Posted By: Samuel Adesanya
Renowned German political philosopher Friedrich Engels once stated that all a politician needs to prosecute a successful battle is good tactics, as well as strategic and dialectical thinking. But, Assistant Editor SINA FADARE reports that Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose, who had a good outing in the 2014 governorship election, got his strategy wrong during the recent election, thereby failing to produce successor in the Fountain of Knowledge.
THE recent governorship election in Ekiti has come and gone. But, the contest will remain a reference point for a long time to come. Since Governor Ayodele Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his protégé, Deputy Governor Kolapo Olusola, lost the election, it has been a subject of debate in beer parlours, on the streets and in the social media.
Like any other contest, there is always a winner and a loser. Ironically, in this part of the globe, losers are not always happy to accept defeat and work towards the next election. But, rather, stones and pebbles are thrown everywhere by such losers, especially to those who do not appear to sympathise with their failures. Their position is always that everyone who does not see things from their point of view has been bought.
Governor Fayose’s name was not on the ballot, but he put up a good fight, by deploying the entire available arsenal in his armoury to execute the political battle. But unfortunately he lacked the needed tactics and political sagacity to achieve the desired result.
German political philosopher, Friedrich Engels, believes that a politician needs tactics, strategic and a dialectical thinking when prosecuting a political war. But Fayose who had a good outing in 2014 got his strategy wrong in the just concluded election.
During his first media appearance, immediately after he was declared as the winner of 2014 election, Fayose in his popular hotel in Ado-Ekiti, Spotless, threw banter to Prof. Olusola who was sitting on his left side: “Look, l picked you as my deputy, when l am going at the end of my four-year tenure, you are going with me. You cannot have any political ambition. l am now telling you from day one in the presence of everybody that you will go with me when l am done.”
Ironically the prediction came to pass. From day one in office, Fayose carried himself in a manner that will not allow him the privilege to pick a successor at the end of his tenure. Immediately he became the governor, he went imperial and the reality was what came home to roost on election day, July 14, 2018.
The Afao Ekiti-born politician shut down all opposition, even within the ruling party, such that anybody that did not see things from his point of view is labelled an enemy. This made those who could have genuinely assisted him to make the party unassailable in the state to leave the fold.
The first blunder he committed on assumption of office was ignoring notable party members who assisted him in winning the 2014 election in the appointment of commissioners and special advisers. He later repeated the same blunder when he influenced the emergence of members of the state House of Assembly without any input from stakeholders. The people of Ado Ekiti were amused that Temitope Fasanmi (Ado Constuency 2), popularly known as ‘Paso Osoko’, a man who does not understand what a bill is all about, got one of the House of Assembly slots, because he is the governor’s political stooge.
Similarly, Fayose also lost the election the day he single-handedly raised Olusola’s hand as the anointed candidate of the party, without allowing any other member of the PDP to have any input. He was perhaps carried away with the euphoria of his 2014 victory.
After this inglorious anointing, some of his foot soldiers, like Owoseni Ajayi from Ise, Sunday Akinniyi aka ‘Gbosa’ from Ikere and Cyril Fasuyi from Ido Ekiti, were forced to abandon him in the storm of his political battle.
The fallout from the party’s kangaroo primary, which Fayose organised, pitched many faithful who had been in the fold for long against the party. Those who cannot abandon the party for one reason or the other stayed within to work against him, while others with a considerable political followership fled to the APC.
One of such faithful, Senator Abiodun Olujimi, had been pushed out the party a long time ago, while Senator Fatima Raji-Rasaki took her time to abandon her party at the last minute, to join the APC with all her followers. Within the space of three years, Fayose had lost majority of his able soldiers, like Prince Dayo Adeyeye, Olujimi and Owoseni Ajayi (his former attorney) among others.
The way he picked Olusola was the way he single-handedly picked the PDP candidate’s running mate, Deji Ogunsakin. That decision did not also go down well with his party members, particularly Tosin Aluko, one of his loyal aides in Ado Ekiti. She took her time to strike and paid Fayose back in his own coins, by turning against him when it mattered most.
The way APC approached the election also helped it in winning the contest. For instance, the choice of the Deputy Governor-elect, Mr. Bisi Egbeyemi, as Fayemi’s running mate was strategic, because it ensured that Ado Ekiti, which has the highest voting population, was shared between the two major parties. The defection of Adeyeye and Ajayi to APC after the PDP primary should have served as a warning to Fayose that Ise/Orun Local Government that it will be difficult for his party to win the council. Nevertheless, the PDP eventually won the local government with only 100 votes; a block vote was earlier predicted from the council.
Ikere, the home turf of Olusola was also expected to deliver a bulk vote. But two aggrieved former PDP members from the council, Hon. Akinniyi and Afuye, put in frantic efforts to teach the PDP flag bearer and his boss a political lesson.
Besides, the issue of Fayose’s truce with the Olukere of Ikere remained his political albatross. Historically, Ikere Ekiti has two kings, namely Ogoga and Olukere. Instead of conducting himself like a true son of Ekiti, by respecting tradition, Fayose allegedly detained the monarch in prison for 54 days.
A source in the ancient city said those who were on the side of the king kept quiet, so that they will not be dealt with. However, they waited patiently for the day of election to vent their anger on both Olusola and his boss, by voting them out of power.
Another factor was the fact that Fayose was engaged in too many fights on different political fronts and did not realise that all those who should have assisted him have gone because of his dictatorial tendencies. This, in no small way, contributed to his defeat at the poll.
Fayose also committed another political blunder during the local government election when he single-handedly selected all the chairmen, councilors and supervisors. The Nation also gathered that all the political office holders at the local government level were not given a free hand to operate, particularly the chairmen who cannot point to anything they have done for their respective community since inception.
Similarly, the governor lost the support of civil servants, who backed him in 2014. This is because they were owed about six months’ salary. To make matters worse, during the campaign, he told them that he preferred to complete all the projects he was working on, rather than paying their salary and that since government is a continuum his anointed candidate will settle the salary arrears when he takes over.
This singular act pitched him against the workers, particularly because there was hunger in the land. To add insult to injury, three days to the election, Fayose allegedly transferred N3,000 to the account of some of these workers, to enable them attend his last political rally. This act eventually backfired and worked against him on D-day, because he could not harness the block votes he expected from them, like 2014 election.
The administration also incurred the wrath of the populace with the recently introduced tax for children in private schools and for every cow slaughtered in the state. Parents are expected to pay between N500 to N1000 per child, while meat sellers were compelled to pay N1000 on every cow killed. All these unpopular policies were a good arsenal for the APC campaign team.
Realising that he was fighting a losing battle, Fayose introduced a last minute joker, which is the job he offered 2000 applicants. But it backfired and the APC campaign used it to nail his political coffin. The application form did not have the logo of the state, just as there was no column for the position being sought by the applicant, but it had a column for details of the applicant’s permanent voter’s card (PVC), ward and polling unit. This was clearly seen as a scam by many discerning residents of the state, more so because it was distributed to PDP members only.