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 judgment, 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 judgments are judgments in the real sense of the word these days. Judgments, 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. They were too cold and quiet. PDP had gone into the election divided and they came out flustered. Ever before the PDP government ended, it broke into 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 penultimate 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. At a school in the Ado-suburbs, the villagers complained that the school saw teachers once or twice in a week and I told him. Fayemi wondered why this should be so because he gave rural allowance and other incentives to teachers who worked in rural areas as incentives.
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 an arid land devoid of timbers and calibres. Once the PDP one-man Riot Squad was ambushed and overwhelmed by Federal might, the whole PDP structure collapsed like a pack of cards. 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 unlike the APC, they therefore did not prepare for war. If they had done, like the Wikes, the Udoms and Dicksons did in Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Bayelsa, the story would have been different. It certainly would not have been the 16 – 0 they boasted it would be since a lot of water had dried off from the back of their strongman as a result of defections from the PDP to APC, Eleka would still have won – and he did win if rigging was discountenanced. Paying Fayose for the “sins” of 2014 and his outspokenness against the APC and Buhari, 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, Gov. 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 N225m but gets seven years’ imprisonment with option of fine of a measly N42m, do the arithmetic. He still has a windfall of N183m. 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 judgment. After you discount all of these, say N100m, the thief still smiles home with a princely N83m. 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, they nail 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. penultimate 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 themselves – will always have an uphill task on their hands.
Weird happenings all over the place
A Court of Appeal judge reportedly walked into a church and took the law into her hand; allegedly disrupted on-going service and assaulted worshippers – actions even a lay man knew he or she must not engage in, no matter the justness of his or her case. On all fronts, impunity runs amok these days! The other side of the coin, however, is to ask whether the church building in question complied with extant regulations. And what peace efforts were made at both ends? None, I dare to say, is above the law. I always admire the sense of proportion of my sister and professional colleague, Funke Egbemode, President, Nigerian Guild of Editors and MD, New Telegraph newspapers. Usually, she has the right words for an occasion; and so, she aptly described the National Broadcasting Commission shutdown of AIT/Raypower as “unbelievable” I cannot find a better description! Short but sharp – and straight to the point! APC/Buhari administration is full of unbelievable, embarrassing, and shocking actions and statements. This is not the first and is not likely going to be the last. Talk of the leopard being unable – unwilling – to change its skin!
By Bolanle Bolawole