16 July 2018

Nigeria: Ekiti State Election - We Are Winners

Mni — Yours comradely urges the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Kolapo Olusola, to accept the outcome of the concluded Ekiti election just as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Kayode Fayemi, must be less triumphant and magnanimous in victory following the weekend contested election in Ekiti State. Indeed, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Kolapo Olusola must accept the outcome of the election just as All Progressives Congress candidate, Kayode Fayemi, accepted the outcome of the election in 2014, when he lost to governor Fashoye. I recall with nostalgia how Dr Kayode Fayemi of APC generously conceded victory in 2014.

What made the then Ekiti election a resounding success was the unprecedented acceptance of the result by the defeated incumbent Governor, His Excellency, Dr Kayode Fayemi of APC. In a statement Governor Fayemi said, "If indeed this is the will of the Ekiti people, I stand in deference to your will. If the result of the elections is an expression of the voice of our people, we must all heed your voice". He also addded that; "I have just spoken with my brother, Mr Peter Ayodele Fayose, congratulating him on his victory. In a few hours from now, I would be meeting the Governor-elect to discuss the future of our dear state and how we would work together to institute a smooth transition programme."

With this singular concession Dr Kayode Fayemi changed the narrative of Nigerian electoral process from that of open ended political attrition to political cooperation, from permanent contestation to solidarity for peace and development. Dr Fayemi was as much a winner as the official winner, candidate of the People's Democratic Party, PDP, Mr Ayodele Fayose, himself a former governor of Ekiti State from 29 May 2003 to 16 October 2006. I could hardly see any loser.

Indeed, we are all winners if Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Kolapo Olusola, accepts the outcome of the concluded Ekiti election just as the All Progressives Congress candidate, Kayode Fayemi did in the past.

I congratulate my brother and friend, Dr. John Fayemi the winner in the election. Certainly the real victory goes to Ekiti people who notwithstanding intense partisan campaign made wise choice in an election globally adjudged to be transparent, free and fair. The successful conclusion of Ekiti gubernatorial elections can be attributed to the electoral maturity and patriotism of the 700,000 electorate of Ekiti state.

As a matter of fact I recommend Ekiti electorate patriotism for voters in other states. I also commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under the Chairmanship of Professor Mahmood Yakubu for the successful conduct of the Ekiti State governorship election on Saturday July 15, 2018. I also commend all the actors namely, the contestants, political parties and security agents, the union members, market women, students, traders, professional bodies, applicants and people from all walks of life for the peaceful conduct of the election.

I agree with National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who charged the Governor-elect of Ekiti state, John Kayode Fayemi not to embark on a revenge mission as he assumes the reins of governance, urging him to, instead, concentrate his energy on repositioning the state for progress. The new Governor elect, Dr. John Fayemi must galvanize other contestants for the development of Ekiti. The point cannot be overstated; the Governor elect should be less triumphant than he should be accommodating of all great people of Ekiti State including those who contested against him. The close contest must impress on the winner to ensure inclusive governance to move Ekiti and Nigeria forward.

I commend the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to democracy and rule of law as evidenced by his remarkable mix of statesmanship and partisanship with an eye on non-interference in the electoral process and above all guarantee of adequate security. The successful conduct of elections in Nigeria shows that democracy is being consolidated in Nigeria. In Ekiti Nigeria had a healthy contest not a conquest. The beauty of democracy lies in healthy contest that manifested in INEC figures.

To the extent that INEC succeeds, regardless of party affiliations, we are all winners in institution building. Building institutions calls for perseverance, trials and errors. Increasingly INEC seems to be getting it right. It needs our encouragement. With many participating political parties that fielded candidates for a state election, conducted in over 100 Registration Areas and thousands of polling units in Ekiti State, Nigeria is fast proving to be a democracy destination. On the whole a good number of eligible voters registered and voted at the concluded election.

Of course there was a sufficient devil in pre-elections election details which hopefully are being compiled by independent monitors. They included allegations and counter-allegations of intimidations, lack of level playing field, overwhelming security presence! But as we have seen if there was the will by all the political actors, there will always be the way. There was indeed the will on the part of INEC, and indeed INEC apparently overcame some of the challenges. At the end there was a contest, some battle of ideas with some dysfunctional personalisation of political discourse. But on the whole votes counted which reflected some democratic contest. Refreshing is the fact that there is even overwhelming Godliness in the post-election outcomes; no house burning, killings and mayhems.

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