By Uzogara Tobechukwu.
In less than 72 hours, the good people of Ekiti State would be going to the polls to elect their next governor. Who are the party candidates and what are their chances? Of the 16 governorship candidates struggling for the ultimate prize, only 3 have shown capacity.
These three candidates are Biodun Oyebanji of the APC; Bisi Kolawole of the PDP, and Segun Oni of the SDP. Segun Oni is a former governor of the state and is a former member of both the PDP and APC. Ironically, he is today the candidate of the SDP and the purported “Third Force.”
Minus Segun Oni from the picture, the election is a straight battle between the PDP and APC. It’s instructive to note that no party has ever won an election back-to-back in Ekiti State since 1999. No matter how much the party tries, it must fail and maybe return on a subsequent election. Whether this pattern would change on Saturday or not remains to be seen.
Looking at the pedigrees of the three main contenders, there’s nothing fantastic about them. They are all “homeboys” who have been part of the system since 1999, though at different intervals. Despite the state having some of the highest number of PhD holders in Nigeria, it is still the base of crude politics where everything goes.
The quality of governance is also not better than what obtains in other states of the federation. And the candidates’ manifestos are almost the same. This obviously takes the shine off the entire contest.
I believe that going by the general sentiments in the Southwest and the good statesmanship exhibited by Governor Kayode Fayemi so far, the APC stands a better chance of winning. However, the threat held out by Fayose’s man, Bisi Kolawole cannot be underestimated. It’s definitely going to be a long tortuous battle between the two big parties.
Beyond the obvious political innuendos, this governorship election is a kind of referendum on the popularity of Adeniyi Adebayo and Kayode Fayemi of the APC, versus Ayo Fayose of the PDP. Any party that carries the day would determine the political future of these wannabe godfathers. For any of them that wins, it would go a long way in determining their role in Tinubu’s race for the presidency and their future political prospects. Thus, it’s a contest linked to a bigger contest. Surely, these are interesting times, let’s watch and see.