EKITI GUBER RACE: FAYEMI’S SECOND COMING LOOMS
By Nduka Uzuakpundu
“Seek ye first the second coming of Fayemi’s administration and Ekiti State shall return to its enviable Olympian height of purposive leadership, where democracy would drive genuine development for public good.”
– Culled from a research on Ekiti Politics and Fayemi’s Compelling Relevance.
A sweeping majority of seasoned political scientists, psephologists and grass roots politicians, who are authorities in the politics of Ekiti State, are of the informed opinion that, come July, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, would be elected the governor. The election to that effect, they posited, would be fought on an issue for which Fayemi – a former governor of the state and, and until recently, Minister of Steel and Mineral Development – is very well known and admired in the state: performance, to the happiness of workers, taxpayers and voters.
“It presupposes that, come the July polls,” said Adebayo Kasali-Phillips, a grassroots psephologist and mobilizer, based in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, “Fayemi will be the man around whom the election would revolve. Currently, he towers above all other prospective and confirmed contestants in the July polls. In vain, any attempt by a coalition of his opponents to rout him. In vain, again, the evil designs of professional riggers of election, who almost robbed him of victory, some years back, for which he resorted to a robust legal process to claim his well deserved mandate. Today, he is far ahead of his closest opponent by nearly 47 (forty-seven) percentage points, based on a February 9 to March 19, 2018 electoral sampling and research in 12 (twelve) of the state’s 16 local government areas and the Ado-Ekiti metropolis.”
A close watcher of the first Fayemi administration from Awo-Ekiti, Kasali-Phillips – alongside Yewande Olorunsore, a political scientist, based in Ikere-Ekiti, told this writer recently in Ado-Ekiti that, “people-oriented performance, as an ingredient of good governance and sustainable human development, are some of the issues going for Fayemi, as the research has shown. Fayemi, as we found, from about 86 (eighty-six) per cent of nearly 2,361 adults – including university and polytechnic students, skippers of industry, artisans and workers in the state’s civil service – during his first administration, that he was an unswerving Awoist: a stubborn apostle of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s philosophy of good governance for the general good; service to the people and prudent use of tax-payers’ money, if only to justify the confidence of the Ekiti people, who voted massively for him and, so , leave what would abide, for a long time, amongst them: a good name – the product of integrity in public administration.”
One interesting aspect of the research finding is the recognition of Fayemi as the only governor, in the past three decades, to have taken public administration seriously as should naturally be the case, in place of wasteful ingratiation with Ekiti voters by some politicians, who know little the nexus between politics and democratic development.
The point is that in Fayemi’s first coming, which was in recognition of the role he played in the trenches to transmit to fruition the Fourth Republic, he was far from sectional. Indeed, as he once told this writer, in an unscheduled meeting in Lagos, “I was elected the Governor of Ekiti State, not a section of it. And that was why I decided to construct durable roads, pay workers their salary as and when due, and create employment for Ekiti people – a majority of whom were from opposition quarters.” That was magnanimity in victory, Fayemi style. Add the fact that while in office, he broadened the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) base to augment the state’s chest, part of which he pumped generously into the establishment of industries, revival of nearly moribund ones and the tourism sector.
All that – and many more, like the revitalization of the Ekiti State educational sector to national prominence – are lingering legacies for which Fayemi’s second coming in July, will be a political prophesy fulfilled. And, so, a form of political renaissance that would advance the cause of sustainable human development in Ekiti state into the third decade of the 21st Century.
A second readable aspect of the research finding is the popularity of Fayemi and the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Ekiti State. Perhaps, that may explain the rippling crowd that Fayemi pulled in a recent APC rally in Ado-Ekiti; a rally at which mischief-makers wanted to assassinate him – and so, prevent, in a Shakespearean fashion, his second coming as the governor of the state. The obvious truth about that rally, during which Comrade Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, a top brass of the APC, was shot, is that Ekiti voters have voted to disossociate themselves from a sitting governor who cannot pay workers’ salary as and when due. Throughout his first coming, Fayemi was faithful to his campaign promise to improve upon Ekiti workers’ welfare: regular payment of wages; and a fair raise above the National Minimum Wage ofN18, 000.00 (Eighteen Thousand Naira).
It was a confirmation of Fayemi popularity amongst Ekiti voters that he was made a minister. If he were as shallow and wasteful as “Stomach” or “Infrastructure”, during his first coming, President Muhammadu Buhari would have kept him in a leprous distance. As Ekiti voters get set for the July gubernatorial election, there is a Fayemi whom a visible majority of them said they had painfully missed, as directionless, inept and wasteful administration of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – in the past four years has shown. There is, besides, a Fayemi who, in the past three years, as a minister, clawed in nearly $10 billion into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) – a product of a strategic thinking that satisfied the Buhari administration’s bent to diversify the country’s economic base beyond the thinning-out riches of crude oil.
Fayemi’s stubborn popularity makes a bald mockery of an orchestrated attempt by the PDP administration to tarnish his image in a childish accusation that he misappropriated the state’s funds. If, indeed he did, as either Stomach or Infrastructure, for instance, would want the Ekiti people to believe, where’s the evidence? If Fayemi were corrupt as Stomach or Infrastructure would like the discerning and perspicacious voters in Ekiti to believe, the venue of the recent APC rally in Ado-Ekiti would not have attracted the mammoth crowd that rented it.
Akin R. Ogunlana, a 1998 political science graduate and a vociferous critic of the Fayose administration, who led the 17-strong team of researchers, observed that the Fayose-led People’s Democratic Party government, “is known for deceitfulness from the very top, all the way down. Corruption, stealing from the treasury, persecution of political opponents, as in the days of the Labor Party – all these are consequences of deep immorality of a government that is more comfortable with smears and evasions than with transparency. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should ready its operatives to investigate the operatives of the Fayose administration after the July elections.
Fayemi is an achiever. His unblinking opponents in Ekiti politics know so much. They know, besides, that he was the winner of the 2014 gubernatorial election. Many thanks, all the same, to a posse of hoodlums from Abuja – some of them in uniform – who were planted in the state by the Jonathan administration, that the PDP candidate, Ayodele Fayose, was selected as the winner. As Fayose second coming as governor of Ekiti state looms, it has to it a hallow of a saviour’s triumphant arrival to put a stop to unrelieved rot, so as to reposition Ekiti State, voters and tax-payers in the path of righteousness and good governance, people-oriented leadership and democratic advancement.
When the APC elected Fayemi as its standard-bearer in readiness for the July gubernatorial race, it was in recognition of his achievements as a governor and federal minister. “Truth is that the looming victory of Fayemi in the coming guber race,” said Yewande Olorunsore, “is that Ekiti people are tied of naked lies, idleness and oppression under the PDP. Change, the Buhari style, will be their mantra as they seek to bring back, in July, ‘Our Fayemi’ – in a message of doom to the PDP administration.”