THE June 21, governorship election in Ekiti State in Nigeria’s South-West, has confirmed the assertion that there is a world of difference between theory and practice. Theoretically, Kayode Fayemi, the incumbent governor of the state, was the candidate to beat in the election. A lot of factors seemed to have favoured him. As a sitting governor, he had the power of incumbency and also the key to the state’s treasury. Besides, those who had benefited from his patronages in the three and a half years of his tenure, were there to bankroll his election expenses. His loyalists were very confident that his performance in office during his first term would speak for him. For instance, he was said to have carried out more infrastructural development in the state than any of his predecessors. With his eight-point agenda, the governor was able to build many roads and also introduced agricultural projects to get youths off the streets. He is the first and, perhaps, the only governor to introduce a welfare scheme for the elderly by paying them a monthly stipend of N5,000 and also giving them adequate health care. That was not all. His administration also provided 30,000 laptops for students and another 18,000 for their teachers and ensured that they were all trained to use them. He revived the economy of the state thus bringing back to life Ikogosi Spring, a goldmine tourist resort, which previous administrations before him had ignored.
In spite of all these and many other achievements, political pundits failed to see that there was a disconnect between the governor and the governed. In the eyes of his people, Fayemi was perceived to be an intellectual and not a grassroots politician. For this reason, he failed to understand the actual needs of the people at the grassroots and how his eight-point agenda had impacted on their lives. The governor’s political moves and policies negatively affected civil servants especially teachers in the state. In other words, Fayemi failed to develop the infrastructure of the stomach. Again, in his efforts to improve the revenue of the state, he tampered with the 27.5 percent nation-wide increase in teachers’ salaries and arbitrarily cut it down to 16 percent. And to add salt to the injury, his administration introduced a policy known as Teachers’ Development Needs Assessment, TDNA, under which teachers were required to sit for an examination to determine their proficiency level. Students of Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, EKSU, also had a score to settle with the governor over his administration’s policy to hike fees payable in the institution as well as the policy of no-school fee, no-examination . Above all, the people of Ekiti State have also resented the feeling that Bola Ahmed Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress, is the big masquerade running the affairs of the state through Fayemi.
All these factors worked in favour of Peter Ayodele Fayose, former governor of the state and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the governorship election. Ayodele is said to be a grassroots politician, who was able to feel the pulse of the people during his electioneering campaign. According to reports, he solved some of the problems he could handle on the spot and those he could not, he promised to do something as soon as he got into office if they gave him their mandate. In short, he exploited the loopholes that worked against his political opponent. All these and many more as well as the concession of victory by Fayemi to Fayose after his defeat and the rejection of the result of the election later by the APC, are captured succintly in our cover story for this week entitled “Ekiti Governorship Election: Why Fayemi Failed.” As usual, Olu Ojewale, general editor, did justice to the story. You will like it.
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— Jul. 7, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT