Last week, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) won the Ekiti State Governorship election in a landslide.
The party won 15 out of 16 local governments, breaking a 23years jinx in the state. With the victory, that is the first time transition will be happening within the party.
At the return of democracy in 1999, Niyi Adebayo of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) candidate emerged as governor of the state. He was defeated in 2003 by Ayodele Fayose. But Fayose’s tenure was truncated by the impeachment of 2006.
In 2007, Segun Oni was declared the winner but was sacked by the court in 2010 and Kayode Fayemi of Action Congress (AC) was declared the winner. Once again, Mr Fayemi was defeated in the 2014 governorship election by Fayose, who came back to complete his tenure.
By 2018, Fayose failed to install Shola Eleka as his successor, as Fayemi also came back to complete his tenure.
Last week, Mr Fayemi and his anointed successor, Biodun Oyebanji, emerged triumphant amidst rampant vote-buying allegations by some of the major parties.
Mr Oyebanji’s victory also stopped Segun Oni from a comeback. The latter had gone to the Social Democratic Party but he was able to emerge as runner-up handing an embarrassing defeat to the PDP.
The outcome of the election could be linked to factors within and outside the state. There is the fallout from the presidential primaries of PDP and APC, vote-buying and the internal crisis in Ekiti State PDP.
The fallout from PDP primary
At the PDP Presidential primaries, Fayose backed Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State against Atiku Abubakar. However, the former lost to the latter at the convention.
The battle for the presidential ticket of PDP polarised the PDP. With support from Wike, Fayose was able to take over the entire structure in Ekiti, therefore, imposing his candidate.
The influence extended to Kogi West, where Wike and Fayose backed Tajudeen Yusuf against Dino Melaye.
Mr Melaye, an ally of Atiku was defeated in the primary election for Kogi West Senatorial District.
Dino, in his conceding speech, said, “I am very proud to be associated with Atiku Abubakar. A true patriot, consummate humanitarian and passionate unifier. Don’t make a mistake Dino is coming. SDM.”
Although the PDP set up an 81-member campaign council headed by Governor Seyi Makinde, however, the campaign did not get the expected show of solidarity and Atiku also stayed away from the campaign.
Reacting to the loss, Isaac Fayose, the younger brother of ex-governor Fayose blamed conspiracy from in and out of the state for the defeat.
“To the conspirators in Abuja, Southwest Nigeria and Ekiti, we are now on the ground together and it is only God that knows who will rise first,” he had said.
At the APC convention, Governor Fayemi, surprised many when he announced to step down for Tinubu and asked his delegates to vote for the former Lagos State governor.
With the event, there was a cold war between Fayemi and the South-West Agenda (SWAGA), a group led by Dayo Adeyeye and loyal to Tinubu.
Several persons loyal to Tinubu were in a serious battle with Fayemi but the event at the convention changed the situation in favour of Oyebanji, as the entire structure united in Ekiti State.
Tinubu was in Ekiti and used his victory at the convention, drumming support for his party.
There were speculations that Tinubu’s loyalists in APC were ready to back Segun Oni of SDP. However, with Tinubu’s emergence and the role of Fayemi, the united front was the only option.
The internal crisis within the PDP
For three years, Fayose and Abiodun Olujimi battled for the control of PDP in Ekiti. For a while, Olujimi held sway, after the support of Seyi Makinde.
Of recent, the control has been back to Fayose, who used it to impose Bisi Kolawole, forcing Segun Oni to move to SDP.
Unlike Oni that moved, others stayed in the party, but the results of the election, showed that the internal crisis perhaps played a part. Most chieftains in the PDP lost their local governments.
Massive Vote buying and incumbency power
“I am not going to run again because I think any contest now is for the highest bidder and I won’t waste my time and energy,” Wole Oloyede, the ADC governorship candidate at the Ekiti election stated.
The voting buying in Ekiti was glaring as EFCC even made arrests at the election ground. The vote-buying was reportedly perpetrated by most of the parties.
All these factors explain why Oyebanji secured 187, 057 votes to defeat his closest challengers, Oni of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) who polled 82,211, and Kolawole of the Peoples Democratic Party who scored 67, 457 votes