• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Still on Ekiti: Magnanimity in defeat


Although the battle for the gubernatorial seat of Ekiti State is already won and lost, the storm is yet over. The fracas at the state judiciary handling petitions arising from the election attest to that. The opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) is crying foul and raining abuses on the electoral empire and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)-led Federal Government over the ugly development.

APC sees no rationale for declaring Ayo Fayose, the PDP’s candidate, winner of the election. Even before the election, there had been allegations that the parties were deploying material things to win the hearts of the electorate. Before the election, Nigerians were tutored on new vocabularies in political lexicon, including the now celebrated “stomach infrastructure.”

The broom party had also alleged that the PDP had perfected its plans to get victory through scientific rigging.

However, despite the apprehensions, the election was adjudged free and fair by most stakeholders. Unfortunately though, the ruling party in the state has since discredited the exercise, alleging that the victory was stolen.

It is significant, however, to note the rigging allegation being bandied around is a reflection of commonly-held view when election is lost in the process.

We must agree that there are germane questions to ask over the credibility of the individuals who participate in elective positions in our dear country nowadays. It is high time we began to beam search light on such characters. We must look at their integrity and credibility to determine their suitability for elective offices.

The Ekiti election brought to the fore the increasing political awareness of the Nigerian electorates. People have begun to ask questions about the quality of deliverables. They are now asking questions on the quality of governance or representation; quality of policies and infrastructure etc.

There were also issues over the alleged neglect of the people while focusing on things that do not immediately impact the lives of the people. Electorates now are very concerned about governance that has a human face.

People are now watching their government to find out if it is self-serving, or people-oriented. What Ekiti election simply teaches is the determination of the voting masses to take their destinies in their own hands.

Despite claim to the contrary from the camp of the opposition, many stakeholders have said that the electoral umpire, INEC, performed creditably in the Ekiti gubernatorial election.

In fact, many people believe that the electoral body is getting its act right and should be applauded. It is believed that commendations where appropriate will encourage INEC to continue to do more, whereas constant criticism, even when it is doing well, could send wrong signals and thereby distort the electoral process.

A good number of people see no justifiable reason for the objection raised by the opposition APC since the conduct of the election is adjudged free and fair. It is their belief and mine too, that the brouhaha trailing that peaceful exercise should have been avoided in the first place.

It is also baffling that after congratulating Fayose, Governor Fayemi made a volte-face by saying he never did, and decided to align with his party to challenge the result of the election. I could remember that some well-meaning Nigerians had written in the newspapers, and through radio and television interviews commended Governor Fayemi’s initial show of sportsmanship.

To my mind, it appears that from the look of things, the opposition party is hell bent on destroying the gains already achieved in this journey of enduring democracy.

On the issue of heavy presence of soldiers in Ekiti before, during and after the exercise, APC has continued to make claim that it contributed to its defeat. But, I align myself with many stakeholders who see nothing wrong in the deployment of the military to guarantee peace and order in the state while the election lasted. Those who are saying otherwise, are probably people who have short memories of the volatile nature of the South West during polls.  Electoral violence has always been the hallmark of elections in the West.

It is my candid advice to Governor Kayode Fayemi, whose administration has been commended for some level of performance, to sheath his sword and move ahead. Like his earlier pledge to Fayose to work with him before he (Fayemi) was misled, he must let go; he must move on with his life. He must realise that life does not end in the Government House, Ado-Ekiti.

It also appears to me that Fayemi has constantly been at logger-heads with the civil service. This may have been at the core of his problems. Politicians must always try to bring themselves to the level of the people.

While Fayemi is seen as elitist in his approach to governance, mingling with the high and mighty, Fayose is believed to be a man of the people; an out-going down-to-earth politician, who socializes and visits folks in their huts. This, many people believe, was the decider of the direction the election result went.

I am also at a loss what the opposition party, APC actually wants. For instance, in Osun State, APC candidate recorded landslide victory during the gubernatorial election, beating his closest opponent, Senator Iyiola Omisore of the PDP, with a wide margin. But the opposition does not seem to be satisfied with mere victory. They still alleged over-militarisation of the electoral process.

Politicians must be committed to the duty of moving the country to greater heights, by avoiding actions and inactions that can send wrong message to the masses of this country. Both the PDP and the APC must be very careful not to be seen as agents which are capable of derailing the fledgling democracy. Elements in these parties who want to play the devil’s advocate should borrow a leaf from the presidency, which always recognises winners, irrespective of party affiliation.