Published On: Sun, Jul 8th, 2018

Ekiti Royal Rumble: Fayemi vs Fayose -2

 

From OLUSESAN LAOYE, Ado Ekiti

The stage is now set for the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State as the 21 contending parties and their candidates,out of the 42 cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), intensify efforts to succeed outgoing governor Ayodele  Fayose.

Fayemi and Fayose Photo Credit: Nigerian Bulletin

Palpable fear has now gripped the people of the state as political gladiators, especially aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Kayode Fayemi and that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof. Kolapo Olusola, intensified efforts at ensuring the realization of their ambitions.

Business Hallmarkinvestigation indicates that though there are 21 political parties in the contest, three major political partiesare in contention. The political parties are the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

But of the three, two of them,the PDP and the APC are determined to fight to the finish and have taken it as a do or die affair. This situation indicates that the election would be more or less a replica of the 2014 election because of the personalities involved at the local and national levels.

As witnessed in the 2014 polls, the major personalities in Saturday’s election are still the same and they are all determined to ensure that the pendulum swing their ways.

During the last election, one of the key players and contestants, Dr Fayemi of the APC, was the governor, while his major challenger, Mr Ayodele Fayose, who contested then under the platform of the PDP, is now the incumbent governor.

The situation in Ekiti is tensed as Fayemi, who was defeated by Fayose, is determined to come back, while, Fayose has vowed that the former minister will never succeed him, and has thrown all resources behind his deputy to ensure his emergence as the next governor.

According to findings, Saturday’s contest in Ekiti is seen on one hand as a fight between the APC and the PDP, as well as Fayose and Fayemi, and not Fayemiand Prof, Olusola.

Feelers from the camps of Fayose and Fayemi indicate that they both see the contest as a revenge mach. Fayose, who is very vocal and is at loggerhead with the present federal government is said to be against the emergence of the APC candidate as his successor owing to what he perceived as the consequences that may follow. He has always said that the APC was poised to revenge its defeat in the 2014 and that was why its (APC) primary was tailored to favour Fayemi whom he defeated in 2014 to become governor in Saturday’s poll.

He also said that the APC knew that Fayemi, being the immediate past governor would deploy all what he has to ensure that he comes back to humiliate him and prove that he still has the control of the state.

What also heightens Fayose’s fear, it was gathered, is his fear that the APC at the federal level will use federal might and apparatus to ensure that it takes over Ekiti State and as such he is deploying everything as his disposal to prevent the doomsday prophesy from happening.

In order to forestall APC’s desperate plan to take over from him, Fayose, it was learnt has put his ‘Special Boys’  and loyalist on a red alert to counter any move by the federal government in the election. The Special Boys, it was learnt, have been specially trained and are ready to resist any attack or any action that is inimical to the interest of the governor. Fayose did not stop at that. He has been going about to inciting the people against the plans of the APC.

While the governor is mapping out his own strategy towards the election, Fayemi on the other hand, is poised and determined to win the election, which would make or mar his political career and integrity at the local and national levels. Sources said that Fayemiemerged the candidate of the APCin Ekiti State despite all odds because chieftains of the party believe that he is the only one who can match Fayose, action for action.“Fayose himself knows this and that is why he has been crying outand raising alarms.As a matter of fact, this election to Fayemi is a must to be won,because he believed that he was humiliated out of office by the thenfederal government of the PDP under former President GoodlurckEbele”, a source in the PDP told our correspondent.

Fayemi Photo Credit: Daily Trust

According to Fayemi and his supporters, Jonathan’s government deployedthe federal apparatus to ensure that PDP and Fayose won Ekiti to helpboost his chances in the 2015 presidential election. As a result, Fayemi’scamp sees the move to come back as a revenge bout now that is also in a ruling party. To consolidate what healready had on ground as governor, Fayemi,since winning the primary hasbeen moving round the state to ensure that he wins the heart of thepeople.

The situation on ground at the moment in Ekiti, according tothe people who spoke with BH,is very dicey, with many believing that the state is now in a situation of uncertainty. They also expressedtheir fear of the election turning violent.

Theyalso agreed that both Fayemi and Fayose are very tough when it comes topolitics as both of them are solidly on ground. Despite describingFayemi as very cool in his outlook and soft spoken,they all agreed that he is very tough and strong politically and thathe has a lot of people still loyal to him. They also argued that hisministerial appointment empowered him because he did not discardhis ‘Boys’, as well as those who worked for him while in office.

It was also gathered that Fayemi has everything at his disposal andthat Fayose has no monopoly of violence andpolitical strength, as Fayemi too is equal to the task.

“Since Fayemi left office, he has been oiling hispolitical machinery which has been intact.The ministerialappointment he got is also helping him to face his challengers, especially Fayose who is leaving office but backing hisdeputy, Prof Olusola”, said DipoFalade, a chieftain of the APC in Ad-Ekiti.

BH findings revealed that the PDP candidate, Olusola, is not too popular in Ekiti because of the way Fayose is handling his support from him, with many saying thatFayoseis the one contesting and notOlusola. The matter is made worse for the PDP candidate as many see more of Fayoseduring campaigns.

Emergence of a third force

As it happened during the 2014 governorship election, when a third force,in the form of Labour Party (LP),emerged from the crisisbetween Fayemi and Hon. OpeyemiBamidele, a new dimension has been added to the contest in Ekiti. It would be recalled that the feud between the twoled toBamidele’s defection from the ACN to the Labour Partyand caused problems for Fayemi.

The same situation is repeating itself in the PDP.A disgruntled, but formidable group led by Prince AdedayoAdeyeye, has left thePDP to join the Social Democratic Party (SDP). This situation, thoughwaved off by chieftains of the PDP as a non-issue, has created a third political partywhich could scuttle the PDP, just as the Labour Party did to the APC.

It is generally believed that if Bamidelehad not left the ACN towards the 2014 election andteamed up with Fayose, the story could have been different today.

The Dayob Adeyeye led SDP is equally on ground and moving strongly to ensure victory at most a spoiler for the PDP.

The July14 election has become an issue in Ekitiand is being debated allover the state by the citizens.

Business Hallmarkinvestigation revealed that there is tension andapprehension within the state due to the fact that both PDP and APC haveconsiderable followership and sympathisers who could foment trouble if the election did not go their ways.

“Both parties have arraysof big wigs and sizeable numbers of heavy weights who are very strongin their respective areas and determined to deliver theirconstituencies to their respective political parties. To them, the election is a war”, declared BayoAjiboye, an apprehensive civil servant in IkoleEkiti.

It was also learnt that the threemajor political party in the race would want to use it as litmustest to show case their strength. While the PDP would want to retainpower and use it to launch itself back nationally (this isthe first governorship election since the Secondus-led nationalexecutive came into office), the APC too would want to take back thestate to determine its strength in the 2019, while the SDP equally wouldwant to use it for relevance in the South West as an alternative toAPC

Political trends

The Ekiti electorate have gained more political awareness since embracing the Action Group in the first republic. During thedefunct Western Region, the zone had its own political party known asthe Ekiti Peoples Party but it had problems which made theAction Group consumed it.  Since then, Ekiti people have been in mould of theprogressives. In the first republic they embraced the Action Group; Second Republic, the Unity Party of Nigeria, (UPN) and later the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in consequent elections. However, the PDP broke the jinxduring the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo led federal government when Fayoseemerged for the first time. He was followed by Ademuluyi, Olusegun Oni, and again Fayose who is desperate to install a PDP candidate as his successor.

If his plan works, it means that Ekiti has moved from being aprogressive state to a conservative.

Leadership influence

All the political parties are parading big names at both the state andnational levels. The APC, locally has leaders like Engineer Segun Oni,who is still not happy with the way Fayemi emerged as the party’scandidate; Senator Femi Ojudu; Hon.OpeyemiBamidele; Senator Ayo Arise and hostof others. The leadership at the top too are ready for the electionbecause of its significance to the party at this crucial time whenNigerians are casting aspersions on the party and the leadership.

President Muhammadu Buhari, it was gathered, would want to ensure that APC gets back Ekiti State to consolidate is stand in the South West in 2019, while the likes of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande, and most importantly the new national executive of the party, led by the former Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, would want to win the election. Oshiomhole in particular would want this victory for his party being his first election in office.

The PDP as well is well motivated. The Secondus-led nationalexco, governors, legislators and even former vice president AtikuAbubakar viewed the election as a major one since the PDP is back asone. While local leaders like Fayose, Senator Olujinmi and others wouldlike to use the PDP victory to consolidate their ambitions in 2019.

Also, the SDP,  led by Dayo Adeyeye, Prof Tunde Adeniran and its leader, Chief Olu Falae, backed by some of his colleagues in the Afenifere would want an impressive outing  for their party since they are proposing it as an alternative political party to the APC in the South West. They also want to use the party and the election to whittle down the influence and dominance of Tinubu in the South West.

Influence of traditional rulers civil servants

There is no doubt the influence of traditional rulers will count inthe election. Although, it was not certain who among them is insupport of who, or the political parties, feelers on ground indicatethat some of the traditional rulers are partisan and they are movingaround to talk on behalf of their preferred candidates and politicalparties.  While it was believed that Fayose has the majority of thetraditional rulers backing him, because of the largesse he providedthem, there are others too who are backing Fayemifor what he did for thetraditional rulers when he was in government. The civil servants, on the other hand, are divided. BH gathered that while Fayose is still in power,Fayemi still has his loyalists in theservice intact.

Candidates’ strength in local governments, senatorial zones

The state has 16 local governments, namely, Ado Ekiti, Oye, AiyeKire,Efon, Ekiti East, Ekiti South-West, Emure, Idoosi, IjeroIrepodun/Ifelodun, Ise/Orun and Moba.

There are three senatorialzones of Ekiti South, Ekiti Central and Ekiti North.

Since1999,aspirants and candidates always hold on to their respective homebase and win elections from bulk votes there.  The same scenario is likely to repeat itself as both the APC and the PDP are moving round toensure that they consolidate their strong holds.  With the campaignsand the acceptability accorded the two leading political parties, andeven the SDP, the parties are determined to useeverything at their disposal to ensure that the way people would votewon’t bethe same as the last one. Checks show that the situation won’t be thesame as in 2014 when Fayose won in all the 16 local governments.

Residents who spoke with the BH were of the opinion that a lot ofthings have changed since the last governorship election as some ofthe people with Fayose have moved to the APC or the SDP,while some of those who were with Fayemi too have moved to otherpolitical parties. It was observed that apart from the areas wherethe candidates are very strong, other areas would be shared and thebattle would be too close to call.

In the last election, people saw Fayose as the messiah because Fayemi was too distant from them and did not play local politics which endeared Fayose to people’s heart.

However, a lot has changed as Fayemi is now is playing the same game with Fayosewho is spearheading the PDP election.

Feyemi, it was observed now relate with the elderly and theyouths whom he empowered while in office. What would also count isthe experience of the candidates. Fayemi remains himself and has a lotof experience as former governor and minister, while the PDPcandidate is backing on is his experience as the deputygovernor.

But political observers believe that he was just aglorified deputy because Fayose is everywhere which has madehim unpopular with the people.

The popular believe, according to findings, is that he will be starting afresh compared to his bosswho had served as a governor before coming back in 2014. On the other hand, Fayemi, whohad spent four years as governor and three years as a minister isbringing all the experience gathered to rule.According to him (Fayemi),he has learnt his lessons and ready to make amends to move Ekitiforward.

The argument going on in the state is that fayose has dominated thescene without allowing Olusola to breath and that even if he Olusolawins the election, he would be remotely controlled by Fayose and peopleare expressing their misgivings, arguing that this couldlead to early dispute between him and Fayose.

Ayo Fayose Photo Credit: guardian.ng.jpg

From the survey conducted, the chances of the PDP and that of the APCis 50/ 50. Although some people believe that because of the influenceof Fayose,Olusola may win the election, it is believed that therecould be some variables and slight shift on the day of the electiondepending on horse trading between now and July 14.

BH survey also suggeststhat some of the artisanssaid to have been empowered by Fayose are not sure of where thependulum will swing.

The opinion of 1,000 people were sought across the state fromprofessionals to artisans,motorcycle riders, food vendors, elderly, market men and women, civil servants and even none indigenes of Igboand Hausa. Inthe poll, three candidates, Fayemi- APC, Olusola- PDP andAkinloyeAiyegbusi of the SDP received most mosts.

People based their preference for them on their experience, popularity, the popularity oftheir political parties, characters and their chances.

Experience: Out of the 1,000 respondents, 600 rated Fayemi, 300rated Olusola while 100 rated Aiyegbusi on experience.

Popularity of parties:APC – 400, PDP – 400, while200 rated SDP as more popular.

Popularity of candidates:Fayemiscored 500, Olusola- 300 and Aiyegbusi– 200.

Character:Fayemi- 350, Olusola- 350,Aiyegbusi- 300. Chances:Fayemi 430, Olusola 450 and Aiyegbusi 120.

A former member of the PDP board of trustees, Chief DayoOkondo, while speaking with BH, said that he wassure that the PDP would win  the election based on the performance ofFayose. He said that Fayemi should not be regarded as a push over inthe election because he is now fully prepared.

“But notwithstanding, if the federal government do not use the federal might in the election tofavour him, PDP and Olusola would remain in power”, he said.

On why Fayose is the one doing the leg work for Olusola, Chief Okondo said that he must do it because he would not want to be defeated and that he wants to show that he is still very popular with the people. ‘’Fayose put himself down to support Olusola and he is doing it fanatically as well’’

Chief DipoAnisulowo, a prominent PDP leader who serves as the chiefof staff to Fayose, said that they are ready for Fayemi and thateverything has been put in place to guarantee victory for the PDP, sayingthat they are not however taking things for granted with Fayemi who wasonce the governor of the state. He said that they are also conscious ofthe influence of the federal government in the election.

Former speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly Dr.AdewaleOmirin, who led the assembly when Fayose removed 19 of them, said the battle isgoing to be tough and that the APC is fully ready for the PDP and theparty is already mobilising the people for the election, saying thatthe election will be different from that of 2014 because the peopleof the state have tested two wives and they now know where to go.

The publicity Secretary of Akinloye Aiyegbusi of the SDP campaign organisation, Yemi Akinbase, said that the people of Ekiti are yearning for a change and total departure from the old order. He said the violence witnessed in Ekiti today is caused by the so called big political parties’ and that people of Ekiti are tired of witnessing violence all the time. He said the two assumed top political parties would be shocked when the result of the election would be announced.

Also, the spokeperson for Fayemi, WoleOlujobi, said that the APChas not been engaging in campaign of calumny as the PDP. He said thatthe rumour going round by the PDP about Fayemi was not true on theprincipal arrested in possession of voters’ card.Olujobi said theformer governor and minister of solid minerals did not know anythingabout the accusation.

In his reaction, the Commissioner of Independent National Electoral Commission in EkitiState, Mr. AdejoSoyebi, said that the body is fully prepared forthe election and that they are deploying 11,00 staff all over thestate for the election and that they already received materials forthe election.

He promised that INEC would conduct free and fairelection and warned the people especially politicians to desist fromany act that could mar the election.

Also, the police said that they are ready for the election and that adequate personnel would be deployed for the election.

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