Sunday, February 9, 2020 7:50 am
By Femi Odere
“The greatness of our life’s work does not depend so much on what so-called “status” it might bear or others may think of it, but on the intensity, passion and diligence we give it.”
—–Oliver Wendell Holmes
Perhaps because of his very essence and a personage that can now be said to be unquestionably rooted in public service, it may not be out of place if the 55th birthday (February 9, 2020), which represents the mid-life of Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, the governor of Ekiti State is used as an anecdote to predict and/or project the likely colour and texture of Nigeria’s political leadership from this point on. While the inorganic formation of the Nigerian society, which has greatly inhibited her growth and development may be forgiving, what’s unbelievably astounding, and should not be treated with levity, let alone be forgiven, is the unwillingness of the country’s political class to fundamentally rejig a socio-economic and political structure that has left everyone prostrate, weak and emaciated, including those that are under the illusion of being the direct beneficiaries of the unsustainable structure.
It is generally believed that leaders are either born or bred! What this means is that some leaders have leadership qualities that are inborn, which makes them great while others achieve their greatness on the strength of their visions and convictions. The greatness of others is thrust upon them by the collision of mutually antagonistic and mutual-assured-destruction (MAD) of society’s socio-cultural and religious tendencies. In this case, a leader would emerge not by his own choosing but a result of societal forces that must find a common ground before they annihilate themselves so that everybody can be saved from themselves. It is now self-evident that Fayemi’s leadership trajectory falls in the latter two categories.
Perhaps since the civil war, the people of the Southwest geo-political region has never felt aggrieved and politically naked by their collective reality of living in a so-called ‘One Nigeria’ where the rules that applies to one group does not, and should not apply to others as can be attested to by “June 12” and the recent Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) code-named “Operation Amotekun.” Yet, for reasons that cannot be readily fathomed, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has always been one of the few ‘homeboys’ who were found at the intersections where these two social phenomena had been seriously stabbed and left for dead—but saved. The governor of Ekiti State had stood up at these two critical junctures (and most certainly will continue to stand up) for the defense of his people, not minding the loss of privileges, political perquisites and other career-threatening backlashes.
I have articulated this before, and it bears repeating here, that progressivism as a political ideology is the only saving grace by which Nigeria can be transformed into a fair, just and equitable society. While Fayemi can be said to be an entrenched member of this political ideology, he also represents a new, unusual and less understood strain of this ideology. Without fear of contradiction, Fayemi represents (if not the arrowhead) the ‘New Left’ of the “Leftist” ideological spectrum whose defining characteristic, among others, is that they will take no prisoners in speaking truth to power even when they are—ironically—in power. But whether or not Fayemi would succeed in finding enough disciples for this new strain of progressive political ideological that should perform the needed life-threatening surgical socio-economic and political operation in a society that still looks askance at intellectualism, but prefers to revel in a primordial ‘hunting and gathering’ status and primitive acquisitions remains to be seen.
Sir, here’s wishing a leader, boss and ideological soulmate in whom I’m very well pleased a Happy Birthday!
By Femi Odere