After series of videos widely circulated online showed Governor Ayodele Fayose boasting dramatically about how his anointed candidate, Professor Kolapo Eleka Olushola, will win the election, the just-concluded Ekiti State Gubernatorial election saw the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi taking the highest number of votes. Fayose became the subject of mockery mainly because of a winners take all culture in politics.
Announcing the results on July 15, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said Dr. Fayemi won 11 out of the 16 Local Government Areas of the State, with a vote of 197,459 closely followed by the incumbent’s anointed, Prof. Eleka, with 178,121 votes.
While rescinding his previous vow to leave office with his Deputy, Governor Ayodele Fayose, of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), expressed his support for Prof. Eleka succeeding him at his third year in office Thanksgiving and has spared no cost in his support
“I wanted Kayode Osho, but the Lord said it is Kolapo Olusola and I had no choice but to obey. I didn’t pray alone but asked many other people to pray along on the matter and the result was the same. I am believing God that when we are marking the fourth anniversary of my administration, you, Kolapo Olusola, will be preparing for your inauguration as Governor of this State.
Following his illegal impeachment in 2003, Fayose re-contested and won in 2014, with a vote of 203,090 against the then incumbent Fayemi’s 120,433. This represented a win of close to 41%. In comparison, Fayemi beat a largely unknown Eleka with a margin of less than 10%
The 2014 victory was largely attributed to Fayose’s manner of hobnobbing with the people. Fayose is known to gatecrash private occasions, eat with the poor and, as he claims, cry akara with market women. It appeared like the people enjoyed the drama. This continued after he became Governor. A viral video, for example, showed the Governor on a turntable, serving as a disc jockey in what appeared to be a night party.
Just like Fayemi’s 2018 victory over Fayose’s protege was dampened by allegations of vote-buying on both sides, Ffayose’s 2014 victory was marred with allegations of rigging and collusion by some top government officials and security operatives allegedly at the behest of the then President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
SaharaReporters revealed that a 37-minute audio recording by Captain Sagir Koli, verified for authenticity by a foreign consulting firm, Guardian Consulting, had the then Minister of State for Defense, Musiliu Obanikoro, Senator Iyiola Omisore of Osun State, Minister of Police Affairs Jelili Adesiyan, and one Honorable Abdulkareem, an associate of Fayose, plotting how to rig the election using the military.
Fayemi in an interview with SaharaReporters affirming that the “The election was not about Ekiti, it was turned to Federal forces against APC in the State”, a complaint similar to Fayose’s present complaint about the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in the 2018 election. Fayemi captured the situation in 2014 when he said
“But I must also say we were not unaware of the desperation of the PDP hierarchy to ‘win’ Ekiti by every means possible. We saw the Federal forces at play in the election and they were undisguised in their desperation. Election is a process. An election is not just rigged when you snatch ballot box or when you change result at the collation centre.
“When security agents that are supposed to be neutral for example go round picking party leaders the night before an election and party anchors on the day of election in a coordinated and choreographed manner with no charge leveled against them, clearly you had a pre-determined end that you are seeking”.
In 2016, a former Ekiti State PDP Secretary, Temitope Aluko charged the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to investigate the Ekitigate scandal.
“While the army council sacked their officers as a result of the investigation, it is unfortunate that the civilian actors/beneficiaries of the Ekitigate are not only walking the street freely but also threatening my person and family.
It is believed in some quarters that while Prof Eleka was the Governorship aspirant, Fayose’s popularity was highly instrumental in giving the Professor the number of votes he had. Others hold that Fayose’s bitter attacks on the Federal Government and excess drama did not do well for Eleka as many did not want to assist his Principal’s perceived vendetta.
A problem of narrow margin
With just 19,000 vote difference, the People’s Democratic Party has threatened to go to Court to contest the election result. The narrow margin with which the APC won may be a problem for the party as Election Petition Tribunals have canceled far more than that number of votes in the past to completely change the election result.
Professor Oserheimen Osunbor who was removed as Governor of Edo State by the Court before Adam Oshiomole, who is presently APC National Chairman, became Governor, explained how votes can be canceled for the smallest of reasons,
“We have seen how “trusted judges” were used to cancel peoples votes, simply because red biro was used by polling clerks for accreditation, instead of blue biro, to cite one example from Ekiti. I am glad that the National Assembly recently passed into law in the Electoral Act, my proposal that Election Tribunals should no longer declare as winner a candidate who lost at the polls. They should go further to amend the Constitution accordingly. The maximum the court should order is a re-run.”
The problem however for the PDP would be that the win was widely spread out as the APC curiously won in 12 out of 16 Local Government Areas despite the narrow margin.
In most of the Local Government where the APC won the margin was with a thousand or two thousand votes. There was also no local government area where the PDP won with up to 6,000 votes. These figures speak well for Fayose’s popularity but make a win at the Tribunal even more difficult as should the Tribunal strike out a local government, both party’s vote will reduce in almost the same proportion.