By Jude Atupulazi
It wasn't the result a vast majority of Nigerians expected. But there it was at the end of the day: Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress, APC, emerged the winner of the governorship poll in Ekiti State. He beat Prof Eleka of the People's Democratic Party, PDP. According to results released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Fayemi polled a total of 197, 459 as against the total of 178, 121 polled by Gov Ayodele Fayose's protégé, Eleka. Thus Fayemi, who was ousted by Fayose years ago, will be returning to the seat he was sacked from.
The win by APC had however surprised many Nigerians who had all beamed their searchlight on the state. For those who don't know, that election was like a fight between Buhari and the rest of Nigerians. The ruling APC saw it that way too. Thus, in a possible bid to forestall what could be a yellow card to their government, the APC did all it could to ensure it was not disgraced. At least, that was the thinking of many Nigerians. To that end, as many as 30,000 police personnel were deployed to a state that was not fighting a war. While virtually all the police personnel were there, little thought was given to the crises ridden areas where the special breed known as the Fulani herdsmen were holding sway.
For your information, there are portions of areas in Plateau State which have been taken over by the herdsmen who now have settled there. Despite the protestations of the original, (or is it conquered) owners, the Inspector General of Police did nothing. Instead of deploying a strong contingent of police personnel to flush out those illegal occupiers, he preferred to flood Ekiti State with police personnel.
Indeed, no state in the federation failed to contribute some police men and women. The result was that other areas, except Ekiti, became vulnerable to criminal activities and it was on that note that four policemen were found burnt to death in a police van in Edo State by unknown assailants. When press men sought to hear the reaction of the Edo State Police Commissioner, they were told that the police commissioner was not around as he was part of the contingent in Ekiti. Perhaps if the police had let Ekiti be, those burnt policemen could have lived as more of their colleagues might have been around. But then the Federal Government decided that it was better and more important to win an election than to protect life.
And talking about that election, I guess Nigerians may not have heard the last about it. Immediately after the declaration of APC as the winner of that election, many Nigerians, including the PDP and the Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, had cried foul, with the central theme being that the election was rigged in favour of the APC. Even some of my colleagues who covered the election were saying same thing.
One of the things baffling many people was a situation in which a party which won in twelve out of sixteen local government areas was only able to beat a party that won in only four local government areas by less than twenty thousand votes. People were also pointing at the disparity between the total votes cast and the number of accredited voters. This was allegedly later removed from INEC's website. This was even as the PDP maintained that its candidate was robbed. As expected, the victorious APC beat its chest and challenged the losers to go to court.
Besides, it was difficult for people to see how an unpopular government as that of Buhari could enjoy anyone's support. With stories of abominable killing of men, women and children across the country by Buhari's kinsmen masquerading as herdsmen; and the kid glove treatment being given to them, many had indeed thought that the Ekiti election would be used by Nigerians in that state to give Buhari a foretaste of what would happen to him in 2019. But, alas, it was instead used by APC to give Nigerians a foretaste of what would happen to them next year. Scary, isn't it?
Again, unlike the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, who has the deadly and fearsome Niger Delta militants to fight for him, Fayose only has his mouth. But then we know that battles are not fought with the mouth but with weapons. Perhaps, that was why the APC had it damn too easy against Fayose.
When they tried it against Wike, he unleashed the militants on them and they scampered away. The militants, as we all know, are feared by the police and even the soldiers. But then, we cannot all be like Wike.
In the midst of the controversy of the Ekiti poll election, a result purported to be the original one for the Ekiti State election went viral on the social media. According to the result, PDP scored 178, 121 votes, while APC scored 157, 459 votes.
Well, no one would be fool enough to believe what is seen on the social media these days, but then, given the controversy surrounding the Ekiti poll, many are wont to believe anything.
The PDP had vowed to challenge the result declared by INEC in court. It is hoped that justice will prevail by the true winner being declared by the judiciary. But until then, Nigerians are expected not to lose hope in their quest to oust the present federal government of Muhammadu Buhari.
No one should be kidded into believing it will be easy to remove Buhari. Indeed, nothing good comes easy. The Buhari Administration won't be expected to let go easily like the Jonathan Administration did. While Jonathan cared little about how the then INEC chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, was going about the task of preparing for the elections of 2015, Buhari had from Day One planned and plotted how to ensure that soap bubbles would not enter his eyes. Thus apart from surrounding himself with his people as security chiefs, he also made sure that the INEC umpire not only came from his own area, but from his blood. Now, if this is not ominous as long as next year's poll is concerned, what else will be? This simply tells Nigerians that the battle ahead is not going to be easy.
Now, Buhari has seemingly won the first round of battle. It will no doubt send panic signals to others, especially as Buhari literally holds the yam and the knife by way of owning the police, army and INEC. But we may as well take solace in the fact that it was equally the way PDP under Jonathan held all the aces; yet failed when it mattered the most.
Yes, APC is formidable at the moment. It holds all the aces. It has everything seemingly going for it. To criticize the party is to be hounded by security personnel. To keep quiet is to be subjugated and massacred. What to do? In such circumstances, you stand up and fight.
When in the 1960s the Igbos were pursued from the North down to their ancestral homeland, they stood up and fought. There's a limit to docility and fear. When that limit is reached, what is left is to stand one's ground and fight like a cornered animal and we all know how dangerous it is to confront a cornered animal.
Regardless of whatever hopes lie in the courts after the Ekiti election, Nigerians should brace up for the mother of all battles, for in history, many great generals had lost battles but eventually won their wars.
There's an end to everything. No matter how hard Buhari works to force himself on the people he has been treating like scum, I earnestly hope that he will merely be postponing the evil day. One battle has been fought and lost, but surely, other battles lie ahead that will ultimately decide the war.