The drama, angst, predictions, political permutations and jamborees surrounding the 2018 governorship election in Ekiti state came to an abrupt end on Sunday morning. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) collated the votes from different local governments and the winner was declared in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. The announcement threw some quarters into wild celebrations, while others were subjected to a mishmash of mild silence and disapproval.
Nevertheless, for every electoral process, there are winners and there are losers. The election was dominated by two major political parties – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC). Having monitored the events leading to the governorship election in Ekiti, we bring highlights of the biggest winners and losers.
|Fayemi and wife surrounded by the governors of Jigawa, Kebbi and Ogun|
Fayemi polled 197,459 votes to defeat his closest rival, Olushola, who had 178,121 votes, a margin of 19,338.
Not many thought the 53-year-old former minister of solid minerals development, who held sway as the governor of the state from 2010 to 2014, was going to clinch the party’s ticket as all odds seemed to be against him. Yet, he rose to become the candidate of the All Progressives Congress.
He said his victory is for reclaiming the land and restoring the values of his people.
Perhaps, some would say that the president is the biggest winner of the election that booted out the candidate one of his critics, Ayodele Fayose. Beyond that, Ekiti is the only state being controlled by the opposition in the south-west.
While hosting members of the APC south-west caucus to a dinner at the Presidential Villa, Abuja in May, Buhari said winning the state is important to the party as it would serve as a pointer to subsequent elections in the country.
With Ekiti in the hands of APC, the president’s second term ambition seems to have received a huge boost as it can boast of conquering the south west, while the north obviously seems to pose no threat.
ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC)
In 2016, APC took Ondo state from PDP with the emergence of Rotimi Akeredolu as governor. With just one state to overrun the south-west, the party lusted for the soul of Ekiti.
For an embattled party dealing with breakaway factions, the emergence of Fayemi has given it full control of the region. Hence, it is a big win that will shape future elections.
Less than a month after he emerged chairman of the APC, the party has reason to celebrate. Although the foundation for Fayemi’s victory was laid under John Oyegun, former APC chairman, the victory was secured under Oshiomhole.
No better way to start his journey in office. “Osho Baba” as his supporters call him has hit the ground running. Last week when he campaigned for Fayemi, he alleged that Fayose used the N10 billion bailout funds to bail his pocket but promised them that Fayemi would clear the backlog of salaries.
The governor-elect has also accepted the promise his party chairman made on his behalf. Although Oshiomhole has more battles to fight, especially from factions within the party, this victory means a lot to him.
The outgoing governor of Ekiti state isn’t just outspoken. Fayose wouldn’t spare a minute to attack the president at the slightest opportunity. Call him the most valuable actor in Nigeria’s political stage, that wouldn’t be an overstatement. Like Girolamo Savonarola, the fiery Florentine preacher, Fayose’s tongue bites like the edges of a circumcision blade.
At a rally held in the Okesa area of the state capital, he said God directed him to pick his deputy, Kolapo Olusola, while he campaigned vigorously for him. Few hours to the election, he took the battle to a spiritual level. With a bible in his hand, Fayose laid the other hand on Eleka to receive power to succeed him.
Even though he fought a good fight, as the APC won with a slim margin, Osokomole or Peter The Rock, as he is fondly called, is the biggest loser. He was beaten in his stronghold and has become vulnerable to his opponents.
Aside being Fayose’s famed Man Friday, Lere is the spokesperson of the Kolapo Olusola Campaign Organisation (KOCO). As Fayose’s media aide, he projects his master’s thoughts as elaborate as he can. Hence, nobody could have done a better image polishing for Olusola’s campaign better than a “tested and trusted” mouthpiece.
For his ability, Fayose appointed him the acting director of Ekiti State Broadcasting Service which was shut down shut indefinitely over Fayose’s unauthorised declaration of the governorship election results.
Olayinka also earned himself enemies because of controversial utterances in the course of defending his principal. At the last count, over four libel cases had been filed against him.
In December 2017, Secondus emerged chairman of PDP. This happened months after the party experienced leadership tussle. He reached out to aggrieved members who contested the seat with him to the delight of many. He had said he was working on a three-pronged agenda to rebuild, reposition, and regain power for PDP.
The Ekiti election is the first to be coordinated under him and the party lost it. This is not too good a record for a man leading the party into the next general election, however, the Osun governorship election is just around the corner. He has the opportunity to prove a point.
Many thought the incumbent deputy governor of the state was a shadow behind his principal but his admirers see him as a man after Fayose’s heart.
The 49-year-old professor of building, though a political neophyte, seemed to be absent at the fore while Fayose took the wheels. He won in only Efon Alaye, Emure, Ikere and Ado-Ekiti.
PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP)
The loss of this election has further dealt a huge blow to the opposition party whose fortune has taken a nosedive since it lost the presidency and some key states in the last general election.
While it struggles to hold its position as a strong opposition party keen to take over power in 2019, winning Ekiti would have been a relief, perhaps strengthened the hopes of the party — having lost Ondo two years ago. Moreover, for Fayose, chairman of its governors’ forum whose guts alone amplifies opposition at its best, to lose this election, it spells doom for a PDP that is trying to find its foot – amidst the corruption trials of its prominent members.
With Ekiti out of the list, PDP no longer has a viable presence in the south-west and that has created a huge vacuum for the party. Most importantly, it leaves the party with a slim chance at occupying the presidency come 2019.