The Oasis Reporters
July 9, 2018
On July 14, the people of Ekiti shall once again exercise their civic rights by voting for the person who will govern them for the next four years.
This time, my piece is neither about the Executive Governor of Ekiti State, Chief Ayodele Fayose nor really on the governorship ambition of his deputy, Prof. Kolapo Olusola Eleka, but about political marginalisation of Ekiti South Senatorial District.
Ekiti State is divided into three senatorial districts namely: Central, North and South.The local governments in the South include: Ikere, Ekiti East, Gbonyin, Ise/Orun, Emure and Ekiti South West. Of the sixteen local government areas in the state, South has six whilst the other two districts have five each. This means that south has the highest number of local governments in Ekiti.
As far as the state is concerned, Ikere is the second largest, populated and civilized town. From 1999 till date, like the state capital, Ikere had produced Surveyor Abiodun Aluko, Mr. Bisi Omoyeni and Prof. Kolapo Olusola Eleka as deputy governors, the only difference is that all deputy governors from Ado-Ekiti did not serve under just one man. Chief (Mrs) ‘Biodun Olujimi from Ekiti East also served as deputy governor under the man who made three sons of Ikere-Ekiti his deputies. The other four local governments are yet to produce one. The major reason politicians prefer choosing their deputies from either Ado or Ikere is by reason of high population of the two towns. Any governorship candidate who wins Ado and Ikere is automatically the governor of the state. I stand to be corrected.
Since democracy returned to the country in 1999, Ekiti Central has produced three governors, the North has produced two governors while the South is yet to produce any. As a matter of fact, a local government (Irelodun/Ifelodun) is a leading local government in the state. The local government produced the first Executive Governor, second and the reigning governor of the state.
After the inauguration of Otunba Niyi Adebayo who won the first governorship election in the state, the first governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Prof.Tunde Adeniran from Ekiti North was appointed Minister of Education by President Olusegun Obasanjo. Prof. Adeniran occupied the position from June 1999 to January 2001 before another man from his local government (Ido/ Osi ), Prof. Babalola Borisade of blessed memory succeeded him.
The re-election of Chief Obasanjo in 2003 general elections got another ministerial appointment for Prof. Borisade. He was in government with Chief Obasanjo till 29th May, 2007.
In 2007, Ido/Osi produced the governor of the state for the first time and the expectation of all PDP leaders and stakeholders of the state was that South would get the ministerial slot, but the choice of the people in the district ( Prince Dayo Adeyeye) was rejected by the Senate and his rejection paved the way for a young, sharp and dynamic Mr. Babatunde Omotoba fron Ekiti Central (from the same Irepodun/Ifelodun LG) to occupy the seat.
When Engr. Segun Oni was sacked by the Appeal Court in Ilorin, his arch political rival, Dr. Kayode Fayemi from the same senatorial district became the governor.
The simple analysis is that governors of the state between 2007- 2014 were from Ekiti North whilst the ministerial slots during this period were given to the central.
The only time south got ministerial appointment was during the last nine months of the sixteen consecutive years of PDP in government. Who did the south offend?
In 2014, the advocacy for “South Agenda” arose but popularity and general acceptability of the giant political guru from Afao- Ekiti halted the moves as he defeated those aspiring to be governor from the South during PDP primaries.
This is 2018, while PDP has deemed it fit to zone its governorship ticket to the South, the All Progressives Congress, APC did not see any competent or trustworthy man from the scores of southern governorship aspirants in the party worthy of its ticket.
It is very unfortunate that those who were once seen as the chief advocators of the South Agenda are now the ones working seriously against the interest of the senatorial district just because they have no platform to contest. The worst of all is the ridiculous attitude of a governorship aspirant who was defeated in a free and fair contest under PDP.
The present governor of the state is from the central and the transition of government from PDP to APC at federal level got north another ministerial slot.
The calculation is that if the standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress, APC wins July 14 election, north will produce another governor, central will get deputy while the south will go home with another nine months ministerial stint as President Muhammadu Buhari has less than a year in office. But if the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP wins, the South will produce Ekiti Governor for the first time and in my humble opinion; I will say it is preferable for the senatorial district to go for the best man to break the jinx this time.The ball is in their court anyway.
Written by Olufemi Alonge Alonso
He writes from Ado – Ekiti, South West Nigeria.