By Demola Akinyemi
Leading chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, APC were in celebratory mood after the defeat of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the House of Representatives bye-election in Ekiti/Irepodun/Isin/Oke-Ero. One prominent APC chieftain from the state has likened the party’s victory to the breach of the Berlin Wall!.
At least three persons died and five more persons sustained various degrees of injuries in the first significant electoral loss linked to Senator Bukola Saraki, whose political invincibility had overwhelmed his political traducers.
Raheem Olawuyi, the APC candidate scored 21,236 to defeat his PDP counterpart, Saheed Damilare who polled 18,095.
Though the state chapter of the PDP has rejected the result, the fact that Saraki’s party was declared loser in an election that the side he represented easily won four years ago questions the strength of the Saraki political machine in the state. By extension it is also a question on the political sagacity of the outgoing governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed who is also the PDP Senate candidate for the area.
The test for Governor Ahmed is further imagined when considered that his APC rival for the Kwara South Senate seat is Arc Lola Ashiru, a tested grassroots politician from Offa.
Vanguard reliably gathered that the loss of the PDP was largely due to its poor preparation. Some others claimed that the party took the people of the state for granted.
Vanguard also gathered that rather than play politics ahead of the bye-election, and indeed ahead of the forth coming elections in the state, Governor Ahmed had rather devoted himself to completion of projects as a way of leaving his footprints behind. Others have blamed the waning political power of the Saraki dynasty on the lack of the usual attention by the national leader of the party, Senator Saraki.
Saraki has been especially distracted by his dual roles as Senate President and as director-general of the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation.
The chairman of the state chapter of the PDP, Engr. Kola Shittu has, however, rejected the result of the election saying it was a direct assault on democracy.
He alleged at a press conference following the election that security forces were used to hold back his supporters while ballot boxes were snatched at random.