Fayose As Bundle Of Democratic Energy

Fayose As Bundle Of Democratic Energy

Monday, November 3, 2014 3:31 pm

By Akin Owolabi

Only the good people (which connotes there are bad ones, though in the minority) of Ekiti State, South-West Nigeria, could vouch for the steelness in the character of Peter Ayodele Fayose (Ifa – oracle; Yoose – could do it). In essence, not many people outside Ekiti State gave Fayose a chance in the state governorship election of 21 June, 2014. The popular misconception was that All Progressives Congress (APC), the then ruling party in the state, would sweep the polls in the ratio of 70/30 going by a doctored opinion survey. Other contestants were considered far behind. The skeptics, who thought anything good would never happen in Nigeria, gave Fayose a chance only in the realm of gerrymandering. This group of Nigerian Thomases erroneously believed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would be too partisan to be an unbiased umpire in the Ekiti affair. Such position contrasted sharply with the electoral body’s very recent track record of impartiality in neighbouring Ondo and distant Anambra states.

The media, too, was swayed on the side of naivety, carrying barmy stories that were the figment of their sources’ wild imaginations. And when the results of the 21 June election rolled out, there were such shouts as: “We said it! We saw it coming!” Some disbelieving ones said it was digital rigging, whereby thumbprinted APC ballots faded off within five minutes – all pointing to a simple fact that truth often takes time to dawn in view of the swiftness of untruth.

Fayose has suffered too much persecution, harassment and undue villification in the stream of a fleeting time, which reminds me of the poetic introduction to a novel I read in the 1970s. It goes thus:

This Dog and Man at first were friends
But when a pique began
The Dog, to gain some private ends
Went mad and bit the Man

The wound it seemed both sore and sad
To every Christian eye
And while they swore the Dog was mad
They swore the Man would die

But soon a wonder came to light
That showed the rogues they lied
The Man recovered from the bite
And the Dog it was that died

Even the political party that initially threw up this enigma mismanaged Fayose’s first term in office. The Olusegun Obasanjo administration did everything, even the unimaginable, to make statecraft an impossible task for Fayose, hamstringing him, among other bizarre manoeuvres, with a six-month state of emergency as if to break or mar him. He was denied a second term slot and his party literally ‘chased’ him out, as if to keep him at an arm’s length.

Fayose sought solace in the opposition party, helping it to secure an electoral cum judicial edge. But this too refused to fleetingly acknowledge him. He sought a soft landing with a request to be ensconced in the recess of the Senate but was rebuffed – call it arrogance of momentary power. He tried yet another party without much room to deploy his latent political energy and goodwill. To every Christian eye, Fayose was politically dead.

The third stanza of the poem says: “The Man recovered from the bite”, which Fayose did this June 21 when he bounced back to power, riding the crest of electoral victory over his media arrayed and very truculent opponent. Yes, “And the Dog it was that died”, miserably crumbling at the polls.

Even on the threshold of victory, after securing party ticket, and after 21 June, the dead dog was still twitching and convulsing frantically. A storm of people scheming to subvert the verdict of the people via the judiciary gathered, roaring furiously as if to sway the huge stem of a giant iroko tree. The judiciary, though sacrosanct, is often too pliable; yes, too willing to pander to the dictates of the elite and at times appears too nightmarish to be allowed to ride roughshod on the silent majority. All efforts to judicially stymie the inauguration failed – a ringing warning that evil must not always vent its spleen through surreal orthodoxy.

Fayose has been largely misconstrued as a flash in the political pan by the so-called socio-political elite and intellectuals. He was bandied, pilloried and vilified initially by his own bedrock political party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. He had to run from pillar to post, as the cliché goes, seeking to be understood.

Simple, Fayose is currently blazing a trail in the political firmament of this country. He has rubbished the well-established political misnomer of godfatherism and abstruse corkism in the body politic. He has taken politics and, rightly too, democracy to where they truly belong––the grassroots. He has demystified and derobed the arrogant elite as the bastion of democratic ethos and redefined true democracy. With Fayose, it became impracticable to ride political roughshod on the abused and neglected majority.

Those talking of relocation from Ekiti in the next four years are those who are not resident in the state, those calling the shot from the recess of their posh offices outside it and have been ruling through cronies. The immediate past governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi strolled into Ekiti Government House dressed and packaged from outside and must since have relocated. The good people of the state are already heaving a sigh of relief that this set of people would give the state a breather.

Governor Fayose, in the ensuing four years, can afford to ignore elitist programmes and concentrate on those that will truly address poverty at the grassroots. Oil palm luxuriates on the state’s fertile soils. This, among others, should serve as a source of huge investment at the grassroots. Oil mills could spring up in all the local governments with centre processing for export in three locations. The fronds could be processed and sold even far into the North to a party brandishing broom as its symbol.

The kernel is another source of huge investments. Kernel millers, producing palm kernel oil and cake (PKO/PKC) could spring up in every local government to churn out these economically viable products. PKO is a major input in the soap industry while the chaff – PKC – is vital component in piggery, poultry and other animal husbandry. The oil palm, though one of the untapped gold mines in the state, would give the state an edge in soap making and agro-allied industries. In all of this, the state must set the pace and empower the people accordingly. It can buy and install the mills for the people. Surrounding states could replenish raw material stock.

This synergy of democratic prowess and resilience deserves accolades. Governor Fayose must not be distracted and he must refuse to be sidetracked in a hurry. Those who elected him are in the majority and to these grassroots people he should hold unflinching allegiance. On them and their aspiration he should focus.

Fayose has clinically met the Juju maestro, King Sunny Ade’s lyric:

Eniti t’a pegan, t’Olowa o pegan
Enit t’a buku, T’Oluwa o buku
Eniti t’a pete pero k’a dowo re bole
Pipele lo tun pele si

Fayose has a strong message for the political world. He must be more vociferous, above the din of detractors, this time around. Ride on, Ifa-yoose!

•Mr. Owolabi (08034102387; [email protected]), a former newspaper editor, writes in from Ota, Ogun State

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