June 11, 2009

Ekiti elections: Oni’s imperative questions

By  Suffy Ainofenokhai

I AM also bold to affirm with absolute sincerity and conviction that the 2007 and 2009 elections are the most consistent, the clearest and the fairest ever conducted in this terrain.

Where are the hypocrites who benefitted from the concoctions and contraptions of the past only to play the ostrich now?”  This question was posed by the Ekiti State Governor, Engineer Segun Oni to conclude the text of the press conference he addressed on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 on elections in the State.

He had symbolically chosen a day set aside annually to celebrate the potentialities of the children, to speak formally, and for the first time, on the outcome of the April 25, 2009 rerun election in the State and the ballyhoo that followed his landslide victory in Ido-Osi Local Government Area.  Indeed, there is a strategic nexus between the thrust of his development programme for Ekiti and the improvement of the school child.

Back to the main issue of elections, Oni had situated the entire process and its outcome within the historical context of the voting pattern that has evidently shown Ido-Osi Local Government Area as a consistent base of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since 1999 even when the Alliance for Democracy (AD) produced the State Governor in the person of Mr. Niyi Adebayo.

I completely agree with him on his lucid presentation that his predecessors could not claim to be ignorant of the votes the PDP got in Ido-Osi Local Government in the 1999 and 2003 general elections.  According to electoral records he presented, the PDP scored 29,122 votes (55.03 per cent) in 1999, which shows that it defeated the AD (the platform Adebayo was elected governor) in that election while in 2003 the PDP scored 18,217 votes (61.22 per cent) to bolster the victory of its governorship candidate, Ayo Fayose.

The point he made and, I concur, is that nothing could have been amiss with the 15, 939 votes (80.77 per cent) that the PDP scored in the 2007/2009 rerun governorship election in the Local Government Area.  He actually tugged at the heart of the matter when he dwelled on the “homeboy” advantage.

The argument remains in apple-pie order: If the people of Ido-Osi Local Government, where he comes from, could be loyal and faithful to the party and gave it the massive votes it got in the two previous elections in which their son was not a contestant, what would they not do now that they have a son who needed their votes to be governor to ensure that he won?

It is indeed laughable that Adebayo and Fayose who enjoyed the support of their home bases of Iyin-Ekiti and Afao-Ekiti with 100 per cent of the votes cast in the 2003 elections would expect the good people of Ifaki-Ekiti to reject their governor son.

What bizarre expectation!   How hypocritically disposed!  The shenanigans of these opposition elements have shown the extent of their desperation to stop Oni’s governorship at all cost.

But, in trying to achieve their devious agenda, they have succeeded in exposing their intolerance for a superior, visionary and more sharply-focused leadership.

It is a notorious fact that both former governors failed to leave any enduring legacy in terms of infrastructure development or any legacy in terms of enhancing the content of governance politics in the State as a vehicle for service delivery to the people and not vehicle for enriching the pockets of the leaders and their protégés.

If Oni’s pedigree has ensured that he distances himself from sleaze and that he focuses on leadership that is accountable, he should be celebrated. But Adebayo, Fayose and the interests they represent would want the whole world to believe that Oni does not have leadership temperament since he is not splashing public fund with their kind of sybaritic indulgence that got for them accolade from their compromised followers and a restricted section of the political class.

The opposition elements have so, shamelessly, painted Oni as stingy with public funds, thus exposing their retrogressive yardstick for measuring “performance”.

Regardless, Oni performed creditably in his first 21 months in office and has not dropped the ante of well-articulated and coordinated policies.  Flowing from the above, therefore, is anyone still in doubt why his successors from May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2007 could not deliver on their campaign promises to develop the State and provide democracy dividends to the people?

I am of the opinion that the opposition elements in Ekiti State are out of synch with the idea of constructive engagements and are obviously  acting to make Oni pander to the tension of distractive antics so that he can begin to focus on the mundane and inanity that masquerade as critical opposition.

Now, having come up with the statistics of previous elections results in Ekiti, particularly Ido-Osi Local Government, he has been able to prove a valid and classical point that nothing strange has happened with the outcome of the rerun election in the local government.  True, I think Oni should now leave the outcome of the poll to the Tribunal, discountenance the elements trying to bog him down, gather speed and concern himself with governance and development issues in Ekiti.

He should also not lose sleep over the empty boasts by the elements that they would make the State ungovernable for him.  Fayose was recently quoted to have said that “Ekiti won’t know peace under Oni”.  He was also quoted to have said on May 29, this year, that “there is no democracy to celebrate (in Ekiti) as there is no government in the State”.

After failing to blackmail and intimidate the INEC and the Federal Government into cancelling Ido-Osi Local Government election result, which would have ensured that they wrested Ekiti from the PDP, the opposition elements have resorted to all manner of tantrums to provoke public resentment against a validly elected government in Ekiti.

But as they go to the tribunal, they should go with the burden of the very important moral questions posed by Oni to them: “Where are the hypocrites who benefitted from the concoctions and contraptions of the past only to play the ostrich now?” and “Ekiti Elections: Where are the Saints?”

Mr.  Ainofenokhai, a public affairs analyst,  writes from Abuja.