The just-concluded Ekiti governorship election, won by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Kayode Fayemi, may go down as one of the most tension-soaked in Nigeria’s history.
Mr Fayemi was President Muhammadu Buhari’s minister of solid minerals before he resigned to contest the election.
Aside from the pre-election fracas and the alleged molestation of the Ekiti governor, Ayodele Fayose, by the police, there were reported cases of violence during voting.
Vote-buying played a major role in the election.
The two major parties, the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were caught on camera giving out money to voters during voting.
At the end of the poll, Governor Fayose’s protégé, Olusola Eleka, who is the state deputy governor, lost with a narrow margin.
Mr Fayemi had 197,459 votes to secure a five per cent victory against Mr Eleka who had 178,121 votes.
The total valid votes cast in the election was 384,594.
Mr Fayemi won 51 per cent of the total valid votes, while Mr Eleka won 46 per cent.
Some Nigerians are seeing Mr Fayemi’s victory as a pay-back against Mr Fayose, as well as the demystification of the governor who succeeded very well in creating for himself an image of a leader so connected with the street and the people.
Mr Fayose in 2014 defeated Mr Fayemi who was the governor of Ekiti as at that time. He won in all the 16 local government areas in the state.
Displaying unrestrained confidence, which attracted huge public attention, Mr Fayose boasted in 2016 that he was merely waiting to humiliate Mr Fayemi and the APC in the 2018 election.
“They will meet me in Ekiti… Nobody can stop me because my name is Peter the rock. You hit me, you are in trouble, I hit you, you are in trouble,” the governor had said then.
He boasted that the APC would not win a single local government area in the 2018 election.
“I am fully ready,” he said. “I am a street boy. I am streetwise to the core. I don’t have another business outside politics, so I am ready.”)
A Facebook user, Dayo Williams, posted on the social media site that the 2018 Ekiti governorship election was all about “a contest of resources”, apparently referring the way the APC and the PDP struggled to outspend each other in vote-buying.
Another Facebook user, Mo Bright Jnr, said the APC outsmarted the PDP by paying N5, 000 to voters during the election, while the PDP, according to him, paid N3, 000 before the election and N4, 000 after the election.
“Peter the rock has met a quarry manager who was the minister of solid mineral resources, and guess what happened? The rock was crushed,” said one Facebook user, Adefolukemi Folusostephen.
“I have always said Fayose does not have the electoral value or so-called grassroots appeal often ascribe to him.
“The combined effect of folk hero propaganda and the myth of transcendental power on Ekiti plebeians built around him by his pauperised mendicants made him believe his own lies for too long. He has always been a bubble. He may be tall in stature but he is a midget in character.
“Stripped of the Federal Government backed rigging machines, Fayose is bare and rudderless,” said another Facebook user, Temitope Ajayi.