The candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has won the Ekiti State governorship election.
Fayemi defeated the Deputy Governor of the state and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Professor Kolapo Olusola, and over 30 others in a keenly contested election.
He was victorious in 11 out of the 16 local government areas of the state, polling 197,459 votes, and edging out his closest rival Olusola who got 178,121 votes by 19,338 votes.
Based on the votes secured, INEC’s Chief Returning Officer for the election, Professor Idowu Olayinka, named Fayemi the winner.
Professor Olayinka declared “that John Olukayode Fayemi of the APC, having satisfied the requirements of the law and scored the highest number of votes is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected”.
Saturday’s election was highly anticipated as it pitted both the APC and Fayemi against one of their biggest critics and a key member of the opposition – Governor Ayodele Fayose.
The buildup to the election was filled with drama and heightened expectations but led to fears of violence, with more than 30,000 policemen eventually deployed to provide security.
It, however, started rather smoothly with electoral materials and officials getting to polling units visited by our correspondents on schedule.
In Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, there was a large turnout of voters and more than 60,000 people eventually voted there, the largest votes cast in a local government during the election.
Apart from reports now and then of card reader malfunction, one of the first issues to pop up was the allegations of cash inducements by party agents.
A few hours into the start of the election, the police arrested some persons for allegedly distributing cash to voters.
By midday, both Fayemi and Olusola had suffered hitches at their polling units.
In the case of Fayemi, the card reader smoothly read his PVC enabling him to vote but it failed to read that of his wife and it took several attempts before she got to vote.
After voting, the former Ekiti governor told reporters he was confident of victory and that the day will be celebrated.
In the case of Olusola, the card reader failed to recognise his card when he tried to vote at his polling unit – Ofomofuru Hall, Ward 2, Okeruku in Ikere-Ekiti.
He only got accredited to vote after INEC National Commissioner, Anthonia Simbini, intervened.
Both candidates did not dwell on the hitch, however, with the focus more on voter inducement and intimidation.
The victory puts Mr Fayemi on course for a second term as governor of the state, an ambition he failed to achieve in 2014 when he was defeated by Governor Fayose.
Fayemi had gone on to head the Policy, Research and Strategy Directorate of the APC’s Presidential Campaign for the 2015 election before becoming Minister of Mines and Steel Development.
Fayose, whose administration repeatedly accused Fayemi’s administration, was keen to ensure that his deputy succeeds him and that Ekiti remains under the leadership of the PDP.
When he came out to vote, the governor repeated his calls to supporters of the PDP to vote and protect their votes.
Although it was a close contest, this time around Fayemi and the APC prevailed.