By Gboyega Ajayi
It is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends and it is just as wrong, or even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. Members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Ekiti State are currently working at cross-purposes. This may spell doom for the party and lead to another abysmal outcome in the forthcoming governorship election in the state. The APC in Ekiti state is blessed with all shades of characters, out of which about forty (40) individuals have shown or declared interest in contesting the primary election of the party, to choose its flag bearer. The fact that APC has this array of eminently qualified personalities vying to fly the flag of the party is an impressive blessing. Unfortunately the APC in Ekiti state seems to be at a loss on how best to manage this blessing.
There is nothing wrong in having many aspirants within a party. It’s absolutely good and healthy for the party members to be presented with various options to pick from. However, it is absurd, barbaric and counterproductive for the various aspirants for the party’s ticket to engage in or encourage campaign of calumny against one another. Unless something is done quickly to caution the gladiators and tame some foot soldiers (attack dogs) of the aspirants, the party will move towards imminent but avoidable implosion and perdition in Ekiti State.
There is urgent need for a paradigm shift for the aspirants and their foot soldiers. Rather than talking about their common enemy (the PDP) and / or programs of their principals, majority of party faithful derive pleasure in talking negatively about other aspirant(s) perceived to be the threat to their principals’ ambition. The focus was on Chief Segun Oni at a time. There was nothing they didn’t say about the man before and after his official declaration. At different times, Senator Gbenga Aluko, Rt. Hon. Femi Bamishile, Senator Babafemi Ojudu and others were at the receiving ends of the unnecessary and fruitless attacks. Dr. Kayode Fayemi is currently at the center of the storm. He has not been spared for a moment since the news of his anticipated declaration broke out.
It is worrisome that the APC members could devote so much precious time, energy and resources to destroy and decimate fellow aspirants within the same party. If by sheer luck you win the primaries and pick the ticket, do you expect those you (or your proxy) have decimated to rally round you at the general election? If providence gives the person you (or your proxy) decimated victory, how would you come out to market and campaign for such person?
In the build up to the 2016 gubernatorial election in Ondo State, the state APC experienced something similar to what is currently going in Ekiti state. Some of the aspirants were at each other’s neck. The foot soldiers of various camps engaged in whatever means (right or wrong) to market and promote their principals. The present Ondo state governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu was one of the most widely criticized aspirants during the campaign for the Ondo state APC primary in 2016. The campaign of calumny against him was so high that at a time he was not rated among the three top likely winners of the primary. However, before things got out of hands the aspirants came together under the name of “APC Aspirants Forum” and with the backing of the party leaders in the state, called all camps to order.
Where there is no law, there is no crime! The Ondo state APC and the aspirants collectively signed an MOU with strong warning that no party member must engage in campaign of calumny or disparage any aspirant. The focus of each camp then was on the common enemy (the PDP) and what you are bringing on board (your program) as an aspirant. This helped to restore sanity to some levels because “at his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.” This is one major reason all the aspirants congratulated the eventual winner of the Ondo state APC primary election, immediately he was proclaimed winner. Though one or two later recanted and withdrew their congratulatory messages.
Someone said there is nothing progressive about the APC. As libelous as this may sound, the attitude of the party faithful is giving credence to that assertion, as currently seen in Ekiti State. It is a common knowledge that the PDP-led government in Ekiti state have left no stone unturned in its quest to discredit and rubbish Dr. Kayode Fayemi and his government. There is nothing new about the antics of the PDP. As a matter of fact it should be expected. What’s disheartening however is the attitude of the APC toward the incessant attack on Fayemi. I am yet to see where Prince Dayo Adeyeye, Senator Abiodun Olujimi, Dr. Dare Bejide and Barr. Owoseni Ajayi or their supporters openly castigate Dr. Fayemi or celebrate his persecution by the state government. Unfortunately where or when people celebrate, promote or publicize the persecution of Dr. Fayemi you will always find APC members at the forefront.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi seems to be enjoying free publicity at the moment because some aspirants (and their followers) talk about him more than their agenda for Ekitikete. Imagine about thirty (30) different camps (aspirants and followers) talking about an aspiring aspirant across the length and breadth of Ekiti state simultaneously. His posters were torn and defaced within twenty four hours they were pasted whereas some posters have been out unnoticed and untouched for months!! Who is afraid of Fayemi?
Those who are not publicizing or celebrating Fayemi’s persecution are also guilty of keeping quiet when they should be speaking out to defend him. How can we call ourselves progressives if we can’t defend our own. You may not like Fayemi, you don’t have to like him, but the fact remains that he was an APC governor and currently an APC minister. An attack on him is an attack on the APC family, especially in Ekiti state. We should not allow personal ambition to becloud our sense of reasoning. We should be progressive in thoughts and deeds.
APC lost to the PDP in 2014 because as at the time the election came up, the APC in Ekiti state was in total disarray. Even though Fayemi was the governor then, a tree does not make a forest. We should be together in victory or loss. I am sure, had it been he won the election, most of the negative stories being said about him now may not surface. Therefore rather than trading blames and polarizing the party further, we should work on how to unite the party. There is no aspirant on the field today that can singlehandedly defeat the PDP without the support of the other aspirants. If you win the primary by disparaging other aspirants, can you win the general election alone?
The youths should wake up to their responsibilities because they are the biggest losers, should APC lose to the PDP this year. As at today, without prejudice to other aspirants, there are three major camps viz: Kayode Fayemi, Segun Oni and others within the Ekiti state APC. Dr. Kayode Fayemi, like most of the other aspirants, have little or nothing to lose, should APC lose to the PDP. The losers are the common party faithful who have been in the cold for four years. Can they afford the cold for another four years? This is another reason we should stop taunting anybody that he or she can’t win general election. The combined strength of these various camps is enough to dislodge the PDP but can the camps ever work together? They have no choice. They either work and stand together or sink separately.
Whoever is good enough to win the primary can as well win the general election if, and only if, the other aspirants put the interest of the party above personal interest and rally round him for the good of all. However, where personal interest override party’s interest, what happened in Ondo state may repeat itself in Ekiti state. In Ondo state, leaders (national and state) openly worked against the party’s interest but in the end, the common interest prevailed.
Unfortunately in Ekiti state we don’t have a Jimoh Ibrahim to do the hatchet job for us. Therefore, we must approach the battle united or else our loss at the poll will signify direct entry to perdition for Ekiti state APC. If Fayemi (or any other aspirant) wins the primary and the other camps refuse to support and work for his victory at the gubernatorial election as being tauted in some quarters, thereby leading to another success for the PDP. The biggest loser wouldn’t be Fayemi but the Ekiti state APC and the common man that wants or desires change.
The leaders (national and state) should call all aspirants and their followers to order. The intraparty wrangling must end. Each time you disparage an aspirant you are indirectly putting the APC at a disadvantage should the person you are disparaging win the primary. You are equally hurting the APC the more because the person you disparaged may not support you at the general election, should you win the primary. The more the merrier.
You should focus on your aspirant and his ambition and leave the other aspirants alone. If you are not sure your aspirant can win the primary don’t invest your energy on destroying another aspirant whose chance intimidates yours. Let’s act and work together like real progressives, if indeed we are progressives. Your personal interest, aspiration and ambition shouldn’t jeopardize the party’s success. May the best man win the primary of the APC and may the wish of God prevail in Ekiti state. United we stand, divided we fall.
Ajayi, a media strategist, sent this piece from Ikoro-Ekiti.