By Rotimi Fasan
THERE was always something odd about the victory of Ayodele Fayose over Kayode Fayemi in the June 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State. This, not simply because Fayemi was an incumbent whose incumbency status should stand him in good stead, but because of the comprehensiveness of the defeat by a man whose departure as governor from the government house, eight years earlier, took place in a cloud of shame and ignominy. Fayose’s reputation as at the time he left government in 2006 was in tatters and he had yet to do anything of substance to repair that reputation by the time he re-emerged as governor after defeating Fayemi in all sixteen local government areas of Ekiti State. Fayemi’s main crime apparently was that he ran a government that was seen as elitist and alienated from the people of Ekiti. Nobody accused him of stashing away funds meant for the development of Ekiti in some private account in Switzerland, or owning high end choice property in Dubai. His one and only crime was his refusal or failure to provide necessary ‘stomach infrastructure’ for the impoverished masses of Ekiti, thus paving the way for the self-appointed man of the people, the one who wears his populism like a badge of honour on the sleeves of his shirt- Ayodele Fayose. Oh yes, there was the issue of the over-priced governor’s lodge which Fayose raised to prove his accusation of profligacy and/or corruption against Fayemi. But he had no more to say than could otherwise be expected from a political opponent. Nor was Fayose magnanimous in victory. After the initial show of courtesy to Fayemi, behaviour that was very much out of character, he soon went to his known ways- hurling insults and spewing hate. Tope Aluko Fayemi took his defeat in his strides, conceded victory to Fayose even before his party that was obviously getting ready to challenge Fayose’s victory had fully taken in the shock of his defeat. Fayemi took the path of dignity and left in a manner heretofore unknown in these parts of the world where incumbent office holders are never known to suffer defeat to say nothing of leaving office without a fuss. Fayemi’s gentlemanly conduct apparently didn’t go down well with some sections of his party’s leadership that thought he was too hasty to concede defeat. But his sportsmanship would earn him the respect and admiration of many Nigerians, ultimately laying the foundation for President Goodluck Jonathan’s easy concession of victory to Mohammadu Buhari in the 2015 presidential election. Even when many couldn’t fully comprehend the manner of Fayose’s victory, they had nothing to substantiate their suspicion that the election might have been rigged. Not when it had been adjudged free by local and international observers despite the climate of fear induced by the undue presence of military and paramilitary personnel obviously working at the behest of Abuja. But things would begin to unravel some six months later when a soldier, Sagir Koli, a captain in the Nigerian Army released audio recordings that provided evidence of the subversion of democracy in the Ekiti election by leading members of the security arm of the Jonathan administration. Details of this shameful and criminal act are easily available in the public domain to detain us here. Suffice to say that the issues raised were hot enough to cause the hasty escape of Captain Koli into exile out of fear for his life. Until recently that the military high command ordered investigation into the conduct of their officers and men during the Ekiti State gubernatorial election, nothing substantial had followed the series of allegations on the misuse of state power to intimidate opponents of the PDP in that election. The investigation ordered by the military indicted some of its officers, recommending different types and degree of sanctions against those found culpable. That was where matters stood before the emergence of Tope Aluko, a former Secretary of the PDP in Ekiti state and Retuning Officer of the party in the 2014 governorship election. There is no doubt that Aluko was an insider of the PDP in that State. He was also a close ally of Ayo Fayose. His failure to clinch the position of Chief of Staff, the promised reward for his part in the electoral heist of June 2014, has triggered in him a case of verbal fever that has seen him admitting to a cocktail of crimes, allegedly perpetrated along with others including Ayo Fayose, during the election that brought Fayose to power. About a fortnight ago Mr. Aluko went on a round of media houses in Lagos where he opened a cupboard full of skeletons, a tinder box that has unleashed a ball of fire. His was a suicidal move originally aimed at Fayose but which now has the potential of causing maximum collateral damage to any one of note in the PDP at the said time the Ekiti election took place in 2014. Aluko made a whole lot of allegations that provided details of how the PDP, led by President Jonathan and his military and police chiefs, colluded in the unseemly and corrupt use of money and the security agencies to ensure the success of the PDP in that election. It was a ‘high tech’ kind of operation that had the ability to elude the radar of election observers. Although Fayose was the immediate beneficiary of this electoral brigandage, the ultimate goal was to ensure the victory of Goodluck Jonathan and thus his re-election as president. Notwithstanding the shameless and utterly self-serving and embarrassing manner he went about his confession, Aluko provided information worthy of further investigation. He claimed to have evidence for his allegations and he may well have it. You didn’t need to be a pollster to know that the south-west was the battleground of the 2015 presidential election, and that whoever wanted to win that election must first ensure he won the south-west. The candidate that ultimately won that election was the one that enjoyed the greater support of the leading political machine in the south-west. With loads of money the PDP simply washed the south-west in hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not even the primary election that produced Fayose as the PDP candidate and into which Jonathan allegedly donated a whopping $2 million was left to chance. He gave $34 million for the election proper. Everything was planned apparently months before the first ballot was cast hence the clinical manner the heist went without discovery (?). The terrible thing about corruption is that it leaves a trail too clear to hide without creating a bigger trail. Fayose couldn’t have realised when he, Aluko and company went about their hideous business that he could be done in, least of all by Aluko.