There must be an end to litigation. So, an end came to litigation arising from the July 14, 2018 Ekiti State governorship election on Friday, 24th May, 2019 when the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, declared Dr. John Kayode Fayemi of the APC as the duly elected governor in the contested election. Fayemi had been declared winner by the INEC; the PDP candidate, Prof. Kolapo Olusola Eleka, disagreed. Eleka contested the INEC verdict from the tribunal level through the Court of Appeal to the apex court but lost all the way.
Declaring judgement, the Supreme Court said, among other things, that it is rare for it to upturn a decision where the two lower courts were in one accord. But that is not to say that the election was not rigged. It was – blatantly – but Eleka, who won that election handsomely, is not the governor for many reasons. One: He could not prove his case. The onus of proof required at election tribunals is such that it takes a miracle from God to produce. Two: Few judgements are judgements in the real sense of the word these days.
Judgements, like commodities, are bought and sold to the highest bidders and the preferred choice of those dispensing the merchandise. Three: Eleka’s party was hopelessly divided and unable to even make a respectable standing. It went into the election divided and came out of it flustered. Ever before the PDP government ended, it had broken in pieces. Four: Coming against “Federal might”, PDP was an unequal match for the moving and mowing train that the APC was. While the APC threw all it had into the fray, with its leading lights at national and state levels rallying round the APC Ekiti State chapter, the PDP hierarchy watched from afar as if not much was at stake. Where the APC mustered all the weapons at its disposal, the PDP threw only feeble and occasional jabs. Five: Over-confidence killed PDP, like it did Anthony Joshua last weekend. They talked tough but could not walk the talk. Like my people will say of the loud-mouthed boy who could only “shakara” but could not deliver the killer punches when push became shoving, the PDP only had mouth like the “akara” seller.
Some said 2018 was the “return match” of 2014. I say “yes” and “no”. Yes, because the same way the PDP-controlled Federal Government mustered Federal might to lock down the opposition in 2014 was how the APC responded in kind in 2018. Truth be told, the APC were even more vicious in 2018 than the PDP was in 2014. APC left nothing at all to chance. No, because Federal might or no Federal might, Ayo Fayose would still have won the 2014 election hands down. Federal might only assisted him to make it 16 – 0. Maybe the margin would not have been that scandalous if level-playing ground had been provided. But Fayemi was doomed in that battle and I told him so in my write-ups before the election; as a result of which he called to ask “Egbon, ki le ri?” And I told him what I saw: That the same pattern that led to Rotimi Akeredolu’s loss in the Ondo State governorship election of 2012 had reared its ugly head in his own campaign – divisions and estrangement of key party leaders. I attended his campaign across the Ado-Ekiti metropolis, noticed other factors that accounted for his failure – and I told him. He was elitist and aloof from the grassroots. Whereas Fayose rode on “Okada” and connected with the people, Fayemi rode in air-conditioned open-roof limousine. I told him to come out and walk the streets; that the people wanted to see him and touch him. He responded: “I come out and go in again.” He would pop up his head, wave the broom and sink inside again. I told him that was not good enough. The next day he obliged, came out and walked the street like Fayose – but it was too late. The people had made up their mind. I went round sampling people’s opinion; they said Fayemi did for Ekiti what he wanted for Ekiti; not what Ekiti wanted for themselves. During the campaign, I heard of many Fayemi aides who would not win their wards – and Fayemi himself confirmed it. He spent so much giving some communities transformers but refused to spend a little more to install the transformers because he said that was not the agreement. Fayose gave the money for installation and reaped where Fayemi had sowed.
In 2018, however, the tides turned; exactly what afflicted Fayemi in 2014 were what afflicted PDP in 2018. Internal wrangling reduced PDP’s once lush forest into a one-man forest. Over-confidence also set in for PDP as they boasted that Fayemi was a better “customer” than Segun Oni. So, they did not put their money where their mouth was; they thought it would be a walk-over. And they therefore did not prepare for war. If they had, like the Wikes, the Udoms and Dicksons did in Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Bayelsa, the story would have been different. But all that is history now. Paying Fayose for the “sins” of 2014, the man who bore the brunt was Eleka. He has accepted his fate. He will most likely return to his teaching job at OAU, Ife where he still has about 20 years of active service as a full professor. If he teaches until he is 70, he will retire and earn his salary as a professor for life. That is good enough. I still believe, however, that the last has not been heard about Eleka in Ekiti politics. He must have learnt useful lessons. He must also have had a better understanding of politics. Painful and difficult as it must have been, wishing Fayemi well after the Supreme Court verdict was the best Eleka could do to begin to foreclose the catharsis of the past 11 months and heal his own soul for the arduous task ahead.
LAST WORD: From me, congratulations, Governor Fayemi! I will, nonetheless, henceforth hold your feet to the fire. To start with, is it true you will be gunning for the Presidency in 2023?
Corruption pays, not so?
If a thief steals N225 million but gets seven years’ imprisonment with option of fine of a measly N42 million, do the arithmetic. He still has a windfall of N183 million. These days, lawyers are very costly; they charge humongous amount as legal fees. A chunk of these, we have been told, they launder for their clients; fat cheques also go to purchase judgement. After you discount all of these, say N100 million, the thief still smiles home with a princely N83 million. Remember he has the option of a fine and so will not spent time in jail. In addition, his assets, which are reportedly proceeds of corruption, are not confiscated: Who can resist the allure of corruption if presented with such a wonderful opportunity? This is the same country where poor people who steal chickens, goats or cell phones are sentenced to 7, 10, 14 years’ imprisonment, some without even the option of fine – so as to deter others! Nigeria we hail thee!
NECO: Principals not to blame
Chairman of the National Examination Council’s Board, Abubakar Sadiq, blamed school principals for the widespread examination malpractices that have made a mockery of NECO – and WAEC – examinations. He is right to admit that NECO examinations are compromised – but he is wrong in blaming only principals. We have said it repeatedly here and on other platforms that those to blame are State Governments and Education Ministries which give marching orders to school principals to ensure that their schools produce brilliant results in WAEC and NECO examinations “at all costs”. Principals are ordinary civil servants who carry out instructions. So the fight should be taken to the right places if we are to achieve results. Technology is good; so NECO’s biometric machines are the right step in the right direction but NECO must realise that human beings will operate the machines. Information is that the machines are deliberately programmed to fail. Invigilators are bribed to look the other way or are threatened with dire punishment if they fail to “cooperate”. If Sadiq underrates the monster he wants to fight like Anthony Joshua underrated Any Ruiz Jr. last week, he will fail on earth and they will hear in heaven! But fight this monster we must; for, if examination malpractices are not curbed at NECO and WAEC level, the JAMB – and the institutions of higher learning – will always have an uphill task on their hands.
“Should Nigeria legalise marijuana” of 22nd May was interesting. We are very good at destroying but to bring an alternative is impossible. Three years of the Civil War, Biafra ran their vehicles with what is now called “illegal” refineries but 50 years after, we have not been able to build “legal” refineries! – Uzor.
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