It is still a surprise that the now lame duck Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, somehow changed his mind about having Kolapo Olushola, his deputy, succeed him; back in 2014, he said he would leave the Government House with his deputy.
Shortly after he was declared winner of the June 2014 election wherein he scuttled Kayode Fayemi’s second term bid, he announced that his deputy, Kolapo Olushola Eleka would not succeed him in 2019.
“I have taken one and I will take another one in October,” he said. “After that, I will find my way to my house. Again, I have chosen a Deputy Governor and I have told him from the beginning that the two of us will pack our load and leave the Government House because I don’t want a deputy that will start playing politics behind me when we are in government and will be distracting me. I don’t want that again.
“So, he is practically here for me to look after certain things and ensure that we succeed. When I am going, I will hold his hand and say bye to Ekiti people.”
However, Fayose made a U-turn in 2017 and endorsed his deputy as flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Justifying this sudden about-face, he said: “Man proposes, God disposes. Sometimes, you wish some [people] as girlfriend, but they become your wife, as perfection, judgment and finality are exclusively of God. The young man is outstanding in character.
“Above all, constitutionally, my deputy is at liberty to run [for election] and I am at liberty to support anyone of my choice. Above all, other aspirants have nothing to fear if they have capacity to defeat him as the primary election is ahead.”
A number of PDP stalwarts vocally condemned the Fayose for unilaterally appointing Olushola and the party’s candidate. At the heat of the crisis, Senator Biodun Olujimi, the Senate Minority Whip, described Fayose’s proposition as wishful thinking.
“It is the business of the party at the national level to conduct a primary.” Olujimi argued at the time. “What happened is just wishful thinking. The party had already said that there would be a free and fair primary and that is where I stand.
“The five of us that are aspirants have come together to say that there must be free and fair primaries. If the primary is fair; only the best will win, not the one that has been anointed.” Although Olujimi later stepped down, Olushola clinched the party ticket by defeating Dayo Adeyeye with 1,191 of the delegates’ votes.
Sadly, this came to nought on Saturday July 14, as Olusola was defeated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Kayode Fayemi.
Indeed, this appears to firm a Yoruba maxim that suggests God only listens to the first prayer of a man. Fayose’s actions culminated into fulfilling his first promise. Truly, he held Olushola’s hands to “say bye to Ekiti people”.