In the last four years, the colour and shape of politics in Ekiti State have changed so much that many hybrids of political persuasion have emerged, making it difficult to sustain the political philosophy that underpins conservatism and progressivism, the two traditions that characterise political cleavage among Nigerian political partisans.
In Ekiti State, these tendencies have become more pronounced in the last four years as major political players strategise to entrench their positions to control the levers of power.
At the national level, the strategy has worked with the defeat of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general elections when a major bloc in the ruling party left the fold to join forces with the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) to defeat PDP in the election that produced President Muhammadu Buhari and turned PDP to a minority party in the National Assembly.
As it was in 2014, so it appears to be today in Ekiti State where aggrieved members of PDP are defecting massively to APC.
But while defections in PDP at the national level in 2014 were driven by institutional challenges and cleavage complex, political combustion in Ekiti State in the same year after the governorship election was consequent upon the conduct of the lone driver of PDP, Governor Ayodele Fayose, who saw the victory of PDP in 2014 poll as a personal victory with party itself playing no role or having no relevance in government.
Fayose has a background that does not tolerate dissension or superior argument of opposing views. For him, his views must represent the collective views of members of his party.
Besides, ego and personal interest that threaten individual interests of fellow party members dominate his political conduct and this has caused an unprecedented defections never witnessed at the state level of PDP like was the case in 2015 at the national level that cost PDP the Presidency and National Assembly Elections victory.
Defections started in PDP when Fayose’s foundational associates in PDP pre-2003 started to desert him over irreconcilable differences bordering on alleged intolerance, selfishness and greed.
Fayose’s political trajectory started with young and vibrant Ekiti State politicians drafting an unknown Fayose just fresh from Ibadan with deep purse into Ekiti politics to square it up with Governor Adeniyi Adebayo in 2003 rigged poll that produced Fayose as governor.
Soon, so soon, the unknown Fayose made himself known as he started showing ingratitude to those who propped him.
They included Senator Bode Olowoporoku, the late Chief Ojo Falegan, the late Chief Adebamigbe Akilaya and their youth wing consisting of Chief Ropo Adesanya, Fatai Adeyemo, Dele Owoju, Goke Olatunji and Sikira Ilawe, all of who are now in APC.
The 2014 election heist that returned Fayose to power and masterminded by President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government gave the governor all the licence he needed to practise the democracy of unequal partners he cherishes so much to enable him be in the exclusive charge of the till.
The first set of the people to give the signs that Ekiti State PDP is potentially doomed to the fate of the party at the national level were Fayose’s foundational associates, including Fatai Adeyemo, Richard. Apolola (aka Sikira), Dele Owoju, Barrister Tunji Lawal, Tope Longe and Taiwo Olatunbosun, among others, who all left the governor over alleged greed, selfishness and hatred to see his aides nurtured to riches. They are all in APC today.
Also not able to cope with Fayose’s leadership style, PDP top leaders, including Senator Gbenga Aluko, former Minister of Education, Prof Tunde Adeniran; former State Chairman, Ropo Adesanya; PDP spokesman Taiwo Olatunbosun, Kayode Babade, Senator Bode Olowoporoku, Senator Ayo Arise, Ambassador Dare Bejide, former Deputy Governor Bisi Omoyeni, Bisi Aloba, Dapo Alibaloye, Justice Edward Ojuolape, former Speaker Clement Akinyemi, former Speaker Femi Bamisile, all foremost leaders of PDP, defected to mainly APC with a few of them in other parties.
PDP’s defection problems heightened after Fayose manipulated the process that produced Eleka as the governorship candidate of the party. The effects of that process clearly manifested at APC’s Dr Kayode Fayemi’s governorship campaign rallies where hundreds of PDP top members across the 16 local governments defected to APC.
Among notable members that PDP lost in Efon Local Government to APC included a serving member of the House of Representatives, Hon Olamide Oni, and his Personal Assistant, Banjo Filani.
Others are Afolabi Olasope, a lawyer and former First Bank Secretary in Nigeria and Overseas, who also won Ekiti Central Constituency Two seat in the House of Representatives under UNCP. Aanu Oni, who is former Special Adviser in PDP administration, also defected.
Others included immediate past State Women Leader of PDP, Busola Oni; Dele Jeje, who is father of Efon Local Government Chairman, Bobby Jeje; and Local Government Woman Leader, Olomi Adeniyi.
At Odo Oro-Ekiti, PDP Ward Chairman, Ajewole Olufemi, led over 70 PDP members to defect to APC, citing anti-people stance of Fayose’s administration. Other PDP leaders and members followed suit in all other communities visited in Ikole Local Government, where influential Otunba Ben Oguntuase had earlier defected to APC.
Defectors cited selfishness and anti-people policies of Fayose’s administration.
In what looked like a desperate community ranged against a vicious terror, PDP leaders in Ekiti West and Ijero local governments renounced their membership of PDP to pitch tents with APC to sack Fayose in the July 14 poll.
At Ikogosi, PDP chiefs and no fewer than 50 other supporters defected to APC, citing closure of Ikogosi Resort and Gossi Water by Fayose that resulted in job losses.
In Aramoko, Erio, Ido-Ile, Okemesi, Ikoro, Ijero, Ijurin, Iloro, among others, hundreds of PDP leaders led crowds of supporters to defect to APC, citing Fayose’s “deceit, wickedness, lies and greed” as reasons.
In Aramoko-Ekiti, a hitherto stronghold of PDP, for example, no fewer than 30 of its top leaders led hundreds of supporters to defect to APC while in Ido-Ile, residents said they would vote for Fayemi for the water project, roads, schools rehabilitation and social security for the elderly people he provided in his first term.
In Erio-Ekiti home town of Fayose’s wife, residents regretted that though Fayose is their son-in-law, they had not seen any development assistance from neither Fayose nor his wife in the last three years.
The community presented a copy of the Holy Bible to Fayemi, declaring that APC candidate represented a soldier of Christ who will always win his battles. They said victory is sure for Fayemi on July 14.
In Ilejemeje Local Government, scores of PDP top members who defected to APC at Ijesamodu-Ekiti was described by Fayemi as those who used to menace APC members in the past. Praising their courage to join APC, he assured them that they would be equal partners in driving the agenda of APC for development.
A defector at Iye-Ekiti, who is former senatorial Chairman of PDP, Tunde Adetifa, said he and other defectors decided to leave PDP for APC to enable them work with a man who could be described as a man with vision to drive the state’s development process, while at Ewu-Ekiti, 30 PDP members defected to APC,
In Ise-Orun Local Government, one of the two strongholds of PDP where former Minister of State for Works, Prince Adedayo Adeyeye, and immediate past Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice in Fayose’s administration, Owoseni Ajayi, hail from, virtually all the entire Exco members in the local government and all the wards joined Adeyeye and Owoseni to defect to APC.
Owoseni and Commissioner for Utilities, Deji Adesua, were technically relieved of their positions by Fayose to the shock of both men as well as the public who saw them as the staunchest of Fayose’s supporters.
Among other leaders that PDP also lost to APC in the local government are former Secretary to the State Government, Dr Afolabi Ojuawo; and a serving member of the House of Assembly, Ebenezer Ade Alagbada.
Both Adeyeye and Owoseni described Fayose as “a greedy, fraudulent and selfish politician with uncanny capacity to spin reckless lies”.
In Ikere Local Government, former House of Assembly member, Gboyega Akinola (aka Sadola); a serving House of Assembly member, Sunday Adeniyi (aka Gbosa); former Assembly member, Omoyeni Peter; Banji Aluko, who is former councillor; former local council chairman, Adejumo Tajudeen and Councillor Tunji Ogoji, all defected to APC, citing Fayose’s greed and penchant for inflicting pains on fellow human beings.
In Emure Local Government, PDP lost former House of Representatives aspirant, Ayo Peters; former Senatorial Chairman of PDP, Tale Ghadafi; former House of Representatives aspirant, Tony Yisa, to APC. At Eporo-Ekiti alone, 140 PDP members defected to APC.
In Ado-Ekiti, PDP lost Fayose’s associate who is also the immediate past Special Adviser on Culture and Tourism, Ademola Bello.
Others lost to APC are former elected House of Assembly member who was denied his mandate by Fayose, Odunayo Arinka; former Special Adviser on Agriculture under Fayose, Bosun Osaloni; influential PDP leader, Kusi Omodara; and immediate past Chairman of Teaching Service Commission, Abiodun Falayi, who counselled Fayose and Eleka not to waste their time and money to campaign in Ado-Ekiti.
“Fayose has lost all the goodwill he enjoyed among the people here because of his greed, selfishness and his penchant for paying evil for good,” Falayi, an influential community and political leader said.
In Omuo-Ekiti in Ekiti East Local government, top PDP leader, Chief Tunde Adetiba, and his supporters, defected to APC.
It was a tsunamic devastation to PDP in Ido-Osi Local Government, the strongest base of PDP, where virtually all its top leaders defected to APC to join former Governor Segun Oni in the party. They include former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Chief Clement Akinyemi (Falex).
In Ido-Ekiti, Cyril Fasuyi popularly called the “GOC of Ido-Osi Politics, led who is who in Ido politics to defect to APC, while in Ifaki, Orin Ora, Ifishin, Igbole, Osi, Ido, Ilogbo and Usi-Ekiti, among other communities, defections also hit PDP, losing its top members to APC. At Igbole-Ekiti, for example, Isaac Idowu led the entire Prince Adedayo Adeyeye Movement (PAAM) structure to defect to APC, to join Fayose’s close ally, Prince Akin Olayisade from Ido-Ekiti, who had earlier defected to APC.
Fasuyi described Fayose as a selfish politician who fraudulently schemed him out of the House of Representatives contest in 2014, vowing that the governor would pay for his undemocratic and callous conduct to members of his party who worked for his success at poll but “paid them back with evil”.
He assured that the 27,000 votes in Ido-Ekiti would be delivered to APC and vowed to take Fayose to court for taking Ido Osi allocations and misappropriated them for selfish motives.
All local government and ward executive members in Ido-Ekiti defected to APC, with the promise to deliver all the votes in Ido-Ekiti for APC.
It was the same story in Gbonyin Local Government where PDP leaders defected to PDP.
In Ijan-Ekiti for example, two former PDP ward chairmen defected to join former State Chairman of PDP, Ropo Adesanya, in APC.
At Iworoko, Igbemo, Iluomoba and Are-Ekiti in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government, hundreds dumped PDP to join APC. Fayose’s Chief of Staff, Dipo Anisulowo, lost his main backers in his Are-Ekiti country home to APC.
They were led by the Local Government Youth Leader, Sola Olowojebutu, in company of the PRO, Adeyemo Adeola; Youth Leader, Eze Victor Ifeanyi; former Women Leader, Idowu Adu and 23 other leaders, to defect to APC “because Anisulowo is a selfish leader you can’t gain anything from”.
In Moba Local Government, former Assembly member , Lekan Osasona, and former PDP Chairman of Igogo Ward Two, Agbeyemi Abiodun, defected to APC, while at Isan-Ekiti country home of Fayemi.
Oye Local also recorded defection of hundreds of PDP members with top leaders in Oye-Ekiti, Felix Adegun and Johnson Awobusiyi leading Adeyeye’s PAAM group to APC, while in Isan-Ekiti country home of Fayemi, PDP Ward Chairman, Samuel Agbelusi, led several PDP members to defect to APC.
Since politics is a matter of interest, all the defectors cited Fayose’s selfishness, callous conduct, greed and alleged fraudulent practices as reasons they were parting ways with Fayose, who, they said, sees his election victory as a winner-takes-all conquest of other party members to pursue selfish interests.
All the defectors have a common agenda to see the back of Governor Fayose and his Deputy Governor Olusola Eleka, the governorship in the Government House.
With the collapse of PDP and Fayose’s bad image arising from the anger of workers over refusal to pay workers’ salaries despite taking massive intervention funds to pay but diverted and and non-performance of his administration, the question now arises: where will Fayose and Eleka get the votes to win the July 14 governorship election?
*Olujobi is Director, Media and Publicity,
Kayode Fayemi Campaign Organisation.