By Wole Olujobi
After a long lull in sophistry usually fuelled by unconscionable ambition and unquenchable thirst to ride rough to power, crass opportunistic politicking returned to town last week consequent upon the Supreme Court verdict giving nod to Dr Kayode Fayemi as the winner of the July 14, 2018 governorship election to lead Ekiti State for the next four years.
A willy pastor and former Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Prof Olusola Eleka, who is also a minion of the erstwhile helmsman of the state, Ayo Fayose, had gone to court on a wild goose chase for power in an unbridled but fruitless enterprise that tasked his pocket, hoping to reap in the plough of misery into which Ekiti people were marooned for four years.
Even though the final verdicts of both the Ekiti people on the July 14 poll and that of courts were hugely expected even by the most cynical critics of the Nigerian justice system, the mafiosi of the Nigerian politics who traffick in mischief quickly clung to the straw and tested our intelligence by selling us a nauseating bull and cock story of a purported election victory that was allegedly denied PDP.
His master, a crack veteran in political merchandising, had earlier led him by the nose, hurling him into the test of will of the judiciary that had since rediscovered her soul. But the Nigerian law and the judiciary that was just discharged from President Muhammadu Buhari’s operating theatre roared into life and flexed its muscle against the vicious traducers of the nation’s law who had, in their desperation, defamed representative governance in the June 21, 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State.
In a judgment by the panel of justices of the new Supreme Court, Fayose and his courtier were humbled by the ferocious force of the Nigerian law with a clear message that the rule of men had gone on sabbatical to allow the rule of law thrive in the country.
But there was a prelude to Ekiti people’s “rebellion” that toppled Fayose and his man after vicious raids on their intelligence, integrity, well-being and values.
In a fashion reminiscent of a pirate-style precision, the ship of Ekiti economy and welfare of her people was assaulted from all directions by Fayose’s malevolent administration, losing so much strength that left the people gaping for breath after 10 months of salary payment defaults while minions in hoods, even in the dark, became the conveyance belts for ferrying public funds for the alleged private use of government leaders while the masses live in the shrieks of pain in empty stomach. Four years on, Ekiti people’s lives and public utilities were left in tatters and ruins.
But in real pains, unlike Fayose’s famed pains, the weak fought back, releasing the last energy in their thumbs to vote for freedom and chase away the heartless compradors in the July 14, 2018 governorship poll. And like notorious bandits that won’t give up easily on their victims, the losers and their political and legal middlemen in post-election banquet turned to the courts in their last ditch hope to hold on to power and keep Ekiti people under fortune in a sustained eddy of mindless plots to defer their hopes and aspirations for eternity in the trading post that Ekiti State had become.
But the freedom secured in courts turned a nightmare for the losers who slid into frenetic, harried and impish attempt at seeking solidarity of all Nigerians into accepting the Abuja-inspired abberation that catapulted them to power in the 2014 electoral heist.
And so buffeted by the existentialist neurosis of the Nigerian audacious politicians who thrive on regular theft on Nigerians’ reasoning, Prof Eleka, apparently overtaken by a convenient collapse of memory or stalked by the venom of crass mischief, in his reaction to the court judgement sought to corral Nigerians into a make-believe scheme to buy into a story only fit for the fools, declaring that though he had accepted the Supreme Court verdict, he was nonetheless denied victory by those he called “vampires and consummate election riggers” that purportedly robbed him of victory.
For him, to be ungenteel is far better than exuding a scholarly conduct that should ordinarily distinguish him from the notoriety of the bland nuances of his mentor.
In the election that Eleka claimed he won, he complained of infractions in more than 900 units. At the trial of his petition, he produced witnesses in less than 50 units.
He had earlier boasted that out of the 18,000 votes declared as voided, almost all the votes were for him. But the tribunal resolved the riddle, ordering a manual recounting of the ballot papers. By the time the exercise was concluded, it was discovered the 15,000 of the 18,000 voided votes ought to go the way of APC.
Pronto, Eleka’s lawyers resorted to a legal somersault, removing prayer for the voided votes and pleaded irregularities in 957 polling units but was able to produce only 40 witnesses all over the state that could not prove his case in 957 units. What a way to win election! What a better way for vampires to deny a man victory in an electoral contest!
For the benefit of hindsight, we draw public attention again to the criminality through which Eleka attained power in 2014 to enable Nigerians draw conclusions between the election in that year and 2018 governorship poll that returned Fayemi to power.
It is public knowledge that Fayose’s antecedents in brigandage and alleged criminal acts added up to put a blot on his image before the 2014 poll that returned him to power through a historic and historical election banditry known as Ekitigate that went with military deployment.
In that tragedy called election, there were routine illegal arrests and chasing of opponents out of town, including compromise of INEC with Fayose himself speaking on the Captain Koli tape on how he collected soft copies of INEC’s sensitive materials that he said he printed to win his election.
In the run up to the 2014 election, opposition leaders’ homes were regularly raided at nights by military and police agents in masks. The APC leaders and members were either arrested illegally or chased to the bush. Or clamped into jail. Top leaders of the party from other parts of the country were denied entry into Ekiti State to campaign for their candidate. Local and international election observers declared the poll as flawed
Later in the secret audio recording popularly called Capt Sagir Koli’s tape that captured detailed plans of treasonable act to remove a legal government, Fayose’s voice was heard speaking on how his election results were collated in Efon-Alaye two days (Thursday) before the actual election day on Saturday. Again, facts emerged on how arms purchase funds were allegedly diverted to criminally prosecute his election. As we speak, the arms cash theft is still a subject of litigation in courts that may result in another litigation bordering on treasonable act to criminally remove a constituted government through means other than as stipulated in the constitution to effect a change of government.
Conversely, the 2018 governorship election that returned Fayemi as elected governor was hailed by both local and international observers as credible and fair.
But like in other contests featuring partisans with contrasting orientations and values, the marked differences between the poll that produced Fayose/Eleka in 2014 are unmistakable.
For one, in the 2014 militarised ballot that returned Fayose and Eleka to power, limbs were lost; there was theft of the nation’s security cash; APC candidate was tear-gassed; election materials were illegally printed; and election results were concocted in favour of PDP candidate with election observers declaring the poll as generally flawed.
Conversely in the July 14, 2018 election, Ekiti people irrespective of political affiliations went to polls peacefully to elect the governor of their choice devoid of blood-letting and criminality that went with the same exercise in 2014 that returned Fayose and Eleka as governor and deputy governor respectively.
As a pastor of the church of Christ, one would have thought that the anointing that left Eleka through desertion or excommunication in his four years of nesting with Fayose would have returned to his bosom instead of conducting himself as a man fated to the altar of egregious fecundity in blackmail stunts and buffets of the Supreme Court judgement.
Indeed, the depression arising from that Supreme Court judgement could render the soul of the cheats inane.
It is therefore sad that Eleka in his reaction to the Supreme Court judgement presented himself as a holder of dubious academic credentials. Instead of deploying his scholarship as a professor to stand with the truth, he lapsed into a double speak, praising the judiciary in one breath for the judgement he said he had accepted, and the next moment, he declared the same judiciary complicit for failure to detect that he was a victim of vampires and election riggers.
Today, while Ekiti people speak of Fayemi’s eight-month administration in celebration of good governance, they remember Fayose/Eleka four-year brutal regime to mourn the saddest moment in Ekiti history.
For Eleka’s purported victory in 2014, therefore, it was Abuja vampires moderating a circus for the benefit of Ekiti vampires that left the state in ruins with N155b debt overhang, while the 2018 poll was all about the Nigerian law setting the pace for representative governance that holds much promise for Ekiti development.
• Olujobi, former Director of Media and Publicity of the Kayode Fayemi Campaign Organisation, is Commissioner in Ekiti State Local Government Service Commission