By Segun Dipe
“Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended; certainly God’s compassion isn’t through! They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness.” -Lamentations 3:22-23
As Dr. John Kayode Fayemi celebrates his 58 natal years on earth today the 9th of February 2023, the biblical reference above should read in his favour. For, certainly, he will be celebrated by friends, folks and even foes alike. The first of its kind, out of power in the last four years.
Fayemi may be out of power, he isn’t out of influence. From the wee hours of 9 February therefore, he will be inundated with calls, texts and all other forms of well-wishes.
Prominent among the goodwill messages Fayemi is sure of receiving is that of his successor in office, Gov. Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji, codenamed BAO, who will not just be celebrating him, but thanking him for the virtuous legacy of hard work he left behind, having led the state with such care and candour, thus enabling smooth running of affairs by him.
As Fayemi’s influence continues to grow, many good things will be following it. As the title of this piece has indicated, the ex-Gov, ex-NGF chair and ex-FORAF president will be moving from eminence to pre-eminence.
Eminence is the fame he gathered through the earlier-mentioned statuses, pre-eminence because he is even soaring the more, achieving more importance, more power and more capability. In other words, Fayemi is becoming extremely eminent!
In his best-selling management book, From Good to Great, Jim Collins opines that few people manage to achieve greatness in their lives as they settle quickly for a comfortable life. According to him, the vast majority attain a level of adequate functionality, but instead of progressing beyond this point, they simply stagnate there. The author then asked himself a simple question: Can good become great, and if yes, then how?
Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, CON, has an answer to Collins’ question. As the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, he bowed out of power last October, having served our his statutorily permitted two terms of four years apiece. At his peak in office, his headstrong approach and passion to achieve all that he set out to do was so remarkable and truly inspirational that no one could doubt where he was heading. He guided all his followers to a particular direction and motivated them to do their very best towards its attainment. In the end Fayemi created an enduring legacy of greatness through a paradoxical blend of humility and quintessential determination, resulting in an unparalleled transition of power. He moved the level of governance from good to great and selflessly handed over the baton to a successor that he could safely vouch would outperform him.
At Fayemi’s exit, the question of what next was predictably raised, borne more out of concern than confidence that perhaps he would be simmering in relevance. Albeit, his name has become a household one as a Nigerian politician. He served as Governor of Ekiti State from 2018 to 2022. He previously served in office between 2010 and 2014 before losing re-election to Ayodele Fayose. He was also the Minister of Solid Minerals Development in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet from 11 November 2015 to 30 May 2018, when he resigned to contest for a second term as Governor of Ekiti State. He became the Chairman of Nigeria Governor’s Forum, NGF during his second term, through which he emerged pioneer president of the Forum of Regions of Africa (FORAF) in September 2022, before unmounting the saddle in October same year.
Asked what he would be doing after leaving office, Fayemi answered cheekily: “I want to be a house husband. We are all instruments in the hands of God. For a start, you know that I belong to a party and my party is in the race for the presidency. I have no choice but to support my party to win that race. I’m going to reflect on my experience in the last 12 years, a book, maybe two books will come out of it. I don’t know yet, but maybe a sequel to ‘Out of the shadows. I will also be spending some time in the universities.
While in power, did Fayemi remain focused to the end? Is the governor now living those exiting promises of his? Has he peaked? Is he yet journeying to greatness? These and other questions beg for answers as Fayemi marks the day, heralding a new chapter.
According to Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, and Catholic writer who lived between 1623 and 1662, man’s greatness lies in his power of thought. Henry Ward Beecher, American congregationalist clergyman backed this up with his saying that greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.
Crowning the two up, the prominent Jamaican singer, musician, and songwriter. Robert Nesta Marley, a.k.a Bob Marley opined that the greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.
Fayemi has proved himself as a visionary leader and a true inspiration to not a few. He has guided a lot of his followers in the right direction and motivated them to do their very best.
A great man like Fayemi deserves a birthday that is full of joy to recognise all of the good that he has done and still doing. He is not just a great man, he is an exceptional man.
With Fayemi continuously affecting those around him, he is on a jolly ride to greatness. He is undoubtedly getting past the state of the lion, king of the jungle and gradually attaining that of the hedgehog, King of the forest.
Happy Birthday to our immediate past governor in Ekiti, the state of honour and pride. You took the state to a dizzying height in terms of values. You have complete integrity and you remain scandal-free even as you keep using it to stand for what you believe is best for the nation.
May Fayemi, our ex-Gov be exceptionally celebrated as he turns 58 today.
-Dipe is the Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ekiti State.