Fayose’s worst fear coming true


By Azu Ishiekwene

Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has been on been on the rooftop and won’t come down till long after Saturday. He has been screaming, for all the world to hear, that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)
plans to rig this weekend’s governorship election for his arch foe, Kayode Fayemi. From Fayose’s camp, it seems that the APC will not be content to win. The icing on the cake would be to brutalise Fayose, break his neck and present his head on a platter to Aso Rock. Armageddon is the closest metaphor.
As Fayose wept, with a neck brace worn upside down and his left hand in a sling, claiming he had been attacked shortly before his party’s rally in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday, it would take someone who has eaten the proverbial head of the tortoise not to feel sorry for this drama prince.
According to Fayose, the APC has enlisted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the police, the Department of State Services, and maybe a few stray devils from Libya, to help Fayemi win the vote
by means fair and foul. On Tuesday, he said the result of the governorship election had been written and quoted dodgy figures in two local government councils ostensibly to support his claim.
Even though it is Kolapo Olusola, and not Fayose, that is the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the election, you’ll be forgiven to think that Fayose is in the race. And he might well be.
Whatever the constitution says about term limits, Saturday’s contest between Olusola and Fayemi is a proxy war for Fayose’s third term. He will summon both real and imaginary conspiracies, if not to win the vote, then perhaps to discredit the system and get public sympathy.
His brace and sling are part one of the wretched political game, the costume of a political dramatist.
When Fayose cries wolf about alleged connivance between INEC, security services on the one hand, and Fayemi’s campaign on the other, he’s haunted not only by concerns for a free and fair contest. He is tormented also by prospects that he could be at the receiving end of a system from which he was a principal beneficiary four years ago.
Documented records after the election showed that Abuja robbed the treasury, dragged a major commercial bank into the mess and also put top military and government officials at the disposal of Fayose. The PDP Federal Government left nothing to chance in a desperate effort to ensure victory for its candidate at the time.
It’s probable that Fayose would still have won that contest, partly because of Fayemi’s complacency. But a taped conversation by an insider, Captain Sagir Koli, on how the election was rigged by state agents, revealed that rival party leaders, especially those of the APC, were deliberately subjected to harassment and intimidation on the eve of the election, casting serious doubt on the integrity of the result of the 2014 governorship election.
This history is playing out as a farce, with the APC government deploying more policemen and soldiers in Ekiti in peacetime than we have seen in any of the numerous hotspots begging for attention. After four years of Fayose’s politics of stomach infrastructure, which essentially comprised eating roasted corn by the roadside, eating amala at a market shed, sharing birthday cake on the streets, and supplying petrol to Okada riders from the underground tank in the government house, Fayose ought to have raised enough foot soldiers from the 913,000 registered voters to defend the vote and secure a third term, without faking a broken neck.
If this were a vote for brinkmanship, Fayose’s candidate would gain immeasurably from the hubris of the last four years. When Fayose is not advertising his death wish for President Muhammadu Buhari with state funds, he’s taunting and teasing the Presidency over one policy mishap or the other. He’s been ruthlessly efficient at criticising the Federal Government, insinuating and inflaming public opinion with half-truths often shared on a speed dial.
Now, it has dawned on him that whatever his grouse against Abuja might be – and there are quite a few legitimate ones, like the herders-farmers clashes, for example – his candidate will be judged not by his fans
outside, but by voters in the state that he, Fayose, abandoned in his quest for popularity as the self- assigned lightning rod of the opposition.
His worst nightmare must be what happens next. All the brace, the sling, and the arrow are diversions from his poor record and the fear of what might happen to him once he no longer enjoys immunity. The fear runs deep. It goes as far back as Fayose’s first term when police, SSS and court records linked him to the deaths of Tunde Omojola, Ayo Adaramola and Kehinde Fasuba, whose families have yet to get justice. At home, in Ekiti, where he was re-elected to govern, there’s little evidence that Fayose’s record would save his candidate on Saturday and give him a third term by proxy.
He said, in an interview with The Guardian in March, that education has been his greatest area of achievement. The records do not support his claim. Ekiti is one of the 17 states that has failed to access a N16.2 billion UBEC fund, provided to ease basic education in the states. Instead of accessing the fund, Fayose’s government defaulted on the N850 million counterpart fund loan provided by Access Bank under the previous administration. The government creamed off the interest, estimated at N70 million by two independent sources, and simply continued levying primary and secondary school pupils.
On Fayose’s watch, the state university has been starved of subvention and the nursing school is a shadow of itself. Primary and secondary school teachers are being owed salaries of between six and eight months, while pensioners have not been paid for 11 months. This woeful record casts a shadow on the government’s eager attempt to claim credit for the modest improvements in WASC/NECO school results in the state. Pressed between the rock and the hard place, students may well have taken their fate in their own hands.
If Fayemi lost four years ago because of internal rebellion, his weak grip on a few wayward personal staff and lack of common touch, Ekiti has careened from the elitist Fayemi end of the spectrum to the squalid Fayose end where drama, gimmickry and a personality cult have been elevated to statecraft.
Governance, it seems, has become a joke and it’s doubtful if serious-minded voters would recognise Ekiti as the same land of honour and integrity they used to know.
In this important election over which Olusola has canvassed strong progressive views on education and ICT, I imagine that he would like to be judged, not strictly by Fayose’s standards, but in his own right as a candidate and, inescapably, a joint heir in the legacy of the last four years.
That’s the whole point of elections – for voters to weigh the candidates on the ballot and decide who will get their mandate on the simple question: Is your life better today than it was four years ago?
None of the major contestants in Saturday’s race is a stranger and their backers have not hidden their hands either. If voters allow themselves to be blindsided by the drama on either side, they’ll live with the consequences, perhaps for another four years and the god of the stomach will not save them.

Ishiekwene is the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief ofThe Interview and member of the board of the Global Editors Network

Ekiti APC guber primary: No petition against Fayemi – Appeal panel

The appeal panel raised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to handle possible grievances against the party’s governorship primary election in Ekiti State at the weekend has concluded its assignment without receiving any petition against the emergence of Kayode Fayemi, former governor of the state and incumbent minister of solid minerals, in the exercise.
The chairperson of the panel, Amb. Fati Balla, made the disclosure on Tuesday while submitting the committee report to Sen. Osita Izunaso, APC National Organising Secretary, at the party national secretariat in Abuja.

Balla declared the election rescheduled for May 12 rancour-free, though the initial exercise held a week earlier was marred by violence, necessitating its cancellation and postponement to the new date.

According to the three-member panel, none of the other contestants brought any petition to challenge Fayemi’s victory throughout the three day they spent in the state.

“In the three days we sat, we did not receive a single petition, either in form of writing, telephone calls or by text message.

“This is to say there has been no petition after the primary election in Ekiti State, we have, therefore, come before you this afternoon to submit our report having completed our assignment’’, she said.

Other members of the committee which was inaugurated on May 2, include Capt. Bala Jibrin (Secretary) and Mrs Lilian Obenwa.

While receiving the report, Izunaso thanked the panelists, as he equally expressed the APC’s determination to reclaim Ekiti state from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the governorship election scheduled for July 14 .

He noted that the leadership of the party is planning to earnestly meet all the 33 aspirants that took part in the primary to properly integrate them, and also that a national campaign committee for the election would soon be set up to map out strategies to convince the people of Ekiti to cast their votes en-masse for Fayemi on the election day.

“We are glad that you have finished your assignment after sitting for three days, and there is no petition from any aspirant.

“We are also glad that the Ekiti primary election has taken place and that the aspirants are working together to ensure that we win the election.

“The most important thing to us in the APC is victory in the July election, for us, whenever there is a primary election, it is a family affair.

“And whenever we finish our primary elections, and aspirants and stakeholders come together to work as a team, it gladdens our heart as a party’’, Izunaso said.

Ekiti 2018: Don’t vote for money, Ex Speaker charges APC delegates

A former Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assemblies, Olufemi Bamisile, has urged the delegates billed to vote in the All Progressives Congress’s (APC) forthcoming primary election in the state to resist the temptation to be influenced by monetary inducement while casting their votes.
Bamisile, also a governorship aspirant under the platform of the APC, gave the charge during a recent interaction with journalists in the state where he advised the delegates to use their votes wisely if they desire the party to upstage the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state’s governorship election coming up later in the year.
He also made a case for choice of a candidate from the southern senatorial zone which was yet to produce a governor since the state was created from the old Ondo State more than 30 years ago.
While arguing that the APC needs a strong and well established candidate to effective challenge Governor Ayodele Fayose, who he described as a grassroots politician, Banisile said opting for a deep-pocket over an equally versatile politician would spell doom for the APC in the election.
“I have always been an open minded person when it comes to the issue of zoning. Even when I know that there is no constitutional backing for it but people from the South have been disenfranchised since the creation of our state. But as it is now, the issue has gone beyond zoning. We don’t have control over that, I won’t lie to you.
“We can only appeal to the conscience of the delegates. If the delegates now want to sell their conscience for money, at the expense of winning the general election, they should know that the biggest spender may not be the best candidate. What we should look at now is how to dislodge the monster that we have as governor.
“ Fayose as much as we hate him, is grounded in Ekiti State politics. So, we need someone who is acceptable, who know the nook and cranny of the state to actually take over the leadership of the party. So, when someone is saying the persons who have money, Ekiti people are not like that, they have cultures and values. I am sure they won’t sell their conscience. Let people bring their money; I am sure they (electorates) would take it and do their wishes.”
Also commenting on the declaration of interest in the race by the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Bamisile said as much as he was not averse to the former Governor’s exercising his constitutional rights, he would rather advise that he does not leave certainty for uncertainty.
“For me I am going to this race to earn respect for myself. I am not really bothered about anybody contesting with me because I know it is not going to be a one horse race. I won’t be the only one contesting this election. I have not really bothered about the character of the persons contesting with me. I am focusing on the delegates.
“If you don’t forget, I have been in the race for about three and half years. I have been Campaigning from house to house sensitizing and galvanizing support for the party. For me, he is exercising his constitutional right anyway. Yes, people are saying that he should not have entered the race as a Statesman, but the truth is, he has to probe his conscience to do what he did. But if I were in his shoe, I won’t have left certainty for uncertainty.”

Fayemi declares interest in Ekiti guber race

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has declared his intention to contest in the forthcoming governorship race in Ekiti State.
Fayemi, a former governor of the state between 2010 and 2014, made the declaration while speaking with journalists at his Isan-Ekiti country home on Sunday.
So far, he is the 36th aspirant eyeing the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the state’s governorship election scheduled for July 14, 2018.
While reacting to his indictment by a judicial panel of inquiry raised by the State governor Ayodele Fayose, to try him and other former officials of the state for alleged misappropriation of funds during his reign, Fayemi said he could not be stopped by the decision of the panel, adding that only his party would determine his eligibility at the appropriate time.
He said the APC was ready to deploy all necessary logistics to be victorious at the poll.
The former governor said his defeat as an incumbent in 2014 has taught him a great lesson, saying the experience and his role during the last Ondo State governorship election would come handy in prosecuting the current assignment.
He said he deliberately waited patiently before declaring his intention to avoid breaching the Electoral Act and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) laid down rules, adding that he would formally notify his party about his intention at the state secretariat by April 14.

Journalists disrupt own election in Ekiti


An attempt to appoint a new set of leadership for the Ekiti State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) ended in fiasco on Thursday as some aggrieved members of the union disrupted the process and caused its abrupt end over alleged fraud.

NUJ elections are often controversial owing to attempts by contestants to explore all available means, including manipulation of voters list, to outwit their opponents and take the victory at all cost.

According to sources at the venue of the Ekiti state election, voting had commenced around noon and everything seemed to be going on smoothly until the aggrieved members stormed the venue, snatched the ballot boxes and destroyed the canopy erected for their colleagues to relax after voting for candidates of their choice.

Interestingly, the disruption took place in the presence of security operatives deployed to the venue to maintain law and order, as well as the very senior officers of the union, including the B Zone (Southwest) Vice President, Cosmos Oni, his secretary and Chairmen and secretaries of Oyo, Osun and Ogun States.

Apparently disappointed by the conducts of his members, Oni was said to have strongly condemned the act, insisting that there were better ways of expressing their displeasure in such situation.

Other members of the union scampered for safety when the situation almost got out of hand.

Meanwhile, the zonal leadership of the union had constituted a five-member Caretaker Committee to steer the ship of the NUJ state council in the interim.

This became necessary since the last executive council led by Laolu Omisilade had been dissolved ahead of the election.

The committee, headed by Amos Ogunrinde of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, will be in the saddle for next three months during which it is expected that all issues would have been resolved and an acceptable election would have taken place to form a new executive council for the State.