In a rare show of sportsmanship, Governor Kayode Fayemi on Sunday congratulated Governor-elect, Ayodele Fayose, following his Saturday, 21 June election victory in Ekiti State. We believe this is the right way to go.
Fayose won the governorship election in Ekiti with a wide margin. He beat other contestants in all the 16 local councils. The total number of votes he garnered was more than the votes received by all other candidates combined, including Governor Fayemi.
With such an overwhelming victory, Governor Fayemi congratulated him and has invited him to the governor’s office for a meeting and to prepare for the transition as Fayemi bows out of office in three months’ time. These are all laudable gestures never seen in Nigerian politics.
For long, elections in Nigeria were considered as do-or-die affair with losers rejecting the results and heating up the polity. Their utterances often led to post election violence and loss of life and property. This happened in parts of northern Nigeria after the 2011 general elections.
But with Fayemi and the All Progressives Congress, APC, conceding defeat just hours after the results were announced, a new chapter seems to have been opened in the Nigerian political sphere.
However, as stated by Fayemi, untowards events before the election should be documented and sent to the appropriate authorities for the records. A situation where soldiers arrested key leaders of a particular party on the eve of the election was undemocratic and should be avoided in future elections in order not to give undue advantage to the candidates of other political parties. As we prepare for the 2015 general elections, intimidation and harassment of party leaders who are in the opposition must stop.
Defeat is bitter but accepting it for the collective good of a state is honourable. We believe this is the way to go, and urge others to take a cue from this in other elections for peace to prevail in Nigeria. While we congratulate Fayose for his deserved victory, we also congratulate Fayemi for his sportsmanship.