On April 18, 2013, Ekiti Focus Group (EFG) made a press release condemning political violence and called for peace in Ekiti State. The press release was informed by the skirmishes in some part of the state in which a young Ekiti man- Ayo Jeje (38) was gruesomely murdered in Erijiyan Ekiti. We are not in the knowing if the culprits of this dastardly act have been brought to book. We hope this will not go the way of other unresolved killings in the state.
As we gradually approach the year 2014 when another gubernatorial election will hold in the Ekiti state, we have started seeing increased political activities, game of wit, ego and popularity contest among the aspirants for the No. 1 seat in the state, across political parties, as they jostle to emerge as flag bearers for their various political parties. We have also seen candidates been endorsed by different groups and individuals. This development is not unexpected in a democratic system where every eligible citizen has constitutional right to vote and be voted for in an election.
This coming election brings a golden opportunity to entrenching a credible electioneering process and democratic governance in the state. This can only be achieved if all the political parties and aspirants play by the laid down rules and regulations. All hands should be on the deck to make the era of godfatherism, imposition of candidates, violence and elections rigging become a thing of the past in our body polity. This is necessary because credible electioneering process is the bedrock of sustainable and responsible democratic governance. All the achievements recorded so far by the current administration will come to naught if we fail to institutionalize a credible electioneering process that is devoid of unnecessary acrimonies and hooliganism.
Recently, at the 10th anniversary of Institute of Strategic Management in Lagos, Governor Kayode Fayemi cautioned against working towards the uproar that led to the current crisis in Egypt. According to him, various crises in the country are express invitations to the military to interfere in civil affairs. He further noted that our leadership is what is drawing us in the direction of Egypt. While Governor Fayemi was referring to different crisis rocking the country, his observation is also very relevant in our state where the process of selecting parties’ flag bearers seems to be building ominous tension. History has shown that ill management/handling of our electioneering process (from primaries to final elections) contributed immensely to many crisis that has rocked the country.
It therefore becomes imperative to once again call on Ekiti State leadership and all the political gladiators to refrain from engaging in activities and utterances capable of causing ill will and disaffection in the state. No one should be gagged, intimidated or harassed because of showing interest in any political office. It goes without gainsaying that our electioneering process must be fair and transparent.
The overall interest of Ekiti should always be paramount on the mind of all the politicians and people in authority. The best way to show this is by allowing Ekiti people to freely elect their leaders in a free and peaceful atmosphere. We are not unaware of the challenges of our electioneering process in across the country, however, we dare to say that whatever challenges may bedevil the process are manmade and need no rocket science to fix. Without a doubt, Ekiti has what it takes to be an exception from the shameful macabre dance of warped electioneering process. All it takes is a willing and committed leadership. Yes, we can become good model in democratic governance to other states in Nigeria. In the words of Frank Herbert, [g]ood governance never depends upon laws, but upon the personal qualities of those who govern. The machinery of government is always subordinate to the will of those who administer that machinery. The most important element of government, therefore, is the method of choosing leaders.
In conclusion, Ekiti State is our common patrimony. As stakeholders, we shall continue to work with other well meaning Ekiti people to ensure the growth and development of the land of our birth. Together, we can make Ekiti State a place of pride for ourselves and future generation.
God bless Ekiti State!
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Samuel O. Ayodele (Chairman)
Adebanji Dada (General Secretary)