Kayode Fayemi, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Saturday's governorship election in Ekiti State is a second term contender for the post.

He was in the saddle as governor of the state between October 2010 and October 2014. He was stopped from being re-elected following the defeat he suffered from the incumbent governor, Ayodele Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The July 14 governorship election will be interesting in more sense than one. It is now becoming clearer why Fayemi said the 2014 election was an unsettled matter.

To Fayemi, 2018 provides an opportunity for him to settle scores with Fayose and redeem his battered ego, as a result of how he scandalously lost the last governorship election.

Though Fayose is not directly contesting the election, the governor has not cloaked his avowed interest in making sure that his deputy, Professor Kolapo Olusola, succeeds him.

It is, therefore, as if it is Fayose that is actually contesting the election against Fayemi and others.

The facts on ground show that the political circumstances in the state today are far different from what they were in 2014.

Manifesto

During the flag- off of his campaign in June, Fayemi, who was the immediate Minister of Solid Minerals made poverty, education and healthcare central to his manifesto. The implementation of which he asserts will be consultative, including being open to ideas from the diaspora.

His vision is summed up in an 8-point agenda which centres around: Governance, Infrastructural Development, Modernising Agriculture, Education and Human Capital Development, Health Care Services, Industrial Development, Tourism Development, and Gender Equality and Woman Empowerment.

Fayemi’s chances

Although there are formidable opponents challenging him, there is the belief that Fayemi might overcome the odds to emerge the governor of the state again.

Given the mammoth crowd and the number of APC governors that graced the flag off of his campaign, indications are that the APC flag bearer is getting the necessary backing to win the election. President Muhammadu Buhari is also expected to lead other party leaders to the grand finale of his rally on Tuesday, July 10.

In this contest, Fayemi is fighting not just for his second term mandate, but also for the survival of APC.  Ekiti State remains the only state in South-West under the control of PDP.

Issues likely to work for Fayemi in the coming election include the federal might as his party, the APC, is at the centre and has the resources to prosecute the election.

Also, playing in favour of Fayemi against the PDP and its candidate is the ill-feeling by the older PDP members that Gov Fayose has suddenly wrestled the soul of the PDP from them.

They believe that Prof Olusola emerging as the party candidate through the instrumentality of Fayose means that would place them on the second fiddle position in the party if Olusola eventually becomes governor.

This is perhaps the reason why the likes of former Minister of Works, Dayo Adeyeye, Senator Fatima Raji Rasaki, former deputy governor, Bisi Omoyemi among other are up in arms against Olusola’s candidacy.

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In the case of the APC, all the aspirants that contested against Fayemi in the party's gubernatorial primaries have all united behind him, thereby presenting a common front to confront and defeat a common political enemy.

The likes of Senator Ayo Arise, Bamidele Opeyemi, Segun Oni, Senator Gbenga Alukoand Babafemi Ojudu have all lined up behind Fayemi. The unity of purpose which has been forged in the APC is providing Fayemi the political momentum that he earnestly requires to make the difference in this election.

Another factor that may work in favour of Fayemi is the inability of Gov Fayose to pay salary arrears to civil servants, teachers and other categories of workers in the state. Though the amount owed  workers vary, it was gathered that the government is owing the core civil servants five months, teachers seven months, and local government staff between seven and nine months

Fayemi during his first tenure was noted for the prompt payment of salaries and pensions to civil servants/  pensioners.

Fayemi also increased minimum wage of workers three times, while in office.


 

He, however, has a lot of hurdles on his way. He cannot compete favourably with Olusola on morality level, the PDP candidate being a new breed politician with no baggage or skeletons in his cupboard.

The fact that Dr Fayemi hails from Isan-Ekiti in Oye Local Government of Ekiti North district has thrown up the North versus South contention among some observers of Saturday’s election. He has also picked his deputy from Ado Ekiti with the largest voting population just like the PDP candidate.

With a perception that Fayemi is rigid and arrogant and his perceived inability to put political solutions to issues, the former governor might need to reappraise his mode of deliberation, especially on the political turf.

Fayemi’s alleged ‘sins’, with the teachers and civil servants have not made things easy for him.

Despite repeated assurances from him to this category of workers, they appear adamant, and they form a sizable percentage of the entire voting population in Ekiti.

It was that same voting bloc that analysts said, caused his defeat by governor Fayose in the 2014 poll.

Also, although Fayemi’s indictment by a panel of inquiry had been vacated by the court, the indictment and his failure to resign as minister prior to the governorship primary of APC seem to be working against him.

Born in Ibadan on February 9,1965, Fayemi, a pro-democracy activist, was the Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development, a research and training institution dedicated to the study and promotion of democratic development, peace building and human security in Africa.

He is a product of Christ School, Ado-Ekiti and Federal School of Arts and Science, Ondo. He attended the University of Lagos where he studied History and Politics, OAU where he obtained a Masters degree in International Relations and Kings College, University of London, England where he obtained a doctorate in War Studies.

Fayemi has worked as a lecturer, journalist with the Guardian and City Tempo, researcher and strategy development adviser in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

He was responsible for the founding and management of the opposition Radio Freedom, Radio Democracy International and Radio Kudirat.

He also has many academic papers and well researched books to his credit.

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