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Ekiti: PDP, APC’s testing ground for 2019

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Ekiti: PDP, APC’s testing ground for 2019

To greenhorns in politics,tomorrow’s governorship election in Ekiti State is only a race between major candidates, but for those grounded in politicking, the election will be an arena for both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to either consolidate or revive their structures. WALE ELEGBEDE reports

 

 

 

Although tomorrow’s governorship election in Ekiti State will have35 political parties on the ballot, victory in the election has been zeroed to be between the two major political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), all things being equal. For the APC, its candidate is the immediate past Minister of Mines and Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, while the PDP has the current deputy governor, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, as its candidate. Academically, both evenly matched, but on political parties and status, they both differ. The PDP, which had ruled Nigeria for 16 years before it was voted out in 2015, currently has 11 states that it controls while the APC has 24 under its belt. Flashback to 2014 when the last governorship election took place in Ekiti, the reverse was the case. For both parties, Ekiti State governorship election is an epic battle for the soul of their respective structures ahead of the 2019 general election, hence the deploying of all strategies in their arsenal.

A fact to corroborate this was the massive turnout and appearances of notable leaders of both parties across the board to Ekiti State for campaigns and rallies. In a view to ensure that the end justified the means, both parties made significant efforts at packaging itself to be seen as operating a virile internal democracy during their governorship primaries election.

While some are members of both parties are still nursing grudges on how they were politically excluded in the primaries, others, including the parties, have moved on already. For analysts, the battle line is drawn and both parties are out to set the tone and give out signals on its preparedness for the 2019 general elections. Although the party that wins tomorrow’s election will relish the victory especially with the tensed atmosphere that charaterised the build-up to the election, most importantly, the outcome will serve as a measuring rod to the acceptability or otherwise of both parties amongst Nigerians.

The PDP, which is still ruing its banishment from Aso Rock in 2015 after 16 years, is aiming to use the Ekiti as a springboard to bounce back to power at the center. On the other hand, the APC, which rode on the mantra of change, is seeking to assuage the growing disillusion among Nigerians about his style of governance. To prove this, the party is working round the clock to ensure that it wins Ekiti to accentuate its political grip on the polity. Speaking with New Telegraph on the issue, the Executive Director of Rights Monitoring Group (RMG), Mr. Femi Aduwo, said the election is a political annexation of power and influence by both parties ahead of the 2019 general elections.

He said: “This is what you get when you have twodominating parties in a multi-party system. The Ekiti election is a ground where two-party competition is playing out and it is a sad commentary on our democracy.” For political analysts, it will be a winnertakes- all victory going to the general election, but the Ekiti election is significant in more than one way. First, the South-West and North-West are always the battleground between the PDP and APC and 2019 will not be different. Ekiti State was the only state in the South-West that President Muhammadu Buhari did not win in 2015.

The calculation is clear, get all the states in the South-West and you are nearly there. Also, the new found love among APC political gladiators in the South-West championed by the party’s National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, is expected to rub off and also announce the zone as being ready for the battle ahead of 2019. Speaking at one of the campaign rallies of the APC, Tinubu told the party’s loyalist present at the rally to give its new National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, a good welcome gift by delivering Ekiti State to the APC on Saturday.

For all it counts, the new chairman will not want to start his tenure on a losing note, hence the vigour and commitment put into the campaigns and mobilization. For the PDP, it is aiming to return to its 2003 era where it carted all the South-West states except Lagos State, adding that the victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke in Osun West and the State Assembly by-election victory in Oyo State gave them the fillip to crave for more success.

The former ruling party, which is seeing itself as the new bride that Nigerians may court ahead of the next general election, has even cried to the international community that it is being hoarded by the ruling party. Only yesterday, the party mobilized all its state chapters to protest an alleged teargassing ofGovernor Ayodele Fayose by security agents. For PDP and APC, all is fair in politics as they have also engaged and accused each other of plotting to rig the election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission is also not spared of the venom of desperation by both parties as they have both carried out campaigns against the objectivity and fairness of the electoral commission. No doubt, both parties are wary of what defeat at the Ekiti election will do to their ego. For APC, it may be the beginning of the journey to the abyss especially with the crisis of R-APC in its fold. But for the PDP, it may be more than a loss for them as it will significantly damage their return journey to the minds of Nigerians. Clearly, desperation is in its full face for tomorrow’s election between the two parties but what is important is for the votes of the people to count. In its sanest form, democracy is about choices and not a bragging right.

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