Ekiti Election 7 Things we learnt from governorship battle

1. Nigeria runs a two-party democracy, deal with it 35 political parties fielded candidates for the Ekiti governorship election.

However, when INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) presiding officers began reeling out results of the election, only the PDP and APC were polling substantial figures. Some political parties had as little as three votes in a local government! (Look away now, KOWA, ANRP, SDP, AA, YDP etc).

Here’s the thing: we can pretend to run a multi-party democracy all we want, but the big boys (PDP, APC) are playing in a different league to the other ‘briefcase’ political parties who stand no chance at all in our cash based political system.

2.Ekiti may just be a sign of what’s to come in the 2019 general elections.
President Buhari’s former minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, has just won the governorship election in Ekiti State. Until he is eventually sworn-in, Fayemi will be addressed as Governor-elect

We had over 30,000 police personnel deployed to keep the peace in one State, soldiers were stationed all over the place, teargas canisters were freely dispersed into gatherings, Fayose threatened the APC, Fayemi threatened the PDP and Fayose, Fayose claimed the police shot at him and Olusola Eleka eventually became bellicose like everyone else.

Ekiti became a war zone as it chose a governor. Sickening.

3. Fayose had Eleka’s mumu button
Not a lot of people know that the name Ayodele Fayose wasn’t even on the ballot.

Deputy Governor, Kolapo Olusola-Eleka was the PDP candidate for the Ekiti governorship election. However, he allowed himself to be so used by Fayose, he became a caricature of some sort. The Prof would quietly shrink under Fayose’s out-sized persona, image and ego.

Dr Kolapo Olusola Eleka was Fayose’s anointed candidate for Ekiti governorship election (City People Magazine)
It was said of Eleka that he only said what Fayose dictated and went where Fayose wanted.

In the end, Eleka lost—even if by a small margin. But he’s got to learn to be his own man in the future.

4. Vote buying is a huge factor in Nigerian politics
On the eve of the July 14 election, Fayose’s PDP which hasn’t paid workers their salaries for seven months, began dispatching N4,000 to bank accounts of potential voters.

When the APC learnt of what was going on, it increased its own vote buying amount by a thousand Naira (N5,000) on polling day. However, unlike the PDP, the APC preferred to disburse its own ‘stomach infrastructure’ in raw cash. Once you showed proof of voting for the APC candidate, you got your money.

Vote buying was so prevalent and brazen in the Ekiti election. The two major political parties are guilty in this regard as charged.

In the end, the political party that outspent the other, probably won.

5. Fayose’s theatrics now make for bad spectacle
The enduring meme or GIF from the Ekiti election has to be that of Fayose strapping himself in a neck brace and sling and wailing “I am in pains” into the cameras after claiming the police had physically attacked him, shot at him and hit him with the butt of a gun.

There’s been no pictorial or video evidence to suggest that the police did all of the above to Fayose and the police has denied assaulting the governor (not like the police has ever told the truth).

Fayose appears on a neck brace after he claimed the police attacked him (Twitter/@OfficialPDPNig)
Fayose was also seen laying a ‘pastoral’ hand on Eleka and summoning the heavens to make his deputy, governor.

Fayose has led Ekiti by play-acting or histrionics. Thankfully, the public will now be spared some of that as he exits the stage.

6. Card readers are still a problem
The PDP candidate, Eleka, almost didn’t vote as the smart card reader for the election rejected his finger-print time and again. There were several instances across Ekiti where voters couldn’t be registered on time because of faulty card reader machines.

In the end, a handful of polling units resorted to manual registration and accreditation–a by-phrase for rigging.

Card reader declines Eleka’s fingerprint (Pulse/Torinmo)
As we march tortuously into the 2019 elections, INEC has to elevate the smart card reader into something that is a lot more reliable. If Nigeria intends to transition into electronic voting someday, it’s got to begin with fixing the smart card reader.

7. Graciously accept defeat and come back stronger
This period four years ago, Fayemi was putting finishing touches to his concession speech. Fayose had reportedly rolled in the tanks from Abuja to annihilate, pulverize, emasculate and humiliate the sitting governor.

However, after a humiliating defeat (Fayemi lost all 16 local governments to Fayose in 2014), the genially sophisticated Fayemi quickly conceded, shook hands with his conqueror and disappeared into the midnight.

Fayemi hands over to Fayose in 2014 (Ekiti State Government)
But not quite. He left with the resolve to return as governor someday. He often told friends that he had unfinished business in Ekiti.

The Fayemi who returned to seek the governorship throne in Ekiti in 2018 had become smarter, street-wise, a better campaigner, a shrewd politician and a bare-knuckled opponent. He returned to the stomp in 2018, all guns blazing.

The moral of the story: life doesn’t come to an end when you are stuffed with humble pies.

Ref : pulseng

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