Ekiti governorship: Campaigns of vitriol, propaganda
The campaign for the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State has reached feverish level, with the 21 candidates of different parties in contention.They are not only touring all the 177 wards in the 16 local councils in the state to canvass for votes, they are making promises that are not in tandem with the economic potentials of the state.
Like previous electioneering campaigns devoid of issues and contestation of ideas, most candidates have resorted to propaganda and outright falsehood to convince the electorate. Despite large numbers, which many feared will make the ballot paper crowded and confuse voters, political watchers believe the election will be a straight battle between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC).
Efforts by the Social Democratic Party (SDP), African Democratic Congress (ADC), Mega Party (MP) and Labour Party (LP) to penetrate the grassroots and become a credible alternative could alter calculations and spring marginal surprises. But both the PDP and APC are seen to be leading parties ahead of the poll. Both parties have governed Ekiti State and are not new to the electorate; voters know their strengths and weaknesses. But while the pedigrees of the candidates will play significant roles in swinging the votes, voters are also carefully studying records of their achievements.
The APC candidate, former governor of the state and immediate past Minister of Mines and Steel Development Dr. Kayode Fayemi is always quick to point at his developmental strides in any of the 133 communities, rehabilitation of all secondary schools and health facilities, coupled with the promise to resuscitate “The Youth in Commercial Agriculture, Youth Volunteer Scheme, the Ekiti State Traffic Management Agency, Social Security Scheme of the Elderly, construction of 5km road per year in each local council, Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), Peace Corps, a computer per student, free education and free health for the elderly and minors scheme among others.
The PDP candidate, Prof Kolapo Olusola is also banking on the achievements of his political godfather, Governor Ayodele Fayose, who recently commissioned the first over-head bridge in the state, building of the state High Court complex, building of an ultra modern market in Ado Ekiti, completion of the dualised carriage way between Ado Ekiti and Ikere, dualisation of Awedele road in Ado Ekiti to mention few. Provision of free glasses to the elderly with impaired optics to mention few.
While the PDP has premised its campaign on “Continuity,” pleading with people to vote for Olusola in order to continue with the “good works of Fayose,” the APC said Ekiti would use the election of July 14 to “reject Continuity of poverty, hunger, maladministration and bad governance.”
APC loyalists are also in all the nooks and crannies of the state to convince the electorate that Ekiti state economy was better while the party was in government, citing that the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state that rose to an average of N680m per month, moving towards N1b while Fayemi was in office has fallen to N350m under Fayose.
The PDP supporters often blame the decline in economic indices of the state on the shortfall in the revenue accruals to the state from the Federation Account and debt profile of the state. But the opposition says that Ekiti economy went bad because of the inability of the current governor to sustain income-generating outfits such as Ikongosi Resort Centre, Ire Burnt Bricks and others, which Fayemi rehabilitated.
Ekiti State PDP chairman, Chief Gboyega Oguntuase, said the debts incurred by the Kayode Fayemi administration between 2010 and 2014 cost the state N35.34b in servicing of the debts and deductions from statutory allocations from October 2014 till date.This, according to him, means the state is servicing the debts with an average of N1.1 billion monthly, adding that it also means about 40 percent of the state’s allocation is deducted from source monthly.
Oguntuase in a statement said documents from the Debt Management Office (DMO) and the Federal Ministry of Finance, agencies in charge of the debts and statutory allocations, revealed that the debts were incurred under several headings.He disclosed that between October and December 2014, the state’s allocations had N1.71 billion deducted to service the debts.
“In 2015, the sun of N7.85 billion was deducted from our allocations. In 2016, it was N11.30 billion, in 2017, it was N12.12 billion and from January to May this year, the sum of N4.94 billion has been deducted.But the Director of Media and Publicity of Fayemi Campaign Organisation, Mr. Wole Olujobi in his response said: “It is ridiculous for Fayose and his aides to still be peddling inaccurate debt figures after the DMO published the debts taken by Fayose alone in the last three years totaling N56b, even though he swore and lied many times that he never borrowed one kobo.
“Again, we admit that Fayemi borrowed N25b to be defrayed within seven years and records are there in the DMO that Fayemi paid back N14.5b of the debts, leaving the balance of N10.5b before he left office on October 16, 2014.“All the projects that benefitted from the bond are verifiable. They are the roads constructed across the state, schools and hospital rehabilitation, world standard Ikogosi Resort that has again been looted, Ire Burnt Bricks Company, Igbemo Asphalt Plant, water projects, new Government House, Pavilion, Civic Centre that Fayose has abandoned, among several others.
“Fayose was secretly collecting N1.3b Budget Support Fund to pay salary without telling workers that he was collecting the money on their behalf. He diverted all to self-serving projects, leaving workers without salaries for between six and 10 months, including failure to pay pensioners.Understanding the complexities and variables that will determine the election, the leadership of both the PDP and APC at the national level visited the state during two weeks ago.
The former Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, led the PDP team. Others in the PDP national campaign council are the Deputy President of the Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, former Senate President, David Mark, former Kano State Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel among others.
Speaking after their meeting with Governor Ayodele Fayose, the Deputy Governor of the state and governorship candidate of the PDP, Prof Kolade Olusola and other party chieftains in the state, Atiku said, “We are satisfied that the PDP is prepared for this election. We hope that the APC will accept the outcome of the election. They should be democratic for the first time.
Fayose said the only thing the opposition APC is holding on to is to rig the poll, boasting that the PDP had already won the election.He said, “The PDP leaders are here because they know that we have won this election. Everyone is on the same page with us. The only thing the APC is holding on to is to rig the election. We have told INEC that this is a pointer to the 2019 election. They should save their image.
However, the leadership of the APC responded with a Mega rally to officially kick-start Fayemi’s campaign, assuring that Ekiti State will be better governed and prosperous under the APC and urged the electorate to join the moving train of the party, especially in the South West.The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha accompanied Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who led 12 governors of the party; APC National Chairman, John Odigie Oyegun; APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu, National Secretary, Mala Mai Buni and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC).
Serving Ministers who attended the rally to show solidarity with Fayemi include Mansur Dan Ali (Defence), Abubakar Bawa Bwari (Mines and Steel Development) and Lai Mohammed (Information and Culture). Also at the rally were former APC Interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande; former Ekiti State Governors, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo and Chief Segun Oni.
Osinbajo said Ekiti people would benefit a lot from the APC both at the federal and state levels if they elect Fayemi as their governor. He described Fayemi as a tested politician and administrator, who has enough experience to manage the resources of the state and provide quality leadership. Fayemi said he was humbled by the gesture of solidarity from the party leaders and appealed to Ekiti voters to sweep away a “useless government.”
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