Olusola asks Ekiti election tribunal to declare him winner of July 14 election
By Ayodele Afolabi, Ado Ekiti
The Deputy Governor of Ekiti State and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the July 14 governorship election, Prof Kolapo Olusola, yesterday, urged the Ekiti Election Petition Tribunal to declare him winner of the election.
Section 134 (1) of the Electoral Act stimulates that an election petition shall be filed within 21 days after the date of the declaration of results of the election. Yesterday marked the last day allowed for filing of the petition.
Olusola, who stated this after filling about 700 pages petition at the tribunal, said the election was openly manipulated by the All Progressives Congress (APC), using instrumentalities of federal might.
The PDP candidate, who came to the court about 5.45pm, was accompanied by his running mate, Deji Ogunsakin, some of his legal team, led by Ola Olanipekun (SAN) and some members of his party, said: “Today, I formally filed the much-expected petition against the results of the July 14, 2018 governorship election, which was openly manipulated by political desperadoes, using instruments of the federal government.
“Like I have maintained, I am challenging the election results, not out of desperation to be governor, but for reasons of future and posterity and largely on behalf of the people of Ekiti, who were taken aback by the outcome of the election.
“Without doubt, the will of the people was subverted by those who have chosen to take Nigeria back to the dark days of ballot stuffing, ballot boxes snatching and outright falsification of election results, and I believe they deserve to get justice.
“As law-abiding citizens of our country, the only path of honour to take in a situation like this is the process that we have initiated today, to seek redress against the use of security forces and other instruments of the federal government to suppress the will of our people.
“Sadly, the desperation of the APC to take over all states in the country, especially those under governors, like Dr. Ayodele Fayose, perceived as uncompromising, has destroyed all the gains made by the PDP government regarding free, fair and credible elections.
“The mood of Ekiti people when the beneficiary of the electoral robbery was declared winner and up till today is a pointer to the resolve of the people not to accept the subversion of their will, and we have answered their calls to use the judiciary to get back their mandate.
“In doing this, we have presented overwhelming discrepancies in the results declared by INEC to the tribunal to adjudicate upon, and I am confident that the popular mandate of the people of Ekiti will not go unrestored. I, therefore, want Ekiti people to keep hope alive, remain strong and resolute in their belief in God.”
He added: “While we go through this judicial walk to exposing the electoral thievery of July 14, 2018, we urge the good people of Ekiti State, especially my teeming supporters, to remain calm, peaceful and prayerful, bearing in mind that those who stole their mandate will not enjoy the benefits for long.
“I also want to use this opportunity to condemn the indefinite closure of the state radio and television stations. No doubt, the closure of the radio and television stations was part of the grand plan to sustain the inglorious use of naked force to rob Ekiti people of their democratic rights.”
But the people will triumph ultimately.”
Also speaking, Olanipekun said the petition was filed on grounds of falsification of result, ballot snatching and stuffing and use of the federal might.
He alleged his client won the majority of the valid and lawful votes cast on July 14 governorship election, asking that he should be so declared.
How I fell out with Fayose – Ex-Ekiti Attorney- General Ajayi
By ODUNAYO OGUNMOLA
Mr. Owoseni Ajayi, a former Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice in Ekiti State, was removed by Governor Ayo Fayose in controversial circumstances in 2017. His removal was done a few hours before he faced the panel that interviewed him for the award of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). In this interview with ODUNAYO OGUNMOLA, Ajayi relives the embarrassment caused him by Fayose’s action, his other experiences with the outgoing governor as a commissioner for three years and the circumstances that led to the defeat of the Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, at the just concluded governorship election in the state.
The Ekiti State governorship election has come and gone. As an active player in the election, what is your assessment of the exercise?
Let me start by saying that the election was free, fair, transparent and credible. All the insinuations by the losers in that election that it was rigged were contrary to the facts on the ground during the election. And you will discover that when you see the result from all the polling units to the wards, the local government areas and the state level, they were keenly contested. You cannot see any bogus figure reflected in the election. It was a true reflection of the people’s will. It was a reaction to the misrule of Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose.
I want to state categorically that, that election was not strictly about PDP and APC. It was strictly about Fayose and the people of Ekiti State. Three things were responsible for the downfall of Governor Fayose and his administration. One, he does not seem to believe that anybody else deserves to benefit from his administration because he believes the administration belongs to him alone. His greed was responsible for impoverishing virtually everybody that serves under him. Members of the House of Assembly are so impoverished that they find it difficult to meet their daily needs. He virtually took over the functions of the House of Assembly, running the House of Assembly as if it is a parastatal in the governor’s office. He demonstrated this when he went to the Assembly and said, ‘I am the Speaker here. Pastor Oluwawole is merely acting for me.’
Our House of Assembly members never attended any seminar to brush up their experience anywhere outside the state. The furniture allowance, which is their constitutional entitlement, they have not been given up till now. Invariably, after securing a loan with their salaries at the inception of his administration, they are virtually left with nothing because their salaries have been consumed by the loan they collected. How do you expect those people to be happy with the administration?
During an interview I granted earlier, I said about 15 of the Assembly members were already with us in APC, and I said then that it would be a gradual process; that some people would defect before the election and others would defect after the election. About that number is already moving against him. That is why he is now fighting tooth and nail to ensure that he is not impeached.
How much advice did you give him on these as one of his commissioners?
He is a kind of person who does not listen to advice. He does not care about people’s feelings or opinions. He behaves like an Emperor of the Manor. People don’t feel free to give him any advice any longer. What is the essence of giving an advice that will not be heeded? And if you give a genuine advice, he is going to see you as an enemy. As as a result of that, he is now surrounded completely by sycophants. These sycophants were the people that made him to pick a wrong person as the governorship candidate. A person whom he told the whole state in the stadium when he was being sworn in, and at all public fora, that as the deputy governor the man was going away with him, barely six months into the administration, he changed gear because he started nursing an ambition to succeed himself and run for third term by proxy. His ambition to run for third term was the beginning of his downfall. All other people who had ambition in the party, like myself, Dayo Adeyeye, Senator Abiodun Olujimi, Ambassador Dare Bejide, he took them as his personal enemies who must be flushed out at all cost. He took all of us as his enemies irrespective of our contributions to his success both in the primary and in the general election, because of his ambition for a third term by proxy.
Are you saying in essence that Ekiti people rejected his third term by proxy at the last election?
Yes. The deputy governor is a fine gentleman. He was not ambitious for the governorship. He told me point blank, ‘Attorney General, I am here on God’s assignment to fulfil my destiny as the deputy governor of this state and go back to the university to continue my job as a lecturer.’ It was the governor who saw him (Olusola) as somebody who had no political allies and so would be responsible to him (Fayose) alone, that forced him into the governorship race.
The second problem that was responsible for Fayose’s failure in that election was arrogance. Fayose does not believe that anybody else has any idea to contribute. He does not believe that anybody is intelligent enough to advise him, including the National Secretariat of his party (PDP) who were rightly advised that if he picked his deputy, there was no how they could win the election. They were advised to pick a candidate that was acceptable to himself, the party members and other aspirants. Senator Abiodun Olujimi specifically mentioned that he should pick his Attorney General, which is my humble self; that what problem would he have with me as his Attorney General, his personal lawyer, and that I would be acceptable to them too because I had been in the party and also from the hometown of Dayo Adeyeye. That because of local interest, Prince Adeyeye would not have an option but to support me. But he refused and said that he would defeat all of them; that it was either the deputy governor or nobody. That was how sheer arrogance led to his defeat.
Then, the third problem that he had was his inability to manage human resources. Greed and arrogance dovetailed into this. He claimed that he wanted to be like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. But he has forgotten that he does not have a single attribute of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was governor for eight years and he too has spent eight years. But Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has developed human beings that he has exported to virtually all segments of the Nigerian society; be it in politics, economy, legal practice and other fields of human endeavour. Bola Tinubu has trained people and brought them up not only in Lagos State but to other Southwest states. One of them is Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. He was a two-term Attorney General like me to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He was not a Senior Advocate of Nigeria when he was appointed Attorney General by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Asiwaju assisted him to become a Senior Advocate while he was serving him. And when it was time for him to nominate somebody as Vice President, he nominated him. If that opportunity is given to Fayose, he would prefer to give it to nobody that is close to him or he loses the seat.
Look at the man in charge of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Tunde Fowler, he is one of the products of Asiwaju Tinubu. Look at Raji Fashola, he was Chief of Staff when he became Senior Advocate. Do you think it was through his efforts only? Was it the number of cases he won in the courts compared with a two-term Attorney General like me? Then look at Akinwumi Ambode, Lai Mohammed who happens to be an indigene of Kwara State. Look at Aregbesola. Asiwaju exported him from Lagos as his Commissioner for Works to Osun as governor. What about our governor here (Dr. Fayemi)? Look at how he fought tooth and nail to get his mandate for him in the first term. Look at how he fought tooth and nail for Adams Oshiomhole to get his mandate and also Olusegun Mimiko and countless others. But I am asking, can Fayose point to a single person? That of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is endless, Fayose cannot point to a single person that he has developed whether professionally, economically, socially or anyhow. He believes in using people and destroying them; not just using and dumping them.
You were his trusted aide, personal lawyer and one of the people he depended on the most during his first and second tenures. At what point did the two of you fall out?
I will just pray that God forgives him on our relationship because I served him diligently, used my experience as a politician to serve his administration in the first and second terms. I used my experience as a legal practitioner to defend him as his personal lawyer. I cannot be going into details of the two roles because they are repsa locuitous, that is they are facts that speak for themselves.
There is nobody in this country and this state who is not aware of what I am talking about. Apart from nominating me, I don’t think there is something to show for my relationship with him. To worsen the situation, I was to face the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee interview for the award of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria on a Monday as his Attorney General, but the Sunday evening preceding it, he dissolved the State Executive Council. When I left Ado Ekiti for the interview in Abuja as his Attorney General with his consent, he called me by 1.30 am on Sunday, raising some unclarified issues. He discovered that we could not be discussing it on the phone. He said, ‘When you come back, we would be discussing it.
So, the following evening, without waiting for clarification on those issues, he dissolved the exco less than six hours to the interview, and I became a former Attorney General. While other governors were lobbying for their Attorney Generals to become SANs, he stabbed me in the back. His enemies wrote petitions against me over his misdeeds, and while I was battling with that, he too came to stab me in the back like Brutus did to Julius Caesar. What he did to me while I was facing a panel that interviewed me for the award of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) was a case of what Brutus did to Julius Caesar. The award of SAN, which happens to be the peak of our legal profession, assuming I had succeeded in that, I would say I got something out of this administration and it would have brought glory to Ekiti State and to him. So, if somebody could go to such a ridiculous level, if somebody could be so mean and wicked to somebody that had served him diligently and sincerely, you will see the kind of character he is.
Despite that, I was managing the relationship that I have put so much into. I was coming to the Government House to see how we could resolve it between us. But each time I left, he would start blackmailing me that I came to beg for money. He would tell people that he had given me some money again and that when I finished that, I would come back to beg for more. Whenever I went there with the hope of resolving issues with him, I also went to his wife to say, ‘Madam, come into this issue between myself and my boss because we have come a long way. We should not be seen as fighting dirty outside.’ And in fairness to the woman, she discussed the issue with him. Do you know what he told the wife? He said, ‘Madam, don’t come into this issue. Do you know where I met Owoseni Ajayi? Did I consult you when I appointed him as Attorney-General twice? That prayer that you are doing at the Government House is what you should continue with; you are not a politician.’ He is so arrogant, pompous and unremorseful. He is very ungrateful to anybody who has assisted him.
There is nobody who has assisted us to come to power that Fayose has not offended; from Senator Buruji Kashamu to Senator Gbemi Saraki, to House of Reps member, Hon. Sunday Karimi to former PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, the list is endless. There is virtually nobody, he has not turned against, so how do you expect such a person to win election? So, it was a battle between the people of Ekiti State and Ayo Fayose; it was not a battle between PDP and APC.
That takes us to the next election. Your local government origin, Ise/Orun used to be a stronghold of the PDP. But for the first time since 1999, the local government area fell to the progressives. What are other factors that may not be clear to the people outside which made the PDP to lose Ise/Orun?
Not only that Ise/Orun fell to APC, it was a landslide. The votes in Ise/Orun were used to cancel the little edge he had in Ikere and Ado. The reason was that he underrated and insulted the people of Ise Ekiti. Two of us were governorship aspirants from Ise Ekiti: Dayo Adeyeye who is a former Minister of State for Works and Prince of Ise Ekiti kingdom and myself, his two-term Attorney General, former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association and former President of the Students’ Union of University of Ife. He did not see anyone of us as worthy of succeeding him. Not only that, he insulted us. He insulted the people of Ise Ekiti by saying, ‘Who are the voters in Ise/Orun Local Government?’ This was an insult he passed on the people in public; that they don’t vote in Ise/Orun. How many people are there? He insulted everybody, including the Oba of our town. Have you heard his popular song? “Mi o mo gomina Ise, gomina kan ti mo mo, Ikere lo ti wa (I don’t recognise any governor from Ise, the only governor I know comes from Ikere).
Under his government, there is no development whatsoever he could point to in Ise. The road that Governor Fayemi tarred in Ise, he went to put a roadblock there, saying that he was doing dualisation, causing traffic problems for the community. That is why everybody in Ise/Orun was involved in that election, including our Kabiyesi (monarch) and the chiefs. In fact, the traditional chiefs were agents of APC on the day of the election and were looking for whoever that would come from their wards that would vote for Fayose. It was Fayose’s attitude to the people of Ise/Orun local government that was responsible for the massive votes against him.
His attitude also extended to his own local government because he lost his local government. It was only in his hometown, Afao, that he won the election. They are claiming that APC rigged the election; was the election rigged in his hometown too? He lost in Iyin. He lost in Igede. He lost in Iworoko. He lost in Are. For people reading this interview, Are and Afao are twin towns; there is no demarcation between them. He lost in Igbemo, his next door neighbours. When you move from Afao to Igbemo, you will see the road there because he could not develop the place. Planks are put on the bridge between Igbemo and Afao. Go and check, it is still there. That was why people voted massively against him.
Go and check the result from his unit in Afao. APC got 181 in the unit where he voted, and he got a little above 300 in his unit. Whereas in Ise/Orun, the highest PDP got in any unit was 50 against 300, 400. So you can see that it was basically the attitude of this man that was responsible for what happened. You can see that he worsened his personal problem. You know, once you create a problem, you will be jumping from one crisis to another. How can somebody who went to go to a radio station to announce an election result. Will he say he does not know that it was an electoral offence? When they pick him up on that, he will say they are victimising him. After relinquishing his immunity, if they pick him up on that. That is a strict liability offence. They were still doing collation. Even in some units, they had not finished counting. But he went to the radio station and started announcing results as if he was Prof. Mahmood Yakubu of INEC. Who will save him from those self-created embarrassment?
Nigeria’s ruling Party, All Progressive Congress(APC) has been accused by People’s Democratic Party(PDP) of plotting to impeach the outgoing governor of Ekiti state Ayodele Fayose.
PDP raised alarm over the alleged plot to impeach Fayose on Wednesday in a statement signed by the party’s publicity secretary Kola Ologbondiyan.
“The Peoples Democratic Party has warned the All Progressives Congress (APC) to stop its nefarious plot to impeach Ekiti State Governor, Chief Ayo Fayose or attract dire consequences,” Ologbondiyan said.
“The PDP states that any resort to underhand measures to impeach Fayose, without the constitutionally required 2/3 of the members of the House, particularly at this time, when the lawmakers are currently on their annual recess, will surely be resisted by our members,” he added.
Ologbondiyan further accused APC of laying siege to “Ekiti State Assembly Complex last night without a formal request by the Speaker, the Clerk or the Sergeant-at-Arms, who is the chief security officer of the complex.”
The opposition party warned the ruling party to desist from the alleged plots, claiming that APC is trying to cover up for suspected rigging of the just concluded gubernatorial election in the state.
“PDP is aware that the plot is a desperate bid by the APC to rush into the Ekiti Government House to remove and tamper with documents and evidence confirming the rigging of the July 14 governorship election, ahead of the sitting of the election tribunal,” Ologbondiyan sated.
The governorship election held on July 15 was marred by malpractices.
The poll returned APC’s candidate and the former Minister of Mine and Steel Kayode Fayemi as the governor-elect of the state.
Last week gubernatorial election was held in Ekiti State, with the two main parties in the country slugging it out brawn for brawn, cash for cash, and propaganda for propaganda. It was reminiscent of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) versus other parties’ days before the 2015 major political upset. In the weeks preceding the election fear of an outbreak of violence was palpable and scary. Indeed, there were gun shots and a former federal legislator received a bullet wound allegedly from a police officer. There were advertorials from prominent Ekiti sons and daughters urging everyone to shun violence and to vote according to their conscience. As it turned out, after the winner was announced, there was no ‘operation we tie’ nor was there ‘owambe’ form of mass jubilation. What does this portend?
Well, the winner of the election has been announced. It is Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the cerebral politician who once lost the ballot of the Ekiti people to the amala-eating, populist and drama king, Governor Ayo Fayose. In a very déjà vu manner, the notorious/or famed (depends on your lenses) federal might stood solidly behind Fayemi to wrestle Fayose to the ground and gave him a bloody nose, both, as it were, metaphorically and physically. Pictures of the giant Fayose sitting helplessly on the floor, supposedly a victim of tear gas and hot slaps made headlines on social media. His neck brace was circulated for added measure. The dramatic pictures elicited sympathy from some and derision from others. As we know Fayose is capable of drawing extreme emotions from all sides of the divide. Those who love him do so with a passion. We can also say the same for those who cannot stand his guts – particularly the Ekiti elite! How did we produce this monster? They seem to ask no one in particular. Now the days of Ekiti wilderness are over!
The prelude to the election and its aftermath threw up about what we worry about politics in Nigeria. First was the onslaught, the informal declaration of war in Ekiti. All actors fired shots from all cylinders. The APC took its full arsenal of cash, men and security apparatus (PDP style) into the election territory. It marshaled forces human and material to ensure that they won the election. A friend, Fred Obi reported that 30,000 police officers were deployed to Ekiti State for the election where less than one million people were registered as voters. The Federal Government did not stand apart neutral as they did in Anambra for which the Buhari administration was commended. This time they stakes were too high for the APC-led Federal Government to allow things to take their normal course. The Ekiti election is a foreshadowing of things to come in 2019. To be sure, they were not in a normal situation. Fayose is not a normal politician.
Ayo Fayose as we now know left nothing to chance. He commandeered all public transportation vehicles and locked them somewhere (some say inside Government House premises) to prevent the All Progressives Congress (APC) from hiring them to welcome the President, with a promise to pay them for the day’s labour. Whether they have been paid or not is a matter for conjecture. He used the state-owned radio and television to his advantage. As we write, the station has been shut down by the Federal Government because he announced election results before a formal announcement. He also accused the Federal Government of rigging the election and made loud noises to the media about a grand plot to impose APC on the people. Fayose owes a backlog of salaries to civil servants but he often has money to dole out to the hoi polloi of society in a Robin Hood manner, thereby personalizing government and making them believe that he feels their pains. Fayose governed by show more than by substance. His famed stomach infrastructure captured the minds of the poor. In a land where there is absolute poverty, the first thing that comes to the mind of the majority is food, not investments or roads or agriculture or education. In Fayose remained a gadfly on the political turf, bearding the President in a manner no other elected official could ever do. In a sense that is the kind of politician that the world is pleased with currently- populist leaders who have nothing concrete to offer except whipping up sentiments.
Reports indicate that both parties bought votes by giving money to potential voters. Both parties also employed thugs to intimidate opponents. By using force provided by the apparatus of the Federal government through taxpayers, both APC and PDP were on the same pedestal. This therefore is the tragedy of the Nigerian democratic experience- abusing or even subverting the democratic process by those who claim to be on the moral high ground of fighting corruption. If what the political parties did in Ekiti is a dress rehearsal for 2019 then we are in for a long haul of mediocrity. If I read things right, PDP will not allow this to happen in 2019 where their fate would be sealed if they sit back to complain after the fact. How for example, would PDP stalwarts in Delta State allow APC to uproot it from the ground? It will be a battle royal. Governor Ortom of Benue State will also have learnt one or two lessons. The PDP must have learnt that PMB is not going to be like GEJ who allowed the election results to stand even though they had serious doubts about the figures which came out of Kano and some other states.
Ekiti State has been won and lost. It is no prophecy to say that some people will head for the law courts. As I congratulate my big friend Dr. Fayemi on winning the battle of July 14 I urge him to start work immediately after swearing in on how to work with the legislative arm which as we know is not APC-controlled. The people of Ekiti have been on a long bumpy train-ride with Fayose. Let Fayemi smoothen the oath and make Ekiti soar into great heights through education and agriculture! Welcome back to State House!
Naira rain, federal might, ‘Pastor’ Fayose and other highlights of Ekiti poll
By Jamilah Nasir
Four years ago, there was jubilation in Aso Rock over the outcome of the governorship election in Ekiti state. Four years after, there is jubilation in Aso Rock over the outcome the another governorship election. It was PDP that celebrated in 2014; it is now the turn of APC.
The victory of Kayode Fayemi couldn’t have come at a better time for the ruling APC. With the PDP regrouping for the 2019 general election, a win in Ekiti would have put a spring in their steps and a spanner in the works of APC.
Here are the five things to remember about the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti.
1. FEDERAL MIGHT — AGAIN
All hands on the broom
The 2014 and 2018 elections had a lot of things in common and one of these is the influence of the party controlling the centre. While in control of government at federal level, PDP deployed tools that helped Ayodele Fayose to defeat Fayemi. Human and material resources were not lacking. APC big guns were blocked from entering the state on election eve.
Fast forward to four years later. The APC government also gave massive support to Fayemi. Buhari conveyed meetings at Aso Rock and gave his party charge to deliver Ekiti. He also led a delegation to the state to campaign for his former minister. PDP even complained that they were contesting against the security agencies.
The mega rally of the APC provided another avenue for the Ekiti governor-elect to intimidate his opponents. Ministers, governors, senators, house of reps members and influential personalities stormed the rally.
Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi state, promised to be in Ekiti during the election. It’s unclear if he fulfilled the promise.
The power of incumbency at the state level could not save Fayose and his candidate.
2. CASH FOR VOTES
TheCable’s eagle-eyed reporter caught this voter counting the money he got from one of the political parties
It’s no news that the two leading parties used money to sway votes in their favour. Although agents and supporters of PDP and APC tried to conceal the act initially, reports later spread across town. People were given between N3,000 and N5,000 in exchange of their votes.
“Stomach infrastructure” was one of the reasons given for the loss of Fayemi in the last election. People said while Fayemi was investing in infrastructure, Fayose focused on the people’s stomach. This time around the APC matched the PDP naira for naira, kobo for kobo. Bags of rice, sachets of salt were in circulation.
It was so brazen that when after casting his ballot at the polling unit 1, St. David Primary School, Afao, Fayose told journalists about it.
“What they call see and buy money politics is thriving everywhere (in Ekiti) with the police and civil defence giving signs to people sharing the money so that they can pay the voters,” he had said.
Shortly after he said that, a voter in Ikere confessed to TheCable that he got N3,000 from the PDP for voting.
In Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, police arrested some persons distributing money for votes.
This is a major highlight of every election in Nigeria, though.
3. ‘ONDO EXPERIENCE’
All for Fayemi
In 2016, when the PDP defeated APC in a governorship election just like it has done in Ekiti, Fayemi, then a member of the federal cabinet, played a major role. He was on ground all through the election period, strategising and looking out for the way to deliver Ondo for the ruling party.
Before 2016, Ondo had been under the control of the opposition for over 12 years. The last time it belonged to a political bloc of the south-west was the era of the late Adebayo Adefarati. All attempts to bring the state into the mainstream fold in the region were counterproductive.
But it took the intervention of Fayemi and some APC chieftains to deliver Ondo for the APC. Being a neighbouring state with Ekiti and sharing a lot of things in common, Fayemi would have mastered the art knowing that it would be useful for him.
4. OLUSOLA’S POLITICAL CLOUT
Being a former governor and minister, Fayemi appears well experienced than his opponent. The perception that his candidacy was strongly backed by the federal government posed an intimidation to his opponent, who had just Fayose.
Until his emergence as deputy governor of Ekiti, Olusola was no actor on the political stage.
However, Fayemi had governed the state between 2010 and 2014. He also served as minister of solid minerals development. Also, Fayemi, has achievements from when he had previously ruled the state, with which he campaigned, unlike Olusola who only sought to consolidate on the works of Fayose.
He was seen not to have the charisma, and the boldness to make and stand by his own decisions. To some, this was evident in most of the campaign billboards screaming ‘continuity’ where the picture of Fayose appeared bolder than that of Olusola, the candidate.
The video released on the election eve also did damage to the PDP candidate. Fayose is known for his hardline stance on a wide range of issues. Although a practising Christian, clutching a Bible few hours to election and asking your preferred successor to kneel before you indirectly sent signal to a lot of people.
The Fayose people know is not an ordained pastor. He could have organised prayers for his deputy but asking him to kneel down while he laid his hand on the governorship hopeful left tongues wagging. If that move was meant to attract voters, it did exactly the opposite.
5. WELFARE OF WORKERS
Fayose the emperor
Presently, civil servants in Ekiti are being owed for at least six months. Many live from hand to mouth and repeated assurances did not end the way they thought. In a state where many depend on salaries, no excuse, not even the construction of the first of its kind bridge in Nigeria – apologies for ex-President Goodlucj Jonathan – would make the people stand on your side.
The non-payment of workers salaries worked against candidacy of Olusola. A hungry man is an angry man. Some who would ordinarily have thumbed it for Olusola did otherwise when they get to their polling units.
Afterall, Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the APC, told Ekiti people that Fayemi would clear the backlog. Yes, people find it difficult politicians but they might have just decided to try someone else.
Tolu Ogunlesi: Did Ekiti vote for Fayose or against Fayemi?
ByTheScoopPublished on June 23, 2014
By Tolu Ogunlesi
Tolu Ogunlesi is head of digital communication in the Presidency. Four years ago, just after the then incumbent governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, was declared the loser of the governorship poll, Ogunlesi wrote a piece on why Fayemi lost. Most importantly, he predicted his return to the office.
One morning earlier this year (January, I believe), while having breakfast at a hotel in Abuja, I realised that one of the two men seated at the next table was Ayo Fayose, a former Governor of Ekiti State, now reelected after Saturday’s governorship election. There was no retinue of aides and hangers-on, just the two of them, eating, talking. He cut the perfect picture of the ex-Big Man who has now grown accustomed to a life out of the limelight. I went to say hello, mentioning that I am journalist. He seemed pleased to be recognised, and we exchanged phone numbers.
Barely three or so months later, Fayose was back in the big leagues, after winning the Peoples Democratic Party primaries for the governorship election in Ekiti State. The next time I would see him was at his campaign headquarters in Ado-Ekiti, on June 6, where he was surrounded by heavily armed policemen, soldiers and DSS officers, and hundreds of adoring supporters. Intriguing commentary on the unpredictability of life, the “suddenly-suddenly-ness” of it all, to borrow the words of the contemporary urban philosopher, Dapo Oyebanjo.
What struck me again and again while I was at the Fayose campaign office was the outpouring of support for the candidate, to the point of fanaticism. “Fayose is someone we genuinely like in Ekiti,” Odunayo, a 31-year-old artisan and PDP supporter, told me, in Yoruba. “Fayose to me is like a woman you like.”
I put questions to him about some of the many allegations associated with Fayose. He had answers for everything; and it was obvious he genuinely believed everything he was telling me. When I mentioned the violence associated with Fayose’s first term in office (2003 – 2006), he said: “That Fayose killed people is a lie. There is no government under which people don’t die. Everyone is destined to die at one time or the other.”
Regarding the allegations of corruption, he said: “We won’t be following Fayose like this if he actually stole Ekiti money; we are intelligent people in Ekiti.” Instead, he said, Fayose actually spent his personal funds on the people. “He’s an honest man.” He was confident that Fayose would win the election, and that he would finally get a chance to do for Ekiti all the things his impeachment had robbed him of the chance to do.
The following day, I got a chance to interview Governor Kayode Fayemi at the Government House in Ado-Ekiti (You may read the interview online at Theafricareport.com). Now, I must start off by saying I’m a big fan of Fayemi. The first time I met him – this was sometime in 2010, before he was sworn in as governor – he mentioned that he was a regular reader of my weekly column in the now defunct NEXT newspaper. I was flattered, as I would be on the two other occasions when I saw him and he would make references to something I had recently written about on this Monday PUNCH column. I am also keenly aware of, and deeply impressed by, his antecedents as a journalist, role he played in the pro-democracy struggle in the 1990s, his extensive clout in international policy and development circles, his unmistakable intellectual bent (you can see clear evidence of that in the interview I had with him), and his commitment, in word and deed, to good governance.
I saw – and still see – him as the sort of politician Nigeria needs in larger numbers, until there is a critical mass of them. And of course, it was shocking to learn that he lost the election on Saturday. A group of friends and I – all Fayemi fans – have spent a lot of time since Saturday debating and pondering over a number of issues relating to the election, and Nigerian politics generally.
The Ekiti election shows quite clearly how complicated politics can be; how much it may actually have more to do with what voters think of you than what you’ve done in office. In an ideal world, a Governor Fayemi – with his strong record of prudent management, innovation, and infrastructural development – should have no problem getting re-elected. But this is not an ideal world.
One okada rider told me that civil servants were complaining bitterly about how Fayemi had made it impossible for them to continue enjoying the “side-money” they enjoyed under Fayose. Of course, I couldn’t convince him that that should have been a great thing, a plus for the governor. As far as he was concerned, it was a valid reason to not vote for Fayemi.
It does seem to me like a great number of Ekiti people genuinely saw Fayose as the man most likely to defend them and their (admittedly mostly pecuniary) interests; who would most generously spread the “food” around; who was most given to being “a man of the people”. Indeed, Fayose’s campaign posters revolved around the message that he was the “friend of the masses” and “friend of the common-man”. Odunayo also told me: “Fayose has human feelings, you don’t need to tell him your problems before he knows them.”
Those seemed to be widespread perceptions among Ekiti residents, deeply believed to such an extent as to overshadow Fayemi’s many achievements on another scale. And let’s face it, the fact that the stated reasons behind the overwhelming choice Ekiti people made on Saturday might seem illogical or unfortunate to many of us who self-affirm as “enlightened” does not take anything away from the solid reality and evident authority of those reasons. You might not agree with how Ekiti voters came to the decisions they made, but you can neither convincingly accuse them of not consciously thinking about those decisions, nor justifiably argue that the decisions were wholly bought with bags of rice and salt distributed at the 11th hour.
There are related questions that may need answering. For example, did Ekiti State electorate vote for Fayose, or did they vote against Fayemi? (There is a difference, I believe). Would they have voted this enthusiastically even if Fayose wasn’t on the ballot? What role did party affiliations play? How would things have played out were Fayose to be the candidate of a lesser-known party, without the intimidating financial and logistical support of the PDP? And, to stretch things somewhat improbably, what would have changed were the incidence and extent of poverty to suddenly and remarkably fall across Nigeria?
My final question to Fayemi in the June 7 interview was: What will you do if you lose the election? His answer: “In the event that I lose the election in a free, fair and credible manner, I would congratulate the winner, and I would support the winner to achieve progress for our people. I’m in this for Ekiti, I have an alternative address.”
That answer impressed me, but I didn’t expect any less from him. As things sadly turned out, he lost, and he has since accepted defeat and congratulated Fayose. I wish him all the very best as he prepares for life as an ex-governor. The last seven years have been hectic, first fighting for his mandate, and then running the state. Now, he will have some quiet, to rest and read and write, and to reflect on his impressive political journey. I would like to see him run for Governor of Ekiti State again, in 2018, when Fayose’s second and final (by constitutional provisions) term comes to an end. Something tells me Ekiti will welcome Fayemi once again, as Kano did to Rabiu Kwankwaso in 2011, and as Ekiti has just done to Peter Ayodele Fayose.
Ekiti guber: Civil servants as toast of politicians
By Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head South West Bureau)
If there is a bloc vote that could decide next Saturday’s governorship poll in Ekiti, it is the civil servants. The 50,000 man-strong workforce on the payroll of Ekiti State government has become a crucial deciding factor in the election, mainly because they usually vote in unison.
Consequently, a few days to the election, the civil servants have become “beautiful brides” sought by all politicians. In the last governorship poll four years ago, there were 733, 766 registered voters, out of which only 369, 257 actually voted. It was civil servants, who made the difference.
However, for sometime now, the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has been meeting with candidates of the 21 political parties contesting the July 14 year governorship election in the state.
Promises and assurances of improving on the welfare of workers, prompt payment of salaries and allowances, training and retraining of workers, were made.
The state NLC Chairman, Comrade Raymond Ade Aladesanmi, said they made it clear to the candidates that peradventure the present administration could not clear all the arrears of salaries, pension and gratuity, labour will give the incoming administration just three months to clear the backlog of salaries and pension and six months to reduce appreciably the gratuity owed, “otherwise workers will be led against the government.”
Concerns are however mounting in the state over the seeming politicisation of the workforce by promises being made and various steps being taken to coerce them into voting for a particular candidate.
As at last Friday, civil servants are being owed four months, while teachers and council workers have not been paid in the last seven months. Also, lecturers in all the tertiary institutions in the state have not received their salaries in the last seven months, while pensioners are being owed several months of arrears.
However, the incumbent governor, Ayodele Fayose, promised to clear all arrears before leaving office, assuring that his party’s candidate, Professor Olusola Eleka will continue from wherever he stopped.
To court the workers for the election, Fayose promised to clear the promotion arrears of 37,132 workers, while 15, 722 workers were also promoted. But the last screening and promotion exercise conducted by the state government has been roundly criticized for setting a bad precedent in the state civil service.
While the exercise ought to have been in both written and oral interview, going by the civil service law, the written aspect was jettisoned and the only oral question was “who will they vote for during the election?” Mentioning PDP candidate, Prof Olusola Eleka’s name as the answer automatically settled the matter.
One of the recently promoted civil servants confided in The Guardian, alleging that, “Almost all of us were asked the same question and once you assured them you would vote for Eleka, you have passed the interview. I just received my letter, but we all know that it’s all politics, because he cancelled all promotion exercise Fayemi did shortly before his election.”
Observers have also expressed concerns about the alleged directive to all Head of Departments to collect photocopies of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and attached their bank account details to it. But this has unsettled some teachers and civil servants who reported the matter to the Department of Security Services (DSS).
While the teachers at Olaoluwa Muslim Grammar School, Ado-Ekiti had gathered their PVC and the photocopy was going on, some of the teachers alerted the operatives of DSS that swooped on the school and arrested some members of staff making the photocopy in the Principal’s office.
The School Principal, Mr. Sunmonu Olaoye, who condemned the arrest of the workers said: “The DSS operatives were in black uniforms and also wore black masks and headed for my office. I wasn’t in the office, but I was within the premises to monitor the ongoing third term examinations. Some of my staff members were in my office making photocopies of their documents, including their PVCs.
“I allowed them to make use of the school’s facilities because I don’t want anything to disrupt the ongoing examinations. The DSS people just swooped on the teachers, seized their documents including their PVCs and took away two members of staff. They also locked up my office and denied us access to examination materials we were to give to our students.
“I don’t know when making photocopies of documents including PVCs became an offence. One of the operatives even called my number saying I must report in their office within an hour or I would be treated as a common criminal. We have 123 teachers in the school and the people are resolved on who they will vote for during the poll regardless of intimidation and harassment.”
The arrest and detention of the staff had thrown up debates on the legality of their action, which can only be decided by the court. However, the NLC chairman, Comrade Adesanmi, has warned politicians in the state to desist from harassing and intimidating its members, saying the union would stand against such acts.
He added: “Let’s re-emphasise here that NLC is apolitical. Hence, we enjoin all workers to come out and fulfill their civic responsibility by voting for the candidate of their choice.”
Meanwhile, a moderate-size pavilion in Fajuyi, Ado Ekiti, has become a meeting point for job seekers, who besiege the place everyday to submit their application letters.
Since last month when Governor Fayose announced that all unemployed residents of the state interested in government job should submit their application letters at the centre, hopes of hundreds of job seekers were rekindled.
Indeed, collection of their application was a big ceremony presided over by the deputy governor and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof Kolapo Olusola, who promised that 2,000 applicants would soon be provided jobs.
But, the academic or professional competence of the job seekers were not the main consideration of the government officials that received and acknowledged the application letters, it was their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), their contact addresses, including their telephone numbers, bank account details, wards and local councils that were properly checked and confirmed to be authentic, before accepting their application letters as alleged.
Over 20,000 applicants were said to have applied for the job, while the exercise lasted. This government process of “recruitment” has not only helped to improve the number of registered voters in Ekiti, but has forced many registered voters to collect their PVCs from INEC.
Besides, the state government has not left the job seekers unattended to by constantly sending them text messages on why they must vote for the PDP candidate, Prof Olusola, in order to secure their “dream jobs”. In fact, they were duly mobilised to participate in the presentation of the PDP flag to Olusola last Thursday.
Like other civil servants in the state they received a message, which stated: “You are invited to meeting with the Governor in Ado Ekiti on Thursday 5th of July 2018, 10am at the Fajuyi pavilion. Kindly be punctual. Thank you!” A few seconds after the message, they received alert of N1, 500 from the “Empowerment Fund”.
Indeed, political watchers said that was not the first time Fayose would use this kind of tactics to woo hapless unemployed youths to secure their votes.
They were quick to recall how in 2014 he publicly announced at all his campaign rallies that those seeking jobs should submit their applications at his Afao-Ekiti residence and his hotel in Ado Ekiti, without employing anybody since he became the governor.
Criticizing Fayose for playing on the emotions of the unsuspecting job seekers, the State Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Taiwo Olatunbosun, said it is unfortunate that the governor keeps on deceiving youths when he has no plan for them.
He said: “During his governorship campaigns in 2014, he asked Ekiti youths to submit their credentials to his campaign office for immediate mass employment if they voted for him. But after winning the election, the credentials of the youth found their way to groundnut and roasted plantain sellers, and up till now, none of them has been employed.
“I think people should ask him how many people he has employed since he became governor, instead he sacked people employed into various intervention schemes by Dr. Kayode Fayemi. The old trick he used last time will not work now. People know who has the capacity to employ and they will vote for Fayemi on July 14, this year.”
Also, former Minster for Works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, said that the recent offer by Governor Fayose to create 2000 jobs for the youths of the state, is a scam that would end in nought and that it would only hurt their feelings and aggravate their present position instead of improving their lots.
However, the state Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Jackson Adebayo, refuted Adeyeye’s allegations against the Fayose administration, saying that the employment exercise was not a scam.
He added that many youths, who had obtained the forms had been praising the governor. “ I am not surprised at the allegations of Prince Adeyeye. Fayose will never release employment forms that are not genuine or fake but Adeyeye is only criticising the state governor because he is a failure.”
Similarly, the Commissioner for Information Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Lanre Ogunsuyi, said: “Adeyeye is only speaking from both sides of the mouth. He is not a democrat and before he defected to APC, he was always supporting all the actions and decisions of Governor Ayodele Fayose. I will only advise Ekiti people to disregard his words and comments.”