By Stephen Ubanna
More facts have emerged why the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, which claim to control 80 percent of the 16 local government Areas in Ekiti state lost the November 14, 2018, governorship election to the opposition All Progressive Congress, APC, in the state.
this is because the PDP played into the hands of the APC, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, and the Security agencies with reported and filmed cases of attempted snatching of ballot boxes in polling units linked to APC supporters in some wards leading to the cancellation of some owards’ results and rejection of votes in PDP strongholds.
The situation was said to have been made worse by the unofficial announcement of the election results by Ayodele Fayose, the ruling PDP governor in the state , giving victory to Kolapo Olusola Eleka, the state Deputy governor and the party governorship Candidate . The illegal release of the election results may have forced the Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation, NCC, to close down the state controlled Ekiti Television station where it was aired by Fayose.
He may have taken it upon himself to announce the election results because of lack of trust on the INEC officials believed to be working closely with Kayode Fayemi, a former minister of Mines and Steel Development and the APC governorship Candidate in the election. The Ekiti governor had expected the youths to match out to the streets to protest the result that might be announced by the electoral umpire if it fails to favour Eleka, the PDPD Candidate.
He got it wrong as the people were calm when the election result was eventually released on Sunday, July 15, 2018 by the returning officer, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka, the Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan at the instance of the state REC, showing that Fayemi, the APC Candidate won. The APC Candidate was said to have polled 197,459 votes, spread across the 16 local Areas in the state. The result also shows that he won clearly in 12 out of the 16 local government areas in the state. His closest rival , Eleka of the PDP, was said to have scored 178,121 votes spread across the 16 local government Areas in the state but won convincingly in only four local government Areas: Ado, Ikere,Emure and Efon Alaye.
With the release of the official results giving victory to Fayemi the APC governorship Candidate, and no sskirmishes in any part of the state, Fayose was disappointed. He could not believe that the people could turn their back at him and the PDP at the last minute.An aggrieved Fayose lamented that INEC meant to conduct a ”Free and Fair ” election in the state but the process was hijacked by the police, describing it as a ”national disaster”.
Signs that Eleka would lose the election manifested when the INEC Card reader could not read his PVC in his ward on the election day and the arrest of most of his key supporters and foot soldiers in different parts of the state by the police. The Ekiti governor confirmed that there were reports of snatching of ballot boxes and votes buying at Ado and other local government Areas across the state. He disclosed that the party made several efforts to reach out to the police Authority but they refused to pick their call. The refusal of the police Authority to pick the party calls finally confirmed to him that Eleka had lost the election to Fayemi of the APC. Fayemi described the victory as ‘light over darkness”. Already, President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling APC has declared that with the outcome of the Ekiti governorship election,”PDP will never win an election in any state of Nigeria from now on”. He described the party as dead.
But the PDP leadership in the state and at the national level are not ready to let go the APC victory unchallenged at the Elections Tribunal and the Court of Law. It was learnt that the party has started talking with Wole Olanipekun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN , who is expected to assemble a team of legal luminaries to drag INEC, APC and Ibrahim Idris, the Inspector General of police to Court over the Ekiti election.
A s a prelude to heading to the Election Tribunal and the Court, Eleka, the PDP governorship Candidate in the Ekiti election has rejected the official result of the Ekiti governorship election released by Olayinka, the INEC returning officer in the state. The Ekiti deputy governor has told those that care to listen that he won a landslide in the election but was denied victory by INEC and the police.
The PDP governorship Candidate had justified his claims with the allegations of ”intimidation, oppression and inducement by security agents hiding under the cover of maintaining law and order in the state during the governorship election. He claimed that the police and the other security agencies personnel in the state ”aided and abetted APC manipulation of the electoral process which gave the APC Candidate the alleged victory.
He described the Ekiti governorship election as having been” hijacked by political desperados leveraging on Federal might to pervert the electoral process, subvert the will of the people and viciously steal the mandate willingly and freely given to him on a massive scale by the people”.
An embittered Eleka insists that he won the governorship election by receiving 70 percent of the votes cast in all the local government Areas of the state. The PDP governorship Candidate may have spoken the mind of Fayose, the state governor, when he said the result bandied about by INEC was falsified to give victory to the APC governorship Candidate, Fayemi. He alleged that INEC had allowed late voting by APC supporters in hideouts in the state because they were acting out a script of the Presidency to give victory to the APC Candidate in the election.
He fears that what had happened in the Ekiti governorship election is a bad signal to what would happen in the next governorship election in Osun state and the 2019 general election. But Buhari has said there was no cause for alarrm. Nothwithstanding Presidential assurance of a free and fair election in the 2019 general election,, former President Olusegun Obasanjo had drummed it to the ear of people that the 2019 general election is not going to be a” tea party”.