On Wednesday 22nd May, governor Fayemi of Ekiti state scored a major victory which as events has shown is the first of many to come as the Nigeria Governors Forum elected him as its new chairman for a term of two years.
The Ekiti State governor was chosen at a gathering of the 36 governors in Abuja Wednesday night, following his nomination by Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State. Some governors, including Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, were not in attendance, but they were said to have sent representatives.
Interestingly, Mr El-Rufai was believed to be a contender for the top position in the forum, which is a congregation of all the country’s 36 governors towards a common front.
It was a tricky one nevertheless but hours ahead of the meeting, Mr Fayemi rocketed into the lead for the influential position, as governors from the south expressed sentiments about a rotational chairmanship of the forum. Mr Fayemi was unanimously elected, according to a statement from the forum.
— Wale Gates 🇳🇬🇬🇧 (@walegates) July 15, 2018
Most PDP governors were said to be uncomfortable with El-Rufai because of his derision of the opposition and hardline stance on some national issues, especially from the religious perspective. El-Rufai is seen by some PDP governors as one of the architects of the defeat of the opposition party in the last general elections.
Fayemi succeeded Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, who served two terms over the past four years. Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto was also elected as vice-chairman to Mr Fayemi during the meeting at the forum’s headquarters in Maitama District. Their tenure will expire in 2021, but they can seek a re-election for another two years.
Congratulating the governor over his election, his famous rival, the former governor of Ekiti, Ayodele Fayose said it was a win well deserved.
Fayose wrote on his verified Twitter page, “I congratulate Gov Kayode Fayemi on his appointment and elevation as Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). It is well deserved for you and the entire people of Ekiti. Politics will come and go, but Ekiti State will remain eternal.”
He added, “Once again, you have my best wishes.”
I congratulate Gov Kayode Fayemi on his appointment and elevation as Chairman of the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF). It is well deserved for you and the entire people of Ekiti. Politics will come and go, but Ekiti State will remain eternal.
Once again, you have my best wishes.
— Peter Ayodele Fayose (@GovAyoFayose) May 23, 2019
And then just this morning Friday 24th May, the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its governorship candidate in Ekiti State, Kolapo Olusola-Eleka challenging the election of Governor Kayode Fayemi.
Affirming Fayemi’s election, the five-man panel of the Supreme Court led by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad unanimously held that the appeal challenging the outcome of the poll lacked merit.
The Supreme Court’s judgement came as a plus as it affirmed the judgments of both the Ekiti State Election Petition Tribunal and the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, which had both dismissed the petition challenging the outcome of the July 2018 poll.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Fayemi and the All Progressives Congress polled a total of 197,459 votes to defeated Olusola-Eleka and the PDP who placed second with 178,121 votes in the July 14, 2018 election.
Dissatisfied with the outcome, PDP and Olusola-Eleka had filed their petition before the Ekiti State Election Petition Tribunal which sat and delivered its judgment in Abuja.
These two major victories has confidently set the Ekiti state government on a smooth drive both on the home front in Ekiti as well as within the committee of state governors for the next four years.
Another major direction it has given is the obvious fact that the governor is now in a strategic position to influence certain developments and happenings within the Nigerian political space chief of which is the race to who becomes the presidential flag bearer of the ruling All Progressives Congress for the 2023 presidential race.
Already, the comments and body languages from top politicians across the major geo-political zones shows that alliances are already being formed and possible candidates that will be thrown up from the geo-political zones are already being permuted.
As regards the likely presidential candidates for the APC, one name that stands tall amongst all right now and is currently on virtually everyone’s lips is that of the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Tinubu is a man who is seen as one of the most probable candidates for the ticket of the All Progressives Congress.
Having worked conscientiously for the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari for his first and second term victories ,the permutations are that Bola Tinubu feels it’s his time for the shot at the presidency and he knows he would need powerful forces to rally behind him if this ambition is to be a success even though as it stands no official word on his interest has been made so far,but the hand writing are all obviously written on the wall.
For the Tinubu’s camp, Fayemi’s electoral victory at the Supreme Court as well as his becoming the Chairman of the governors’ forum is a good omen.
Asiwaju Tinubu: the win underlines the stature of the man. People trying to dismiss the Tinubu influence in SW politics, are kidding themselves. Fayemi and Tinubu reconciling made a great difference in helping to bring about Fayemi’s victory. pic.twitter.com/3NNiGoNBXY
— Jubril of Sudan till 2023 (@ijaola_ibrahim) July 15, 2018
For one,it means Ekiti state is firmly locked down as one of the South Western states Tinubu can count on when the time comes, the others for now being his precious baby Lagos, Ogun, Ondo which somewhat is still shaky with the tussle still going on between the APC’s candidate and present governor of the state, Gboyega Adeleke and Senator Ademola Adeleke of the PDP who is contesting the former’s victory.
Secondly, at the center, Fayemi’s chairmanship of the governors’ forum means that Tinubu also has a rallying force amongst the governors even for the states not under the control of the All Progressives Congress and so can still be influenced.
In all, it appears the signs so far are working in favour of the national leader even as the race for 2023 hots up by the day.
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