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It doesn’t happen quite often. Infact, historians are yet to document it anywhere that this happened in the political landscape of Nigeria – an incumbent Governor defeated in a free and fair election and he concedes defeat soon after the result is announced. A rarity in Nigeria’s body polity. For this singular action, Governor Kayode Fayemi is hereby inducted into the People’s Hall of Fame.
In his concession speech Governor Kayode Fayemi said “I have just spoken with my brother, Mr. Peter Ayodele Fayose, congratulating him on his victory. In a few hours from now, I would be meeting the Governor-elect to discuss the future of our dear state and how we would work together to institute a smooth transition programme.”
This is a remarkable show of sportsmanship, even as a new chapter has been written in the annals of Nigeria’s political spectrum. This is worthy of emulation by politicians and political parties. They must learn to respect the wishes of the people.
As Nigeria’s democratic process deepens and “We the people” are getting more involved, one thing has become evident – the people, not a select political class, holds the key to strengthening our democratic process.
When the people of Ekiti State took to the polls on Saturday June 21, 2014, to exercise their civic right, they made a statement to the whole world – Nigeria’s democratic experiment has taken root. They echoed President Goodluck Jonathan’s Campaign of: “One Man, One Vote”, “One woman, One vote”. They voted freely for the candidate of their choice and they defended their votes. I congratulate the good people of Ekiti State for this exemplary conduct.
Though a few elements have attempted to parochially poke holes on the outcome of the election, it must be stated unequivocally that what happened in Ekiti State is a clear departure from what we have seen in Nigeria since the beginning of the new democratic experiment from 1999 to date. As have been corroborated by various observers and some of the political parties, all the institutions and agencies involved in the conduct of the Ekiti Governorship election performed their duties professionally and responsibly. The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) raised the bar. Therefore, kudos must be given to INEC, the security agencies and even the people for conducting themselves in a responsible manner.
As Nigerians prepare for the general elections in 2015, the Ekiti example is a handy template. It may not have been perfect; however, it is a tremendous improvement from the previous elections. Therefore we must use it as a spring board on which we can take off and continuously improve upon.
Moving forward, Nigeria’s political class must learn to play by the rules of the game, bearing in mind that times have changed. The days when a few privileged politicians decided the wishes of the people belong to the past. Politicians must learn to represent the aspirations of the people as the day of reckoning will surely come; when they go back to the people to ask for their votes. They must build synergy with all stake-holders and ensure smooth, free and fair elections devoid of thuggery and violence.
Most importantly, Nigeria politicians must learn to emulate the Dr. Kayode Fayemi’s example of conceding defeat to opponent after a keenly contested free and fair election. They must learn to put the interest of the State and that of the people above personal interest and ambition. Election winning must not be at all cost.
Also winners must learn to be magnanimous in victory by working with fellow contestants and the people in the development of the States and the Nation. The winner takes all syndrome should not be the case.
And the electorate – “We the People”, must exercise our civic rights responsibly and also hold those elected into positions of trust accountable.
Finally, I salute the courage of Dr. Kayode Fayemi. He is indeed a democrat. And his name will not only be written in the annals of our democratic experiment, it will be written in gold.
I congratulate the Governor-elect – Chief Ayodele Fayose on his victory. Surely, he is man of the people.
And greater Kudos goes to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for ensuring a level playing field for all the aspirants, providing adequate security to protect lives and properties of Ekiti people, thus enabling them go out and vote freely and fairly.
On a day like this that Ekiti people answered the question “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”, I am proudly Nigerian!!!
Comrade Shedrack Fubara
Writes from Alberta, Canada
June 22, 2014
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