Ekiti 2018: Fayemi in street of Ekiti By Bolu-Olu Esho
It is commonplace during election period in any society to see streets littered with posters and billboards of different shapes and sizes awashed with images and effigies of contestants from various political parties.
Towns, villages and huts in Ekiti State are currently aglow by these seasonal unsolicited decorations meant to tempt, persuade and convince the residents on who to cast their votes for in the July 14, 2018 governorship election in the state.
Familiar are these people, both educated and those who could only figure out what the messages are all about by studying the images thereof. Some, with the help of their little children in elementary schools, they understand the messages which are usually written in foreign language, English.
The air is rendered with blare of music that come in different genres composed by jingle producers to draw the attention of these people who are seasonal brides owing to a plastic card in their possession that has been legalised as the only means of determining who represents the people in terms of managing the affairs of their society.
Unlike the Yuletide that comes once a year, this fun only comes once in four years. The people catch their fun while the period lasts, but the eclipse of the euphoria makes them see the reality of the choice they make when they cast their votes.
More often than not, their mistakes happen whenever they place premium on what they could collect as individuals from a candidate before the election rather than what such candidate could do for the collective betterment of the society.
Some politicians, who are usually out to milk the system, always exploit this weakness of these people by rubbing their palms with some crispy N200 notes accompanied with two cups of rice sealed in a sachet in exchange for their votes.
Besides, these evil politicians hide under this same umbrella to doctor results of this poll to their favour, hijacking the mandate of the people.
As the election day is drawing fast closer, most of the candidates are moving from one town to another to sell themselves to the electorate. Some of them are just introducing themselves to the people because they are green horns in the politics at least before the people.
Some are known to the people, but their pedigree and parties they belong require high profile marketer to push them down the throat of the people.
Another category of candidates are those who are only visiting these people four years after they came for the same purpose and they obliged them but failed their own part of the two-way deal.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) is currently enjoying what could be described as a payback time for a promise fulfilled among the people.
A good observer at every campaign gathering addressed by Fayemi would surely notice the eagerness on the part of the people to see him return to office as the governor of the state.
For instance, in each of towns, villages and settlements visited by the APC governorship candidate, a community leader would reel out projects and programmes executed by the Dr. Fayemi-led administration in the community during his first term in office. The community leader reeled out these projects and programmes in form of questions and the people would answer in unison confirming claims of their leader.
As expected, political party leaders would step forward to ask the people what project the present administration in the state has done in their community to warrant them to cast their vote for the candidate being sponsored by the governor.
Unfortunately, the Peoples Democratic Party-led government had abandoned more than 75 percent of the over 300 towns and communities in the state since its inauguration almost four years ago. In most of these communities, development came to a halt since Fayemi's administration was arm twisted by the PDP-led Federal Government in 2014 by falsifying the results of the governorship election.
At Ikogosi, the people were crying that the Ikogosi Warm Spring Tourists Centre has been shut down by Governor Ayodele Fayose, forcing operators of the bottled water factory that bottles the spring water to shut down. Workers at the factory and tourists centre joined other residents of the community to urge on Dr. Fayemi, promising him their votes.
The facelift and turnaround of the tourist's centre was among the five projects executed by Dr. Fayemi's administration as listed by the people of the community.
Residents of Ipole-Iloro were not left out as they told Dr. Fayemi pointblank that Governor Fayose abandoned their community because they voted for him(Fayemi) in the last governorship election. They declared that they remained adamant as they are going to repeat same on July 14, 2018.
In what seems to be the trump card Fayemi is going to use on the election day, children who interpret most of the political messages on billboards to their parents have suffered certain setback from the Governor Ayodele Fayose-led administration. That they would inform their PVC-carrying parents that they are not ready to continue in such setback like dropping out of school due to introduction of school fees is not in doubt.
Besides, those who have lost their jobs due to the draconian policies of the incumbent administration would persuade friends and families to help in returning the man whose administration provided them the jobs.
This group of people include 700 youths who were engaged by Fayemi-led administration to manage road traffic in the state. They were popularly known as Dagrin.
Over 500 youths in peace corp introduced by the same administration were sent packing by Fayose.
Another 100 youths in agricultural programmes put in place by Fayemi, YCAD, were also given the boot.
Other victims of Governor Fayose's job termination spree include 10,000 Volunteers engaged by Fayemi's administration.
Exactly 183 workers in the state House of Assembly were eased out prematurely by Fayose. And over 60 youths working at IKogosi warm Spring were ordered to vacate the premises after shutting down the tourist's centre.
However, it is glaring that the APC governorship candidate is seen as the saving grace the people have among the numerous candidates vying for the seat owing to his performance during his first term in office.
The joy expressed by the people at the arrival of Fayemi in each of the communities revealed how thirsty the people are for a change of government in the state and believing he's the change they desire.
Political pundits have noticed that the coming election is no longer a contest between the incumbent Governor Ayodele Fayose and Dr. Kayode Fayemi, but rather a contest between Fayose and the people of the state.
Bolu-Olu Esho is a journalist and a socio-political analyst.