Ekiti Council Poll As Litmus Test For Oyebanji’s Acceptability

  • By Wole Olujobi

He breaks the existentialist neurosis of political disorder that forces  fanatical support for partisan platform that offers no prospect for life’s enhancement.

He shatters the historical animosity of the past to create a fresh momentum for a  political culture that emphasises the mobilisation of divergent tendencies for a collective aspiration.

He knocks the doors of erstwhile foes at dawn and comes back home cackling in his spirits, waking a new riveting consciousness that compels erstwhile worst enemies to drink from the same cup of unity.


A political surgeon of deft moral assay, he, like in the miracle in Cana of Galilee, rips the manacles, and turns Ekiti State hate-infested waters to the sacramental wine of love and amity.

That is Governor Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji (BAO), the innovative governor of Ekiti State who is everyday turning the sod for peace, to build a new state that thrives on communal fraternity for a virile and prosperous society.

He is in the mould  of Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore who adopted innovative leadership strategy as the pioneer prime minister of that country to transform the Third World nation into a developed country with a high-income economy within a single generation.

Oyebanji also apes Steve Jobs, the co-founder and former CEO of Apple, Inc., who revolutionized the idea of the personal computer and worked closely with staff members on the innovative “Think different” marketing campaign, that led to the success of the iTunes and iMac, iPod and iPhone; the innovation that revolutionised communication technology systems across the globe.

Through his virtues of ingenuity, such as imagination, adaptability, creativity, flexibility, and the ability to respond rapidly to unexpected situations, Oyebanjo drew up imaginative new approaches to problems that have ailed the state over the years.

For instance, immediately he mounted the throne on October 16, 2022, he united the bitterly divided Ekiti leadership cadres scattered across various political platforms in the state. And as a believer in the power of collective wisdom, when he began the process of the recent local government election, he threw the challenge to pick the candidates for the  polls to party leadership to reinforce the template he had earlier adopted in the appointment of party members to his government.

In that exercise, at his behest, the party leadership developed membership engagement strategy in various communities and constituencies to ensure equitable distribution of appointments to ensure justice. The strategy worked.

The next major party affair was the local government election held last weekend,  December 2, 2023. He applied the same rule and the outcome justified the purport of the strategy in the most electrifying manner.

As a political party, unlike a pressure group, APC harbours people with varying personal interests, and like in the community of partisans in communal solidarity, the choice of candidates must represent a collective acceptance of other party members in what must mark the superiority of party discipline over individual personal interest.

In other words, the democratisation of the processes of appointing members into government positions and selection of candidates for election is a new innovation in democratisation process of politicking championed by Oyebanji to strengthen democratic practice for peaceful coexistence among members.

That process is a thrilling shift that eases succession plan in a predictable manner, so much so that the next blocs to produce certain candidates for the next polls are already known before the administration of the winners in the last election kicks off.

One aspect of the process that awed observers was the support of members of the opposition parties in their solidarity with Oyebanji’s party to have an almost one-party election process that returned all APC candidates unopposed during the election.

With virtually all leaders of other parties solidarising with the governor over his pro-people policies and programmes, including his personal qualities as a honest, visionary leader, and other critical segments of the society expressing solidarity with him over his vision for collective progress of the state and social protection net for the vulnerable residents, Oyebanji, for the first time in the history of Ekiti State, led a united state hitherto bitterly divided along partisan lines.

His method is simple: he broke away
from the cocoon of hostile partisan enclave of the past to embrace a community spirit united by one vision to pursue a common cause for collective destiny.

In droves, leaders of other parties abandoned their partisan platforms to nest with Oyebanji in APC. Ordinary members of the society followed suit. Civil servants, teachers and local government workers in particular, who form an overwhelming voting bloc in the state, openly abandoned their traditional partisan platforms in other parties to embrace Oyebanji.

Pointedly, across the state, many in these groups also said they were not voting for APC but Oyebanji to continue to deliver goodies for Ekiti people. Instances abound where people who were seen as heart and soul of the main opposition party PDP openly sought to join APC as they expressed preference for Oyebanji to win second term election to enable them continue the enjoyment of his pro-people programmes.

Evidently, Oyebanji-inspired community spirit in the local government election has created a consciousness for the institutionalisation of community politicking whereby the interests of the people must be the very fountain, source and sauce for political engagement and participation for the actualisation of common goals.

Oyebanji himself reinforced the philosophy of his innovative leadership in his acknowledgment of the outcome of the election. In his post-election comments, he had said:  “This local government election was meant to democratise the government at the grassroots level”.

Addressing reporters after casting his vote at his Okelele Unit 003, Ward 06, in  Ikogosi Ekiti, in Ekiti West Local Government of the state, Oyebanji said local government elections process would be advanced as the most critical arm of government in respect of delivering government policy at the grassroots level.

He explained: “The people on their own will have the opportunity  to choose their representatives at the local government level,” even as the Deputy Governor, Chief (Mrs) Monisade Afuye, while voting at her Unit 003, Atiba/Aafin Ward, in Ikere Ekiti, noted that the election was a tremendous improvement on the  2021 governorship poll.

“The election has so far been peaceful and violence-free. We are witnessing a remarkable improvement in our local government election,” the deputy governor surmised.

Indeed, the election was a huge success as it was conducted under a peaceful atmosphere without any form of violence or breach of peace; a huge break from the past when electoral process used to be a tempestuous exercise that went with the loss of limbs and breaking of the skulls, courtesy of the governor’s contempt for violence and preference for excellent service delivery and uncompromising civil disposition to political engagements.

But the governor has a background he is coming from before he could achieve the feat, and this he made plain while seeking the votes of Ekiti people ahead of the June 18, 2022 governorship election. Oyebanji had explained:

“I have spent 11 years working with Ekiti State govermment since its creation 25 years ago and so I know the terrain and I understand what our people need. I have learnt the ropes of civility and performance from both Governor Niyi Adebayo and Governor Kayode Fayemi, and so if anybody is deceiving you that he will fix Ekiti State, ask him where he got his experience.”

He added that the party leadership saw the quality in him, hence their support to seek election in 2022 poll.

The governor therefore combined his leaders’ trust, experience and  massive support of the people to have a united spirit to post excellent results in the council poll.

The history-making result that emerged from that effort revealed the overwhelming love for Oyebanji among Ekiti people, who shunned primordial and political sentiment to vote for the man they saw as a generous and performing governor.

The governor is lucky to marry another Ekiti graceful and generous woman  and Ado-Ekiti Princess with the heart of the biblical Deborah, Dr Olayemi Oyebanji, who effortlessly exuded humble royal courtesies in campaign trails as her husband criss-crossed the entire state during the last governorship election canvassing for votes.

Today, the dividends of the holy union are manifesting in various communities where Dr Oyebanji has demonstrated oneness of the spirit for her husband’s vision for Ekiti people who in last Saturday poll demonstrated their love for the governor in unmistakable terms.

Indeed, the results that emerged after the local government poll last week explains the time-tested maxim:   ‘We must learn before we can prepare. We must prepare before we can serve. We must serve before we can lead.’

Oyebabji indeed learnt the ropes from the former governors and prepared well to serve, the qualities he effectively combines with his omoluabi credo, convincing even his most virulent critics that he indeed has the verve to lead. Any wonder that his hitherto political foes have since abandoned their tents to swim in Oyebanji’s political waters.

For effect, in the run up to the council poll, all SDP candidates in the last governorship and parliamentary elections virtually became APC’s campaign managers and financiers. Across the state, hundreds of PDP’s fanatical apologists abandoned their tattered umbrellas to seek cover in Oyebanji’s massive marquee of political salvation.

Several local government workers and teachers, who once saw PDP as a totem of their political heritage, declared the party as a poverty breeder and decided to share fate with Oyebanji in his prosperity bed.

Indeed, times are fair to Ekiti people in their new Oyebanji-inspired world, as the governor bids farewell to the fears that fiercely shook Ekiti people out of their beds in the past electoral contests.

Oyebanji is a new song in Ekiti State, for he is fair to the ears and soulful to the hearts of Ekiti people  in his initiatives to create a lasting legacy that is indeed fair to Ekiti heritage of honour and soulful to the runs of history.

Olujobi, a journalist, is Commissioner in the Ekiti State Local Government Service Commission, Ado-Ekiti.

Kindly share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *