By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
THE annoying thing for many associates of supporters of Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the outgoing governor of Ekiti State was that the sweeping defeat of their man in last weekend’s gubernatorial election was under a free and fair election.
In all 16 local government areas, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Mr. Ayo Fayose triumphed, doing so even in the acclaimed strongholds of the incumbent’s All Progressives Congress, APC.
Though wildly acclaimed for his innovative steps in governance, including the introduction of a welfare scheme for the elderly, Fayemi, a former journalist turned academic and development cum security strategist lost out to a man who had ironically been kicked out from the Government House.
Innovation to governance
How Fayemi, the urbane gentleman who in the past four years brought a lot of innovation to governance in Ekiti lost so easily was a shock to many!
Never shy to present himself in his raw form, Fayose admitted yesterday, that his possession of a Higher National Diploma was something that was despised among some in the bookish state when he commenced his political career.
“They said I am an HND holder and that Ekiti is a state of professors,” he told newsmen in a post declaration press briefing in Ado-Ekiti yesterday.
Fayemi’s quick concession of victory to Fayose was a courageous effort and a rarity in these shores but the import of the defeat for the APC was still hitting home last night.
APC shrinks in Southwest
The victory of the PDP candidate would automatically decrease the strength of the APC in the Southwest to four states, putting the PDP and its Labour affiliate in control of 33 per cent of the region.
The claim of the APC to be the traditional party of the Southwest would no longer hold waters in political discourse as a result of the emergence of the PDP flag in the Ekiti Government House. Indeed, the capacity of APC leaders to equate themselves as leaders of the Southwest would also be greatly challenged as the future Governor Fayose and Governor Segun Mimiko come to contest the space of Southwest leadership with APC leaders in the region.
With eyes now focused on the next gubernatorial election in Osun State, the results released yesterday are expected to bring some pressure on the APC in Osun.
One prominent leader of the APC was quick to claim yesterday that the development in Ekiti would in no way put pressure on the APC’s fortunes in Osun State.
“In Osun we have a man you can not claim is an elite, he is a man of the streets who can match the PDP’s man in anyway on the street,” the APC leader said.
Political Point for President Jonathan
Fayose’s victory would also be claimed in some quarters as a plus for President Goodluck Jonathan who it was largely reported backed him against the many other aspirants that vied for the PDP ticket.
The argument by the Jonathan camp was that Fayose was the only one among the aspirants with the capacity to fight Fayemi.
The decisiveness of the president in sticking to Fayose despite the alleged mutterings of many of his associates who complained that Fayose’s stint in office between 2003 and 2006 was not complimentary.
Use of political minders
The president, however, remained steadfast and apparently using political minders including the new enforcer in the Southwest, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro strengthened the hands of the PDP candidate.
With this development, President Jonathan could begin to look his antagonists in the APC to debunk their claim that the Southwest was in their kitty.
Will APC change strategies?
Senior operatives of the APC were unusually reticent yesterday in the face of what many stakeholders confirmed as a free and fair election. However, there is no doubt that the party is bound to review what happened and reposition the party ahead of the Osun election and the 2015 round of general elections.
There were fears yesterday that the development in Ekiti could also force the party hierarchy to reconsider the internal processes through which candidates emerge for political office.
Fayose was able to take opportunity of some policy somersaults by the Fayemi administration.
Fayemi on assumption of office had introduced a test for both secondary and primary school teachers otherwise known as Teachers Development Needs Assessment (TDNA).
The concept of the assessment test was to boost the quality of teaching in the state.
However, the powerful teachers’ union, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT fought against it.
Dr. Fayemi was not helped even by the fact that his commissioner for education and technology, Dr. Eniola Ajayi was said to have used foul language to flay the teachers, allegedly saying the teachers preferred to use their local Ekiti dialect in teaching.
Fayemi’s efforts to professionalise the public service was not only resisted by the teachers, it was also resisted in the civil service.
The regular screenings that were done to wield out ghost workers was also unpopular among many in the workforce.