Ekiti State governorship election has been won and lost following the announcement of the results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the early hours of Sunday.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan and INEC Returning Officer, Prof. Oyebode Adebowale, declared the All Progressives Congress candidate, Biodun Oyebanji, the winner of the election having polled the highest number of votes, 187,057.
“That I, Prof. Oyebode Adebowale, hereby certified that I am the returning officer of the Ekiti 2022 Governorship Election held on June 18.
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“That Biodun Oyebanji, the candidate of APC, having satisfied the requirements of the law, is hereby declared the winner and returned,” Adebowale declared.”
A former governor of the state and the Social Democratic Party candidate, Segun Oni secured 82,211 votes to come second while his counterpart, Olabisi Kolawole of the Peoples Democratic Party came a distant third, polling 67,457 votes.
The PDP loss was instructive for both local and national politics. At the state level, it casts doubts over the clout of former Governor Ayodele Fayose, the PDP leader in Ekiti State, who anointed Kolawole as the candidate.
Notably, Fayose failed to deliver his local government, Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area, in the Saturday election as the PDP came a distant third with 4,712 votes behind APC and SDP which polled 13,125 and 5,010 respectively.
Similarly some political analysts had projected that the election would serve as an avenue for PDP and APC to test the water ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
While it may be too early to predict where the power pendulum will swing next year, the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar would have been more upbeat about victory in 2023 if the PDP won Ekiti election.
With 67,457 to the APC’s 187,057, Atiku and his party may have to work twice as hard ahead of the presidential election or risk losing the state again.
In the 2019 election, Atiku lost in Ekiti, polling 154,032 votes compared to his main challenger, Buhari, who polled 219,231 votes.
Also, Osun State governorship election is about four weeks away. Although peculiarities of the political climate in Ekiti and Osun are not the same, a victory for PDP in the former would have provided some ‘feel good’ mood for the party ahead of the July 16 election in Osun.
If the Ekiti results were anything to go by, Senator Ademola Adeleke, the PDP governorship candidate, has yet to get the right leverage to ride on going to the polls. He would have to roll up his sleeves to avoid a repeat of the 2018 defeat to the APC.
Iyioricha Ayu, National Chairman of the PDP, would have claimed Ekiti as the first state that the PDP won since he became chairman in December. Although Ayu and PDP bigwigs did not campaign in Ekiti like the APC did, victory of the opposition party would have been a boost for him.
CULLED FROM DAILY TRUST