By Henry Umoru, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Dapo Akinrefon, Charles Kumolu & Gbenga Oke
Ado Ekiti — Dr Kayode Fayemi, out-going governor of Ekiti State, yesterday reiterated that he would not challenge the result of last Saturday’s governorship election in the state because he is “not desperate to remain in office,” even as commendations poured in on him from far and wide yesterday.
Fayemi made the disclosure when he received the governor-elect, Mr Ayo Fayose, in his office in Ado Ekiti, saying, “I will not challenge the result of the election because I am not desperate to remain in office. Elections must not be seen as a do-or-die affair.”
He said Fayose’s victory had assisted in “strengthening and deepening” democracy, especially in Ekiti State and the country at large.
He added that “election by its nature generate tension and hot exchange of words, but to me, once the whole exercise is over, all those involved should take such with calmness and stop all acrimony.
“It is my belief that we must all start imbibing attitudes that will make us avoid activities that can threaten our peaceful co-existence. We must also avoid the bad loser syndrome.
“I believe we need to build this democracy to a mature end, rather than pull it down.”
Fayemi promised not to be distracted by the defeat, saying he would continue to work for the people of the state until Oct. 15 when he would hand over to Fayose.
Commendations pour in
An outpour of commendations from home and abroad, including from normally hostile political quarters, yesterday, greeted the Saturday’s quick concession of victory by the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi to his opponent after the gubernatorial election in the state.
Fayemi, the All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate’s victory and his pledge during a visit on him by governor-elect, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, not to appeal the result of the election were generally commended as an unprecedented act of political gallantry. Fayose who won the election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, visited Fayemi in the Governor’s Office in Ado-Ekiti, yesterday.
The Presidency, the PDP, chieftains of the PDP, high level political office-holders, were among those that commended the maturity that the out-going governor brought to bear in admitting defeat.
Commendations also came from the United States Mission in Nigeria, Afenifere Renewal Group, former Senator Roland Owie, some delegates to the National Conference, congratulating Fayemi and Fayose for the peace they brought to bear following the release of the election result.
The PDP in its commendation said Fayemi “exhibited the spirit of sportsmanship propagated and practiced by the PDP and President Goodluck Jonathan” even as it called on politicians in the country to “imbibe the same spirit and jettison all forms of bad loser syndrome especially ahead of the 2015 general elections.”
On its part, the Presidency though the Senior Special Assistant, Public Affairs to the President, Dr. Doyin Okupe described Fayemi as the face of the new leadership Nigerians deserve.
Okupe in a text message to Vanguard said: “Fayemi is a gentleman with unassailable democratic credentials. He has a solid pedigree and has behaved true to type. It does not matter what the leadership of his party feels, he is the face of the new leadership Nigerians deserve,” Okupe said.
In his reaction, Chief Mike Ozekhome said, Fayemi’s acceptance of defeat and congratulation of Fayose is phenomenal and unprecedented in the history of elections in Nigeria.
“Methinks Nigeria is beginning to experience a new democratic dawn where losers congratulate winners and concede defeat. It means we can get it right if we have good and decent people at the helms of affairs.
“Gone are the days when politicians attempted to use electoral tribunals to subvert the popular will of the people. Vox populi, vox dei – the voice of the people is the voice of God. I commend Fayemi for allowing the votes of Ekiti people to count; for not subverting the will of the people. He is a youthful statesman. He certainly has a very bright future ahead of him.”
Yinka Odumakin said: “The crushing defeat of Fayemi is equally unprecedented in the annals of elections in Nigeria. A sitting governor not winning in one LGA in a free and fair election gives no room for contest. Fayemi must be commended still for being pragmatic within hours.”
The Jonah Jang faction of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, in its message said Fayemi showed political maturity by putting Ekiti first before self.
The forum also congratulated Mr. Ayo Fayose of the PDP on his victory in the election.
Anenih commends Fayose, Fayemi
Chairman, Board of Trustees, BoT, of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, in the same tone applauded Fayose on his election as governor of Ekiti State even as he commended the incumbent, Fayemi for conceding defeat and congratulating the governor-elect on his victory.
Anenih in a statement paid glowing tributes to Fayemi’s statesman-like act and urged other people who aspire for elective public offices to emulate him.
The statement read in part: “I congratulate Mr Ayodele Fayose on his well deserved victory, which is a reward of hard work that he invested in the electioneering as well as his steadfastness in identifying with the grassroots people of Ekiti State.
“I commend Dr Kayode Fayemi of the APC for demonstrating a good game spirit by accepting the result of the election as having flowed from a free and fair electoral process that was witnessed by election observers across the 16 local government areas of the State.
“On a national scale, it is quite significant that for the first time in the annals of election in our Fourth Republic, allegations of rigging, violence and other malpractices did not feature in the conduct of a governorship election.”
The National Chairman of the United Peoples Party, UPP, Chief Chekwas Okorie said that the sagacity displayed by Dr. Fayemi was a welcome development as it was strange in the country’s political history.
He said: “It is not in our kind of country for people to concede defeat. I commend him for his sportsmanship.”
What Fayemi did is commendable —Aturu
Legal practitioner, Mr Bamidele Aturu said: “I think it is commendable because what he has done should encourage other politicians to do same when they lose elections clearly. If you know that you have been clearly beaten in an election, why should you not go round and concede victory? Because of Fayemi’s civil society pedigree, he has not disappointed, he has done what he is expected to do”.
It’s a mark of statesmanship —Akeredolu
Also, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, said Fayemi’s decision to concede is “unprecedented and a sign of good sportsmanship. It is a mark of statesmanship and people will do it where they have had a free and fair election. From Fayemi’s statement, it is clear that the APC holds the view that the result of the election represented the will of the people.”
Speaking further, he said: “If the election has been free and fair, every good statesman would concede victory. This is what he has done and we all must praise him and acknowledge the high moral ground on which he now stands on”.
Afenifere Renewal Group
The Afenifere Renewal Group on its part said the election has set a landmark that elections need not be a do or die affair but reflection of democratic choice.
In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kunle Famoriyo, the group applauded Fayemi, and the governor-elect, Fayose, for the rare show of sportsmanship displayed during the election and after the result was announced.
Ogboru lauds Fayose, Fayemi
A chieftain of the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP in Delta State, Chief Great Ogboru on his part commended INEC, President Jonathan and the two major contestants for their effort in ensuring a hitch-free election.
“An election reflecting the will of the people of Ekiti State is a victory for all. His Excellency Governor Dr. Kayode Fayemi has etched his name in the sands of time as a civilised democrat by accepting the people’s verdict. Nigeria surely needs such a great man in our continuing quest for greatness,” he added.
US commends INEC, others
The U.S Mission in Nigeria has congratulated INEC, security agencies and electoral stakeholders for the successful conduct of the June 21 gubernatorial election in Ekiti.
A statement issued by the embassy in Abuja, yesterday, commended INEC for overseeing “a credible, efficient process”, which it said, by all accounts, reflected the will of Ekiti voters.