The recently concluded Ekiti Election was marred with voter intimidation, irregularities and above all use of money, gifts and food items to lure voters to vote in favour of a certain candidate. Ultimately, INEC declared Mr. Ayodele Fayose of the PDP as the winner with almost two third of the total votes cast.
From the results released, the PDP candidate won all the 16 Local Governments with a safe margin. How the good people of Ekiti turned against their incumbent Governor has everything to do with the way the PDP led FG used every machinery available at their disposal to trip the election in the favour of the PDP.
Over 36,000 Security personnel were deployed to the State which has roughly 360,000 voters which is an average of one Security personnel per ten voters. The massive number of the Security deployed was almost double the number of those deployed to the troubled and volatile North Eastern State of Borno. It is clear that the PDP led FG have sorted their priorities ahead of the up coming General Election come next year. The PDP oriented Security agents intimidated and antagonized the voters and also unconstitutionally, illegally and unjustly detained selective and influential APC leaders in the State that were presumed to be threat to the success of the PDP. The mere presence of such massive Security personnel is a threat to the conduction of a peaceful and serene Election. So its safe to say that the Election was won by the PDP before it even started.
In addition to that, the PDP used money and other gifts including food items to the poor masses to vote for them. The good and innocent people of Ekiti should have collected whatever was offered and vote for the candidates of their choices, but that was not the case. Surrendering their mandates for a bag of rice was the most saddening of all. For sure, most of the people will finish the bag of rice long before the Governor-Elect is sworn into office. The people of Ekiti will now have to live with the consequences of their choices atleast for the next four years and all at the expense of a bag of rice which might turn out to be the most expensive bag of rice they ever bought in their lives.
The incumbent Governor, Mr. Kayode Fayemi of the APC on the other hand has performed decently in his first term as Governor. He has performed above average and is seen by many as an outstanding and selfless leader who has done a lot to better the lives of the people of Ekiti State. His projects have undoubtly spread across the nooks and cronies of the 16 Local Governments of the State. He has no criminal or corruption records unlike his opponent. The ideal scenario would have been for Mr. Fayemi to get another mandate despite the huge external forces working against him all the way from Abuja.
To say the truth, if the three main contestants were given a fair and level playing field, PDP can only come a distant second not even a close runner up for that matter. The Ekiti people have made their choice in exchange for money and bags of rice and they could yet end up paying the pRICE for their action. It will only be fair to say that the people of Ekiti might turn out to be the real losers of the Election.
SADIQ TUKUR ROGO writes from Kano State.