THE Ekiti State governor-elect, Mr Ayodele Fayose, on Sunday, said he owed his victory in the election to God and the common man in Ekiti, adding that the results of the election had shown that the people actually love him.
Fayose said the love was evident in his victory in all the 16 local government areas in the state, adding that the people would have long disconnected with him in the eight years he was out in the cold if he was not a man-of-the-people.
“Ekiti people just love me. They love my name. I won the election the day the president came here. You will realise that when I moved my hand up (demonstrating it), the shouting would go up and would come down whenever I brought it down. It is not about giving them money, but I share what I have with them.
“I am even too poor for that. If I stole money as they were alleging, I would have money to throw around. So we had to manage the little I had and the support from my brother-governors, party agents and others.
“But when they are doing naming ceremony, I would be there. When you are doing eighth-day burial outing, I would sit with them and eat the akara (beans cake). That is why they gave me the title of Osokomole of Ekiti, meaning leader of leaders.”
After a bout of early morning fireworks on Sunday, to hail the winner of Saturday’s governorship election in Ekiti State, following the confirmation of his electoral victory by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), further reprieve came to the state when Governor Kayode Fayemi, in a broadcast to the people of the state, conceded defeat and congratulated Fayose.
Governor Fayemi, in the broadcast aired on the state news media, said he “has no option but to accept the result of the election and congratulate Fayose if, indeed, the outcome of the election is the will of the Ekiti people.”
While paying compliments to Fayemi for being gracious in defeat by congratulating him, Fayose demonstrated his magnanimity in victory by saying the outgoing governor and other former governors arrayed against him in the election would remain his leaders.
He called for their support in moving Ekiti State forward, adding that he would make conscious efforts to reach out to everyone, irrespective of political party affiliation.
Fayemi had, in the broadcast, said he had spoken with Fayose, congratulating him on his victory, adding that he would be meeting the governor-elect “to fashion out ways to institute a smooth transition programme.”
Fayemi, who described the election as “a hard fought one,” noted that “despite party affiliations, Ekiti people should see themselves as one.”
While conceding that Ekiti people had decided, Fayemi said “the record of performance of my administration would continue to be a reference point in the history of the state,” stressing that he had “succeeded in raising the bar of excellence in governance.”
He said: “Yesterday, Ekiti State decided. Following the gubernatorial election held in the Land of Honour, Ekiti State, Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has officially returned the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the election.
“If, indeed, this is the will of the Ekiti People, I stand in deference to your will. If the result of the election is an expression of the voice of our people, we must all heed your voice.
“I have just spoken with my brother, Mr Fayose, congratulating him on his victory. In a few hours from now, I would be meeting with the governor-elect to discuss the future of our dear state and how we would work together to institute a smooth transition programme.
“It has been a hard fought election. As expected, in the course of the campaigns, there were unsavoury episodes as the candidates toured the nooks and crannies of the state to sell ourselves to the people. Elections tend to be highly divisive affairs that often see brother rising against brother.
“Despite our diverse party affiliations and regardless of which way we voted on Saturday, we must remember that we are all sons and daughters of Ekiti State. Ekiti is ours to build together.
“Indeed, a new sociology of the Ekiti people may have evolved. However, the task of understanding how the outcome of this election has defined us as a people will be that of scholars. For us as an administration and a cadre of political leaders in Ekiti State, we have fought a good fight, we have kept faith.
“To members of our party, our campaign team and, indeed, all Ekiti people who defied the siege on our state to
cast their votes for our party, I salute your exemplary courage and doggedness in the face of harassment. Thank you for staying the course.
“The incidences of brazen harassment, intimidation and allied infractions on fundamental human rights, which many of you suffered in the hands of agents of the state, would be documented and communicated to the appropriate authorities, for the records.”
But Fayose, in his address to the people, said “for me, governance is not about big certificates and Phd or SAN. It is about experience. The woman I appointed as Commissioner for Education just came to my office to sign something to take to Abuja and I asked her how we can improve education in the state and after listening to her and seeing she had experience, I appointed her commissioner.
“I built the best market in the state, though I didn’t name it after myself, up till today, the people call it, Fayose market.
“That is why the people call me Senior Advocate of the Masses. Before Baba (Chief Olusegun Obasanjo) removed me in 2006, Ekiti was number one in the South West in education and number six nationally. I also did not seek refund for all the federal roads that I constructed before Obasanjo removed me.
“With due respect to my brother Fayemi, I will win the elections 10 times in a free and fair contest and I am now ready to spear-head the resurgence of PDP in the South-West. But I am being careful with my words, I don’t want to be controversial again. When some of my supporters were singing abusive songs this morning at the campaign head office, I warned them seriously. I asked them what they wanted God to do again. We asked for victory, He gave us, why should we continue to abuse our brothers?
“This election is unusual. After eight years out of power? I had no power to dispense patronage, I had no contract to give, I had no public funds to throw around, yet I won in all the local governments and 158 wards. I appreciate Governor Fayemi for conceding defeat, but there is really nothing to challenge in the outcome.
“Only God knew why He brought me back as governor. That is why when I was declared as the winner at about 4.00 a.m (on Sunday), I took off all my clothes, leaving only the boxer and rolled on the floor for God. I will work with all and love all,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Tribune has learnt that it was the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that directed Governor Fayemi to concede victory and congratulate the winner.
The national publicity secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, confirmed the development but volunteered no details.
A senior party source told the Nigerian Tribune that there was no way Fayemi would take such step without the party.
According to the source, “Do you think he could have taken the step he took without the party’s go-ahead? For your information, the party specifically directed him to concede defeat and congratulate the winner.”
Past incumbent governors like late Chief Adebayo Adefarati of Ondo State and Chief Segun Osoba of Ogun State did not challenge their defeat in court, but none had before now openly congratulated their successors.
Fayose thanks Ekiti people, promises people-oriented government
Fayose has promised people-oriented government when he assumes office.
While addressing newsmen in Ado-Ekiti on Sunday, he also called on the law enforcement agencies to grant unconditional release to those in detention over political crises from the just-concluded electioneering in the state.
Fayose, who addressed the press conference with his deputy-governor elect, Dr Olubunmi Olusola-Eleka ,and the director-general of his campaign, Chief Dipo Anisulowo, dedicated his victory to God and the people of the state and assured the people that his government won’t abandon any projects yet to be completed by Governor Fayemi-led government.
“As leaders, we must learn how to embrace continuity, because playing politics with the lives of the people can destroy any country, but love can keep us together forever as a nation.
“I owe my victory to God and the common man in Ekiti. It will be impossible for me to come back eight years after I left the government without their support,” he said.
He promised to work with Fayemi and Honourable Opeyemi Bamidele, key contestants in the election, to build a virile society that would improve on the well-being of Ekiti.
Fayose said his government would not pursue industrialisation in the next four years, but would place premium on how to empower the people, by patronising local contractors.
“My people will never ask me for money, all they ask from me is how to improve on their well-being.
“I am a grass-roots man. I used to identify with my people. I owe them so dearly and I will continue in this trend.
“This is still Ekiti , the homogenous State that speaks only one language. Four years is very small in the life of any government.
“Fayemi has called me to concede defeat. We will see him tomorrow and let the public know that we are one. Ekiti belongs to us all. A governor only gets a term and Ekiti will remain. Fayemi lost election today because the only thing that is constant in life is change.”
Fayose added that, “I told you during my campaign that this is Ayo Fayose that is older and wiser and who is ready to work with everybody. Fayemi is my brother and he will forever remain so. He has contributed his own quota to the development of this state.
“I also want to state that whoever suffered any loss during the electioneering will be compensated by the government when I assume office”, Fayose said.
He promised that his performance would surpass the one recorded in his first term as the chief executive of the state, because “I want to be Chief Obafemi Awolowo here.” Fayose added that Ekiti is not poor as being erroneously thought in some sections, saying “If I could save N10 billion between 2003 and 2006 during my first term, you can imagine what I would do now. It is the manager that must be careful in the management of industries.”
Fayose added that as much as he would be taking useful advice from indigenes of Ekiti in the disapora, his government would only recognise those who made themselves available in the developmental strides.
PDP congratulates Fayose
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has congratulated Fayose on his electoral victory.
In a statement issued after Fayose’s declaration as winner by INEC early on Sunday, the PDP described his victory at the election as well deserved.
Signed by PDP national publicity secretary, Olisa Metuh, the party also described the Ekiti governorship poll as credible, free and fair, adding that it was an unequivocal statement on the preference of the PDP by the entire people of Ekiti State, nay Nigeria.
Thanking the people of Ekiti State for their support, the PDP urged the governor-elect to ensure an all-inclusive administration that would revamp and reposition the state in line with the manifesto and ideology of the PDP.
Bamidele, Adekunle commend Ekiti people
Labour Party’s governorship candidate in Saturday’s election, Opeyemi Bamidele, expressed appreciation to Ekiti people for their support for him during the election.
In the same vein, the candidate of People’s Party of Nigeria (PPN), Evangelist Gbenga Adekunle, also lauded the people of the state and INEC for the conduct of the polls and congratulated them for the success of the election.
Adekunle told the Nigerian Tribune that “the courage of the people at the election and the preparation by INEC are worth commending and worthy of emulation.”
Bamidele, in a statement made available to newsmen in Ado Ekiti and signed by his media aide, Mr Ahmed Salami, said “as a mature politician, I saw the conduct of the election as scheduled by INEC as a true reflection of true democracy.”
He hailed the INEC and all security agencies involved in the entire process for their roles and for allowing Ekiti people to be involved in the nation’s democratic process.
He especially thanked those from Iyin Ekiti, his home town, for staying by him through his campaign rallies and the election, which assisted him to victory over other political parties in the town.
He said their support was attributable to the tremendous spread and acceptability of Labour Party (LP) across the state, despite being introduced to them in less than five months.
Ekiti election’s success collective, says INEC
The outcome of the June 21 Ekiti governorship election is a collective success and not that of INEC alone, an official said in Abuja on Sunday.
Mr Kayode Idowu, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, said it took the collective involvement and responsibility of all stakeholders to achieve the success.
He told the News Agency on Nigeria (NAN), however, that judging the credibility of the election was not the responsibility of the commission.
Idowu said just as many stakeholders had said, INEC believed the election was credibly conducted.
“We have always said that INEC cannot do it alone, because the task of conducting a credible election is a collective responsibility.
“The way the members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who are not INEC staff handled the election in a transparent manner, as well as the peaceful conduct of the politicians and the political parties who played to the rule, are all part of this.
“It is all commendable. Even the contributions of the media which gave a good coverage, the civil societies, observers, security agencies, as well as members of the public, were commendable.
“From the way things turned out, stakeholders have contributed to make it a success,’’ he said.
Idowu said such co-operation and playing to the rule were what the commission was looking forward to in the subsequent elections, especially the 2015 general elections.
He said INEC believed it would perform better in Osun on Aug. 9 and in the 2015 elections, if given the same co-operation by stakeholders.
“I am very optimistic that INEC will do better in Osun, because we will continue to work to achieve the best.
“Even when the Ekiti election has been viewed to be free and fair, as an electoral body that always aspires, our watchword is to conduct better elections in the future.
“We believe there are certain things we will continue to improve on for the development of our electoral process.
“Ekiti election is an indication that achieving credible elections in 2015 is possible, if given the necessary support by all stakeholders,’’ the INEC Chairman’s Chief Press Secretary said.
On the acceptance of the election by some of the political parties, who were already congratulating the winner, Idowu said the gesture was a good development in the country’s political system.
“It is helpful for the political process of the country, when other parties and candidates are accepting result of elections and congratulating the winner who emerged in an election.
“It shows the kind of sportsmanship that is healthy for the development of our political system and democracy,’’ Idowu said.
Why Fayemi may not go to court
It was learnt that the party leadership decided against litigation, after opinions of senior lawyers close to them were sought and majority not in support.
A senior lawyer, who had held the party’s brief in the past, told the Nigerian Tribune that though some of his colleagues supported litigation, his opinion was that the outcome of the election was too clear to be challenged in court.
The lawyer added that he simply told them that such move would be “a waste of time, resources and energies and we are just going to further boged down an already bogged-down court with needless litigation.”
It was also gathered that Fayemi’s woeful outing at the poll was indicative of the resolve of the electorate to show their disavowal of the alleged indifferent attitudes of the federal lawmakers from the state to their constituents.
A respected elder from the state told the Nigerian Tribune that there was none of the federal lawmakers, both in the Senate and House of Representatives, that could be called an Ekiti man or woman, because they were allegedly not identifying with their people.
According to the elder, “you can’t blame the poor boy, I mean Fayemi. I was shocked he lost in his village. You know I told you the other time we spoke that something was ominous, but we did not expect it to be a landslide.
“Our people are just angry with these people in Abuja, the senators and Representatives members. That was why all of them lost in their domains. Even those who are not politicians are doing something for the people at home.
“A Senator (names withheld) came on the eve of the election and was trying to identify with the people, his own family members chased him out of the family house.
“The other one (names withheld) came a few days to the election and gave a town with 131,000 people with so,so (number concealed) wards, N150,000 to share. Of what effect, would that be? I can just go on and on about the last-minute details that failed us. I really pity the fine young man.”