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Ekiti 2015: Where will the pendulum swing

Published by The Nation on Sun, 15 Mar 2015

As the participating political parties and their candidates for this years elections put finishing touches to their preparations, Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan, reports on what he describes as the Ekiti State political rematchAhead of the all important rescheduled general elections that will see ousted All Progressives Congress (APC), challenging the now ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State, analysts and political observers are talking about how the electorates in the state are likely to vote eight months after Governor Ayo Fayoses controversial victory over ex-Governor Kayode Fayemi of the APC.Checks by The Nation revealed that there is serious anxiety within the two leading political parties ahead of the decisive elections. While the PDP is determined to complete its hold on the politics of the state by winning all national and legislative seats available, the APC is prepared to reclaim some lost grounds by stunning Fayose and his party at the rescheduled polls.So uncertain is the current political pendulum in the state that some insist it is too early to predict how the results will look in spite of claims by both Fayoses ruling PDP and Fayemis APC that the people of the state will vote for them. One of the factors analysts believe may influence the voting pattern of the people this time is the presidential contest between the two leading political parties.It is unclear how the people of the state will vote. Although the PDP has been in power for about eight months now, a lot of things have happened to create a dicey contest. Both the PDP and the APC are aware that they cannot take the voting pattern of the people of the state for granted. Both parties are out there struggling to convince the people, Femi Bajo, State Coordinator of Voters Right Agenda (VRA), said.For the PDP, the coming polls should simply be a repeat of what happened last June, when in spite of Fayemi being the seating governor, the announced result favored Fayose who was earlier seen as the underdog by pundits. But the APC is looking towards turning the heat on Fayose believing a lot of other factors may work together to make that possible unless something drastic is done by the ruling party.Like some people are saying, the presidential contest between General Muhammadu Buhari of the APC and President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP may affect the voting pattern of the people of the state. While Fayose may still enjoy the support of his people as governor, it is unclear if the people of the state, especially the political elites, are willing to buy into Fayoses undying support for Jonathans re-election.Even within his party, there are people who are not so keen about the Presidents re-election bid. This is because they are finding it difficult to sell the idea to their people at the grassroots. Ekiti people are enlightened and current. They are aware of the trend across the country and it is not likely they will be swayed to support Jonathan by their love for Fayose, Bajo added.But PDP state Secretary, Dr. Tope Aluko, said APC and Buhari should not count the state as one of those it would win in the general election. He said the PDP had appraised the political situation in Ekiti and was confident that the opposition had no chance in the state because the people of the state are comfortable with President Jonathans administration.We look at the main opposition, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and all we can see that they can never recover from the thrashing they got during the governorship poll. The people of the state have rejected them and their hypocrisy. They will not win any seat in the February state and national assemblies elections in the state, while their presidential candidate, Buhari, will lose woefully. We will record overwhelming victory for President Goodluck Jonathan in the coming elections in the state, he said.However, a chieftain of the APC) in Ekiti State, Mr. Segun Osinkolu, said the triumph of the APC candidates, especially its presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, and his running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, in Ekiti is not negotiable.Ekiti people are ready to vote for Buhari and the APC en masse. What is paramount to Ekiti people now is real development and governance in all the sectors of the countrys economy as being witnessed in some other states of the federation and Ekiti State must not be an exception.We believe in the change that is promised by Buhari and his party. Ekiti people are not swayed by partisan outbursts of some people. We are elites of the Yoruba stock and we are democrats. Fayoses recent vituperations towards Gen. Buhari had portrayed the state in bad light in Nigeria and the global community as a whole, he said.The Ekiti Central Senatorial District candidate of the APC, Gbenga Olofin, also assured that the partys people-oriented programme will ensure victory for all its candidates. The candidate hinged his optimism on the discipline within APC as the most organised party grounded in grassroots appeal.Buhari is a reputable and responsible person with proven record of integrity, which will brighten the partys chances in the polls. Above all, Ekiti voters are wiser now and would not want a repeat of suffering and poor governance going on in the state and in the national and state assemblies, he said.Also, a recent admittance by the Minister of Police Affairs, Jelili Adesiyan, that the viral audio clip that surfaced on the internet recently detailing how Fayose, former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, and other political leaders rigged the 2014 Ekiti Governorship Election in favour of the PDP, is authentic, may have generated widespread sympathy for the APC amongst the people of the state.Contrary to the denials by Fayose and Obanikoro that they were involved in a meeting where strategies for rigging the June governorship election were discussed, Adesiyan, who was also at the meeting, admitted that the meeting actually took place. According to sources within the state, following his shocking confirmation, many people in Ekiti were forced to conclude that the PDP and Fayose didnt actually move into Government House on the strength of the peoples vote.This is creating a serious credibility problem for Fayose and the PDP in the state. And if you understand the nature of the average Ekiti man, you will know that they hate injustice. The same way they supported Fayose few months back when it appeared he was about to be unjustly stopped from exercising his mandate, that is the same way many are now ready to support Fayemi to reclaim his rigged mandate.The Nation also learnt that the APC, learning from its June mistake, may have gone all out to reposition itself for the electoral battle ahead. According to Osinkolu, APC in the state had become more sturdy and its the party to beat following various reforms embarked upon by major stakeholders within the party, especially the Action Group.What we are doing now is a total reformation and structural adjustment of our party to confront the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and because of this, no stone will be left unturned to build the party in order to win elections in Ekiti and Nigeria in general. It is a known and indisputable fact that the APC has become the party to beat, as a result of bad governance being witnessed in the state at the moment.We have learnt our lessons and the people are better informed now than before. Moreover, the level of impunity of the present administration towards the electorate has no doubt set the people against it and the resultant effect of it is a blessing to the APC and with the level of preparedness of the party towards the polls, the party will record a landslide victory, he declared.But the PDP expressed confidence that it will win all seats in the forthcoming national and state Assembly elections because, according to them, the Fayose led administration in the state is performing and the party is waxing stronger.We are satisfied with the performance of Governor Ayo Fayose. Despite the huge debt the APC left behind, he has not failed to live up to expectation. He has embarked on road projects, water scheme resuscitation through which water is gradually flowing in many places. He has taken the challenge of improved electricity supply by the horn. Market stalls are being built.We are also happy that Governor Fayose has not failed in paying salaries of workers despite lean resources. His novel idea of stomach infrastructure, which APC needlessly condemned, is being copied by all, including the APC. The welfare of the people is our concern as a party and we are not going to fail in that respect.APC will not win any seat in the state and national assemblys election. Their main stock in trade is to engage in fruitless propaganda and thank God, the people have now seen their deceit and they cannot cover anybodys face with any veil again, Aluko told The Nation.But the PDP may have to act more than it is talking as the elections draw nearer. This is because there are signs of cracks within its wall, sending signals that it may not be easy for it to win as convincingly as Aluko and other chieftains believe it should.Few weeks back, the Peoples Democratic Party Youth Network, Ekiti State chapter, vowed to work against and ensure its presidential candidate, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, loses woefully in the presidential election. The Ekiti Coordinator of the network, Tope Musowo, made the threat in a press statement.Musowo, who decried the PDP-led federal governments handling of the situation in the country, said President Jonathan has failed by surrounding himself with sycophants. It is quite unfortunate that President Jonathan surrounds himself with political vultures who will mess up his good works, and these people dont care if he loses or not. Let me make it clear here that Ekiti voters are the most sophisticated voters in Nigeria.Thus, the battle lines remain drawn between the PDP and the APC in Ekiti State ahead what can best be described as a political rematch. Expectedly, the gladiators more than even before, are dying to make definite statements about who the real political leaders of the state are. However, in all, the electorate holds the ace, and by this time next month, we will know who laughs last.The post Ekiti 2015: Where will the pendulum swing' appeared first on The Nation.]]>
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