by Toks Ero
Ever since his congratulatory message, not a few Nigerians have wondered where this Fayemi comes from, because it is very un-Nigerian to accept defeat in public elections.
The people of Ekiti State of Nigeria, on Saturday, June 21, 2014 went to the polls to elect a new governor. Months, weeks and days leading to the election were full of fears of conflict and rancor as experienced in previous elections, and at the same time full of hopes that the elections would not only be free and fair, but free of bloodletting and tear-gassing.
The main gladiators were the incumbent, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi – a cerebral academic who has done well to take governance to a level never seen before by the Ekiti people who themselves are reputed to parade the highest numbers of Professors and PhD holders in Nigeria, and his opponent/one-time governor of the State, Ayodele Fayose. They fought and campaigned hard for the people’s votes.
Military and police personnel were present in droves at every corner of the State. In fact close watchers of events as they unfolded wondered if the State was at war. But one with knowledge of the history of elections in Nigeria would understand why.
But surprisingly, on Election Day, the atmosphere was calm. Voters turned out en masse, and those who expected that the heavens would fall couldn’t believe what they witnessed.
And so when the results began to trickle in and the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate, Ayodele Fayose was way ahead of the incumbent, I prayed that the gates of hell would not burst open because of what may happen if the people perceived that the elections were being rigged more so if the incumbent was in their good books. But nothing like that happened. Rather, the atmosphere in the State capital – Ado-Ekiti and across the State was one of jubilation because of the impending victory of the PDP’s Ayodele Fayose. Again, one would have expected that as one of the All Progressives Congress (APC) strongholds, a free-for-all fight would have broken out between the supporters of the ruling party in control of the State and the winning PDP. But there seemed to be a general acceptance of the outcome of the elections by both parties as the honest and true representation of the people’s wishes. That’s really strange given the antecedents of elections in Nigeria.
Even stranger was the open and public acceptance of the election results by the incumbent governor – Kayode Fayemi followed by a congratulatory message devoid of anger and any form of misgivings. Ever since his congratulatory message, not a few Nigerians have wondered where this Fayemi comes from, because it is very un-Nigerian to accept defeat in public elections. In Nigeria, for a man to expend so much to contest an election, lose in that election, and then fail to fight, even if he knows in his heart of hearts that he was rejected at the polls just does not happen. Another surprise is that the APC allowed Governor Fayemi to throw in the towel just like that.
For doing this, Governor Fayemi is the ultimate winner in the Ekiti elections. He has etched his name in the minds of right thinking Nigerians as a symbol of a better tomorrow; an example to be copied and replicated across the length and breadth of this great country and in Africa. He has shown that there is nothing in Government House worth dying for or getting other people to die for. He has recognized the fact that governorship is a soldier-go, soldier-come affair, and not a birthright or a throne of one’s forefathers to be inherited.
The other winners in the election are the people of Ekiti State who trooped en masse to express their wish and to erase the generally held view that elections in Nigeria must be bloody. This time, they recognized that they had only one weapon – their ballot papers, not the bullets or charms, and they used it effectively.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for once, should also be commended for doing a good job. There may be no need for election petition tribunals and long-winding litigations. I only hope this is a foreshadow of what Nigerians should expect in 2015.
The ultimate losers may the legal luminaries who feed fat on post-election litigations. There may not be any legal bazaar to gain from this time because the people became the judges and prosecutors in this case. And they won!
Yes, Governor John Kayode Fayemi is a Nigerian. We know his parents, his family and his village.
God bless you Sir! You are the real Excellency.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.