By Emmanuel Aziken
Victory is sweet and so it seems for supporters of Dr. Kayode Fayemi after his emergence as governor-elect in the Ekiti State governorship election. Undoubtedly, the victory is changing permutations at both local and national levels.
At the local level, the Ekiti State executive of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, a body that has increasingly become political, was changed this week after Fayemi’s victory was announced.
The executive that was replaced came on board exactly four years ago just after Governor Ayodele Fayose defeated Fayemi in the 2014 election.
The swinging loyalty of the road transport workers is only reflective of the interesting political dynamics that characterised the election.
The changed loyalty of some of the state’s prominent stakeholders was particularly interesting.
One of such was the changed position of Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele. Mr. Bamidele, arguably more than any other person caused Fayemi to lose the election in 2014. Bamidele’s decision to run on the platform of the Labour Party, and the bitter schism that the decision caused within the ranks of the All Progressives Congress, APC seriously depleted enthusiasm for Fayemi’s candidacy at that time.
Four years on, Bamidele and Fayemi are back as buddies to the extent that the former served as director-general of the Fayemi campaign. Bamidele even took a gun bullet in the course of the campaign and was to Fayemi’s credit, retained as campaign manager even though he remained in hospital through the campaigns and election.
In the contrast, “Congressman” Bimbo Daramola who was Fayemi’s campaign manager in 2014, four years later switched sides and became a vicious competitor with Fayemi for the APC ticket which he eventually lost.
Even more remarkable was the switch in loyalty by Prince Dayo Adeyeye, the former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Four years ago, Adeyeye as a minister in the PDP government was an active collaborator with Fayose in crushing Fayemi. Last week, Adeyeye was on the other side with Fayemi in bruising Fayose and making him to wear a neck brace!
Adeyeye’s collaboration was particularly pivotal as he more than most people on ground helped in swinging victory towards Fayemi. His defection triggered the exit of some members of the House of Assembly and a commissioner in Fayose’s cabinet from the PDP to the APC.
Beyond the swinging proclivities of the Ekiti politicians is the interpretation of the victory on the political fortunes of the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
By most accounts, Tinubu played his part in ensuring cohesion within the ranks of the party especially after supporters of Engr. Segun Oni sought to challenge the emergence of Dr. Fayemi as the candidate.
The account of some close associates of Tinubu’s is that he was more involved in mobilising support for Fayemi more than many would believe. That is against the belief of some that Tinubu was not enthusiastic about the re-emergence of Fayemi as governor.
The reason for such belief is understandable. Fayemi is generally believed to be part of the Abuja Group of Southwest politicians who are reckoned to be part of the alternative structure being constructed by Tinubu’s enemies in the APC to deflate his hold of the Southwest.
With Rotimi Akeredoulu in Ondo State, Ibikunle Amosun in Ogun, and now Fayemi in Ekiti State, it is suggested in some quarters that the Alternative Structure in the Southwest may have been erected.
That suggestion was not played down by the announcement earlier in the week that the erstwhile national legal adviser of the APC, Mr. Muiz Banire, SAN was to be screened by the Senate as chairman of the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON.
Banire it is easily remembered was accused of having parted ways with Tinubu and being behind the scheme to rip the APC in Lagos from Tinubu’s grip.
However, Tinubu has congratulated Fayemi and in the account of his associates is not looking at the conspiracies that are allegedly being weaved against him. Those who make such permutations perhaps do not see the exceptional position of Fayemi in Tinubu’s politics. Fayemi is the second person after Buhari that Tinubu and Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo have in recent times sent congratulatory messages to!
Willy-nilly, interesting times are surely ahead!