Perspectives to APC, Fayemi victory in Ekiti
The outcome of last Saturday governorship poll in Ekiti could be seen as an indicator of the political changes and permutations expected to take place in the Southwest politics in the nearest future.
An interesting aspect of APC victory in the election is that the development has returned the zone to its 1999 position, when the Alliance for Democracy (AD), received the backing of the progressives and the apex Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, to win the governorship elections of the six states.
Up until 2003 general elections, when erstwhile President Olusegun Obasanjo introduced the garrison politics of ‘Operation Capture’ southwest, the AD has no rival in the zone. However, after the 2003 election, the National Leader of APC, Bola Tinubu, was the only Southwest governor that got reelected. He was later forced to change the name of the party to Action Congress (AC), which platform he used to complete his second term in 2007.Tinubu’s other colleagues, who contested on the platform of the AD against the then Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) headed by Obasanjo lost. Since then, the Southwest never came under a unified party platform until last Saturday. This however depends on what comes out of Osun State governorship election in September. Therefore, how far APC could hold onto to the region depends on how well it manages the Osun governorship election.
Significance of APC victory in Ekiti on PDP in Southwest
IT should be noted that after the 2003 general elections, PDP successfully dominated Southwest politics, controlling five out of the six states in the zone. It maintained the status quo till 2007 when most of its governors were reelected for second term.
Thereafter, PDP’s influence began to whittle down when in it lost control of Ondo State in 2009 to the Labour Party (LP) led by erstwhile Governor Segun Mimiko through an Appeal Court judgment that upturned erstwhile Governor Segun Agagu’s election.
Similar fate later befell PDP in Osun State, when the Appeal Court reversed Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola’s election to install Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), which later transformed to APC. On the heels of that also, the Appeal Court also dismantled PDP’s victory in Ekiti to install Fayemi.
However PDP retained control of Ogun and Oyo states under former governors Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Adebayo Alao-Akala respectively, till 2015 only to lose both states to APC in the 2015 election.
Mimiko, who won his reelection against the incumbent governor of Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu on the Labour Party (LP) platform in the 2012 governorship was however unable to install his successor, Eyitayo Jegede, on the platform of PDP in 2016. The development changed the political situation, leaving APC with five states and PDP with only Ekiti until Saturday when the outgoing governor, Ayo Fayose like Mimiko, failed to install his deputy, Prof. Olusola Kolapo Eleka.
From 2003 to date, three different parties, PDP, APC and LP; held sway in Southwest until the situation changed with Fayemi’s recent victory thus giving the ruling party full control of the region.
Another implication of APC’s triumph in Ekiti is that it would enable the Southwest to concentrate on its regional integration agenda, which it could not achieve since 2003.A leader in the region said yesterday that Fayemi’s reelection after losing to Fayose in 2014 must immediately collaborate with his colleagues from other states to vigorously pursue the true federalism idea that the region has been championing since the days of the founder of the Action Group (AG), late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
According to the leader: “The Southwest having come under one party can now intensify efforts and pursue similar agenda to develop the zone with whatever support it can get from the Federal Government.”
Possibility of shrinking Tinubu’s political influence
Meanwhile, the APC victory could also serve as the road map for the party to redefine Southwest politics if it could successfully extend the victory streak to Osun in September.
An APC chieftain also observed that the development will change political equation in the Yoruba politics from the point of view that the likes of Bola Tinubu, national leader of the APC, may not continue to wield the kind of political influence he used to hold before with the coming to power of the likes of Fayemi, Akeredolu, who do not seem to come under Tinubu’s influence.
Although the ruling party may have taken control of the Southwest with Fayemi’s victory, it is not so for the national leader, Tinubu.A top member of the party confided in The Guardian, yesterday, that with the new development, Tinubu’s political influence is fast dwindling across the Southwest, especially with the emergence of new forces like Fayemi and Akeredolu, known for their independent mindedness and tough disposition against the political hegemony of Tinubu.
Interestingly, the likes of Ibikunle Amosun and Abiola Ajimobi of Ogun and Oyo States would finish their second terms in 2019, but they may likely want to use their power of incumbency to implant their successors instead of allowing any outside force to decide who succeeds them.
The governorship primary that produced Akeredolu and Fayemi showed clearly that the national leader did not dictate the direction. The big question that follows is who would now lead the Southwest in its political renaissance peradventure Tinubu’s political leadership crumbles. Could it be the ‘poser boy’ Babatunde Fashola, incumbent minister of Power, Works and Housing or Amosun or the newly elected governor of Ekiti State?
With the new development also, could there be a change of baton in Lagos State, the stronghold of Tinubu come 2019 or could the situation further deepen the frosty political relationship between the Southwest and Northwest in future?Those posers would be easily resolved if the same political equations that brought in Akeredolu and Fayemi also play out in Osun, while Amosun and Ajimobi successfully determine their successors in 2019.
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