The 2018 Ekiti state gubernatorial election has traveled every which way. To be sure, the nascent democracy of Nigeria is flourishing. Our blossoming democratic journey is developing without question.
The event in Ekiti state has made thinkers, observers and watchers of politics, both at local, translocal, national and international levels to begin to ask the hallowed question of: “what went wrong in the PDP moving retrogressively backwards from 16/0 in 2014 to about 12/4 in favor of the APC in a state that was known as a ‘broomless’ state in 2014?”
For now, Ekiti is the only state in the southwest that is controlled by the PDP as well as the only state won by the PDP presidential candidate in 2015, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
The event calls for concern indeed. Like the legendary saying or maxim goes; “How are the mighty fallen? Gold has rust in Ekiti, what then would iron do?”
Some will argue that the Presidency played a role and the military and police were pro-APC. That fact and was applicable to the PDP victory in 2014 elections, where the state was said to have been militarized. But we mustn’t rely on the same baseless emotional attachment to sentiments. Money was used, as a core factor, and both parties played the money politics definitely.
The victory of Dr kayode Fayemi has been described as a hard fought battle by the presidency. That is true indeed.
CHALLENGES OF THE PDP THAT LED TO THEIR DOWNFALL IN EKITI STATE
1. IMPOSITION OF CANDIDATE: It was very clear, loud, and strong in the state the governor imposed his deputy against the wishes of so many members of the PDP. There were reactions, but Governor Fayose used his executive power to silence them. Some of the party members decamped or cross-carpeted to the APC. Some honourable members too did same. How then did you expect the PDP to come out victorious?
If the PDP had remained united and unanimously chose their candidate without any imposition, they would have come out victorious in the election. A house divided against itself shall fallout.
2. LACK OF PAYMENT OF SALARY TO CIVIL SERVANTS IN THE STATE:
There is a concept in Ekiti state known as ‘Stomach Infrastructure’. This is a nomenclature posed by the Fayose regime. No one is arguing about the authenticity of the stomach project, but paying the people their monthly salaries is very necessary. People are becoming wiser by the day. Any form of stomach analysis without bank alert to the workers ends in failure. The PDP missed it here, the same thing happened in plateau state. The government owed civil servants about six (6) months salaries into the 2015 elections, and they lost because of the owing factor.
3. DISCONNECTION FROM THE PRESUMED GRASSROOTS CONNECTION OF THE PDP: Governor Fayose has over the years been bragging about his grassroots connection. Let be clear on this point, it is very easy for the governor to gather youths in the Ado Ekiti metropolis to walk with him. It is another thing for him to have huge acceptability in all the remaining sixteen (16) local government areas. If truly he controls the grassroots as acclaimed, why didn’t they deliver his party in the just concluded elections? There was an election in Anambra state and the governor won the election because of his massive link to the people at the grassroots. Gov Ayo Fayose says things that never exist. In all ramifications, he lacks that grassroots connection in totality.
4. PRESUMPTUOUS PROPAGANDA: It was very worrisome to note that while Dr Fayemi was busy working hard to victory, the PDP camp were busy looking for propaganda to sell in other to gather or get sympathy. In politics, one thing is sure, number. Instead of gathering the taxi drivers and motorcycle riders in Ado Ekiti by the governor, he would have been busy in one of the local government that day mobilizing and campaigning for PDP. Another off strategy of the PDP was the police incidents teargas. Instead of the victory walk, he should have gone to an interior local government to campaign. Insulting the president was another mistake that was unnecessary.
The PDP in Ekiti failed to work. Rather was basing on propaganda to lure in the international community for possible intervention. That’s not good and correct at all.
5. WEAKNESS OF THE PDP CANDIDATE OR WEAK MOBILIZATION OF THE PDP CANDIDATE: While the APC candidate was busy working for his victory, the PDP candidate was just in government house receiving instructions and allowed his boss to do the work for him. He was not showing any meaningful seriousness to the people of the state on his capability and agility to lead. He forgot that his boss is not going to be the governor but him. There was a disconnect between him and the people. All what Ekiti people sees was Fayose. It is not Fayose they want to hear or see buy the governorship candidate. He never acted on his own to show the people his ability, he depended on the popularity of the governor. That’s not correct.
STRENGTH OF THE APC
1. Identification of PDP weakness: The APC maximized the loopholes discovered in the PDP. They took advantage of the weakness of the PDP candidate. They heard what they people said about his inability to represent himself. It worked for them, congratulations.
2. Blocking of PDP strongholds: The governor-elect did his homework very well. He lost to the PDP in 2014 and decided to study and understudy the system again. He knew the strength point of the PDP in the state and decides to block them from area of strength.
He also knew the local government areas he was popular in and build the bond there solidly.
The PDP failed to do this. They were busy doing mouth work while Fayemi was working.
3. Past experience knowledge: It is said “once beating twelve shy” the governor elect knew how it feels to lose. He vowed to work hard and avenge the disgrace while the PDP was busy sleeping on past glories of 2014. Experience worked and aided the victory of APC. Inexperience worked against the PDP. Lesson for all to learn from.
4. Military and police: it is arguably to say that same thing was done in 2014. Both parties are guilty of this. So the APC claimed they are doing something the PDP did while in power. Onlookers and observers described the APC use of military as worse. But the military and police has declined colliding with APC. They have said time and again that they are apolitical.
If the PDP did it home work correctly, they would have won. Many states have succeeded in past despite military presence.
As a political scientist, we look into the polity with our political microscope and political eyeglasses, to think deeply into the political jamboree and rigmarole in the state. We look beyond propaganda and political correctness. We investigate happenings to proffer solutions.
As discussed above. Other states governors are advised not to repeat the mistake make in Ekiti state. The fact that you are a seating governor doesn’t mean you can’t be unseat.
Political gladiators and leviathans must learn to work for themselves, not allowing others to work for them. Ekiti state has been described as an uncommon state of surprises. The PDP needs to seat up in the forthcoming Osun election. If the learn from the Ekiti mistake, they may come out victorious. Security maybe much but only the strong would survive the political drill.
APC is a ruling party, but the hard work of the governor-elect spoke for him. This victory is about grazing reserve, cattle colony or ranches, rather it is about the people of Ekiti.
Rwang Patrick Stephen, Political Science department, Federal University of Kashere, Gombe State.