Ekiti election: Snatch ballot box, lose your hand; run with it, lose your legs —Police
By Rotimi Ojomoyela
Ekiti election: Today, 667,064 eligible voters who have collected their PVCs out of 913, 334 registered voters are expected to file out across the 2,195 polling units spread across 177 wards in 16 local government areas of Ekiti State to elect a governor who would be saddled with the mandate of running the state for the next four years.
35 governorship candidates from different political parties are jostling to occupy the governorship seat.
Adequate security has been assured as no fewer than 4, 390 combined forces of soldiers and other paramilitary personnel will be deployed to complement the 30,000 policemen who have been drafted to Ekiti to monitor the election.
The atmosphere in the Ekiti election week has been charged, anxiety is beginning to set in, the fear of the unknown is palpable, intrigues, permutation, alignment and realignment of political friends and foes are becoming very noticeable. Interest, the determinant factor is beginning to take the front burner.
No security details for political office holders- Police
Gone were the days when political office holders of different categories from the governor to the chairman of local government area would come to the polling booth with their security details. Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Operations, Mr. Habilal Joshak, told the gladiators that all their security details would be withdrawn from them from the eve of the election till after the election.
According to the Deputy Inspector of police, who has been put in charge of the security affairs for the July 14 election, this would add to the credibility of the Ekiti governorship election.
The police boss said, “We won’t allow anybody to go to the polling booth with armed men, this is a breach of the Electoral Act.
“We have contacted them and they have to be here before election commences. This election must not be compromised. They will be documented and whoever defies this will be sanctioned, because they have been contacted”, he warned.
“If you cast your votes, you can keep a distance and protect your votes, but if you snatch the ballot, we will cut off your hands, if you run with it, we will stop your legs.
“Our duty is to secure not only the electoral materials but also all the citizens. We are going to be professional and watchful, because we don’t want to be bedeviled with cases of hooliganism, ballot snatching and hate speeches before, during and after this election”, he said.
Adoption and endorsement
The big two, the People’s Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress, which are the major foes in Ekiti election tried to court the smaller parties. This became obvious during the Mega PDP rally of the PDP on 5th of July where 18 political parties in the state were said to have pledged their support for the PDP candidate, Kolapo Olusola.
Also, on Wednesday, two days after the APC mega rally on the 10th about 12 political parties adopted the candidate of the party Dr Kayode Fayemi.
Prominent among the parties were: Action Alliance(AA), Alliance for Democracy(AD), African Democratic Congress(ADC), National Conscience Party(NCP), All Progressives Congress(APC), Advanced Congress of Democrats(ACD), National Action Congress(NAC), among others.
However, eight other political parties have demonstrated their intention to go the whole hug and slug it out with those regarded as familiar faces from the two dominant parties. The parties are: Labour Party, Action Democratic Party, Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party, Accord Party, Independent Democrat, Mega Party of Nigeria, Peoples Party of Nigeria, and Social Democratic Party.
Sikiru Lawal (LP).
Dr. Sikiru Lawal, a former deputy governor, is the candidate of the Labour Party, widely perceived as the third force in the Ekiti election. Lawal was the deputy governor to former governor Oni. He defected from PDP to LP due to irreconcilable differences with Fayose. Lawal, an indigene of Ado Ekiti, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography Education from the University of Ibadan. He got his PhD in Educational Management from the University of Ilorin.
The former deputy governor is a well loved politician in the state. In fact, his emergence as Oni’s running mate contributed immensely to their victory in the 2007 governorship election that was later nullified by the Appeal Court which returned Fayemi as validly elected governor.
Lawal has a simple approach to life and he has so many things working positively for him as he goes ahead having his eyes fixed on the governorship seat. Lawal has encapsulated his manifesto in the acronym; AWEH – Agriculture, Wealth Creation, Economic Rebirth and Robust Health.
Under this agenda, Lawal promised to adopt a model that would make Ekiti the food basket of the nation by promoting commercial agriculture that will attract the youths into farming. He said he would create wealth by way of promoting local contractors, artisans and market women to be able to synergise with government in the area of business. The former deputy governor promised to attract foreign investors to tap into many untapped resources in the state to shore up the IGR and stop the sole reliance on federal allocation for survival.
Lawal has many advantages working for him. One of them is that he is a Muslim and the adherents of this religion are determined to produce the governor, a feat they have never achieved. He also hails from Ado Ekiti, the largest town where over 40 percent of the voters are domiciled. These are factors that can be deployed to upset both the PDP and APC in this election.
Again, there is this widespread belief that both the APC and PDP have tasted power and have disappointed Ekiti people. It is believed that time has come for the people to test another platform and see whether the state will be better governed. Those who share the view are holding to it tenaciously and they are making efforts to convince voters.
Lawal is also counting on sympathy votes from the civil servants across the state being a former teacher and director of Planning in the State Ministry of Education.
Segun Adewale (ADP)
Mr. Segun Adewale, a former acting chairman of the PDP in Lagos State, is the candidate of Action Democratic Party. Adewale, who hails from Ipoti Ekiti in Ijero local government area of Ekiti State, attended Lagos State University. He contested for senatorial ticket in Lagos West on the platform of PDP but lost. In actual fact, Adewale is not a household name in Ekiti politics but his campaign has been thorough and the adoption of a slogan coined from OSA, an abbreviation of his name to ‘Osaprapra’ has made him more popular among the masses. He is a businessman with interests in aviation, oil and gas and financial sectors. The policy thrust of his manifesto is anchored around improved health, employment generation, human capital development and diversification of economy.
The main advantage he enjoys is the fact that he has a very deep purse and has constantly been distributing phone sets, plasma television and other home accessories to people. His wealth has really been a boost to his campaign that is gradually gaining velocity on daily basis.
Added to his deep purse is the fact that he is a youth and the bulk of his followers are youths, who are passionate to make things happen for him.
Tunde Afe (ANRP)
Reverend Tunde Afe, General Overseer of House of Faith Christian Centre, Ado Ekiti, is the candidate of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party. Afe, a popular and well-respected man of God, is a motivational speaker who has gained statewide respect and reputation. He graduated from the University of Ilorin with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting.
He hails from Itapaji in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti North Senatorial district. He has a fairly big church in Ado Ekiti with a large number of followers. His followers are the engine room of his campaign and they have been going around spreading the gospel that people must embrace change in the upcoming poll. Afe said he decided to join the ANRP because of its special interest in the youths.
The thrusts of his campaign manifesto are: improved agriculture, value reorientation, economic renaissance, employment generation, sports and youth development as well as human capital development. His eloquence and power of conviction have also helped his campaign. He talked powerfully with confidence which makes people believe that he has capacity to deliver if given the opportunity.
Abiodun Aluko (AP)
Mr. Abiodun Aluko, a former deputy governor, is the candidate of the Accord Party. He was deputy to Governor Fayose in his first term, where he served for one and half years before he was impeached over disagreement with his principal in 2005. His impeachment was later reversed by the subsequent Assembly.
He graduated from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology. He later attended the Federal College of Surveying, Oyo Town with Post graduate Diploma in Surveying. He has been practicing surveying and geo informatics since he graduated from the school.
Aluko , who hails from Ikere, second largest town in Ekiti, is not only a surveyor but a successful one. He is well loved by Ekiti people because of his brilliance and humility. He is elderly and respected for his integrity in private and public services.
Aluko wishes to make great impacts in the areas of agriculture, employment generation, sports development, rural and urban renewal programme, solid mineral exploitation, economic rebirth, and healthcare delivery among others.
The fact that he is from Ikere Ekiti, popular, well loved, and has a fairly deep purse are added advantages to be able to make remarkable presence in this election.
Bisi Omoyeni (MPN)
Mr. Bisi Omoyeni, a former deputy governor, is the candidate of Mega Party of Nigeria. Though, this party is very weak with little presence in Ekiti in terms of membership, the mere fact that it has adopted a former deputy governor and a renowned banker as its candidate has improved the party’s popularity.
Omoyeni was a deputy governor to Fayose in his first term, the position he held for three months before resigning to assume leadership in WEMA Bank as the Group Managing Director of the financial institution. Omoyeni is a first class graduate of Insurance from the University of Lagos. He had always been a banker until he became a deputy governor in 2005.
Omoyeni hails from Ikere Ekiti, the second largest town in the state. He is well accepted by Ikere people, because he was said to have facilitated various opportunities for the youths in terms of employment while in the banking sector. Because of his down-to-earth nature, he is acceptable to the grassroots and the elite across the state.
Being from Ikere Ekiti is an added advantage in this election because the town has the capacity to produce swing votes that can upset any party. The town was said to have appealed to Fayose to field him in the PDP, but because of his preference for Olusola, also an indigene of the town, the appeal was rebuffed by the governor. This underscored his acceptability in his home base. Also, Omoyeni’s mother hails from Ado Ekiti and those who believe in family ties and affinity may want to give him votes. Omoyeni, being a former banker CEO, has links with moneybags in the society and funding his campaign may not constitute an impediment as being experienced in some weak parties.
Dare Bejide (PPN)
Amb. Dare Bejide, a former Secretary to the State Government, is the candidate of Peoples Party of Nigeria. A former Nigerian envoy to Canada, Bejide is the pioneer secretary of the PDP in Ekiti. A lawyer by training, Bejide is a grassroots politician with wide networks across parties in Ekiti.
He graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife in 1986 with LLB in Law. Being a lawyer and homegrown person, he understands the dynamics of Ekiti politics. Though, his party is not popular in the state, his personality could pose problems for the APC and PDP in this coming election.
His manifesto is being anchored on youth employments, social security for the elderly, reduced tuition fees in state owned higher institutions and free education at both primary and secondary cadres, tourism development, commercial agriculture, and transformed civil service.
Bejide said Ekiti being a predominantly civil service state needs a reformed and energised civil service. He said he would make the civil service the engine room of the government, so that productivity can improve in the public sector. He is of the view that once the civil service can be productive and alive to its responsibility that other sectors will be reinvigorated to be able to deliver.
The former ambassador hails from Ilawe in Ekiti South. The fact that the people of the South are resolute to produce the governor may help Bejide in this election. He is popular in Ekiti Southwest council, his immediate constituency, and winning in that council may be easy for him. He also has sympathisers across other big parties like APC, PDP and MPN. He worked closely with former Governor Oni as SSG, and as such, loyalists of Oni may work for him secretly in this election.
Akin Ayegbusi (SDP)
Mr. Akin Ayegbusi is the candidate of the Social Democratic Party. Largely unknown in Ekiti politics until he got the ticket, Ayegbusi clinched the ticket after defeating heavyweights like Dare Bejide and other contending forces. He is one of the youngest of the 35 candidates who were screened by INEC for the Ekiti election. He hails from Ikole Ekiti in Ikole local government area of Ekiti State. He worked in the banking sector for many years before veering into politics.
Ayegbusi has been working tirelessly to prove a point in this election. He doesn’t want to look like a minnow or callow by the outcome of the poll, hence his resort to serious campaign to be able to outdo the big parties. He said that he threw his hat into the political ring to help liberate the people from poverty and untold hardship occasioned by the misrule of the APC and the PDP administrations.
He has been flaunting the credentials of the late Chief Moshood Abiola to campaign to the people. He promised not to deviate or renege from the manifesto Abiola deployed to win the 1993 presidential poll if elected governor. He also promised to make education free up to secondary school while that of university, polytechnics and colleges would be made affordable for the poor. He promised to set up scholarship scheme and encourage philanthropic gesture to fund education.
Ayegbusi pledged that his administration shall deploy energies to develop tourism, economic, infrastructure and human capital development via youth employments if given the opportunity to serve.
The best favour Ayegbusi has been savouring has been that he enjoys enormous acceptability among the youths. Going by the configuration of Ekiti voters register, youths constitute over 43 per cent of voters. The SDP candidate can get it right if the youths decide to throw their weight behind him.
Tosin Ajibare (ID)
Mr. Tosin Ajibare is the candidate of Independent Democrat. The youngest candidate in this election, Ajibare hails from Ikere Ekiti in Ikere Local Government Area of the state.
A graduate of Business Administration of Ekiti State University, everywhere he visited, Ajibare has been explicit that he was contesting to save the youths from hopelessness. Noting that the youths have been so much subdued in the country, particularly in Ekiti, Ajibare was of the opinion that efforts must be made to salvage them from slavery and for them to regain their political freedom.
His campaign is anchored on: free tuition fees at primary and secondary levels of education, affordable tuition in all state owned tertiary institutions and youth employment. He has been lamenting that the state has the highest incidents of youth unemployment in the country and that such must be fought to make Ekiti great again.
Being a former students’ leader, Ajibare has been making good exploits among the students of Ekiti State University, College of Education, Ikere Ekiti and College of Health Sciences in Ijero Ekiti. His campaign has been gaining grounds among the students’ population.