OBASANJO'S MEDDLESOMENESS IN EKITI POLITICS
How time flies, leaving behind both good and bad memories for the records. Musing in retrospect, I can't but recall some of the activities, especially some of the ridiculous political events that have taken place in the land since the inception of democracy. One of them which stands out and quickly comes to mind especially at this time we are awaiting the next general elections is ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo's meddlesomeness into the Ekiti State politics during his tenure.
Coming out fresh from prison, Obasanjo, who as at the earliest days of our hard-earned democracy enjoyed the empathy of majority of Nigerians, won the 1999 general election, thereby rising up as the nation's number one citizen. In the 2003 elections, power of incumbency came handy for him to retain the seat.
Committed to the cause of winning the South-West at all cost to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he pressed buttons that saw Ayo Fayose's smooth ride into the Government House of Ekiti State. He replaced Otunba Niyi Adebayo who was from the Alliance for Democracy (AD).
Along the line, he picked Fayose to chair the committee he purportedly set up to seek his successor in the 2007 elections. Fayose, being unaware of Obasanjo's hidden intention of going for the third term unwittingly played into his hands and eventually became a foe of the cunning former president. As fallout of their disagreement, the state suffered lots of crises which later culminated in a state of emergency.
An administrator was appointed from Ogun State by Obasanjo to be in charge of the affairs of Ekiti State for the time being. This singular threw up some issues as to his intention, purpose and mission in the state. What many did not understand was why he couldn't find a qualified and credible person in Ekiti State to steer the state's affairs. No doubt, all these happened for his selfish interest and purpose.
He later conducted an election that was widely faulted by election observers both from within and outside the country including non-governmental organisations. It is through this process that Segun Oni emerged the governor of the state. This happened as a surprise to many political observers because Oni came third in the state's PDP primaries. It later became apparent that Obasanjo installed him in the position just to be able to reconstruct the political set-up of PDP in the state so as to be in control of whatever goes on in the state.
Dr Kayode Fayemi, Action Congress (AC) gubernatorial candidate didn't accept the result as he headed to the tribunal to seek redress. In the end, the tribunal judgment was on the side of Oni.
Fayemi, being the fine gentleman who understandably believes in equity, justice, peace and harmony took his case to the appeal court. After many months, this court ordered for a re-run of the elections in few local government areas and wards in the state. The re-run held in May 2009, recorded cases of malpractices including violence of all forms especially in Ido Osi Local Government area of the state. In the face of all these, Oni was still declared governor.
Unwilling to give up, Fayemi went back to the tribunal presenting the case of the Ido Osi Local Government election anomalies with evidence to prove his point. Yet after so much time was wasted, about a year, the case was heard and still Oni's victory was upheld.
As I ruminate on the whole issue, some questions come to my mind. What is violence? What do we consider as crisis? What is rigging? These questions surely can easily be answered by even a secondary school student of Government. Why then does it have to take the Nigerian judiciary ages to determine answers to these issues?
Anyway, as we ponder on these questions, we hope that under the good administration of President Goodluck Ebere Jonathan, the judiciary would assume a new shape and become a veritable avenue to pursue equity and justice, a place where the common man would run to with confidence.
•Comrade Apalara wrote in from Efon Alaye.