By Jude Ndukwe
As we inch closer to the July 14governorship election in Ekiti State,
stakeholders are putting final touches totheir preparations to ensure not
only a hitch-free election but also that thedeserved party wins and
continue to take the State on an upward projection. Thenews that the
police hierarchy is deploying as much as 30,000 police personnelto Ekiti
for the election is an indication of how seriously our securityagencies
are taking the exercise. The only concern here is, why so much numberof
policemen for an election, a civic exercise in a very peaceful State
whileBenue, Plateau and other flashpoints in the country are lacking in
policepersonnel to help stem the growing ugly tide of mass murders we have
witnessedin the country recently? That would be an issue for another day.
However, the massive deploymentof police personnel to Ekiti underscores
how seriously various stakeholderstake the forthcoming election. It is the
penultimate election before the 2019general elections with the Osun
governorship election standing between them,thus, making the Ekiti
election serve as a yardstick for how well variousinstitutions,
particularly INEC, are preparing for the 2019 general elections.It would
also be used to measure INEC’s true independence from influence
andpowerful extraneous interests and forces.
So, in more ways than one, theEkiti election should be of utmost priority
not only to the good people ofEkiti but also to all well meaning Nigerians
as it will be a pointer to thetrajectory the 2019 election will take.
Beyond these, Ekiti people are going tobe greatest beneficiaries of a
free, fair and transparent election but wouldalso be the worst victims,
both in the short and long terms, should theexercise go wrong and be
tainted with irregularities.
To this end, the peoplethemselves have huge roles to play. By now, it is
expected that the partieswould have done enough in terms of voter
education, much of which must centreon the need for the electorate not to
allow themselves to be influenced bymoney or such other fleeting gifts
that might be offered to them by desperatepoliticians to buy their
conscience and sway their votes their way.
It is instructive to note thatthose who have brought hunger to the land
might have deliberately done so inorder to find it easy to induce the
electorates, pauperized by shallow andfailed government policies, during
It was the mistake people of OndoSate made. Allegations of heavy
inducement by critical actors at the November2016 election filled the
airwave as it was alleged that the electorates were offeredbetween N1,500
and N5,000 for their votes depending on location and importanceof polling
areas to those behind the inducement, for the people to vote forthem.
And, of course, with the level ofhunger in the land, a majority of the
people were said to have grudgingly acceptedthe inducement as a palliative
to their hunger, an action which radicallychanged the expected outcome of
the election to favour those who made theoffering to the voters.
However, what such voters refusedto realize was that they were actually
selling away their future and birthrightfor pittance. Just about two years
after a new government took over the seat ofgovernment in Akure, pregnant
women took to the streets in lamentation, wailingand gnashing of the teeth
on how the new government had cancelled the freechildbirth policy run by
the previous government which, by the allegedinducement from another
party, was voted out.
That protest by pregnant women inOndo State was one never witnessed in a
long while in the history of our nationwhere pregnancy is held in high
esteem and treated with enormous care. But onthis day, the pregnant women
threw caution to the wind and took to the streetsprotesting the imposition
of what they described as exorbitant fees on theirmedical care by the
State government. Unfortunately, some of the pregnant womencould have
participated in the electoral largesse by politicians at the OndoState
governorship election, voted against their conscience, and a governmentof
the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that had hitherto provided them with
When the APC government tookover, the women accused the government of
increasing their ante-natal care feesfrom N1,000 to N4,000, and an
imposition of N500 fee for every appointment theyhad at government
hospitals, appointments they acknowledged used to be freeunder the PDP-led
government of Dr Olusegun Mimiko. The major grouse of theprotesting
pregnant women was the N25,000 fee imposed on them for normaldelivery, a
service that used to be absolutely free before the November
As if taking a cue from thepregnant women, and right about the same
period, students of Adekunle AjasinUniversity, Akungba Akoko (AAUA) also
took to the streets to demonstrateagainst the hike in fees by the current
Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu-led OndoState government. The fees, according
to the protesting students, were hikedfrom N25,000 and N30,000 under the
PDP-led government of Dr Olusegun Mimiko tobetween N120,000 and N250,000
under the Akeredolu-led APC government.
Sadly, some of the students couldalso have partaken in the electoral
largesse politicians threw their way onelection day, and they sold their
long term benefit of having a considerategovernment that cared for them in
power for a short term benefit of even meagrecash that would not last them
more than a day or two.
Long after receiving the pittanceto buy their votes, pregnant women,
students and other indigenes and residentsof Ondo State are now crying and
regretting their mistake.
As Ekiti governorship electiontakes place, some might have also prepared
to replicate the vote buying systemallegedly deployed in Ondo to Ekiti, as
the principal actors allegedly behindthe money-for-vote action have since
relocated to Ekiti to perpetrate the same ignominiousact. The people must
resist the temptation of eating sumptuous meals for a dayor two with the
money they get induced with only for them to be faced with longterm
realities of economic hardship, social dysfunction and draconian
policiesafter having helped put a rudderless government in place.
The Bible says it is alwaysbetter to eat vegetable where there is love
than to eat meat where there ishate (Proverbs 15:17. Governor Peter
Ayodele Fayose has proved that he loveshis people; he stood by them in the
darkest hour and prevented the State bygoing the bloody ways of Plateau,
Benue, Nasarawa, Zamafara et al when hebraved the odds and against a
dangerous tide, signed the anti-open grazing billinto law. The people must
allow themselves to be guided by their conscience. NoState deserves to add
to itself the enormous suffering and hardship imposed onNigerians by the
APC-led federal government. that would amount to doublejeopardy!
They should remember that theirvote is their right, their power and should
not be exchanged for any filthylucre that commits them into a world of
paid silence in the face ofmaladministration. They must be vigilant and
ensure that those who have playeda part in dragging the entire nation into
its current comatose state of anomiewhere insecurity, unemployment,
flagrant abuse of citizens’ rights, selectiveobedience of court orders,
economic hardship etc have become the lot ofNigerians, do not have a
foothold in Ekiti.
It was the same mistake Nigerianshad made earlier that the people of Ondo
State made at their last governorshipelection, hence, they suffer double
tragedy as policies of their stategovernment do not appear people-oriented
or friendly thereby giving room foravoidable demonstrations, coupled with
the obvious ineptitude exhibited at thecentre.
Almost all the states that madethe same mistake Nigeria made at the last
presidential election in 2015 wherethe current ruling party was voted to
power are in one form of turmoil or theother today. From Benue to Zamfara
to Nasarawa to Kaduna, to Adamawa etc, theirpeople are now wailing in
regret. The people of Ekiti have enough examples tolearn from that they
have no excuse whatsoever to make the same mistake othersbefore them made
only for such people to turn around in regret and startdemonstrating
The people must vote for theparty that has not only spoken against the
invasion of their state by maraudingand murderous herdsmen terrorists but
has demonstrated enormous capacity andthe needed political will to protect
them from the mass murderers and preventthe same orgy of killings in other
states from happening in Ekiti despitemounting pressure to do otherwise.
They must not make themselves open to thetemptation of mints and other
items of inducement no matter how attractive, orelse they will be exposing
themselves to immediate danger and their children toa future of
Apart from attempting to inducethe people with cash and other items, the
people should also beware of thosewho come to them with flattery, vain
eloquence and empty promises. SomeNigerians allowed all these to sway them
in 2015 and today, we are allsuffering because of it. Ekiti people must
prove that they are not as gullible.They should know by now those who made
promises but could not keep them ratherthey have driven the country to a
state far worse than they met her; suchpeople promise paradise but what
they actually carry in their bosom fordelivery is hell. Ekiti people must
watch out for such people. They must notallow themselves to be intimidated
or hoodwinked by any means to look away fromguarding their votes from the
polling units to the final collation centre. Itis a battle for the soul of
the State, and vigilance is the ultimate price forsafety.
Will they be intimidated? Yes,the intimidation has already begun? But
Ekitikete must stand their ground;Ekiti must not be sold or handed over to
those who have proved that they meanno good with their rudderless
performance at the centre.
Those who are deployed to theState for one assignment or the other whether
as security officials, INECofficials, observers, pressmen etc, must ensure
that they carry out theirduties with utmost sense of patriotism and not
cooperate or participate in anyattempt to rob the people of their
electoral choice. The eventual outcome ofthe election must reflect the
people’s voice and will. This is the least thatthese and other
stakeholders owe not only the people of Ekiti State but alsoNigerians,
and, indeed, the entire world.
As the clock ticks towards D-Day,it is imperative to remind voters of the
local proverb which says that when thefrog in front jumps into a deep
hole, it teaches the other ones behind alesson. Ekiti people must learn
from the costly mistake Nigeria made in 2015and avoid same on July 14.
This is the least they owe themselves and posterity.They should allow
sound judgement based on history and good conscience guidetheir choice at