One huge minus for news reporting in our nation today, a product of ominous catastrophe befalling the media–new and traditional, unabated, is the uninspiring relaying or presentation of events of all magnitudes from the same somehow narrow angle.
In a very bewildering proportion also, the casting of similar or the same headlines for news events is fast becoming the fad among media practitioners at all levels in Nigeria. Of course, this was the situation with the suspended Ekiti APC governorship primary election of last Saturday.
Stories Told the Nation So Far
Expectedly, all major and minor news portals in Nigeria featured the unconcluded and suspended APC governorship primary last weekend. A summary of reportage of the doomed electoral activity in Ado Ekiti last Saturday by the Nigerian media is that it got suspended indefinitely as a result of violence in the process initially configured to produce the party’s flag-bearer for June governorship election. Of course they were all right.
As reported by SaharaReporters, “The Ekiti gubernatorial primary of the All Progressives Congress, APC was suspended few hours after it began on Saturday following outbreak of violence over allegations of the manipulations of the process to favour one of the 33 aspirants. Violence broke out at Oluyemi Kayode stadium, Ado Ekiti, the venue of the primary after agents of some of the aspirants for the gubernatorial ticket accused the delegates loyal to former governor of the state, Mr. Kayode Fayemi of engaging in malpractices”.
SaharaReporters continued, ”Voting had commenced when suddenly the delegates claimed other delegates loyal to Mr. Fayemi were breaching the rules, Premium Times reported. The delegates making the claim of malpractices became uncontrollable, leading to commotion and disruption of the voting process. Security agents immediately cordoned off the voting area to secure the ballot boxes and papers. But this did not stop the destruction of some of the ballot boxes. There was sporadic shooting by security personnel to ensure calm. Efforts by the Chairman of the organising committee, Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa, to call the primaries to order were unsuccessful as at 5.00 p. But he eventually announced infinite suspension of the primary after meeting with the 33 aspirants. Mr. Fayemi’s representative, Abejide Adewumi, said other agents realised that his candidate was coasting home to victory and decided to disrupt the process”.
A complimentary version by Premium Times stated: “Following the violent disruption of the All Progressives Congress governorship primaries in Ekiti State, the Tanko Al-Makura-led organising committee has suspended the exercise indefinitely. A meeting of the committee and all the aspirants held shortly after the crisis erupted. The meeting held for nearly one hour and half.Mr. Al-Makura stormed out of the meeting and was guarded into his car and driven away without briefing journalists on the outcome of the meeting. PREMIUM TIMES gathered that it was an agreement among the aspirants that the primaries be suspended. However, Bimbo Daramola, one of the aspirants, who said he was not permitted to speak for the committee, said the aspirants during the meeting urged the organising committee to take a second look at the process. He said what happened was triggered by some observations and there was need not to expose such an election to the factors that prevailed in Saturday’s exercise”.
Premium Times further relayed: “Most of the aspirants would not talk to journalists as they equally stormed out of the venue of the primaries. The process was disrupted by party supporters and agents of aspirants after they alleged that the agent of former governor, Kayode Fayemi, was trying to manipulate the voters. They also alleged that Mr Fayemi was handing a tag to the delegates with inscription “JKF” on which they wrote the serial number of the ballot papers, fearing that it was an attempt to monetise the process. Mr. Fayemi’s agent, Abedeji Adewumi, said the other agents chose to disrupt the process because they saw that the voting was in favour of his aspirant”. The foregoing has been the focus of reports in all the print, electronic and social media regarding last Saturday botched APC primary election in Ekiti–but, what about the flip side?
THE STORIES UNTOLD
The Jettisoning of Zoning Principle
Early last year, when a few of the aspirants for the governorship race were known, I published in some national dallies the danger inherent in trading our age-long Omoluabi culture of equity and fairness for political ambition by the top gladiators in the APC, PDP or any other political party. My conclusion in the media feature was that since the North and Centre Senatorial Divisions of the state have produced two governors each for two and three terms respectively, the natural or commonsensical thing for parties to do was to look for capable candidates with leadership traits and pedigree from Ekiti South Senatorial Zone.
Incredibly, while my opinion as well as that of many other well-meaning Ekiti citizens, was smartly heeded by Governor Ayodele Fayose’s PDP, APC, on the other hand, preferred the uncouth arrangement that produced 33 aspirants in Saturday suspended election in our impoverished and relatively small state.
From Commonsensical angle, this Ekiti APC’s seeming political naivety has two odious consequential effects. First, it makes intra-party manageability of the whole political process quite unwieldy, cumbersome and potentially tension-prone. Secondly and a direct inference from the first consequence, it readily backgrounds the inability or helplessness of the party in Ekiti to conventionally banish Engr. Segun Oni, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Senator Ayo Arise, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, Hon. Bimbo Daramola and other Ekiti North and Centre Senatorial gladiators, from the electoral activity.
The Aspirants And Individualism
As in other democratic situations where horse-trading, alignments and realignments are usually integral parts on the eves of electoral activities like the suspended Ekiti APC governorship primary election of last Saturday, from close observation, there was no aspirant ready to trade off his or her N7.5 million paid to collect the party ticket and many more millions of Naira spent on the whole process since the election frenzy began. This among other facts, perhaps, explains the sudden outbreak of violence by some of the party delegates when they sensed the electoral process was being brazenly compromised.
The Fayemi Headache In Ekiti APC
In regard of last Saturday event in Ekiti State, what could be called Fayemi Headache in Ekiti APC has two or more negative manifestations. First, until his entry into the governorship race late last year and declaration of intent to run some weeks back, the general belief in Ekiti State and Ekiti APC was that Dr. Fayemi would not contest the primary.
As a matter of fact, he was not only largely viewed as not having interest in running for the party ticket, he was widely regarded as backing some of the aspirants, who were also said to have received his assurance and blessings. Thus, for him to have turned 360 degree to, as it were, ‘renege’ on his earlier position was largely consider as huge deceit, political chicanery, monumental inconsistency and mother of all lies by majority of those he had given his words and many Ekiti APC leaders, their teeming supporters and members.
The second plank of the Fayemi Headache in Ekiti APC is the huge rumour or allegation that he’s the Presidency’s preferred choice over and above all other 32 candidates, Engr. Segun Oni, from whom he wrestled power through the courts to become Ekiti governor in 2010 inclusive.
The Naira Factor
It is generally believed the suspended APC governorship primary will remain the most expensive in annals of political history of Ekiti State. It is alleged that on the part of the aspirants, the process culminating in last Saturday suspended election has gulped billions of Naira–one of them who was in the eye of storm in the violence-truncated electoral activity, was alleged to have promised the delegates N500, 000 or half of a million Naira each–with N250, 000 allegedly paid to them already under oath the night before the election.
The other naira factor is that it was alleged that the security at event was also compromised. One of the aspirants was accused of buying over the whole security personnel for the election, particularly as the new Commissioner of Police posted to Ekiti State only assumed duty on the morning of the election which was also initially disrupted by heavy rain that day.
Victory for The Dark Horse?
One very vital omission from all the reports on the doomed APC governorship primary of last Saturday was that, far from the quoted claim of Fayemi’s representative, Abejide Adewumi, that the former governor was leading in the election, it is alleged that majority of the delegates–even many of the aspirants, realised that a dark horse, Dr. Wole Oluyede, from Ikere Ekiti, was actually coasting home in what would have been a landslide victory.
As it was alleged, this reality caused panic and desperation in Fayemi’s camp, hence the allegation that Abejide Adewumi, who also allegedly received a dirty and retaliatory slap from a younger representative of one of the aspirants in the election, brazenly spearheaded the campaign that delegates should cast their votes for his principal at the venue–the immediate cause of the dramatic violence that truncated the election.
–Dapo Olaosebikan, veteran journalist and an observer at last Saturday election in Ado Ekiti, wrote in from Abuja