Tuesday, February 24, 2015 6:18 pm
By Opeyemi Bamidele
I woke up yesterday to celebrate the good news of the award, by the University of London, of a Honorary Doctorate degree to an eminent citizen of Nigeria and a most illustrious son of Ekiti, Aare Afe Babalola, being the 12th of such recognitions from citadels of learning around the world. The joy was however momentarily overshadowed by the bad news of an alarming level of onslaught against one of the foremost 2015 Presidential Candidates, General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd.), by the number one citizen of Ekiti State, Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose.
Coming from the same State, I cannot but ponder on the paradox of having two prominent fellow stakeholders being on national spotlight on the same day, one for good news, exporting the Ekiti core values internationally, and the other for bad news, representing that which is not consistent with the Ekiti core values on a national level.
The statements credited to Governor Fayose, if indeed they came from him, constitute a rude invasion of General Muhammadu Buhari’s privacy and a rough neck tactic to try to dog such a national figure that way.
Even if, according to Governor Fayose, General Buhari had visited a hospital during his foreign trip, the reasonable question to ask, I would think, is whether or not General Buhari deserves rest or even a medical check-up after a full-fledged and most rigorous (over 30 days) campaign during which he did not miss a single rally?
It is sad that many leaders of the political class would rather celebrate a poverty of ideas at the expense of ensuring robust reasoning and proffering perspectives on the way forward for Nigeria in a way that potential voters would be able to make up their minds on which candidate to vote for on the basis of superior postulation and demonstrated strength of character. It is unfortunate that some people have to be given a hatchet job to do in a presidential campaign that is supposed to be a campaign of issues and policy enunciation at such a critical stage of our dear nation. It is, of course, most tragic that a fellow Ekiti man, and for that matter the Governor, would be the one to volunteer himself for the dirtiest, ugliest and the most irresponsible part of the hatchet job, even when he is so consistently disowned by the same political establishment he is working so hard for and destroying himself to impress.
No decent Ekiti man or woman, either in the private or public sector, and no Ekiti politician, either in PDP, APC, Labour Party or any other political party can be proud of how Governor Fayose has carried himself since the beginning of this campaign or how he has continued to portray the image of Ekiti as a community of people with integrity deficit. As an Ekiti stakeholder, I, like other credible illustrious citizens of the State, deal with this issue on a daily basis, taking pain to explain the Ekiti personality and core values to those who care to listen and reminding concerned people home and abroad that fine gentlemen and patriots like Aare Afe Babalola, Chief Wole Olanipekun, Comrade Femi Falana, Prof. Akin Oyebode, Pa Ayo Fasanmi, Sir Remi Omotoso, Prof. Mobolaji Aluko, Prof. Jide Oluwasanmi, Justice Ademola Ajakaiye (Rtd.), Prof. Adeniran, Prof. Babalola Borisade and many other highly cerebral people of accomplishment (home and abroad) in virtually every profession, in both private and public sectors and in all areas of human endeavour are citizens of Ekiti State.
President Goodluck Jonathan is doing all he can to convince Nigerians and members of the international community that he is committed to the survival of our democracy. Just like he has a right to contest and legitimately expect to win, he has equally assured all and sundry that if he loses the election, he will honourably handover to the winner, making it clear that neither a military nor an interim regime would be an acceptable alternative. If President Jonathan is speaking in this parlance and Gov. Fayose is busy abusing former President Olusegun Obasanjo while denigrating the age and person of General Mohammadu Buhari to the extent of wishing him dead, then surely Governor Fayose must be weeping more than the bereaved. And when a sympathiser is weeping more than the bereaved, there is definitely a cause for suspicion.
Let Governor Fayose call himself to order. Let him leave Gen. Buhari alone and come up with a more positive and decent manner of adding value to the Our democracy and Politics. Right now, he is a like cancer to our body politic. Let him stop dragging the name and image of Ekiti in the mud. Ekiti people abhor hate politics and if even Abuja would disown Gov. Fayose’s hate campaign style, then the extent of damage he is doing to the Jonathan campaign in Ekiti State is better left in the realm of imagination.
For once, let Governor Fayose jettison the one day-one trouble style of governance and settle down for real deal. Ekiti in her present socio-economic situation needs a critical, sober and scientific leadership intervention, which calls for a conducive atmosphere that would enable all well-meaning sons and daughters of Ekiti at home and abroad to pull ideas together on what is to be done to rescue the State from imminent collapse and bring her glory back from sabbatical.
In the face of dwindling oil revenues and the need to diversify our economy, leadership ingenuity, clear understanding of the microeconomic fundamentals and commitment to global best practice standards of good governance must be the watch word and policy thrust of any Government that wants to be taken seriously. Ekiti cannot and must not be an exception in order not to be left behind by the rest of the nation. Shall we tell Governor Fayose to allow the days of leadership banters to be over and settle down for real governance, which is a serious business?
* Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (M.O.B), lawyer is a Member, House of Representatives and the Labour Party Governorship Candidate, Ekiti state in 2014