How Fayose Unraveled APC’s Tangle By Maxwell Adeleye
Posted On Apr 30, 2015
Within the last sixteen years of Nigerian’s infantile and budding democracy, political figures operating under the ornamentation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had uninterruptedly governed Ekiti State for eight years. However, the APC had lost power twice; first in 2003 and the last in 2014.
Ironically, Ayo Fayose of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was the nut that was too hard for the APC to break in the two times it got bashed at the polls.
Thus, Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye, a political analyst, chronicles the feat and collapse of the current opposition party in Ekiti, factors responsible and why it may take decades before the party can win a free, fair and credible election in the state.
Apparently, three political parties exist in Ekiti State. They are: The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peter Ayodele Fayose, the incumbent Governor of the state. While PDP and APC were lawfully registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to contest for elective positions, the people of the state registered Fayose into their minds as a political idol whose actions please their wits.
How time flies! Just like yesterday, the Alliance for Democracy (AD) won governorship election in Ekiti state in 1999. The people voted then for AD because the party preached the virtues of welfarism, populism, progressivism and selflessness which the late Yoruba political sage, Obafemi Awolowo represents.
Then, people were happy. They thought a Messiah who would liberate them from the shackles of hunger, under-development, poverty, squalor and abject starvation had arrived from Jerusalem. The candidate of the PDP, Tunde Adeniran, a tested varsity don was defeated to a distant second.
However, within six months that Adebayo assumed office, Ekiti masses starting lamenting. Adebayo governed his people with reckless abandonment. Salaries of civil servants were not paid as at when due.
Under Adebayo, primary and secondary school teachers spent thirteen weeks at home wallowing in the euphoria of industrial actions. Dearth of infrastructure was the order of the day in Ekiti schools. The Ekiti State University (EKSU) was a glorifying secondary school. EKSU was ranked number 14th by the National Universities Commission (NUC) out of the 16 state universities existing in Nigeria as at then.
The state known as fountain of knowledge was ranked number 34th in Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) performance for the four years Adebayo held the crest of power. Pensioners were owed for twenty six months. Adebayo constructed only two roads in Ekiti State. The maternity centers across the sixteen local government areas witnessed drought of drugs and personnel.
As Adebayo grounded Ekiti, the people wail in utmost disappointment. However, as the April 2003 governorship election gathered momentum, the secluded people of Ekiti state queued behind Fayose who was the candidate of the PDP. The people wanted a change and they saw hope in Fayose.
As expected, on the Election Day, a befuddled Adebayo looked back and saw a scanty crowd behind him in all the polling units across the state. The commoners voted to knapsack Adebayo from government. They voted to install the man who speaks their language. Fayose was inaugurated on May 29 2003 as the second executive governor of the state amidst fanfare.
Against the prediction of some paper analysts who had thought Fayose would disappoint his people, the rounded politician governed Ekiti like a populist. All the arrears of salaries and allowances of teachers, civil servants and council workers that he inherited were paid before government appointees were paid their furniture allowance. The Artisans, Driver Unions, Motorcyclists, market men and women and all the labour forces were incorporated into the government. Fayose wined and dined with the common people.
Fayose opened the floodgate of civilization in Ekiti. He gave Ado-Ekiti a face-lift. Ado-Ikere road and other inter-state roads in the state capital were dualized. Many roads that had never been asphalted were asphalted. Many Communities were opened up with a motorable road. From Awo to Eyio, Esure to Ifaki, Itaji to Omu to Ijelu, Iworoko to Are, Afao to Igbemo, Ire to Afao, Ikere to Igabara-odo, Aramoko to Erinjiyan, Ilawe to Igbara-odo, Ikogosi to Erinjiyan; from the north to the south, west to the eastern parts of the state, many roads were opened up by the Fayose’s administration.
Under Fayose, Ekiti performance rose from number 34th to 7th position in SSCE. All the state owned tertiary institutions were refurbished with high-quality infrastructures. College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti was ranked the best state owned in Nigeria. EKSU too received a dutiful attention. With a sterling performance, Fayose decimated the Elitist oriented AD and anti-masses bourgeoisies within the PDP in Ekiti State.
As Fayose’s popularity booms among the common people, the elites got livid. In a swift response, the Elites bombarded the town with cants. They incited the common people against Fayose. The masses were wheedled by humbug told them by the elites. Having succeeded in fooling the masses, they enlisted the support of the then Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo against Fayose.
To my surprise, the Owu General bows to the pressure of angry Ekiti elites and traded his begotten son to the opposition. The state lawmakers were also coerced into the conspiracy against the Afao-Ekiti born politician.
And after many twists and turns, the enemies against Ekiti succeeded in their evil plot against the state. Fayose was decayed. He was impeached at gun point. A civilian coup was carried out. Fayose was sent into exile. The AD and its members that had been annihilated by Fayose in Ekiti moved with their Lagos based leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to form the Action Congress (AC) which the anti-Fayose’s used to run for elective positions in 2007 general elections.
Akin Osuntokun from Okemesi whom Fayose was allegedly oiling from exile was disqualified from running for the primaries of PDP. In swift radar, Fayose supporters picked a United States based Varsity Don, Adesegun Ojo and bankrolled him against Oni who was the candidate of Abuja. The primaries were contested, results were released, the Abuja candidate, Segun Oni lost but the Engineer from Ifaki-Ekiti was picked by the power that be. Alas, INEC declared Oni as the winner of the election that was without doubt, marred with irregularities.
Nevertheless, when Fayose came back from exile in December 2007, he conspired with AC against Oni, his party man for an electoral war of attrition. In 2009, an Appeal Court sitting in Ilorin ordered for a rerun election between Oni and Fayemi. Fayose mobilized the common people for Fayemi. However, the will of the people was circumvented by some Abuja based cabal. Fayemi won but Oni was declared winner again.
Nonetheless, Fayemi got his mandate back in October 2010. He won a fierce battle that lasted for 18 months in court. Fayose was named a martyr of democracy by the opposition then. With the support of the people, Fayose abase Oni and enthrone Fayemi.
Sadly, Fayose was dejected by the people he assisted into government. Fayemi turned his back against Fayose. Fayose declared his intention to run for senate in 2011 but Fayemi refused to support him. He was fought with the instrumentality of money and power. He lost.
After the defeat, Fayose went to drawing board. Seventeen months later, he came out to declare his ambition to govern Ekiti again. Then, the APC had been formed. Fortunately for Fayose, the people had felt offended by Fayemi. The teachers, pensioners, civil servants, council workers, artisans, students and the poorest of the poor that constitutes 80% of the voting population in the state were already angry with Fayemi.
On June 21 2014, the angry electorates came to judgment and they voted to restore their friend, Fayose back to government. Fayose made history as the first politician to defeat two different incumbent governors in Nigeria. He thread-bared a governor reportedly loved by the international community but possesses narrow honour among his people. He crushed the broom of APC in Ekiti into pieces across the sixteen local government areas of the state.
As usual, the opposition APC kicked. They alleged that the military aided Fayose’s victory against Fayemi. The party claimed that PDP used a chemical to rig the election. But on March 28 2015 Presidential and National Assembly elections which APC massively won across the South West, Nigeria, Fayose repeated same margin in Ekiti. 16-0 it ended against APC. On April 11th State Houses of Assembly election, Fayose’s candidates won all the twenty six assembly seats in the state. Fayose unravels APC’s tangle.
How did Fayose do it for three consecutive times within six months?
People, no magic were performed. Ekiti is a civil service state. He pays workers salaries as at when due. Fayose empowers the local contractors with jobs so that cash could flow in the state. He pays pensioners promptly. He has reduced the tuition fees of all the state owned tertiary institutions by 40%. He handed state assembly ticket to four educated people among the artisans, drivers, market men and women.
Just like in 2006, the Elites are back again. They are plotting to impeach Fayose but the common people are saying no. The masses are now wiser. The power of the people is greater than those in position of authority and influence.
Democratically, Fayose has worn APC’s tether in Ekiti. The last time APC’s caucus unprecedentedly won elections in Ekiti was in 1999. Fayose won in 2003. He won election for Fayemi in 2009. He was victorious in 2014. He has triumphed twice in 2015. And going by the above, I can say that Fayose will keep winning elections for his party in Ekiti till his last breathe provided that he doesn’t derail.