This article is part of our #FirstWord series to provide context on trending news.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, formally announced his resignation from President Buhari’s cabinet on Wednesday 30th May 2018. Fayemi’s resignation is to allow him to focus on the July 14 Ekiti State Governorship election in which he is a candidate under the All Progressives Congress (APC). Abubakar Bawa Bwari, the State Minister is to take charge of the Ministry, continuing from where Fayemi stopped.
Fayemi vs Ekiti State
Fayemi is not a new name in Ekiti politics, he was the Governor of the State from October 16, 2010, to October 25, 2014. On June 21, he was defeated hands down at the polls by Ayodele Fayose, who won all 16 local governments in Ekiti to emerge as Governor. This feat came as a shock to many people for two reasons; first is that Fayemi was generally believed to have performed well during his first term in office and second being that it is always difficult to unseat an incumbent from power as they have state resources required to influence wins at their disposal.
The consensus is that Fayemi’s defeat was because of his perceived elitist approach to governance by the people of Ekiti. Fayose, on the other hand, never missed an opportunity to identify with the people; he was always seen interacting with people on the street. This was in sharp contrast to Fayemi who governed from his space at the Government House.
In the build-up to the elections, Fayemi got in the bad books of civil servants and teachers. His policies did not seem to favour them so they mobilised massively against him. For example, he initiated a service reclassification exercise which would have seen the demotion of some principals and vice principals to classroom teachers.
A new Fayemi?
Securing a win in the upcoming Governorship race is not going to be an easy task for Fayemi. At the moment, the political space is dominated by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Fayemi, who is running under the APC has to contend with PDP, who have all the state resources at their disposal, enough to work their way to ensuring a loss for him.
Besides political opponents, Fayemi will have to convince the people of Ekiti that he has their best interests at heart. There are still many residents who are of the opinion that he does not represent the interests of the people. A lot of his campaign will require he works tirelessly with the grassroots, which he missed out on doing during his last attempt.
The stakes recently got higher as it was reported last week that Fayemi escaped an assassination attempt where a gunman shot at him but missed. While it is unclear who was behind the shootings and there has been no clear consensus on what happened, the stakes in Ekiti have been raised as Fayemi attempts to wrest control of the government from the PDP.