The Fayose I know

Ayo Fayose

By Olalekan Waheed Adigun

Fayose’s supporters say it to high heavens that he is a man of the people; loved by the people and because of his notorious “Stomach Infrastructure”, the people can die for him!

This argument only reminds me of the central character in Chinua Achebe’s The Man of the People, Chief Nanga. The Chief is a classic example of the corrupt, selfish and opportunistic politician that characterised the First Republic. For those who have read the novel know how the chief ended.

The basic trust of the “Stomach Infrastructure” is that life starts and ends in the stomach. Hence, the people must be hungry or be made to be. If not, how can one explain a state where workers are owed for up to four months salaries, and the same workers will protest against the impeachment of their employer (the Governor) if not thanks to the “Stomach Infrastructure”?

Still under this notorious scheme, Ekiti is treated like a conquered territory and its people as hungry refugees who must stay on queue like war-ravaged children just to collect some cups of rice that will last them a day(s) or weeks at most! How then is this different from Amala and Ewedu politics of late Chief Lamidi Adedibu back then at Ibadan? Truly Fayose is a man of the people!

The second thing I could make meaning of from Fayose’s supporters is that they say that is “the beauty of democracy.” These people boast loudly of his victory at the June 26, 2014 gubernatorial election as an act of love from the Ekiti people. I held this opinion initially until, a leaked tape revealed how the election was “scientifically rigged.” Not that I agreed the election was conducted properly, but that as a Psephologist, I could not provide any justification for the voting patterns in the state to confirm that result. The rest is now history!

Let us forget about the election for now, the Supreme Court has put that to rest some days ago. The Yorubas have a saying: “Ara ija leyin wa” meaning “Biting is part of the game.” Invariably, rigging is part of the election. The caveat being the strict obedience to the 11th Commandment: “Thou shall not get caught!”

One is left to wonder how the same democratic process (elections) that threw up legends like Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Margaret Thatcher can also be the same that gave birth to elements like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. One is also left at sea as to how Africa can, on the one hand, throw up giants like Julius Nyerere (Tanzania) and still at the same time nurture Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe), even though both operated under a one-party system!

More mysterious to me still is the fact that a system that produced giants like Kayode Fayemi, a renowned academic, astute administrator and strategist, and a perfect gentle man on the one hand can still produce someone in the like of Fayose! And we boldly call this same system a democracy?

Still on the gubernatorial election, Fayose made everyone believe that he is now “Born again.” Some fell for his new trick, but for those of us who know, a leopard does not change its spots. Almost immediately after his election did he returned to his vomit. He declared war on several fronts, first on the Judiciary. He physically attacked a Judge who was presiding over the case on his eligibility to contest the election. Crises started, the courts were closed, and the State never knew peace ever since. In parenthesis, he was impeached in 2006 and by law he is not expected to hold any public office for ten years.

He launched another round of attacks, again this time on the Legislature. It took seven members out of the twenty six-member state House of Assembly to approve Fayose’s list of Commissioners and “impeach” its speaker Dr. Adewale Omirin under the protection of the Nigerian Police! In parenthesis, 7 out of 26 does not even constitute the Constitutional requirement of one-third to form a quorum. Only Fayose and his loyal supporters can explain the new formula that makes 7 out of 26 to be equal to one-third!

It would have been alright if Fayose remained a local embarrassment. He took his cause too far when early this year he sponsored front page advertorials in several Nigerian dailies which were calculated at discrediting the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, where he listed the General alongside former Nigerian Heads of State who died in office just because of the General’s age at 72. It took the maturity of Nigerian political leaders, particularly those of Northern extraction, for the matter not to degenerate to fracas.

Need we add that his party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which he thought he was doing a favour with the advertorials, quickly distanced itself from it and Fayose was more alone than ever. Even his family rejected him for bringing their name to disrepute. To all these he insisted he had no apology. Embarrassing himself, his state, his people, his family, even his mother is not a big deal to our Governor. If this is not madness, then I don’t know the meaning of the word!

I haven’t heard from my old colleagues at Ife for a while now to know if they have changed their opinion about Fayose. I was only recently informed that one of them now openly criticises him since the March 28 presidential election in which General Buhari won. If this is true, then I take it as a vindication of my earlier stand in my article “Our Governor Has Gone Mad Again.” It is only recently that Mr. Fayose hurriedly ran to court to prevent his impeachment by the Ekiti lawmakers. I smiled because the English have a saying that the way up is usually the way down. If Fayose could run to court (the same court whose Judge he slapped, harassed and intimidated before he became Governor) to save his job, then wonders shall never end. This movie will be a long one. His latest actions confirm my long-held opinion on Fayose as an embodiment of contradictions, mediocrity and thuggery. This is the Fayose I know!

Olalekan Waheed Adigun is an academic, dramatist, poet, psephologist, political strategist and researcher. He can be reached on olalekan@olalekanadigun.com, adgorwell@gmail.com

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