The national chairman of the Labour Party, Dan Nwanyanwu, has described the governorship election held on Saturday in Ekiti State as the most credible election in recent times in Nigeria, saying Mr Ayodele Fayose’s closeness to the people gave him an advantage over other candidates.
Mr Nwanyanwu said that the election was transparent and devoid of electoral malpractices, praising the the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies for their commitments to ensuring that the election was free and fair.
On channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, the Labour Party leader stressed that the election had left several lessons for Nigerian politicians and even the outside world.
According to him, his party’s candidate, Honourable Opeyemi Bamidele, tried his best to win the hearts of the people of Ekiti with a very robust campaign.
“Our governorship candidate did his best. We canvassed for vote, but the election has come and gone. Fayose has won the election and this is a lesson we must learn as politicians and as political party in future election that will be coming.
“From Monday, Tuesday, it became very clear as to where the pendulum will go. We tried very well to see if it could be upturned. You may not know the position of the voters. All the voters attended all political parties’ rallies,” the Labour Party chairman said.
He pointed out that majority of the people who were in different political parties could not vote because they had no permanent voter’s card.
Mr Nwanyanwu further said some electorates had thought they could use thuggery to upturn and distort the process, but “the presence of security agents made it difficult for them”.
He explained that Fayose had an advantage over some of the other candidates due to his ‘down-to-earth’ nature and closeness to the people of the state.
“He was a candidate of the Labour Party when he wanted to return to the Senate.
“He is somebody that is down to earth and relates with the people as if it does not matter the position he occupies. And that differentiates him from the incumbent governor, Kayode Fayemi, who is an elitist both in conduct and character and most Ekiti people saw him as a governor that has alienated himself from the people.
“As a governor, you must make the people see you as part of them. They must see that you care and have given them a line of understanding,” he emphasised.
On the chances that some political parties could go to court to contest the result, Mr Nwanyanwu said that it was difficult for anybody to waste time saying they will upturn the election, insisting that the election was the most credible in recent times.
“It is transparent, free and fair and that is why the incumbent had conceded defeat. There were no recorded incidents of violence or thuggery.
“The message that came out from the incumbent governor sent a positive signal to politicians and the entire world that a credible election can come out of Nigeria and that candidates that lose elections must take it in good faith and not seek litigation, Mr Nwanyanwu pointed out.
However, he urged Mr Fayose to learn from his past experience as the governor of the state and guard against a repeat of the incidents that led to his exit.
“Giving good governance and making sure that there is rule of law should be what he should be looking at now.
“Fayose is a man of the people who makes himself accessible. As a leader, you must make yourself accessible. The people around the governor have a way of blocking the governor from reaching the people or to even listen to the truth. Except the governor is experienced, he may be thinking that all is well whereas his popularity is going down by the day. When you have an appointee becoming stronger than the appointor, then you have a situation where the governor is shielded from knowing what is happening around him.
“As a leader you must always find a way of reaching your old friends. The new friends you have made will move on when another person comes into office and leave you alone.
“Somebody like Fayose will sit down with a market woman frying Akara (beans cake) and eat her Akara and she will be happy even if the presence of the governor added no value to her business. The joy she feels that the governor associates with her has a role to play in what happens tomorrow,” he further explained.
Building On The Achievement
The Labour Party leader also stressed that “politics is about human being and not about an individual or his family”, insisting that appointees derail most leaders when they become so powerful.
He commended the police and the military for the peaceful conduct of the election, stressing that their presence made it impossible for thugs to operate.
Prior to the election, the INEC had pledged to ensure that the election would be credible, free and fair and Mr Nwanyanwu urged the electoral body to build on the achievement by seeking better ways of improving the process.