Following the declaration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi as the winner of the July 14, 2018 governorship election, spontaneous jubilation by his supporters and admirers erupted in the streets of Ado-Ekiti, the state capital in celebration of his victory at the poll.
In the election contested by candidates of 33 registered political parties, Fayemi of the APC polled 197,459 votes to beat his closest rival, Prof. Kola Olusola of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 178,121 to the second position.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Idowu Olayinka who was the Returning Officer declared Fayemi winner of the poll on behalf of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Prof. Olayinka said, “John Kayode Fayemi of the APC having satisfied the requirement of the law and has scored the highest lawful votes is hereby returned the winner.”
As the news filtered in that Fayemi has been declared the winner of the election, his elated party members and supporters across the state rolled out the drums and started dancing round the town.
The celebration also spread to beer parlours and restaurants in the state capital with supporters of the Ekiti governor-elect declaring free food and drinks for anyone who shared in their joy.
Students gathered themselves in groups along Polytechnic Road in Ado Ekiti chanting “dynamite general has smashed the rock of Fayose!Fayose! Fayose!…you called yourself Peter the rockkk! in the presence of former minister of Solid Mineral and Steel Development,” adding: “olomolanke to duro de reluweee! Osetan ati parun” in Yoruba language.
Also, Isan Ekiti, Fayemi’s hometown became mecca of a sort as people thronged the former minister’s house to felicitate with him.
A standing band was on ground to entertain visitors who were dinning and wining to celebrate the victory.
People in different groups and class took over the Isan-Ekiti streets dancing round the town and praising God for giving their son the victory not minding that it was on Sunday morning when they were supposed to be in church.
Chieftains of the party from all over the state slaughtered cows for people to eat in celebration of the victory at the poll. The okada riders, the drivers unions, market women and others had since on daily basis taken their own celebration to the streets of the state capital separately in different colours and styles.
While this went on in the state, the defeated parties, particularly the PDP, its candidate, and the outgoing governor, Fayose did not stop crying, claiming that they are the true owner of the mandate which Fayemi possessed vowing to reclaim it in court.
Nevertheless, Fayemi and his running mate, Otunba Bisi Egbeyem described their victory at the election in the state as well deserved and called on Governor Fayose and his political godson, Prof. Olusola Eleka, who was the candidate of the PDP to respect the wish of Ekiti people as popularly expressed and accept defeat rather than resorting to their usual display of political hatred and desperation.
Fayemi who justified his victory at the poll as the will of the people of Ekiti appreciated Ekiti people for keeping with the finest traditions of democracy and determined through the ballot box to change the course of our destiny for good,”
describing his victory as: “the resilient people of Ekiti State whose brightness and hope never dimmed in the face of untold hardship and all forms of indignity under the PDP leadership who had ruled them like a conquered people.”
The PDP candidate, Professor Eleka who not only rejected the outcome of the poll, said he will pursue and reclaim “his mandate” in court.
Eleka justified his claims with allegations of intimidation, oppression and inducement by security agents which he claimed aided and abetted APC’s alleged manipulation of the electoral process that allegedly gave Fayemi the victory.
He declared that he was rejecting the poll’s result before Nigerians, Ekiti people and the international community, adding, “You are all aware of the unfortunate and dangerous events of the past 24 hours,
in which our governorship election was hijacked by political desperadoes leveraging on “Federal might” to pervert the electoral process, subvert the will of Ekiti people and viciously steal the mandate willingly and freely given to me on a massive scale by our people.”
He reiterated that the PDP and himself won the election overwhelmingly, received more than 70% of lawful votes cast and winning in almost all of the state’s 16 local government areas and declared “I therefore reject the falsified results being bandied by the Independent National Electoral Commission, which purportedly gave the election to the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi,” he said.
Eleka described the alleged manipulation of the poll as: “most audacious electoral robbery of our recent history,” which: “shall not stand.”
He alleged further that APC rigged the poll by leveraging on: “its well-advertised but patently obnoxious and anti-democratic “Federal might” to intimidate, harass, victimise, oppress, and brutalise PDP leaders, members, and the voting public all over Ekiti,” especially vote buying.
Meanwhile, Civil Society organisations that monitored the election had described the poll as free, fair, and credible, saying there was no evidence of manipulation as being alleged by the candidate of the PDP.
One of the Civil Society organisation which punctured the PDP claim over the election, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), said there was no evidence of rigging in the poll.
The CDD Director, Idayat Hassan, who was on ground in Ekiti, told newsmen in a telephone interview that although there were cases of ballot box snatching in some areas, INEC did not declare results from the affected polling units that were subsequently cancelled.
“I think the election outcome reflects the will of the people. At least so far, we saw that INEC deployed its logistics early and people turned out to vote in spite of the fear in several voters.
“There is no evidence to show that there was any rigging. Yes, all the places where there were ballot boxes snatching, INEC actually cancelled the results.
“So for now, we cannot point to any evidence of rigging. What is just going on is more of misinformation by some politicians,” she declared.
A PDP chieftain who also corroborated this claim, Opeyemi Falegan, contrary to his party’s stand on the poll, described the outcome of the poll as a reflection of Ekiti people’s will to restore the value of nobility, honesty, and integrity.
The PDP chieftain also commended the major stakeholders especially INEC, Police, security agencies and electorates for what he described as the most peaceful conduct of election in the history of the state.
According to him, “The peaceful, transparent, credible and hitch-free nature of the poll was as a result of patriotic conduct of all stakeholders that participated before, during and after the exercise”.
The PDP stalwart, Falegan gave the commendation shortly after the announcement of Dr. Kayode Fayemi of the APC as winner of the poll in a release made available to newsmen in Ado Ekiti.
“This is to say the least that the outcome of the poll reflects the true position of the people of the state because of the maladministration by the present governor and his few cohorts.
“The Electoral body has again unequivocally proved to the world that, Nigeria is a nation with people of integrity and honour through another credible, transparent, free and fair governorship election in Ekiti State.
“All the processes before, during and after the election could be said to have met an average international electoral standard of the 21st century in all ramifications through an unbiased electoral body, INEC and cooperation of all other stakeholders.
“And despite provocations by some politicians, all security agencies also lived above board by discharging their duties in a professional way in order to have an acceptable poll, hence a thumb up for them as well.
“Ekiti people in particular have again demonstrated that the state still value men of integrity and honour than any other thing and that they will always measure everybody with their performance in governance irrespective of the propaganda the government is dishing out to them” he said.
“The latest development will no doubt bring back the lost glory, dignity, nobleness and integrity of Ekiti State which had been thrown away by the present administration and replaced same with thuggery, lies, fraud and sub- standard projects to siphon the state resources.
“The thoughtfulness and determination of the people to stand firm in order to enthrone good governance of all-inclusiveness that is devoid of greed is commendable, believing that the development will pave way for a meaningful development through the cooperation of all.
“It is a great joy and happiness that people have refused to be cajoled or deceived again by Governor Fayose in his desperate attempt to lure them to another ignoble four-year term in the desert land through a proxy.”
While congratulating the governor-elect, Fayemi, over his victory at the poll, Hon. Falegan charged him to justify the confidence reposed in him by the electorate through peoples’ oriented programmes and policies.
Also, contrary to the PDP claim that the role of police and other security agencies deployed for the election marred the poll, the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room said the deployment of security personnel, including the police, for the election was largely well organised.
“Most polling units had good number of security personnel attached to them keeping watch. The policemen and other security agents across the polling units conducted themselves professionally and contributed to the peaceful conduct of the election.
“Situation Room commends the Nigeria Police for the improved conducts of its personnel during the election. We call on the police to be proactive in the enforcement of the provisions of the Electoral Act to reduce violations of electoral laws.”
But miffed by Eleka and his party, PDP’s declaration of intent to challenge the victory of the governor-elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, before the Election Petition Tribunal, Ogele, a native of Ikere, Olusola, who spoke with reporters on Monday alleged that PDP and its agents induced voters at his Okesegun Polling Unit in Ogbonjana Ward.
Ogele, a barrister at Law however warned Eleka not to use state fund to sponsor his intended litigation on the poll result adding that, he has been compiling evidence of alleged PDP vote buying to be forwarded to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for investigation.
Ogele said: “I am a voter and I voted for the candidate of my choice in our unit, Okesegun Unit in Ogbonjana Ward, Ikere-Ekiti where PDP asked voters to fill forms and the voters who voted for them were given tallies.
“After giving tallies to voters who voted for the PDP, they were asked to go to a location nearby where they were given money.
“In the same ward, we prevented some of the PDP thugs from hijacking our ballot box. The PDP should come out and explain where they got the huge amount of money they shared on election day.
“PDP chairman and any other person in the party lacks the moral justification to claim that other parties shared money at the election.”
Ogele said “PDP lost because of the character that is ruling Ekiti while Dr.Kayode Fayemi won on his goodwill.
“PDP in Ekiti State is an agent of poverty, circulating poverty in Ekiti State. Ekiti people are fed up with looting, impunity, deceit being perpetrated by the Fayose administration.”
However, Fayemi who appreciated Ekiti people for: “keeping with the finest traditions of democracy and determined through the ballot box to change the course of the destiny of Ekiti people for good,” described his victory as: ”
the resilient people of Ekiti State whose brightness and hope never dimmed in the face of untold hardship and all forms of indignity under the PDP leadership who have ruled them like a conquered people.”
Assuring the people of a better life under his government, Fayemi said: “Our collective rescue mission and the audacious dream to reclaim our land and restore our values have attained a new height on the journey to full realisation.”
Fayemi who extended an Olive branch to other contestants, said: “I salute all fellow candidates for enriching the process and for your civility and patriotism in accepting the outcome of this exercise.
I look forward to consulting with you all to secure your input as we fine-tune our governance agenda for the years ahead.
“I also thank all government entities that participated in the process in one way or the other, especially the INEC and our security agencies, for upholding their neutrality and professionalism in the discharge of their respective mandates.”
The governor-elect also commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the APC for “seeing Ekiti being back to the progressive fold.”
He hinted that a Transition Committee which would immediately work towards paying arrears of workers’ salaries, run government with more transparency and accountability would be put in place.
He also assured that his team would bring back the Corporate organisations and Development Agencies that had left the state due to the draconian measures put in place by the outgoing administration in order to once again attract the participation of such enablers of jobs creation, peace, and prosperity back in the state.”
Giving the fact that Fayemi’ s victory has been attributed to his finesse, the intellectualism, doggedness and a passion for good governance as well as his avowed commitment to restoring the much cherished values of Ekiti people, it is expected that he will not disappoint his admirers who cut across all ethnics’ groups, tribes and the nation.