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Politics

ANALYSIS: Fears, Anxiety, Calculations….The Atmosphere ahead of Ekiti 2022 Election

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Ekiti residents are approaching another critical moment the history of the state as they prepare to elect a new governor on June 18, 2022.

POLITICS NIGERIA recalls how Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressive Congress Party (APC) secured 197,459 votes to defeat his closest challenger, Olusola Eleka of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 178,121 votes in 2018.

Fayemi won in 12 of the 16 local government areas in the state while Eleka won in four local governments. It was a remarkable rebound for Fayemi, who as the incumbent governor, was roundly defeated four years earlier by Ayodele Fayose.

On January 26 and 27, 2022, both the APC and PDP selected their flagbearers for the coming election but the two exercises were marked by different controversies.

While Biodun Oyebanji, a former Secretary to the Ekiti State Government, and anointed candidate of Fayemi was announced the winner of the APC primary, Olabisi Kolawole, a former Chairman of the PDP, and also preferred candidate of Ayo Fayose emerged as the candidate of the opposition.

The development led to a reaction from the Coalition of Ekiti State Civil Society Organisations (COESCSOs) which described the processes as ‘games of godfathers’.

“Watching from an elevated neutral position, the process was devoid of violence and allowed delegates to freely make their choices. Its conclusion of the involvement of godfathers apparently creates a milieu of self- contradiction,” the group said in a statement.

Nonetheless, both the candidates are currently touring the state and campaigning among mammoth crowds. POLITICS NIGERIA findings, however shows that the campaigns are marked by fear, anxiety, uncertainty as parties churn out propaganda as messages.

But the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has on several occasions expressed its readiness to conduct a credible, free and fair polls.

For the PDP, it has always been a battle for the strong and swift right from allegations of vote-buying at the primaries. This was why Biodun Olujimi, a senator representing Ekiti South and serial governorship aspirant said Fayose compromised the processes.

In addition, former governor Segun Oni, who also contested said the delegates’ register was mutilated and many delegates’ names were missing from the register.

However, the party’s reconciliation committee headed by former Senate President, David Mark, has been saddled with the burden of reconciling aggrieved parties and the issues arising from the primaries.

To ensure the grievances of aspirants who lost out in the election does not affect PDP in June, the nine-member committee including Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde; former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara; Zainab Kure; Charles Akitoye; Sergeant Awuse; Bala Mande; Shuaibu Oyedokun; and Sanusi Daggash (Secretary) are working to reconcile the aggrieved members.

On the other hand, APC is battling with two groups. While there is a group under the banner of South West Agenda for Asiwaju 2023 (SWAGA) led by a former senator, Dayo Adeyeye, there is another group consisting of Ekiti State APC executives and they are largely supporting Fayemi.

The SWAGA team has rejected outcome of the APC primary, which produced Fayemi’s candidate, saying it fell short of democratic standards. The governor’s camp on the other hand are insisting that the primary was the best option for the party’s internal democracy.

As both parties struggle to solve their in-house challenges, the elected candidates are also making moves to pacify their friends and enemies to broker a truce over the rancour arising from the primaries. It is another game for Fayose and Fayemi to show their capabilities in mustering the collective forces of their political parties to win election.

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