The Oasis Reporters
May 10, 2018
The People’s Democratic Party, PDP primaries in Ekiti state was a landmark success, unlike the All Progressive Congress, APC debacle. Now the party, that is, Gov Ayo Fayose has produced Kolapo Olusola Eleka as the candidate of the party in a massive win of 1191 votes to 770 votes. If by the turn of events, or yet by the tortoisery of Fayose the PDP wins the gubernatorial election in July, then Fayose will become the first Ekiti politician to establish himself as a state institution, to continue to determine the course of the state, whether for good of for bad, for peace or for violence, for concord or for crisis.
By this token, he’ll probably become the second in the South-West in the fourth republic, after the only Jagaban, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, whose mastery of the Lagos politics and ability to hand over to a preferred or chosen candidate has contributed immensely to his grip on Lagos state and a major volume of the South-West.
This feat will then crown Fayose’s record of outstanding successes as a statesman. First, he came to politics in 2003 to beat an incumbent governor, Otunba Niyi Adebayo. He left office amidst the turmoil of impeachment and political banditry shortly before the end of his four-year tenure.
Though at that time, for a few months, his popularity waned as people usually love the downfall of exalted people, he emerged not too long after, riding into the state like the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
With his unbeaten popularity, he supported Dr. Fayemi in a rerun election to deface Engr. Segun Oni. His impact was felt. But above all, in 2014, he came back in a popular election and beat the collaboration of a sitting governor and two former governors, Adebayo and Oni.
Most importantly, he succeeded, rather ‘un-admirably’, in narrowing down the PDP in the state to his own interest, and has enthroned himself in the fashion of a populist-fascist.
Evidently, Fayose is ahead any politician in the Ekiti scheme of things.
Consider this first: Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo.
He was not even prepared for leadership. Some commentators say that at the return of democracy in 1999, stakeholders gave the governorship seat to Adeniyi by the reason of the exalted place of his father, now late pa Adebayo, a disciplined and respected one-time military governor of the defunct Western Region. The idea is that he was called upon to take the position, not that he showed interest. I don’t know how true that is. However, the immature, unserious and nonchalant manner in which he handled the administration of the State showed by hindsight that he was not prepared. He worked in office like a spoilt prince, whose father has fallen into the complacent delusion that his kingdom has no worries.
Or better still, he passed his time in the state government like a cousin of the Head of State in a parliamentary system such as Britain. The Head of State herself or himself is ceremonial, so the cousin only enjoys the benefit and, sometimes, the indulgence of being close to the topmost citizen.
For his four years, Adebayo executed no major project of development. You cannot identify an infrastructure and trace him to Adebayo. He did not even know how to pay workers’ salaries in a state where the economy is a transaction between farmers and salary earners. Some commentators said he was living in Lagos and would come to Ekiti on Monday, then leave for Lagos on Wednesday.
They also said that while in the state, he was often looking around for female undergraduates of the University of Ado Ekiti.
How true the last two sentences said by some commentators, I cannot verify.
And they are neither accusations or allegations. They only show generally how unserious and unstatesmanly the first executive governor was in the public eyes.
Does anyone wonder why he was defeated cheaply by a newcomer in 2003?
He almost thought elections were won by jingles and customized ankara uniforms. He was not even aware he was occupying a political office, almost thinking it were a traditional title. Neither was he aware one needed tact, sense and subterfuge to hold, sustain and retain power. He was too simple.
Another was Engr. Segun Oni, whose government was inaugurated in 2007. Oni was not even popular from the onset. The opposition party, Action Congress was able to brand a particular prodigy of maladministration as a very brilliant and better candidate.
Throughout Oni’s short stay in office in which he carried out a good number of progressive projects in the education sector at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels; in agriculture, science etc., he was contemptuously maligned.
He was baptized with Dejo by people who lived under the empty propaganda of the Action Congress. We heard that many of those who worked with him were seen crying profusely when Justice Ayo Salami slammed him with the judgment that ordered him out of Government House.
Meanwhile, someone who could have achieved the position of a father, respected elder and statesman in the state, after Tinubu in Lagos, is Dr. John Kayode Fayemi.
For one, he was very, very popular. He had the advantage of being òré Obama.
He was an international man, who was said to be handsome.
That was in 2007.
The Action Congress got Ekiti people.They branded Dr. Fayemi like a new technology. Not forgetting that the Action Congress was the South-West organization that later became the branding organ of the APC, which in 2015 branded another incompetent fellow as the technology Nigeria needed to make progress.
But since whatever the brand, the content has no allegiance to the cover, the crass ignorance and tactlessness of Fayemi, like the sheer incompetence and chauvinism of Buhari came to full life and defeated Fayemi terribly in the 2014 monumental election.
These three had (and still have) one thing that Fayose has—the love for power.
They all enjoy the position of power and would like to retain it. but they all lacked another thing that Fayose has—the undiluted popularity and the ace that beats the opponents. Fayose knows the maneuver; he once, in 2010, called himself a political generalissimo. He’s a crass politician with a crass understanding and practice of grass root barefaced populism. He has no pretension. There is a kind of rude honesty in his political practice, an enticement of the public that is not branded in chameleonic fabric.
We mean, if you know how to observe social affairs, you will know why Fayose does what he does. He wants power. That’s all. And he’s naturally gifted with a masterly control of machinery, able to make the party and systems become his property and answer to his calls.
In 2014, a couple of days before his inauguration as governor, a court proceeding in Ado Ekiti was disrupted and the sitting judge beaten up by hoodlums on behalf of the Governor-elect. And the judge took it in good faith too because the sitting, according to commentators, was an unholy agenda to stop the Governor-elect from being sworn in.
I lay no charge, but this is an instance of contempt of the court. Yet this is politics, and everyone got away with it. In this and more, Fayose beats them all, and to establish his headship of them all, at this time he must establish himself as the kingmaker for his party and for the state.
This certainly, as anyone understands, is the main goal of Ayo Fayose — to succeed himself with a man of his choice, to carry on his projects of development.
But unfortunately, there are no long term party projects or manifestoes on ground that need continuity.
What we have in the PDP is the power of presence of the incumbent governor. So when the incumbent governor speaks of continuity, what that means is his continual power presence in the direct affairs of the state. The way to do this is to succeed himself, like Sani Abacha wanted to succeed himself in 1998. But since present democratic practice allow no one to do this directly, he can only do it by proxy, using a tested and trusted loyal foot-wagon, who can be sure to perform excellently as a puppet in the Government House. Only by the time the PDP wins the election will Ekiti state mature into a standard godfather, one man polity, where the finance, policy and justice in the state is decided with a single gesture of a former leader.
Some concerned commentators have pointed attention at the foolhardiness of Mr. Fayose’s ambition to retain the state to himself, in the trust of trusted puppet. In light of the loggerheads that have marred the relationships between Adbullahi Ganduje and Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano state and elsewhere, commentators have the fear that such fate would befall Fayose’s desire. These commentators seem not aware that Fayose is very brilliant, and so is not unaware of the cases mentioned above. And we can be sure he knows what those other political benefactors didn’t do that he knows how to do. He knows, or hopes to device the means of fencing Mr. Eleka, so that at any point that His Excellency Eleka has a dream at night that he disobeys his principal or nurses personal ambitions, he will run to baba immediately and report himself accordingly. If Eleka wins the July election, four years of puppetry is sure in Ekiti state.
This, unfortunately, is against the backdrop that the public hardly know anything significant about the leadership experience as well as competence credentials of Prof. Eleka. What seems to make him qualify for the job, for most followers of Fayose, is the cult of loyalty. Eleka is a loyal deputy, so they say. So loyalty to his boss, whether it accompanies loyalty to the state and patriotism or not, is why the professor should be voted.
An important question then, is, at what point should this loyalty stop? When Eleka becomes governor, as a first citizen of the state, does he owe a boy-to-boss loyalty to anyone? If the narrative and campaign of loyalty must be sustained after election, the new governor has to continue being loyal. And if he must owe such loyalty continually, we must expect puppetry. And the certainty of the most ridiculous puppetry is written bold in the election campaigns—the campaign is not for Eleka the candidate; it is rather for Fayose the generalissimo.
Written by Deji Adesoye.
A political and social affairs commentator.