By Sunny Ikhioya
TWO months to the last Ekiti gubernatorial election, no pundit would have placed a bet against, incumbent Kayode Fayemi; his victory was a foregone conclusion. Ekiti was the bastion of the APC party and the governor’s profile was on the rise.
Given his pedigree, some even touted him as a future vice presidential candidate. The assumption was that; “everyone can go to bed, victory is assured” but, come D day, the result was a shocker, from which so many APC faithful are yet to recover. They took the election and the opposition for granted and got what they did not bargain for.
After the death of Senator Pius Ewherido, the stronghold of the opposition in Delta State crumbled like a pack of cards. In attempting to fill the vacuum that his exit had created, everybody in the opposition wanted the seat. As a result, instead of uniting against the common enemy(the PDP), the opposition ended up fighting against itself. The DPP, APC, Labour and others combined, were no match for the PDP’s Emmanuel Aguariovwodo in the senatorial election.
The PDP coasted to victory without any serious challenge. Some of them claimed that the election was rigged, but, the biggest factor in the PDP victory was the disarray in which the opposition found itself. That is the situation now: they have not been able to wake up from the deadly blow resulting from the consequences of Ewherido’s demise.
For the cursory observer therefore, in virtually every position that will be fielded, the 2015 general election is there for the PDP to pick, that is why, we have, already in the field campaigning, more than 15 gubernatorial aspirants, while the opposition is still sleeping and re-aligning forces.
The victory of the PDP in the election will be theirs to pick, but, this will also depend on the comportment and general conduct of the PDP personnel between now and the elections next year.
Because the opposition is not so strong, the PDP government is beginning to take so many things for granted. The feelings of the people are no longer factored or considered, in the decision making of the government; such disdain and arrogance can sometimes result in unpleasant consequences. I give a few examples.
The voluntary youth organizations have always been with us from the time of the British rule. They have always been factored in the developments of our youths since independence.
Bodies like the Boys scout, Girls guide, Brownie, St John’s ambulance brigade, the Red Cross and recently, the Para military guards. All of these groups have in one way or the other, played significant roles in directing or steering the activities of our youths, away from the militant insurgencies, that is presently in vogue in the country.
Successive governments have been providing token subventions to these groups over the years, up to the Ibori administration; grants that are not even up to .5million annually. It is unfortunate that the present youth commissioner has not deemed it fit, to encourage these bodies since he assumed office, for three years now they have been left on their own.
It is only a non sensitive government that will allow such to happen, the whole subvention put together is not up to the sitting allowance of a council meeting.
Secondly, not too long ago, this writer drew the attention of the government to two worrisome sites; the Essi college and the Obire street, both in Warri city. Reading through the interview the Governor granted the Vanguard newspaper, a few days after; my spirit was deflated by his reading of that write up.
The governor said that; he cannot complete all of the projects that he has embarked upon; that is very true, but, not when the project construction is as small as rehabilitation of buildings that have had their roofs caved in and road grading and tarring that is not up to 400metres in length.
It is considered not fair also, when you give attention to surrounding schools and roads, then you leave one abandoned. What message will this action send to the people in these neglected areas, people who are entitled to cast their votes? The message is telling them that you do not care and that, to me, is taking them for granted.
Another area to note is in the area of disgruntled contractors, a lot of them have taken loans from the banks, friends and financial institutions. I personally know of a friend who was running helter skelter, in the month of November last year, to generate money to execute a government road project in Warri. We are in the month of August 2014; this money that was to be paid in January is still hanging.
The gentleman I refer to here, is now busy popping high blood pressure pills, creditors and workers are on his neck, he doesn’t even know when approval for the payment will be made. He is not the only contractor in this situation, what would the feelings of these people be towards government?
Another case in point , is the inability of the PDP to maintain discipline in the party. Imagine a situation where the State Chairman is involved in a free for all fight with another top member of the party, in the full public. Discipline, is the first point to success, if the party cannot maintain discipline; what is it telling the whole world? Also the cacophony of voices, baying for political spoils amongst its rank and file must be brought under control, too many candidates angling for one position.
There are many others, for example; the inability of the government to decisively bring the restive Escravos- Ugborodo EPZ project communities to order and steer the course towards manifest progress. There are also pockets of restiveness in the teachers’ camp and labour unions.
We still have ten months till May 2015 and all the issues highlighted here can be accomplished within three months, at the maximum, the success of the government in other areas like sports, health care et al is not been undermined here. It is only good to relay the feelings of the grassroots to those in position of authority, once in a while.
Fayemi refused to heed the signals from the grassroots and that is why he lost. The PDP government in Delta state must read the hand writing on the wall.