From Defeat In 2014 To Victory In 2018, How Fayemi Kept His Eyes On The Prize
It is not the one who fails that is called a failure, it is the one who refuses to get back up after failing. For John Kayode Fayemi, most probably, if anyone had told him that someday in the nearest future he was going to defeat the protege of the very man who sent him out of office, he would have told such person to wake up from such dream. However, it all became a reality on Sunday when Professor Idowu Olayinka, the returning officer for the election, declared Fayemi winner of the 2018 Ekiti State governorship election.
The election, keenly contested by 39 candidates, was filled with political propaganda, political game, drama and of course accusations and counter-accusations. After all was said and done, the people of Ekiti went to the polls on July 14, 2018, to vote who will control of the helms of affairs of the state for the next four years.
SaharaReporters had earlier revealed how party agents were inducing electorate with money. However, according to Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ekiti, the election was free and fair and the people of Ekiti placed in the hands of Fayemi his second opportunity to make a mark in their life and state.
Born on February 9, 1965, Fayemi, attended Christ School Ado Ekiti from 1975 to 1980. The native of Isan-Ekiti in Oye Local Government of Ekiti State has degrees in History, and Politics International Relations from the Universities of Lagos and Ife respectively. Fayemi, who also happens to hold a doctorate degree in War Studies from King's College, University of London, England, resigned his position as the Minister of Solid Minerals Development to pursue his dream of occupying the Government House for the second time.
He first became Governor of the state in October 2010 following the Appeal Court judgement in Kwara State where he was declared the rightful Governor of Ekiti State instead of Segun Oni. After completing his own four years in office, he was chosen to fly his party’s flag in the 2014 Ekiti Governorship Election. However, he lost to Ayodele Fayose, a wound he nursed until today when he got his payback.
Upon losing the election, Fayemi kept himself busy by accepting to become the Minister of Solid Minerals Development in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, a post he held until he resigned to contest for the 2018 Ekiti State Governorship election. During his declaration to contest at a rally in Ado-Ekiti, Fayemi said although his political rivals would accuse him of so many things he, promised to “take over Ekiti from a rapacious and government being run by a brigand in Ekiti”. He maintained he had unfinished business in the state, adding that “politics to him, is not about the title but about service and sacrifice”.
As it is in any Democracy, each party contesting in an election must provide a candidate who will bear the flag of the party. APC governorship aspirants contested in a primary election that was marred by confusion and violence. The first primary election was canceled due to disruption by some alleged hired thugs. Another primary election was organized. Despite the rough flow of the electoral process, Fayemi won the primaries with a total of 941 votes to beat former Governor Segun Oni and 31 other aspirants.
Fayemi’s life has not been as white as snow, as he has also been hit with some controversies. Following the dust around the inability of the Ajaokuta Steel Company to function despite government’s huge investments that had gone into it. As the Solid Minerals Development Minister, Fayemi was summoned to appear before the National Assembly to explain what was going on.
He failed to appear before the lawmakers and he was served with a ‘Vote of No Confidence’. According to the lawmakers, the conduct of Fayemi validated the allegation that “some powerful interests” were colluding to concession the steel complex. However, he fired back saying: “The position of the government is clear on Ajaokuta; that only a company that is verifiable, competent, financially buoyant will Ajaokuta be a concession to after the technical audit is completed. The rumour going on that Ajaokuta is at 98 percent completion is not true; that is why the technical audit is going on to ascertain its level of completion and other information needed.”
While he was drawing up his artillery for his governorship ambition, Fayemi was again hit with another trial. He was summoned by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to explain how Ekiti’s finances were managed during his administration. He again refused to appear before the commission but rather sent his lawyer, Chief Rafiu Balogun, to stand in for him.
On election day, it was clear Fayemi was not willing to be a loser for the second time and was relying on every single vote. When the card reader rejected his wife, Erelu Bisi, he said: “My wife’s card did not register for some reason, but the INEC officials are sorting it out. That is a very important vote I don’t want to lose for any reason. Her vote must count.”
He eventually got his wish, but it wasn’t that it mattered: in the end, there were at least 9,000 votes he could have lost and he would still have emerged victorious.