Ekiti 2019: Why PDP succumbed to comprehensive defeat
Apart from the intractable crises that bedeviled the party, which led to Fayose openly campaigning against his party’s senatorial candidate, Senator Biodun Olujimi before the February 23 presidential and National Assembly polls, a lot of other factors aided the defeat of the party in the state.
Lack Of Preparation /Leadership Deficit
WHEREAS, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) started campaigns despite its obvious advantage of being in power both at the state and the centre, the opposition PDP was not only in deep slumber, there was no father figure to lead the campaigns.
For instance, while the APC appointed the septuagenarian deputy governor of Ekiti, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, an accomplished politician to be in charge of the campaign, coordinating other APC campaign council members, the same could not be said of the PDP.
The Chief campaigner of the PDP, Prof Kolapo Olusola, erstwhile Deputy Governor was not a politician. On the other hand, the wife of the governor, Bisi Fayemi was reaching out to the women in every local government area of the state.
The PDP candidates were doing the campaign by themselves and in most cases using personal resources. The money they expected from the presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, it was learnt, did not get to the candidates before the election. It was even alleged by impeccable source privy to the source of the money, that it was diverted.
Given this state of affairs, the campaign materials for the presidential candidate such as posters, billboards and adverts/jingles were very scanty.
In fact, apart from few billboards erected by Olujimi and the senatorial candidate of the party in the Ekiti Central, Obafemi Adewale, there was no single billboard from the campaign council inaugurated by Fayose.
On the leadership deficit, while it remains incontrovertible fact that Fayose is popular in the state, he did not lend the support needed by the candidates of the party during the campaigns.
Contrary to expectations, the former governor never followed any of the candidates to the field to campaign so as to tap from his popularity.
However, he booked space on the radio and social media to ask people not to vote for Olujimi, thereby robing his party of victory.
Fayose returned to Ekiti State from Lagos three days to the February 23 elections, and a mammoth crowd received him at Ikere Ekiti, the second most populous community in the state.
The question begging for answer was; why he chose to come so late. What if he had spent two weeks to tour the 16 local governments in support of his party’s candidates? Some analysts are of the opinion that either the former governor overestimated his popularity and that of their party, or he deliberately undermined the candidates.
Capturing The Voting Blocs
IN Ekiti State, there are voting blocs that win votes for candidates. They include teachers and other civil servants, the non-formal sector, which can be subdivided into the artisans – National Union of Road Transport Workers, Okada Riders and market women and the elites don’t vote much in the state. They are known for their aloofness.
During the Fayose era, the category of people highlighted above, were not only under his firm grip, but they were emotionally attached to him.
However, as soon as he left the saddle, the new governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who apparently has learnt his lesson from the 2014 defeat, courted and won a sizable number of these people to his side.
For instance, he held a meeting with the school teachers in the state at Ekitiparapo Pavilion, where he not only admitted that mistakes were made in his first tenure, which led to no love lost between the teachers and himself, he publicly apologised. This is coupled with the fact that he has been paying their salary arrears, as well as other allowances.
What is more, the wife of the Governor has not only warmed herself to the market women, she has given them ‘goodies’ that appears to have dwarfed the stomach infrastructure of Fayose era. Although some of these people may not have been swayed by the new disposition of the Governor, but the numbers are not enough to give victory to PDP.
Vote Buying /Other Intrigues
IN Ekiti South senatorial district and in particular, Olujimi’s Ekiti East, she had a sizable number of voter population to her advantage when compared to her rival, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, who is from Ise /Orun local government, considered to be smaller in population.
However, the House of Representatives’ candidate of APC, who is now Rep Member-elect, Femi Bamisile is from the same town with Olujimi.
Therefore, before the election, there was unwritten agreement between the two political parties in the local government to cooperate in what was coded 2-1. The ‘2’ signifies your presidential candidate and your Rep as for APC, while for the PDP it is your presidential candidate plus your Senator.
The ‘1’ on the other hand, indicate voting Olujimi if you are of APC, while it implies voting Bamisile, if you are supporters of PDP. But it was learnt that while the PDP loyalists adhered strictly to this unwritten code, the APC observed it in breach.
Before Olujimi got to know the state of things regarding the agreement, voting was almost over. This accounts for why she won narrowly in her local government, while Adeyeye took charge of his own local government by winning over 90 percent of the votes.
On the vote buying, which characterised the election, while the APC was able to grease the palms of voters with N5, 000 in some places and even higher amounts in areas considered ‘tough’, the PDP candidates, with the exception of Olujimi and Adewale appeared to have conceded defeat before the voting day, as it was observed that they did not release ‘logistics money’ to their foot soldiers.
The implication of this was that, many of the agents of the PDP might have sold out by doing the bidding of the rival APC to compromise the election, since loyalty, they say, is not blind.
In many areas visited during the election, it could be observed that PDP agents were indifferent to alleged infractions that they should have ordinarily kicked against.
INEC Recruitments Of Ad-hoc Staff
ALTHOUGH the usual practice by the Independent National Electoral Commission was for it to engage NYSC members as Ad-hoc staff for election, possibly because they are considered as non-partisan group, it was observed during a meeting with the Ad-hoc staff on the eve of the rescheduled presidential and National Assembly polls at the INEC headquarters, in Ado Ekiti, that many of those recruited were not corp members.
Some of them were students of tertiary institutions in the state, while some were civil servants and possibly party loyalists.
The question was, whether all the political parties were privy to this arrangement. While it was believed that NYSC members could be insulated from partisanship, the same could not be said of students and civil servants.
Notwithstanding the reasons highlighted above, which could have led to the crushing defeat of the PDP by the ruling APC in all the elections, some political observers in the state said the defeat suffered by the state chapter of the PDP was a mere history repeating itself.
For instance, in 2014 after Fayose trashed the then incumbent Governor Fayemi of the APC with the famous 16 – 0, meaning that the incumbent lost in all the 16 local governments in the state, PDP won all six House of Representatives seats and the three Senate seats.
What was more, the party won all the 26 state Assembly seats. So what this implies is that the party that controls the government of the state wins other elections.
With the defeat and the cries that had factionalised the PDP and left it in tatters, coupled with the nomadic nature of many politicians who appear not to be concerned about party ideologies but things of the stomach, certainly the party faces uncertain future in Ekiti State.
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