“With Fayemi set to take over the reins of power in the state, here is hoping for a new era of responsible and progressive politicking and electioneering, rather than that of abuse and oratorical thuggery.”
It is a new day in Ekiti State. The gubernatorial election has been lost and won, with the ruling party at the centre, the All Progressives Congress (APC), adding Ekiti to the tally of states in its kitty. Since the election last Saturday which saw the APC candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, winning in 12 of the 16 local government areas in the state, APC supporters have been celebrating the victory, while the smarting Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged that the election was rigged. Some of the allegations include ballot snatching, vote buying and the intimidation of voters.
READ ALSO: Ekiti Poll: Allegation of vote buying detrimental to Nigeria’s democracy – Accord Party chieftain
Apart from the allegations of money-sharing on both sides, there have also been all kinds of self-interested analyses, ranging from the ones which said that Fayemi’s victory over the PDP candidate signals the taking over of Ekiti by the Fulani and herdsmen, (as if Lagos and other APC Southwest states are under the control of herdsmen), to the ones from APC supporters who regard the victory as a reflection of the Nigerians ’endorsement and appreciation of Buhari’s administration.
However, the attempt by both sides to take the development in Ekiti and foist on it the toga of a rejection or endorsement of Buhari is an inappropriate political extrapolation. This is because President Buhari and APC at the national level were not candidates in that election. Instead, it was a poll that can only be regarded as a statement on the people’s rejection or endorsement of the Governor Fayose regime, as the PDP candidate in the poll was his deputy. What the poll result suggests is that the people had become disenchanted with Fayose, probably on account of the problem of huge salary arrears in the state, and they voted for a change.
The people had earlier been against Fayemi during his first term in office, and voted him out in favour of Fayose. What this means, assuming that the election truly reflects the wishes of the electorate, is that the people can always vote out a party that they do not like its performance in power. In this regard, the poll result has useful lessons for both the victors and the losers. The APC, while rejoicing over the Ekiti victory, must know that a similar fate could befall it in the 2019 general elections if it does not sit up and do much more to bring the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
At the same time, the PDP must not be complacent in assuming that those who are disenchanted with the current administration at the centre will simply vote PDP, which appears to have nothing recommending it to the electorate other than the seeming slowness of APC in bringing about the change it promised the people. This is exactly what forced the then President Goodluck Jonathan out of office. As it is always said the more things change, the more they seem the same.
Beyond the attempts to go over the Ekiti poll with a tooth comb, however, are the allegations of ballot snatching, vote buying, brigandage and other shenanigans in the election. It is unfortunate that these dirty tactics are still part of our voting process. With Fayemi set to take over the reins of power in the state, here is hoping for a new era of responsible and progressive politicking and electioneering, rather than that of abuse and oratorical thuggery.
Since the poll result is being contested by the PDP and its candidate, however, the best bet is for them to go to court if they have incontrovertible evidence of rigging that they believe substantially affected the outcome of the poll. The courts are there as the final arbiter of election disputes in Nigeria. It would, however, have been better to reform our politicking and elections to the extent that the outcomes of polls are widely seen and accepted to be free and fair by all parties.
The incessant allegations of rigging raise serious questions about the credibility of our polls and their outcome. This should not be allowed to be a permanent feature of our electoral process.
Adeosun’s NYSC certificate saga
Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, has been in the eye of the storm since the allegation of her non-participation in the NYSC scheme broke out. The accusations of her traducers are two-fold. First, is that she did not participate in the mandatory National Youth Service Corps scheme. Second, is that her exemption certificate was forged.
Since the allegation became public, there have been calls from her traducers to resign. A close look at her school and working history, has however, revealed that she graduated from a United Kingdom University at the age of 22, and worked there till she came to the country when she was over 30, and was no longer eligible to participate in the NYSC.
What she was ordinarily expected to do was not to enroll in the NYSC scheme, but to obtain a certificate of exemption from the NYSC authorities. Investigators have so far shown that she applied for exemption from the scheme, but the certificate of exemption that she has is said to be questionable on account of the date on it, and its lettering.
A lawyer and a political party have reportedly instituted suits at the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking that she should be sacked for failure to have a genuine exemption certificate issued by the NYSC.
The uproar over the alleged forged certificate is not unexpected. It is the way of Nigerians to seize any and every opportunity to pull down any government official whenever it suits their political inclinations to do so. It has nothing at all to do with her performance in office but, the minister does need to explain the source of her controversial certificate.
It is no offence for anyone who studied abroad and returned to the country after the age of 30 not to take part in the NYSC. But, such a one must procure an exemption certificate. How did this certificate come about? Is it an Oluwole document? Who exactly procured it for Adeosun? Was it an unscrupulous aide, an unconscionable NYSC official or a not so honest relative? Let the truth know. Only the minister and the NYSC authorities can clear the air on this matter.
Before Nigerians can be free from shylock landlords over house rent hikes, the three tiers of government should build houses for low income earners and the less privileged to end accommodation problems.
The Ministers for Works, Housing and Power is not doing enough on housing problems because many Nigerians are finding it hard to buy houses. Shelter is very important for every human being. Government should enact laws to stop landlords and landladies from collecting two years rent with agency fees and commissions.
– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, Abia State, 08062887535