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Blending Fayose’s fading image into Fayemi’s era

By Leo Sobechi, (Assistant Politics Editor)
16 October 2018   |   3:30 am
Today in Ado-Ekiti, capital of Ekiti State, history would be remade. The exchange of baton between the outgoing governor, Peter Ayodele Fayose and John Kayode Fayemi, is a repeat of history in a sense. Four years ago, Fayemi, like Fayose four years before then, had his dream of a second term shattered by the man…

FILE PHOTO: The Minister of Mines and Steel Development Kayode Fayemi speaks during an exclusive interview with Reuters in Abuja, Nigeria October 11, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo

Today in Ado-Ekiti, capital of Ekiti State, history would be remade.

The exchange of baton between the outgoing governor, Peter Ayodele Fayose and John Kayode Fayemi, is a repeat of history in a sense.

Four years ago, Fayemi, like Fayose four years before then, had his dream of a second term shattered by the man who is handing back the reins of state authority to him today.

The two political leaders of Ekiti seem to be joined by fate to affect the politics of the state more than any other.

The contrast in their disengagement and comeback circumstances points to their undying determination not to take no for an answer.

Four years ago when he uncharacteristically conceded defeat, something not many could do in the circumstances, Fayemi blamed his defeat at the governorship poll by Fayose on the latter’s stomach infrastructure stratagem.

Having traveled to Abuja, where he got the good fortune of working closely with President Muhammadu Buhari before his eventual appointment as minister of Mines and Solid Minerals, Fayemi believed that like Fayose, he would return to Ekiti Government House.

That he had to come back by way of ‘see and buy’, which has come to be seen as a brazen and new low of voter-inducement, detracts from the gentlemanly disposition ascribed to him when he conceded defeat.

Most commentators on the Ekiti gubernatorial election that produced the second coming of Fayemi hold that succumbing to voter inducement, Fayemi rubbished his denunciation of stomach infrastructure.

Placed side by side with his ministerial appointment, does Fayemi’s insistence on coming back to complete a second term evidence of desperation or intended to correct past mistakes and firm up the foundation for his political progression in the country?

Would Fayose and Fayemi’s paths cross again to determine who of the two leaders resonates with Ekiti people’s idea of a good leader?

Just as Fayose was drafted to assist Fayemi during the re-run election ordered by the court in 2010, is there any possibility that Fayemi’s second term would afford him the opportunity to be of good purpose to Fayose?

As their paths separate today, one to the future on the seat of political power, the other to the future outside the position of power and influence, there are many ways Ekiti people would assess the two political figures.

Fayemi: Replay of imagination

THE testimonial given by Fayose on Fayemi to the public four years ago was that of an epicure who wallowed in luxury while workers in the state, particularly teachers grappled with months of unpaid wages.

Did Fayemi spend N50 million to furnish his bedroom and that of his wife? Whether true or false it is no longer important as the impression has already been created, suggesting that the immediate past Minister of Mines and Solid Minerals was a wastrel who lived off the masses in opulence.

Barely one week in office in 2014, Fayose had disclosed that at a time most Ekiti people were finding it increasingly difficult to afford three square meals a day, Fayemi spent such a huge sum to buy two beds.

He described the new Government House also as an act of insensitivity and a display of wickedness against the people, pointing out that at the time the election held, Fayemi was planning to buy a helicopter preparatory to his return for a second term.

“The plan was for Fayemi to run the government from the comfort of Oke-Ayoba Government House and from there, travel to anywhere he wanted without the people seeing him.

That was also the reason he refused to renovate the Governor’s Office,” Fayose had disclosed in a statement by his Special Adviser on New Media, Lere Olayinka.

Now that he has regained Ekiti Government House, it is left to be seen how Fayemi would capture the imagination of the people through mandate delivery.

He was taken to task during his first term for running an elitist administration and being removed from the people.

When he reads his inaugural address today, it is expected that the governor would outline his priority areas, deploy lessons he learnt from the sidelines in the past four years.

Outgoing Governor Fayose indicated that his administration was responsible for 80 per cent of infrastructure in the state. Fayemi should therefore not concentrate his energies in that direction.

As a strategic outpost, the incoming governor should expedite action on the development of tourism sites, particularly the Ikogosi warm springs.

Ekiti is in dire need of internally generated revenue and that would not come from taxation alone.

Whatever would drive the local economy in Ekiti, assist traders, artisans and civil servants in their daily activities should engage Fayemi’s attention.

Reports from neighbouring states indicate that the conditional cash scheme of the All Progressives Congress-led federal government has been helpful in strengthening local economies.

Ekiti is known for its strides in education. The incoming governor has indicated his preparedness to continue to empower science teachers and those in remote communities.

One other area Fayemi would be looked upon to capture the imagination of Ekiti people is how he fulfills his promise to revamp the social security scheme, through which over 25,000 aged people above 65 years receive N5,000 monthly stipends.

Also as he begins another journey of four years as governor, all eyes would be on Fayemi to see how he practicalises his ideas of youth empowerment.

Of particular interest is the Youth in Commercial Agriculture (YCAD), which employs 1,500 youths, the Peace Corps with 600 operatives and Volunteer Youth Corps, where unemployed graduates were put on N10, 000 monthly salary.

If the incoming governor varies the eight point agenda he pursued in his first term, he could blame it on the state of Nigeria’s economy.

But as he pointed out during the electioneering the eight-point agenda stays, including qualitative education, good healthcare delivery, human capital development, commercial agriculture, infrastructure, tourism development and good governance.

Fayose: Fading image

THE image of outgoing Governor Ayo Fayose sprawling on the floor, later with bandaged head and arm shouting ‘I am in pain,’ would remain etched in the minds of most Ekiti adults that witnessed the last gubernatorial election in the state.

Fayose came to power at a special time and served his purpose well. Elected a few months to the general election on the platform of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the outgoing governor witnessed his party slide into opposition after a shocking defeat from the party that controls his South-West geopolitical zone.

He shook off the pangs of the defeat and rose to the occasion. As the new ruling party began to heap blame on his party, Fayose became the champion of dissent challenging the government and holding his ground against verbal attacks.

While President Buhari scared other members of the opposition with the anti-corruption war songs, it was Fayose who stood up and raised a rampart against the creeping dictatorship.

To some extent, the outgoing Ekiti governor became the face of opposition.

When he was encouraged with appointment as the Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum, Fayose occupied the space and dominated the political environment, such that a lot of people began to wonder whether he finds time for governance.

It was observed that the blessing of a smart deputy in the person of Prof. Kolapo Olusola Eleka, enabled the ‘Rock’ stand strong in the face of great political adversaries.

Although Fayose exceeded his bounds now and then in his antics, he remained connected to the masses, which saw him as their leader.

Had he succeeded in returning his loyal deputy as his successor, Fayose would have crowned his efforts with gold.

He would have bequeathed to Ekiti people a fresh start in the Professor of Mathematics that ran as the PDP gubernatorial poll.

Not minding the shenanigans of the opposing federal political forces that descended on Ekiti with men of timber and caterpillar, Eleka’s loss of the gubernatorial poll could be attributed to Fayose’s excessive show of bravado.

He dominated the election as if he was on the ballot thereby alienating Ekiti voters that dreamed of a new Ekiti devoid of political bickering and witch-hunting.

Today, as Ekiti moves to an old future with Fayemi, the image of the political giant, Ayo Fayose, would begin to fade gradually.

And with time, only the cement structures he constructed in the state would bear witness of his last eventful four years in Ekiti Government House as the custodian of power and glory.

However, Fayemi’s first love hundred days in office as governor would show whether he came for vengeance or for peace and progress of Ekiti State.