The recently conducted governorship election in Ekiti would for sometime remain a case study for students of political science and those interested in deepening their knowledge of human behavioral patterns.
The election affords budding politicians practical experience of how to wield, nurture and use power in a contemporary society. It is also a lesson on what to do and not to do in the quest to attain political relevance.
The election which had over thirty aspirants on the platforms of several political parties was a straight test of might between the candidates of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), the party calling the shots at the Centre.
Although the incumbent governor of the state, Ayodele Fayose, was not on the ballot, he spearheaded the campaign on behalf of his reclusive Deputy, Professor Olusola Eleka, against his arch political challenger and former Minister of solid minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
Fayose had in 2014, with the support of federal might, trounced Fayemi, who was then the incumbent governor in all the sixteen local governments of the state. Fayemi was taunted to have lost in his local government, an attestation to the fact of his unpopularity and rejection by his own people.
Sensing that challenging his defeat at the court of law would be an exercise in futility, Fayemi wasted no time in conceding defeat to Fayose and all, as the saying goes, is now history.
Having studied the state social and political milieu, the outgoing Ekiti governor introduced a genre of politics which entranced the people, especially the downtrodden. His brand was welfarism bordering on tokenism and this catapulted him to greater political height with cult followership in a state considered to be the fountain of knowledge in the country.
His ‘cash and carry’ politics, otherwise known as ‘stomach infrastructure’, strived in a society where majority has been economically emasculated, impoverished and rendered helpless and was at the mercy of anyone who could provide morsels on daily basis.
Thus, Fayose placed his priority on the welfare of his people by relating closely with them and constantly feeling their pulses. From the highest traditional ruler, civil servants, transporters, farmers to the plantain and corn roasters on the streets, it was Fayose all the way.
The who is who in Ekiti politics were all in cahoots with the governor and he carried himself along as the Emperor in charge of the state’s commonwealth. ‘Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely,’ so goes the saying as Fayose became uncontrollable.
His hitherto political allies, whom he had negotiations with ahead of the polls, felt betrayed when the PDP governorship primary was considered to have been manipulated against them and they resolved to dump their erstwhile master for the opposition APC.
Their calculation was that dethroning Fayose by working against the PDP candidate and installing Fayemi would further enlarge their political coasts as they eye juicy federal appointments.
Aggrieved persons and those who found it offensive that Fayoye propped up his deputy, with no political pedigree, to perpetuate his influence and dominance in the state even when out if government. This development, they reasoned was to eclipse their political fortune in the next four years and so they resolved to get rid of the effant terrible politician.
Fayemi, who had been waiting in the wings, benefitted immensely from the crisis in the Ekiti PDP by matching Fayose’s candidate trick for trick, Naira for Naira and intrigue for intrigue at the election.
Like in 2014, the federal authorities deployed security massively to forestall rigging but there were allegations from the PDP that those men were used to get Fayemi easy access to power. There were allegations of both buying form both the former minister had the upper hand at the end of the day.
Political observers believe that Fayemi’s victory was a sweet pay back to Fayose and his stooge. Even when the election was considered unwholesome and below global standard by both local and international observers, not a few believe that the ruling party was only outmaneuvered in the electoral process.
Ekiti, like some mischievous ones would say, was a case of the foxy getting outwitted; a conman getting beaten in his game and a case of ‘1-1 goalless draw.’