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Fayose’s influence waning… Segun Oni’s base strong — six takeaways from Ekiti election

Fayose’s influence waning… Segun Oni’s base strong — six takeaways from Ekiti election
June 19
15:32 2022

Biodun Oyebanji, former secretary to the state government (SSG), was declared winner of the Ekiti governorship election on Sunday.

A total of 365,438 voters were accredited to participate in the election, but 360,753 cast their ballots.

At the conclusion of the election, Oyebanji received 187,057 votes, defeating his two closest challengers, Segun Oni of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and Bisi Kolawole of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who got 82,211 and 67,457 votes respectively.

When sworn in, Oyebanji will within the next four years, focus on youth development, job creation, MSME finance support, and sports development in the state, as promised in his manifesto.

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Here are six takeaways from the Ekiti governorship election.

A JINX BROKEN

The election of Oyebanji on the platform of the APC to succeed Kayode Fayemi is historic. Since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, the south-west state has not retained a ruling party.

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His victory has set a record in the state’s years-long political history.

Adeniyi Adebayo, who was elected in 1999 on the platform of the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD), was defeated by Ayodele Fayose of the PDP in 2003.

Fayose’s administration, was, however, cut short from completing a four-year term. In October 2006, the state house of assembly removed him over alleged corruption.

Tunji Olurin became the state administrator from October 2006 to April 2007.

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Segun Oni of the PDP was declared the winner of the 2007 governorship of the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Oni governed the state until 2010 when he was thrown out of office following a protracted legal battle with Fayemi, candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Fayemi became governor in October 2010 and ruled until 2014, but lost his re-election bid to Fayose of the PDP. After his term ended in 2018, Fayose attempted but failed to enthrone his deputy, Olusola Kolapo. Fayemi won the election.

‘MASSIVE VOTE BUYING’

There are several pieces of video evidence and allegations of vote buying in the Ekiti governorship election.

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TheCable had reported how the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested some suspects for engaging in vote buying in the election.

In a video published here, operatives of the anti-graft agency raided a building to arrest the suspects caught with packages containing money and books containing details of voters in certain polling units.

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Kemi Elebute-Halle, governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Party, (ADP) had alleged that some political parties induced voters with money in the election.

“At my polling unit here — ward 10, unit eight — we are aware that APC has started buying votes for the sum of N10,000; PDP is buying for N5,000 and SDP for N3,000,” Elebute-Halle had said.

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Vote buying has the potential of jeopardising the forthcoming governorship election in Osun, as well as the general election in 2023.

Political parties that won in the polling units where they offered voters money may consider replicating the same in subsequent elections.

INEC NEED TO WORK ON VOTER EDUCATION

The electoral umpire said 8,888 votes were voided because the ballots were not done according to voting requirements.

Despite the fact that 18,857 ballots were rejected in the state’s 2018 governorship election, a 47 percent fall in 2022, INEC and other stakeholders need to focus more on voter education.

The number of rejected votes is an indication that voters whose ballots were cancelled do not well understand the voting guidelines.

INEC HAS IMPROVED CONSIDERABLY

The electoral umpire has earned the commendation of several election observers on the just-concluded election.

The vote-counting process at polling units was said to be transparent, while electronic transmission of results was effective and done timely.

The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) functioned optimally compared to the last governorship election in Anambra state — though there were a few incidents of glitches.

Commending the electoral body, YIAGA Africa, a civil society organisation (CSO), said the official results released by INEC reflected the votes cast at the polling units.

SEGUN ONI’S FIRM BASE

Although he failed to win any LGA, Oni put up a strong fight and won in many polling units, including that of two lawmakers elected on the platform of the APC.

Oni polled 253 votes at polling unit 3, ward 1, Ido Osi LGA — the polling unit of Olubunmi Adetunmbi, APC senator representing Ekiti north.

Similarly, with 87 votes, Oni won the polling unit of Richard Bamisile, APC lawmaker representing Emure/Gbonyin/Ekiti-east at the house of representatives. Oyebanji could only secure 74 votes.

FAYOSE’S WANING INFLUENCE

Fayose had in the build-up to the PDP governorship primary election in Ekiti, anointed Kolawole as his preferred candidate.

The governor’s anointed candidate would later win the party’s ticket but not without alleged manipulation of the process by Fayose as claimed by other hopefuls, including Oni who later defected to the SDP.

It was expected that as a two-term former governor, Fayose’s political influence, network and structure would give the PDP a better chance of securing victory or better still finishing second in the race.

But in a strange turn of events, the PDP came a third in the contest.

The former governor who contested in the PDP presidential primary election in May returned home with zero vote. He was unable to secure the mandate of 16 Ekiti delegates in the exercise.

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