Jubilation and knocks have trailed the result of the governorship election in Ekiti, in which Mr. Kayode Fayemi, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and immediate past minister of Mines and Steel Development, polled 197,459 votes to defeat Prof. Olusola Eleka of the Peoples Democratic Party who got 178,121 votes.
The PDP and Olusola-Eleka, yesterday, rejected the results, saying it did not reflect the true outcome of the poll.
Olusola-Eleka justified his claim by citing allegations of intimidation, oppression and inducement by security agents which he said aided and abetted manipulation of the electoral process.
He described the alleged manipulation of the poll as “most audacious electoral robbery of our recent history”, which he said “shall not stand.”
He alleged further that APC rigged the poll by leveraging on its well-advertised but patently obnoxious and anti-democratic federal might to intimidate, harass, victimise, oppress and brutalise PDP leaders, members and the voting public all over the state.
“You are all aware of the unfortunate and dangerous events of the past 24 hours, in which our governorship election was hijacked by political desperadoes leveraging on “federal might” to pervert the electoral process, subvert the will of Ekiti people, and viciously steal the mandate willingly and freely given to me on a massive scale by our people. PDP and I won the election overwhelmingly, receiving more than 70 per cent of lawful votes cast and winning in almost all of the state’s 16 local government areas. I therefore reject the falsified results being bandied by the Independent National Electoral Commission, which purportedly gave the election to the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi,” he said.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja shortly after INEC declared Fayemi winner, yesterday, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the outcome as “a daylight robbery, a brazen subversion of the will of the people and direct assault on our democracy.”
Ologbondiyan stated that judging from the results from the polling centres across the state, it was obvious Olusola-Eleka won with a “comfortable margin.”
He said the party was collating all the infractions in the election, and would make public its next step to retrieve its mandate in Ekiti, soon.
“The PDP has the details of all the polling units where we won, mostly with very wide margin ahead of the APC, only for the security agencies to chase away our agents, then aid the alteration and swapping of such results with those smuggled in by the APC at the collation centres. We have the detail of the discrepancies between the authentic results from the polling units and the false figures eventually announced by INEC.”
The opposition spokesman further stated that all the issues the party raised ahead of the elections, including the alleged conspiracy between the APC, compromised electoral and security agencies, as well importation of thugs and falsification of results all played out in the election.
“There is no way our democracy can survive with an electoral process as witnessed in Ekiti State under President Muhammadu Buhari and the current INEC leadership.
“This bare-faced subversion of the will of the people is a clear recipe for crisis and we invite Nigerians and the international community to hold President Buhari, the APC, the INEC chairman and heads of security agencies in Nigeria responsible should there be any breakdown of law and order in Ekiti state as a result of this election.
“This robbery of the franchise of Ekiti people is a horrible rape of our democracy and it is most uncharitable that it could happen under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari as well as the participation of the APC, who hugely benefitted from the credible electoral process midwifed by the PDP in 2015,” Ologbondiyan said.
In spite of PDP’s outrage, President Buhari described the result as a hard-fought victory after a dignified campaign.
A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, urged Fayemi and the APC members to be magnanimous in victory as the incoming administration prepared to unfold a new lease of life for the people of Ekiti State through purposeful and responsible governance.
While commending the people of the state for their mature and peaceful conduct, Buhari also lauded INEC for adequate preparations and display of impartiality throughout the process as well as the security agencies for creating the right atmosphere for the relatively peaceful conduct of the polls. President Buhari also commended local and international observers and monitors for their vigilance and contributions towards the relatively hitch-free exercise.
He appealed to all stakeholders in Ekiti State to work towards a successful transition to a new administration in the higher interest of not only the state but the entire nation and its fledgling democratic experience.
“In all this, the people of Ekiti State have spoken loud and clear, and democracy has won again,” he said.
Alsoreacting, the APC said Fayemi’s victory is a rejection of “crude politics” by Ekiti electorate.
The party said the people voted Fayemi because they trusted his ability to deliver on his campaign promises.
“The APC congratulates Dr. Kayode Fayemi, our party’s candidate, on his election as the governor of Ekiti state,” a statement by Bolaji Abdullahi, spokesman of the APC, said.
“The party notes that Dr. Fayemi ran an effective and positive campaign focused on his agenda of rebuilding the economy of the state and returning its lost values of integrity, prudence and decency.
“The party commends the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies, local and international observers, as well as other stakeholders, for their admirable role in making the Ekiti gubernatorial election one in which the people’s will has prevailed.
“We thank the Ekiti electorate for voting en masse for our party’s candidate. This is a demonstration of their trust and confidence in Dr. Kayode Fayemi’s ability to deliver on his campaign promises and a rejection of the crude politics of the PDP.
“We assure the people of Ekiti, and indeed all Nigerians, that our party is best placed to move the country forward and resolve the seemingly intractable problems that have held us back.”
However, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, said what transpired at the poll was the worst political robbery in the nation’s democratic history.
Governor Wike said the APC-led Federal Government will not be able to replicate the Ekiti political robbery in Rivers State because Rivers people werefully prepared.
He spoke yesterday, at the Anglican Cathedral Church of Saint Paul’s, Port Harcourt, during the thanksgiving service to mark the end of third year anniversary celebration of his administration.
“Don’t be worried about what happened in Ekiti State. We are prepared. It will not happen here in Rivers State.
“I have never experienced that kind of robbery in politics. I told my colleagues, do not give them any chance. Most of them in APC are happy that they will repeat the same thing in Rivers State. We are waiting, come and repeat. Let your spirit not be down, work hard and victory will be ours,” he assured.
He said the third year anniversary offered Rivers people the opportunity to witness the superlative performance over the period under the review.
“We made sure that people, who have eyes see what we have done for the state. Except those who are blind, for which there is nothing we can do about it. We will continue to do the best for the people of Rivers State. The people deserve the best. This one year, we will not stop doing projects, irrespective of the elections,” he declared.
In his sermon, Archbishop of Province of Niger Delta, Most Rev. Ignatius Kattey, lauded Wike for outstanding developmental strides, saying that Rivers governor has graduated from “Mr. Projects” to “Dr Projects.”
Co-Adjutor Bishop of Anglican Diocese of Niger Delta North, Rt. Reverend Wisdom Ihunwo, prayed God to continue to bless the Wike administration for the realisation that its source of strength is from above.
Reacting to the victory, the Buhari Support Organisation (BSO), Enugu State chapter, predicted that the wind of Fayemi’s victory would sweep across South-East in 2019.
In a statement signed by the state secretary, Godwin Onwusi, BSO praised the people of Ekiti State for withstanding all forms of intimidation from Governor Fayose who it claimed wanted to foist his deputy, Olusola-Eleka.
“The people of Ekiti State have chosen light instead of darkness, which typified the reign of PDP in Ekiti State. Ekiti State used to be known as the fountain of knowledge. But, under the reign of PDP, the state recorded the poorest performance in WAEC and NECO examinations.
“Rather than improve the fallen standard of education, Fayose wittingly denied teachers their salaries and resorted to hand outs, which he dubbed stomach infrastructure. Now, the people of Ekiti State have refused to be deceived. By voting for Fayemi, the people have chosen massive human capital and critical infrastructure development than stomach infrastructure. Ekiti wisely has keyed into the laudable objective of the Economic Recovery and Growth (ERGP) of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration at the federal level,” the group said.
While commending INEC for conducting a free, fair and transparent election, the group said with the victory, Ekiti have joined other states of the South-West in the progressives train and by extension, the mainstream of Nigerian politics.
President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki charged the governor-elect to use his second coming to continue the people-centered policies and programmes of his first term, while urging him to also work to grow the state’s economy in order to leave behind a sustainable legacy.
Saraki, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the victory was a sign that the people of the state still have confidence in his ability to provide good governance and render efficient service to the state and its people. He also advised him to maintain his focus on how to bring more development to the state and improve the standard of living of the people.
Saraki also urged INEC, the law enforcement and security agencies, the government and entire electorate to learn some lessons from the Ekiti State gubernatorial election, which has served as a forerunner to the 2019 general elections and ensure that all areas of complaints and inadequacies are corrected before a similar election in Osun State and the 2019 general elections.
“To ensure that the Nigeria people have continued trust and faith in our electoral system, we must continue to work to improve our electoral policies and practices. We must look into the issues that have been identified in this last election to ensure that they are not repeated in the upcoming Osun gubernatorial election, and during the 2019 elections. Definitely, the 2019 elections must be better in all ramifications than the 2015 polls”, he said.