Nigeria News

‘We Worry about Incompetent Electoral Institutions’

The Director-General of Dr. Kayode Fayemi Re-election Campaign Organisation, Hon. Bimbo Daramola, was in Lagos recently where he addressed select journalists on the plans of the group. Akinbami Faloye presents the excerpts
Governor Fayemi was reported to have been endorsed by the APC leadership, does this automatically foreclose primaries?
When you say someone has been endorsed, you specify the level. Is it at the ward, local, state or national levels? Well, our party, the All Progressives Congress is a party that respects its own rules and laws. We were at the APC national headquarters in Abuja where my candidate Governor Kayode Fayemi went to take his nomination of interest to contest for the seat of Ekiti State governor and among all things, said the interim national organising secretary of the party, Senator Osita Izunaso and the interim national secretary, Alhaji Tijani Tumsah told us all the processes- all the stages.
This will include the April 26 primaries or congress as directed. Again, let me remind you that when Atiku Abubakar contested as a candidate under the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), we had our primaries in Lagos which was a primary by affirmation. He was the only candidate of the party and he was affirmed. 
What issues, in your estimation, will shape this election?
There are a number of issues and directions to this. The very first thing will be substance. That will be very material to the thrust of the campaign. We are going to have a campaign that will be issue-driven, agenda setting, my candidate, the campaign organisation and by extension, the people are not just angling for second term for the sake of second term, we are doing this out of the strong conviction driven by the tangible template that Dr. Kayode Fayemi has made in the past three and a half years. That will be material and would shape the campaign and conduct of election.
I know too well that the opposition is also there, rearing their heads and again, as a political party, they want to expand their territory and I am inclined to assume that between 2003 and 2007, they were in power and the train that moved from Lagos hit, Edo, ran through Ondo and berth at Ekiti and Ekiti reunited Oyo and Oyo eventually closed in on Ogun state. That will also come up.
Third, you will also agree with me that may be this may not be nice that one of us who used to be a member of the house or same family said he would be at the ballot for this election. All of these will shape this election and by all intent and purposes, there is nothing you can do about that. You cannot run away from these facts- elections are won on the basis political parties driven by individuals and the people ultimately have their way and every other thing keys into this.
In the last registration exercise, your party allegedly registered about 200, 000. Given the total number of voters in the state, do you think your candidate stands a chance of defeating the candidates of Peoples Democratic Party and Labour party?
Yes, APC’s registered members were in excess of 200,000 and the total registered voters in Ekiti were about 649,000. Elections are won on the basis of so many factors. It would have been a completely different thing if we did not have an incumbent or all of the candidates are running as general candidates afresh but the truth of the matter is that the strength of the party is a factor but strength means nothing. It is just like trying to ascribe power to the size of a dinosaur which today is facing extinction because the size of dinosaur has not been able to help dinosaur.
The people have said PDP is the largest party in Africa and all that jargon but we also know that that the party is depreciating and decimating as we speak. I don’t want to benchmark the success of our elections on the fact that we are driven by population, which is driven by their conviction by what Dr. Kayode Fayemi has been able to do in three and half years. I have said at different times that there is no one coming into the election with tangible assets as my candidate.  He is not coming into election with promissory notes.  He is coming into the election to say I will do but to say I have done
Why is the governor keen about a second term?
There is no insistence on second term. We are saying if you have a family or mechanic who has been attending to you or a mechanic who has been fixing your car over the ages and has been doing it well. It is likely that you will trust him much more when challenges arise. My candidate has tried in the last three and half years to justify the mandate the people gave him way back in 2007. My candidate and my party are products of adversity. We are all students of history and we all know how we got to this point.
Thank God, today, my candidate has turned our adversity to prosperity. What he has done justifies the fact that people remain resolute behind and beside him, during the period of adversity and travail. I am sure today all of those things will come into reckoning. I don’t think the people will suffer selective amnesia. It is the officials that suffer amnesia not the people. If the people suffer amnesia, nobody will give credit to Chief Obafemi Awolowo today for his free education programme.
But why is the governor afraid that the election might be rigged?
I am not aware that my governor is expressing fears. In any case, there is the fear of the unknown. As human beings, we wake up, step out of our homes, committing our lives into the hand of God. There is always the fear of the shadowy. But the truth of the matter is that we have to confront our fears because we will soon know that they do not exist. We have seen it before. Don’t forget that we are Ekiti people that we do not brook cheating, we do not brook injustice.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi was not in office when Ekiti people stood by him head-to-head; toe-totoe and did not blink. We were not in government yet pursued the mandate and by the grace of God, it was eventually delivered into our hands. He has treated that mandate with so much sanctity. The recognition of that alone will sharpen the resolve of our people to stand beside him and by him to ensure that no matter what the electoral marauders are trying to do, they will not succeed.
In concrete terms, what are the fears?
The fear will not be too far-fetched. We have seen the seeming incompetence and lack of capacity of some of the institutions in the conduct of elections in the country. We have seen time and time again apologising to Nigerians for the failures in Anambra, for the failures in Delta. You as the moral compass and the conscience of the society also have the moral obligations to the populace out there. It will be in the interest of President Goodluck Jonathan and his party to ensure that they play fair and ensure that the will of the people prevail in the election. It will be the fairest thing to do.
What do you think informed the intense jockeying for Ekiti governorship?
It is a sad spectacle and I am too sure this is one of the eternal legacies of governor Fayemi’s administration. By the grace of God before the end of the second term of Governor Fayemi, all the Dick, Tom and Harry aspiring to Okebadeke in Ekiti State will not find it very comfortable anymore. Dr Fayemi would have sufficiently raised the standards such that anybody that aspires to lead Ekiti will first of all benchmark himself. Some of the things they have said about Governor Fayemi include the fact that he is not governor ‘jule’ kind of governor who goes to eat ‘boli’ in the street place, market place or doing seeming things that are populist. He is not building stomach infrastructure.
Can you equate in terms of character a governor who goes to the streets to buy boli and ground nut from the woman on the streets? That may not be bad. But can you compare that to a governor who ensures that 25,000 senior citizens get a stipend of N5,000 and put them on subsistence care of their health and immediate needs perpetually and statute bound.
If you take social biometrics into consideration, you will discover that in the long run, people are better off than a governor given to emotional sentiments and goes to the street to say how much is your ‘boli’ and pays N5,000 for it and that is where it ends. You don’t wish to just be a leader. You must earn it. There must be integral qualities that you possess. One of that is clear vision of where you want to take your followership to. You must have an agenda that will be driven by the people. Leader must take the lead.
What will Governor Fayemi do differently in his second term since critics say the projects he delivered in his first tenure were started by the previous administrations?
Well, again, I have never seen an argument as hollow, puerile and jejune as that. You spent Ekiti people’s money to repair roads in Ekiti and you didn’t finish the roads and another governor comes and out of responsibility to Ekiti people who voted him, completes the roads and you are saying that is not a laudable achievement? You expect him to go and look for money to create Fayemi roads. That is also very salutary that he picked up the projects because ab initio, the intension is that these projects will serve Ekiti people. Whether that intention was right or wrong, overpriced or not, another comes and priced it well and distilled the farther benefits of it and goes ahead to complete it. It’s pedestrian for anyone to criticise a governor for that.    

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