Ekiti 2018: Lessons Fayose must learn from Mimiko

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Fayose

Though, controversial with his utterances in most cases, Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, remains one of the most respected governors in the country, for his tenacity and
strong political will.

Uba Group

Notwithstanding that his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, lost at the centre in the 2015 presidential election, Fayose is yet to see reason why he should lose grip of Ekiti State, which he won some two years ago.

Though, several allegations have trailed his election, which many said had the input and support of the then federal might under the PDP, since the All Progressives Congress, headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, took over the central government, the popular
governor, known as ‘Oshoko,’ has refused to back down, fighting strong as opposition against the ruling party.
But with Fayose’s struggles to ensure that he remains in the main stream of Nigerian politics, observers are quick to caution him to understand that he has many lessons to
learn from the flaws that cost the outgoing governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko and the PDP the Ondo State governorship slot, especially if he does not want to suffer the same fate which Mimiko suffered.
According to the observers, Mimiko, as astute as he is in Ondo politics, hardly believed, before the election, that he would finally lose the grip of the state to the opposition party, having severally defeated the opposition in the past. Ondo electorate, perhaps, having
had enough of the deception of ‘Iroko’, as Mimiko is fondly called in the state, decided to give another political platform the opportunity to serve and in the November 26 gubernatorial election, pitched their tent with the APC. Many reasons have, however, been
adduced for this development.
Mimiko’s fall out with Ondo indigenes
Mimiko’s decision to foist his onetime commissioner, Eyitayo Jegede on the people of the state as the next governor, has been described by many indigenes of the Sunshine State as one of the reasons for the failure of the PDP in the election.

A competent source from the state PDP, who doesn’t want his name mentioned, told The Point that despite the challenge encountered with Jimoh Ibrahim, which stalled Jegede’s
chances of campaigning at the appropriate time, the governor’s imposition of Jegede was another issue, which didn’t go well with most of the leaders of the PDP in the state.
According to him, though the situation seemed to have been put under control later, with the different moves by the governor and other chieftains of the party to calm frayed nerves, some key PDP members, who felt cheated by the alleged imposition, later worked against the party underground.
He said, “Mimiko had it all with his imposition of Jegede from his senatorial district. “When he first came up with the idea, people kicked against it, but he later appeased them. I am not sure they really worked for Jegede, because we heard that most of them worked silently against Jegede despite Jimoh Ibrahim’s challenge.”
But a chieftain of PDP from Ogun State, Senator Kashamu Buruji, put the blame for PDP’s loss in the Ondo election at the doorsteps of Mimiko. Kashamu said the refusal of Mimiko to heed his advice against imposing Jegede, who was from the same senatorial district with the outgoing governor, caused PDP the state.
Jimoh Ibrahim, LAST straw that broke PDP’S camel’s back
Another factor which, almost everybody believe contributed in no small measure to the PDP’s electoral woes in the poll was the role played by business mogul and publisher, Jimoh Ibrahim. The contribution of Ibrahim to PDP’s loss cannot be over emphasised.
The series of court litigations instituted by Ibrahim, prior to the election weakened the party and dampened the morale of its members. A court ruling by Justice Okon Abang had earlier declared Ibrahim as the legitimate candidate of the PDP, only for the judgment to be upturned at the Court of Appeal at a later date, when the election was just few days
away.
Ibrahim fought up to the Supreme Court before the apex court ruled in Jegede’s favour less than 72 hours to the poll. Calls by Jegede and the PDP for the postponement of the poll by at least 30 days met a brick wall from the Independent National Electoral Commission, which insisted that the conditions for the postponement of any election was not present in Ondo State, even as it expressed determination to conduct the poll as scheduled.
Ondo PDP’s self-inflicted crisis

 

Others have, however attributed part of the reasons for the loss to the internal crisis that the state PDP inflicted upon itself on Mimiko’s arrival in the party in 2014. A factional deputy chairman of PDP said Mimiko’s defiance to the arrangement he met on ground when he came in 2014 contributed to the party’s poor showing in the election.

He said, “The outcome of the poll was not surprising at all. The script of the result was written in 2014, when Mimiko returned to the PDP. All members he met on the ground
left the party for him and he took over the PDP.
“If Olusola Oke had not gone to the APC and eventually to the Alliance for Democracy, and Mimiko managed leadership sportsmanly, PDP would have won the election convincingly.
“In the election, APC scored 244,842 votes while PDP scored 150,380 and AD scored 126,889 votes. It is a fact that the AD votes belong to PDP and simple arithmetic shows why PDP lost; our votes went to Oke and AD.”

He also said that when Mimiko returned to the PDP, his fellow governors appealed to him to allow for harmonisation of party structure, but he refused, adding that this led to the
departure of all PDP members led by Oke from the party.

He added that choosing a candidate to succeed him, Mimiko did not allow original members of the PDP to buy forms. He added, “He merely anointed Jegede, who was returned unopposed. “Party members cried to the high heavens that Jegede is from the central zone, where Mimiko hails from, but their cries fell on deaf ears.”
Mimiko’s alleged negotiation for soft landing at APC
Aside the series of court cases and other factors that are believed to be responsible for PDP’s failure in the gubernatorial poll, The Point gathered that Mimiko also acted some of the scripts that led to the party’s failure.

Another source from the state told The Point that Mimiko refused to release funds for the prosecution of the election, with less than three days toactual voting. The source said that Mimiko, before the election, had already seen the handwriting of failure on the wall and
believed that he had lost the state to the APC and decided to join the ruling party, a decision he said motivated his unexpected visit to the President, few days before the election.
“Mimiko is an establishment politician. He doesn’t want to antagonise the Presidency and would rather cut a deal than stand in the way of the ruling party, which was desperate to get the state,” the source told The Point.
The civil service vendetta
In the run up to the election, the state was owing the state work force about six or seven months in arrears of salaries. A political commentator opined that a governor desirous of winning such election, would have endeavoured to pay the state work force substantial amount of the arrears of salaries owed them, since they constituted the bulk of voters, especially against the backdrop of the fact that the state received federal allocation about two weeks before the poll.
It was therefore believed that the state civil servants saw the election as an opportunity to pay back Mimiko in his coin, for denying them their rights.
Fayose and decision on 2018
In 2018, Fayose will also find himself in the same corner, trying to instal a successor. It is therefore hoped that he would learn from the mistakes of his Ondo counterpart. Shortly after the Ondo election, Fayose was quoted to have said that he did not know on which platform his successor would contest the 2018 Ekiti gubernatorial poll, an indication
that he may sooner than later dumped the opposition party.
He had said, “I don’t know the platform I will use for the 2018 election yet, but, I will tell you at the appropriate time. “We have to play the game left, right and centre and whoever we are going to use and the platform, you will all be part of the process, because party politics is about the people.” However, he is expected to avoid the banana peels that tripped his Ondo counterpart, if he actually want to have a successful transition of power to his choice candidate come 2018.