Streets of major towns in Ekiti State yesterday morning, especially within the state capital, erupted in wild jubilations yesterday, as thousands of members and supporters of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Governor-elect Kayode Fayemi, as the Independent National Electoral Commission declare the winner of the July 14 governorship election.
The announcement of the result which lasted all night till rye early hours of yesterday was followed by the declaration by the Returning Officer, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Idowu Olayinka around 8:am in the morning, f Dr Fayemi as the winner of the poll and governor-elect elicited wild jubilation across Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
Supporters of the APC, who gathered in their large numbers across the book and cranny of the ancient town, were seen singing and dancing in celebration of the victory.
Many others were also seen partying and making merry, eating and drinking.
Others also converged at various drinking joints, with several bottles of beer where they jubilated, sang and danced over the results of the election.
The major roads in the state capital like Oke Iyinmi, Old Governor's office, Akure garage, Oja-Oba area and other places in the town, were later filled with members and supporters of the party who were jubilating over the outcome of the result.
Also in Ikere-Ekiti, the home town of the PDP candidate, members of APC were seeing celebrating the victory of their party candidate at the newly constructed round about of the town.
However, expectedly, the camp of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was quiet as the announcement was made yesterday.
Earlier on Saturday, after the results for Here and Ado local government areas were announce, members of the party, who had earlier mobilised themselves to the street of Ado- Ekiti jubilating, retraced their steps when the official result was made the INEC.
However, security was immediately tightened as the results were announced as contingents of the military men patrolled the state capital.
Meanwhile, the governor-elect of Ekiti State, Dr Fayemi, has described his victory in Saturday's governorship election as a victory "for reclaiming the land and restoring Ekiti values.
Speaking shortly after he was declared winner of the poll by INEC in his Isan-Ekiti home, the governor-elect said, "The victory of this election, I believe, is for reclaiming the land and restoring the values of our people.
"Our values in Ekiti are respect for our leaders, commitment to our people, non-brigandage, nor criminality and so on.
"This victory is a victory for all, it is not a victory for only Gov. Kayode Fayemi, it is a victory for all the people of Ekiti."
Fayemi also described his victory as significant to the future of democracy in Nigeria.
He added, "This was just not an Ekiti election, I want people to understand that this election has a lot of significance to the future of democracy in Nigeria.
"The fact that we have witnessed a free, fair and transparent election process has huge importance for similar exercises like Osun State next door to us and eventually the national elections in February 2019."
He expressed profound appreciation to all APC leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari, APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former governor of Ogun, Chief Segun Osoba, former interim National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, as well as party leaders in the state.
He also thanked his family members, especially his wife, Bisi, for their support during the election campaign.
Fayemi said that his "victory is to the resilient people of Ekiti State whose brightness and hope never dimmed in the face of untold hardship and all forms of indignity under the PDP leadership who have ruled them like a conquered people.
"As a survival strategy, our people were forced to hail them on the streets all in a bid to survive. They brandished this as a mark of approval, validation and popularity with our people. Ekiti Kete, this is not just a day of our victory through the ballot. This is indeed the day of the liberation of Ekiti land.
"Our collective rescue mission and the audacious dream to reclaim our land and restore our values have attained a new height on the journey to full realization."
He added that as the October 16 handover date approaches, he assured he would hit wait till then to bring succour to the people of Ekiti, adding a Transition Committee would be set up in due course.
He said, "We will proactively explore all avenues within the limits of the law, especially through the Transition Committee to ensure the outgoing administration prioritises the payment of the backlog of salaries to all categories of workers and pensioners."
Ekiti State APC chairman, High Chief Jide Awe, could not contain his happiness when LEADERSHIP visited him in his office in Ado Ekiti.
Chief Awe expressed gratitude to God for making the victory possible. He also thanked the people of Ekiti State for their support for the APC, promising that the APC will not disappoint them.
He also thank INEC for their non-partisan role in the success of the poll.
He said, "It is to the glory of the Almighty God, so all the adoration goes to Him. Ekiti people also deserve commendation for their support. We shall not dissapointed them and we won't betray the trust they reposed on us. We also appreciate the security agencies for their service to fatherland. They remained steadfast in the face of serial provocation."
The APC Youth Leader in Ekiti, while reacting to the success of his party, Sir Femi Ogundare, told LEADERSHIP, said it is a victory for the "liberation of all sons and daughters of Ekiti State, both home and abroad from slavery.
"It is also a victory to correct the bad impression of Ekiti that the incumbent administration has given the state outside of the state, across.
"It is also a victory for the continuity of the good works that APC started in 2010."
Also, former National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Prince Adedayo Adeyeye, has also congratulated Dr Fayemi on his emergence as Ekiti governor elect.
While praying for Ekiti people to never go through the harrowing experience of the past three and half years in the hands of the incumbent administration, the former Minister of State for Works said that Fayemi's victory has changed the narratives in Ekiti State, adding that may selfish and demonic people like Governor Fayose never lead the state again.
He said, "Glory be to God for the emergence of Dr Fayemi as the elected governor of Ekiti State. His victory has changed the narratives of Ekiti State.
"It signifies the end of the reign of the Pharaoh of Ekiti State. Fayose was selfish and demonic and by the grace of God, that sort of person shall never reign in the state again."
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, NCSSR, under the leadership of Clement Nwankwo, has commended INEC, the police and the people of Ekiti State for the peaceful manner the Ekiti election was conducted.
Nwankwo said that INEC has improved on the conduct of previous elections, while the police have displayed high level of professionalism and Ekiti people have displayed maturity in the mannerbthey conducted themselves during and after the election.
The NCSSR we're recommended as follows after reviewing the reports of its monitors: 4 more civil security approach for future elections, in spite of the current challenges confronting the nation.
It also condemned in string terms the "worrying trend of vote buying, escalated to desperate levels, with the major political parties sharing blames."
It added that this trend portends grave danger to Nigeria's democracy, "as it undermines the responsibility of citizens to freely choose their leaders and threatens the essence of democracy."
Nwankwo said, "Vote buying represents a major setback to the gains made with Nigeria's electoral process and denies citizens the power to hold elected official accountable and responsive to the needs and aspirations of Nigerians.
"Vote buying is also a threat to the emergence of women as elected representatives with the increasing cost of electoral politics.
While calling for urgent legislative action and law enforcement to tackle the challenge of vote buying in Nigeria's elections, the Situation Room calls on Ekiti citizens to remain peaceful while urging all persons aggrieved with the outcome of the election to follow the legal process in seeking remedies.
The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room and Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA)stated this yesterday in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital.
In the same vein, another CSO, the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement, YIAGA, speaking through it chairman, Husdaini Abdu and executive director, Samson Itodo, said urgent steps must be taken to curtail the ugly development of Vite buying as it could rubbish our democracy.
YIAGA said, "The incidence of vote buying and voter inducement during elections undermines political legitimacy and makes a mockery of our democracy.
"This ugly trend must be abated ahead of subsequent elections. INEC should take intentional steps to protect the secrecy of the ballot to enforcing her electoral guidelines.
"The security agencies should device new strategies for detecting and apprehending individuals or groups involved in vote buying and selling during elections."
It called on stakeholders like INEC, NOA, and CSOs to engage in robust advocacy against vote buying.
It added that all political parties and their candidates should be encouraged to promote issue-based participation at elections.
While disclosing that affirming that the official results reflect the ballot cast at the polling unit according to its findings, the group said, "YIAGA AFRICA called on Dr Fayemi to be magnanimous in victory. For those candidates who did not win, we urged them to accept the results because they reflect the votes cast. We call on all candidates, political parties and all Nigerians to show political maturity and to maintain the peace."