Saturday, July 21, 2018 2:28 pm
By Yemi Ajayi
Shortly after his re-election in 2014, after a four-year term of Kayode Fayemi hiatus, the Lamidi Adedibu of Ekiti politics (apologies to Ajayi Temitope), Ayodele Fayose, met with a select group of editors at Senator Buruji Kashamu’s Best Western Hotel, opposite the Bar Beach, Lagos.
The interaction was to give us a peep into his unfurling administration. He looked sober and refreshingly different from the cantankerous and rambunctious man some of us had interacted with in his first coming as governor.
During his briefing, which focused on his style of governance, he vowed his return to power would be different from his first coming. He spoke about how he won the election fair and square in view of the swirling allegations then that he, with the support of the then President Jonathan, gamed the system.
He was enamoured of his victory, which he believes concretises his electoral invincibility in Ekiti. Done with the preliminaries, he fielded questions from us. And that was when he inadvertently returned to factory setting.
Many of us were more interested in what he would do differently in his second coming. As much as he tried to assure us that we were witnessing a “born-again” Fayose, tempered by age and the vicissitudes of life, his real self struggled to pop up. And it eventually came to the fore when the questions became more intense.
He became boastful and brusque. At a point, my friend and Editor of SUNDAY VANGUARD, Jide Ajani, who sat beside me whispered into my ears: “egbon, this man (Fayose) hasn’t changed and is unlikely to. How prophetic that turned out to be! Within a short time of being in office the auguries were portentous that Ekiti was in for tougher times than Fayose’s first coming.
Fayose, an innately control freak, believes in dominating the system. He is a good student of the Senator Arthur Nzeribe school of Machiavellian politics and whose strategy is to pulverise his enemies or make them reactive.
As the saying goes, an office is as important and ennobling as the occupant. The man is the office and that much we can see in a Trump in the US and Fayose in Ekiti. Put an intellectual and moral lilliputian in a big office, he shrinks it to his size. Conversely, you put a towering figure with much ethical capital and sense of propriety in the office, he expands it to accommodate his giant stature.
It’s a sad commentary on the nation’s leadership recruitment system for a man like Fayose to have been plucked from the dark sewage of the society, and untested, before being garlanded with such a pearl of position.
Stripped of his usual federal support that denied him of his choreographed victories in his two previous gubernatorial contests, it’s no brainer to know why he lost this time around that he badly needed to put a minion who would watch his back in office. His balance sheet of stewardship shows more deficits in the books than any rational mind could’ve expected.
That his surreptitious third term attempts, through Eleka, hit the rocks should be a big relief to Ekiti people. The state now has a fresh chance to reset its development agenda and Fayemi a second chance to prove an important point.