EKITI ELECTIONS: INEC RAISES ITS GAME & GOV FAYEMI REDEEMS THE POLITICAL CLASS

Last Sunday, I felt proud of this Nation in a way I had never felt for a long time and I gave thanks to God. Something unusual had happened, something I had hoped and prayed would happen in our Nation but which seemed impossible. Infact two things happened which gladdened my heart to no end. As a matter of fact three pleasant things happened on Sunday morning.

After the Golden Eagles had scored a 29th minute goal in the match against Bosnia-Herzegovina, we hoped that many more goals would follow. The First half ended without more goals. By the time the second half was halfway through, I lost it. I could no longer trust that my heart would not fail as a result of anxiety. These Bosnia guys were mesmerizing and threatening to equalize and the Eagles were acting as if they were afraid to kick the ball into the opponents net. I switched off my TV and went to sleep encouraged by the fact that I had an early morning assignment in Church next day and it was already past midnight. So I prayed and went to bed. I asked God to give us Victory and had the conviction that He would oblige.

When I got to Church, I asked my neighbour if he knew how the match ended and he said one-zero and I bent over and thanked God. That immediately enlivened my mood and I had a most enjoyable worship, grateful that among many things God did for me in the week, He granted my petition and I believe that of many prayerful Nigerians that we should win that match to keep our hopes alive in the ongoing World Cup football competition in Brazil. As it turned out, that was Nigeria's first win in four World cups (16 years!). On Wednesday, Nigeria improved in her game, though we lost to Argentina, and moved on to be amongst the 16 teams that would go into the knock out phase. Not a mean feat for Nigeria, being one of only two African teams that survived the first round.

On my way to Church, I glanced at the newspaper headlines at the Vendors stand and I saw "Fayose Wins EKITI" and "Fayose in early Lead". I really did not think much about this, my mind and eyes were on the Nigeria- Bosnia match result. But when I came out from the Church I decided to pick up the newspapers to read the stories. I could not believe what I was reading. Fayose won in all the 16 local Governments! How could this happen in an 'APC State'? I told myself then, EKITI would soon burn. There was no way FAYEMI and his party would accept this. My mind immediately went to what happened in 1983 Between Ajasin (UPN) and Omoboriowo (NPN) in Ondo State and my heart skipped a beat! Not that it was not possible for PDP to win EKITI State neat and clear but our contemporary political experience has conditioned us to believe that it is practically impossible to defeat an incumbent Governor or an incumbent President. A sitting State Governor does not only ensure that his party wins all the local governments in the state, and possibly all elective positions but can never lose an election. The only way you can remove a sitting state governor who is constitutionally eligible to do a second term is by impeachment or 'judicial coup'. Not even by death! Because if he dies, his Deputy who belongs to the same party will take over and he remains in power in the spirit!

So you can see why I became apprehensive. Something unusual had happened. As it turned out,somethings that were unusual actually happened. First, INEC provided materials to most of the pooling centers in full and on time. Polls started in most of the centers at 8am. Unusual. Second, most voters found their names on the Voters register in the right places and so could cast their votes without hassle or become disenfranchised as we have seen repeatedly and which reached the peak at the Anambra Gubernatorial elections late last year. Unusual. Third, we did not hear of Electoral officers absconding with electoral materials or indulging in electoral malpractises. Unusual . Fourth, we did not hear nor see Security officers aiding or abetting electoral malpractises .

To be sincere to you, when the military and Police 'besieged' EKITI in the way they did, many feared that they would constitute a hindrance to free and fair elections. As it turned out, our fears were misplaced and for once, they acted in such professional manner that promoted the credibility of the elections. Unusual! For once INEC raised its game and seemed to have learnt lessons from their past mistakes. I am told that they even introduced innovations, which included ballot papers that were either specific to the pooling booths or local governments, making it difficult for voting card merchants or voting box snatchers to be in business. I have always insisted that if the powers that be, wanted a free and fair elections, it was within their ability to do so. So President Jonathan's promise to the EKITI electorates of 'one man,one vote, one woman one vote and one youth, one vote' was not just a campaign talk. It was a promise kept. Kudos to Mr President, kudos to INEC, Kudos to the Security forces!!

As I got home from Church, that afternoon, I turned my TV on and heard and saw what I had never heard or seen in my life in political Nigeria. There was, Dr John Kayode FAYEMI ( JKF), delivering one of the most memorable speeches I have ever heard from a Nigerian political leader. He accepted that he lost the elections to his brother Peter Ayo Fayose! He said he had called his brother Mr Fayose to congratulate him. He said he would be meeting with the Governor-elect on Monday ( the next day) to discuss peaceful transition, hand over and how they will work together to sustain the development of EKITI State. Then the clincher: "Elections tend to be highly divisive affairs that often see brother rising against his brother. Despite our divisive Political affiliations, and regardless of which way we voted on Saturday, we must remember that we are all sons and daughters of EKITI State. EKITI is ours to build". I could not stop my eyes from misting. Can this be true? Was I dreaming or what? Is this possible in Nigeria? Can this come from an APC incumbent Governor? Did he consult his APC leaders, before this quick surrender? Could the otherwise 'belligerent' APC leaders accept this without a fight?

These were questions running through my mind as I tried to come to terms with this unusual but eminently gratifying development. In all the political history of Nigeria that I remember, this has not happened. No politician ever accepts that he lost an election free and square. They would always claim they were rigged out. If they did not blame the government in power, they would blame the electoral umpire, the police or the even the electorates for accepting bribes to vote for their opponents. And FAYEMI could easily have found somebody to blame and many Nigerians would have sympathized with him. The unusual security cordon of EKITI State was perfect opportunity to blame the Federal Government or PDP. He could have raised a false cry( as many have done in the past) that he had been rigged out and then, there would have been demonstrations, rioting and conflagration with innocent blood being let.

By choosing to quickly accept defeat and then making that historic broadcast, even when the elections were not perfect( because they would never be perfect), JKF has placed his name on the golden page of Nigeria's history. He has demonstrated the highest level of political maturity that Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo would be jealous of. He has demonstrated that genre of 'Politics without bitterness' that Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri preached when he was alive but never experienced. He has shown such love to the People of EKITI State that Jesus Christ would be pleased with. He has shown that Politics can be honorable. In short he has redeemed the political class in Nigeria.



Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

samohuabunwa@gmail.com



Comments

  1. Though I don’t like APC because of the lies and deceits which they and their principal feed the masses with. The election in Ekiti was anything but free and fair.
    The only part is to respect Fayemi who did an “unNigerian” thing for promptly accepting defeating to save his people from bloodshed that would have ensued. Secondly, going through the results, it was different from the Oni’s win in 2009 where some local Government areas Oni won were cancelled and his upheld. It was a landslide victory, so which ahd which local government areas do you cancel to hand him victory? NONE. Fayose won in all the 16 clearly. The only thing option left for a sane educated person to concede defeat and move on since it what the people want. The text of his speech said it all. “If this is the wish of Ekiti people……”
    Statisticians ( I am not one) will tell us about the concept of ANOVA (Analysis of variance). This depicts what could happen given different situations. What could have happened given the police and Army were not in such numbers in Ekiti before and during the elections. This was only possible because Ekiti was the only state having its elections on that day otherwise in a general election such number would not have been possibly deployed to Ekiti.
    We all know (the conference has approved state police) what happens with corrupt security personnel. We saw money sharing, rice and etc while the security looked the other way. There will be intimidation at APC strongholds and liberality at PDP strongholds .Some people were barred from Ekiti while some in PDP moved freely with escorts. This is not a level playing field. And it is undemocratic.
    Conversly, picture a situation where the Governor was in control of the security apparatus. There was no way Fayose could have won , the reason why Local Government elections are always cleared by the state’s ruling party.
    Mazi, it is too early to celebrate. We need strong institutions as they strengthen democracy not make shift solutions.
    Democracy for a developing nation to me is a waste of time and resources. I will not go into Malaysia’s or Singapore’s model of Mohammed and Lee that worked very well and did away with Brentwood institutions.
    For democracy to thrive, 3 things must be present :
    1. Rule of law (How do I get justice or how will justice be effected if my rights are trampled upon).

    2. Enlightenment (There has to be acceptable enlightenment level not necessarily degree. Debate is meaningless in Nigeria, it cannot sway opinions like in America and UK , you see a candidate ratings rise or fall after a debate. Majority of the people that vote here are Okada riders, motor park touts, area boys and market men and women

    3. Low poverty level (This will ensure people do not become sycophants for their own stomach or ask for “stomach infrastructure”. With doling out money a criminal can win election)

    It is only when we have these, coupled with very strong institutions that we can celebrate and elections will be meaningful. And God will not come down to do it for us as he has given man dominion . Prayer can never be a substitute for effective planning.

    ReplyDelete

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