THE GAINS OF APC LOSS IN EKITI GUBER ELECTION
By Ayo Simpson Ilesanmi
I got a call from a childhood friend of mine who is an Ekitiman based in Lagos about noon yesterday. He called to know if I was following the Ekiti Gubernatorial election result and to complain about the emerging information that Ayo Fayose was coasting to victory, 'He Wept', he said. I counseled him not to get emotional over politics, especially, since I knew he was neither a politician nor benefitting anything from the APC government.
My response to him was that things are not what they really seem from afar; I think I should know, being a researcher and student of the ever learning open university. The reality of his frustrations sank as the results were being released and to our astonishment, Ayo Fasoye swept the votes not the 'broom' this time, and the margin were quite scary.
This should be a source of huge concern to real progressives among us, not necessarily the loss of the election. If the PDP can double the votes of APC in almost all local governments in the state (an incumbent), you will understand a tsunami of unimagined proportion awaits the APC in all other coming elections, if caution is not taken on the wholesale development model being pushed across the country.
This piece therefore is not an attempt, to neither console the APC nor congratulate the PDP, as the result portends another chance for the people to once again be the center (focus) of governance again, after being sidelined by cohesion, imposition and forced patronage since the return of democracy in 1999.
To simplify my analysis on how the progressives can take a positive cue from this loss, I will look at '5 MAJOR THINGS FAYEMI/APC DID WRONGLY', and thereafter proffer my candid advice on how progressive can regroup to play the opposition as should be done for the development of our beloved country. The focus of this write up is not on what PDP did right
1) LACK OF INTERNAL DEMOCRACY, A NAIL ON THE COFFIN OF APC
Dr. Fayemi is a gentleman, a strategist and a PHD holder. All these are statement of facts, but it has nothing to do with what he supported, what threw him up , how he became the APC's candidate for the just concluded gubernatorial re-election was nothing near democratic. If it had worked before, but ran contrary to the tenets of self scrutiny in a party that profess to be progressive minded. We should know that the chicken will soon come home to roost. The sanctity of a level playing ground for aspirants is reflective of where the power belonged when the dire is cast.
If caucus, camp and union's within a party structure now hold sway by shutting out the voice of the majority, then the people will be disoriented and will flow with the tide, rebellion within is almost too devastating to comprehend and manage.
APC should be bold enough to revisit the process that threw up the majority of the recently elected congress from ward to the national level. This suggestion may look childish, but a house built on false hood will crumble, especially now that we have too many people coming from different political background and motives. The other option is to pretend, or just focus on grabbing power, which of course will not come to reality with the way the party is skewed now.
2) DEVELOPMENT WITHOUT CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT IS WRONG PROGNOSIS FOR A SIMPLE AILEMENT
You may argue for or against this point, but my training as a development economist and instincts of my experience about development in the continent tells me that, real development will take place or can be said to have taken place when there is measured positive shift in the standard of living of the people (food on their table). Before you crucify me; hear me out, I also believe that infrastructure is key to development, education, health management, food security are also critical for society to move on.
While roads, over head bridges and model school are synonymous with developmental structures, the inability of majority of our people to see beyond the structures is a lesson and a shift in human capacity management requirements that any good student of history must take note of going forward.
In an environment where we have acute youth unemployment and a scary pension administration system, any government that will connect with the source must make human capital development the plank of his development programmes. We have a huge number of graduates that are hungry, still surviving on the good will of their old parents several years after leaving school, a large chunk of uneducated and disoriented ones are also growing by the day. While the ruling class lord it over them and they become scavengers in their own states and country.
I thought this was what Sure-P is trying to address at the Federal level mainly, but more funds is still being sunk into infrastructure. One attraction which is present on the side of the divides is that government functionaries make money from 'turnkey' projects; you only need to hear the bogus figures to understand the motives with the obsessions.
If within a year, your policies cannot be seen on peoples table, then you are not connecting, especially, if same governments can afford to change the range of jeeps in their lots, remodel state houses and visits abroad at leisure with the same scarce resources not enough to help the masses.
Government in developing economies must come down from their high horses and get their hands dirty. A great strategy will be to capture a reliable data on the intensity of the unemployment situation, the vulnerable and the challenged group. This will give a humanist focus to the government and an instant buy- in for the people-that is a populist government. The inability of successive government to provide social safety nets is undoubtedly a trap that have kept many of our people at the brink of insanity; why distribution of bags of rice few days to the election by the incumbent and the opposition is being touted as a game changer(don't believe this wholly).
What is needed immediately in Lagos may not necessarily be expedient in Ekiti, and issues of development must be bottom up-having the input of the locals before the appropriation and implementation.
3) BIG GOVERNMENTS IS ANTI DEVELOPMENT
In the last 30 years, or let us say from the third republic to date, political office has become the sine qua non to being rich, famous, powerful and wealthy. Even at the Federal level, the whole country is working to maintain and possibly stretch the audaciousness of our office holder in squandering our common wealth. The more reason why it is even difficult to notice any difference among the parties, in as much as they agree on sharing our wealth, you won't hear not witness any fight, except it has to do with one group blocking the other, not about us but them.
Party politics must be returned to a selfless vocation, where you come with your resources and experience to serve not to come with your cohorts and ran the till dry. if APC can design a package that will limit commissioners & other political holders to a permissible level, then the difference or unique selling proposition will be glaring for all to see. It will also reduce strain on finance and less polarity of the society, more people will be able to make a decent living in well managed environment. As it stands today, politics has become the number one absorber of people of all sorts with one focus of getting their own share of the states or national cake. We should device a way of making government work an avenue to come steal and an all comers affair.
One would have expected that the idea of pruning government size, structures and expenditures will be one of the focus of the 'National Conference', but are they themselves not a drain. An opposition worth is salt should designed a lean, and nimble governments, especially at the top to accommodate more masses to work and create enabling environment for enterprise to thrive. The era of big government will soon be, responsive governments should begin to take the people more seriously.
4) WELFARE OF THE MASSESS IS SARCROSANT
APC government should be careful how they force change and how they manage their relationship with the public service both in the local government, up to the state level. It beats me why most elected leaders in Nigeria, term hard decision as the ones that directly inflicts pain on the hapless masses.
Dr. Fayemi fought unnecessary battle with teachers, local government teachers and the labour union; the olive branch waived at the twilight of the election did not change anything, as they have made up their mind to deal with him.
The other APC governors should resist the temptation of fighting the single block of voters that could be relied upon in time of election. If Gov Oshiomole was to seek re- election, it would have been interesting to see how he would have pulled through. Any serious opposition must understand the politics of labour.
Top political office holders must drop the headmaster mentality or the ruler subject style of forcing it down their throats. It will back fire big time as we can see with the just concluded gubernatorial election in Ekiti state. Most of the changes would have been pushed to be initiated by the teachers and the labor union themselves not by cohesion and threats-people are more enlightened today than before.
5) TRANSPARENCY, PROFESSIONALISM & PROBITY THE TRIPOD THAT DRIVES 'REAL DEVELOPMENT'
Those that must come to equity must come with clean hands, an opposition worth is name, will be held accountable in all his dealings, especially in dispensing the commonwealth. Delivering projects at ridiculous costs may not be different from not building anything at all considering the drains on the lean resources on the long run. The opposition should be the sign post of probity in all areas not in areas they feel comfortable with. Most crime committed by the government most times has further widened the gap between the haves and have not, and the masses versus the masses kind of scenario being played across the country.
The opposition will do itself a world of good, if they have an mou with professional bodies to help vet public procurement to ensure resources are being managed properly. You cannot put your four fingers in the till while harassing others with your index finger. The mirror back approach will help to straighten nerves, until we begin to look at these issues, we are still far away from been the opposition that will endure and win election to institute the mouthed change.
The militarization of the State helped to reduce the percentage of voters that voted by almost a quarter of the total registered voters. However, this is not enough reason to question the integrity of the election, the inability of the APC led government to connect with the source and the wholesome development agenda being pushed from the party is a strange albatross that caused them the election.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi has just conceded defeat which is the hall mark of a spot man. You lose some and win some, it is never a do or die affair as tomorrow will always come. Congratulations (Dr.) Ayo Fayose, the Governor elect of Ekiti