security in Africa. Prior to his establishment of the Centre, he worked as a lecturer, journalist, researcher and Strategy Development Adviser in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. He was Strategy Development Adviser at London’s City Challenge; Research Fellow at the African Research & Information Bureau in London, UK, reporter with the newspapers, The Guardian and City Tempo, editor of the political monthly, Nigeria-Now, management consultant at Development and Management Consultants and lecturer at the Police College in Sokoto, Nigeria.
By Fadare Adekanmi
A House of Representatives member representing Irepodun/Ifelodun Federal Constituency of Ekiti State, Opeyemi graduated from the University of Ife (now OAU), Ile-Ife and University of Benin with Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law (LL.B) Degrees in 1986 and 1990 respectively. A prominent lawyer, he started out as Legislative Assistant to former Senate President Iyorchia Ayu in the aborted Third Republic. He later became Director of Publicity of the Alliance for Democracy. He was Political Adviser to Deputy Governor of Lagos State and later Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Lagos State during the Bola Tinubu regime.
He was born on June 29, 1963. He attended Baptist Academy, Obanikoro, Lagos where he obtained the West African School Certificate. MOB, as he is fondly called by his friends and associates, is also a human rights activist. He was one of the founding fathers of the Action Congress of Nigeria in Ekiti State before he left to join Labour Party. In the House, he is Chairman Committee on Legislativ Budget and Research and is serving on committees like Appropriation, Housing and Habitate, Human Rights, Judiciary and Media and Public Affairs.
Fayose is a politician of note. Born on November 13th, 1960, Mr. Ayodele Fayose grew up in Ibadan, Oyo State. He attended Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo. He was Governor of Ekiti State between May 29th 2003 – 16th November, 2006, having defeated former governor Niyi Adebayo in his bid for reelection in 2003.
“Those who looted our resources in the past are threatening that they are coming back. We know where we are coming from and you know our history. It is not only Fayemi’s election; we don’t want to return to the dark days of one week, one trouble”-Fayemi
““I have no doubt in my mind that I’m the best candidate in this race. I’m neither a gambler nor a believer in fluke victory. I’m adequately prepared for this job and this is not born out of self-delusion but my inspiration is drawn from a profile of my past achievements in political offices”- Bamidele
When I was governor, I ate in the buka, everybody knew and that was why they called me ‘Jule’ governor. It is that my ‘Jule’ style that is helping the party. ‘Jule’ means coming down to the low level. See my mode of dressing, I didn’t build houses in big areas. I live a moderate life, that is why people love me. You can’t take away the fact that Fayose has a good support base. -Fayose
OPINION POLL: Fayemi is Preferred Candidate
A recent opinion poll conducted by a local research company, Brand Surveys Limited, has rated incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi as the preferred candidate by a majority of registered voters in Ekiti State. The poll result made available to newsmen and signed by its Managing Consultant, Olaniyi Ayeni, showed that the study was conducted last month (May) across the 16 local government areas of the state. According to the result, a majority of respondents representing 68 per cent of the people interviewed via questionnaire survey using multi-stage random sampling technique, across the 16 LGs of Ekiti State, want the incumbent governor to continue in office to consolidate on the different spheres of his 8-point agenda, adjudged as touching the lives of the Ekiti People. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Mr. Ayo Fayose, was preferred by 28 per cent of respondents while his Labour Party counterpart, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, scored 4 per cent in the poll.