By Eric Elezuo
While a lot of tough talks has been generated from the camp of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as regards the July 14, 2018 Ekiti governorship election, TheBoss can reveal that all is not well with the party, and that the possibility of losing woefully the governorship election is very strong.
From all corners, stalwarts of the party have lent their voices in the optimistic call for a change of the Ayo Fayose government, but the reality on ground has proved that all amounts to barefaced propaganda. This is even as notable chieftains are working underground against the emergence of the party in the state.
The party took the first wrong step when it was impossible for them to trim down the governorship aspirants. A whooping 33 persons were accredited to contest. The move was a clear testament to the ‘desperation’ of most of the party members as testified to by the incumbent Ekiti State governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, in mockery.
As a prelude to the expected loss of the party at the polls, the party was involved in a disgraceful outing on May 5, 2018 when the over 33 aspirants gathered to seek the approval of the over 2000 delegates who were accredited to vote. It only took about four local governments to vote before all hell was let loose, and the exercise was disrupted with skirmishes of casualties recorded.
The aspirants had blamed one of their own, a former governor of the state and the current Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, of causing disaffection among delegates and introducing ‘money politics’ into the game. The exercise, which one of the aspirants, Senator Ayo Arise, described as “unfortunate and total embarrassment” was postponed to Friday, May 11, and later to Saturday May 12, by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) after much deliberations.
But the crisis notwithstanding, most party members remain optimistic that the party will triumph, and flush the PDP government out of office. One of such people is Arise, who represented Ekiti North at the Senate between 2007 and 2011. His optimism, no doubt is not without the element of absolute pessimism.
“What happened was a shame because those who were supposed to conduct a free and fair election couldn’t do it. Some people were allowed to be exchanging cards, money, and promissory notes where being given for collection of cash after voting while the election was going on, and I believe this is the immediate cause of the reactions that we have all seen that has put us in Ekiti in a very bad light,” he said
He continued: “But I want to say that if such anomalies continue, it is very likely that we would still be getting the same result.”
The meeting the aspirants had with the South West leadership of the party did not produce much in terms of compromise as the number of aspirants remained 33, with no one willing to shift ground for the other.
However, after about 48 hours, one of the aspirants, Senator Babatunde Ojudu, withdrew his candidacy during a press briefing, citing his intention to bring about peace. But the tone of his address expresses the fact that all was not well. In his speech, he noted that “…you never can tell the man who will attempt to destroy what many others have built from one who will aspire to elevate that which is thrust into his hands.”
The dust of the botched primary was yet to settle when the hitherto rested new Peoples Democratic Party of 2013, sprung up like a colossus, penning a letter addressed to the party national chairman that portends more crises. In the letter, co-signed by Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who is a South westerner, the group threatened to re-enact their act of 2013 if an ultimatum to address their grievances and draw the president’s attention to them is not achieved in seven days.
The letter proved to be a notice of call to resign from the APC as Oyinlola promptly resigned his Federal government appointment as Chairman of NIMC, and followed it up with dumping the APC. His departure from the party will surely have an adverse effect on the outcome of the Ekiti governorship polls, though Oyinlola is from Osun State.
It is also of great interest to note that for once in the history of South West election, the self-acclaimed kingmaker, and Jagaban of Borgu, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed, has not openly or otherwise supported any of the 33 aspirants. In other words, the former Lagos State governor has no person of interest in the July 14, 2018 debacle in Ekiti State. The implication is that the APC in Ekiti State is on their own as far as this election is concerned. And if the Jagaban is not interested, his cronies will definitely toe his line, and show no interest. And that is where the Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, comes in.
Aregbesola is not in any form of dilemma as regards where his loyalty lies in the forthcoming election. If for anything, investigation reveals that the Osun State helmsman has a long standing relationship with the maverick governor of Ekiti State, and will not hesitate to give an arm to see that the candidate of the outspoken governor carries the day. Consequently, with his principal not backing any candidate in the real sense of it, Aregbesola, who is due to leave office later in the year, has no loyalty to any individual candidate.
Many has argued that much as Tinubu had a candidate during the Ondo State governorship election in 2016, he still lost out, and APC won, the Ekiti experience will not be any different. But political followers have said that Ondo issue did not come with much discountenance as is presently being experienced neither were there an avalanche of contestants in the ring.
APC’s impending doom is also a function of the orderliness with which the PDP has held its own version of the primary. In the case of the PDP, the number was trimmed to three prior to the day of the election, and further reduced to two on the election day when Senator Abiodun Ogunjimi stepped down for the former PDP spokesman, Dr. Dayo Adeyeye, who eventually lost to Fayose’s anointed candidate, and Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Kolapo Ishola.
Though Adeyeye has decamped after his loss to Ishola, calling the party Poverty Development Party, the larger than life image of Fayose holds the ace as the decider for the election.
For Kolade Ishola and his fellow contestants, the month of June will definitely be the busiest for them in their entire life, but much as the PDP is favoured to win, all the candidates are wished the best in their quest to sit on the big chair of Ayodele Fayose.