By Taju Tijani
I have read all the overloaded narratives, unnecessary innuendoes, and shuddering vagueness that were said to conspire against Dr. John Kayode Fayemi and his eventual defeat at the last gubernatorial election in Ekiti state. The people of Ekiti are now left with a Faustian bargain of preferring Barabas to Christ. They are faced with a Faustian bargain of less probity for more looting of their treasury.
So, we are now embracing by the seconds the shaming reality that a noxious, toxic, raving, rowdy, rambunctious and shambolically misfit will run the affairs of the great Kitians for the foreseeable future? What perfidy? What caddishness? There is a common saying that we save the best for last. In Ekiti, the Kitians woke up to realise that the unpalatable had been saved for the last.
Ekiti is now entwined like a poison ivy in a tragic hubris marked by a profound and almost tangible sadness among probity-driven and idealistic-minded Nigerian democrats. Ekiti now sits precariously at a tipping point. It is under a white-hot political trial. It now hovers between progress and speedy retreat into darkness. Peter Ayodele Fayose’s political antecedent does not inspire hope for the future. His political Wikipedia reads like a page from a book of infamy. He is variously seen as a gangster, mobster, murderer, predator, venal, blood-thirsty, incompetent, looter, ritualist, phoney, wayward, drunk, dull, desperado, brigand and violent. In politics, he is like the evening wolf who leaves nothing for the morning.
Where Fayemi reawakens the sleepy Kitians’ appetite for civic engagement, Fayose will return Ekiti back to primordialisation where nobody sees no evil, speaks no evil and hears no evil. Where Fayemi, the bridge builder, brought harmony, peace, progress and new faith in the volcanic and often tempestuous Ekiti internal politics, Fayose will soon introduce anarchy, combat, trench warfare and thug life back to politics. This will accelerate the tide of Ekiti political evolutionary under Fayemi back to primitively. Where Fayemi is seen as the talisman of economic development, transparent treasury and stability, Fayose will return the state to its old confluence of corruption, stealing, impunity, brigandage, lawlessness, looting and bankruptcy.
There has been stream of anti-Fayemi’s purge going on. Political commentators, social media pundits and columnists have in turn diagnosed Fayemi and have concluded that our cerebral, handsome and bespectacled outgoing governor has some diseased organs. There had been accusation of Fayemi’s failure to staunch the haemorrhaging of his grassroots support base. His quasi-intellectual aloofness and elitism that conspired to alienate the traditional institutions. APC’s mortal weakness for imposition. The alleged Bola Tinubu rebarbative face which is now perceived as impacting negatively on the fortunes of the Oduduwa clan.Fayemi’s predilection to “blow Queen’s grammar” rather than pedestrianised his “oyinbo” with area boy’s lingo like a Fayose. He is accused of being an advocate of polite politics in a state notorious for head-banging political turmoil.
To the hard-wired actors, advocates and pundits of Nigeria realpolitics, can they really agree that Fayemi lost his incumbency and gubernatorial virginity to the reasons given above? To believe those reasons is to normalise the unthinkable. Rather this is a delusion.
A grand delusion being projected with an amazing hubris of a typically Yoruba kind. Fine. Any self-respecting, fair-minded political liberal will buy into a Fayemi political model. His template is to create a political space that favours public spirit and transparency over selfish and corrupt landscape. Ironically, his political activism that favours the promotion of a patriotic social democracy would eventually be the architect of his downfall. A lesson in Nigeria’s realpolitics.
In essence, the Yoruba fascination for an Omoluwabi personality as a leader should undergo a radical rethink. The aftermath of Fayemi’s political humiliation from the hand of Fayose, an anti-Omoluwabi persona, should make the rethink more desperately urgent! Fayemi is the quintessential gentleman: polyglot, urbane, educated, principled, well travelled, transparent, modern, uppity, uncompromising, change maker, fair-minded and a dreamer. In an evolving democratic sphere marked by greed, revenge, do-or-die, impunity, brutality, rigging, bribery, police partiality, hunger, unemployment and lawlessness, you do not pit a clean skin like Fayemi against a roaring beast like Fayose. You do not pit a saint against a sinner!
Fayose realises early on that Ekiti is a state seething with hunger and unemployment. With a mixture of populism and grassroots wisdom, Fayose rice bundle becomes an instant hit going by the snaking queues published in the newspapers. Again realising that unemployment is a disease, our man, acting more like a Croesus, distributed N5,000 to anything that moves in Ekiti. These are examples of a future foretold, to paraphrase Kennedy Emetulu. These gifts or dividends of democracy are pre-emptive strikes on future looting and corrupt governance. Democracy scholars often blur or collapse the distinction between western democracy and African democracy.
In western democracy, political actors live by the purity of its tenets. That is, you do not buy votes by distributing rice and money. In Africa, we operate a deviant mutation of democracy that is reflecting a sub narrative of why PDP, a nest of thieves, looters, killers, assassins, greed-addicted cabal, vision-killers, stagnating forces, impostors, ritualists and blood suckers could all combined to overwhelm Ekiti with emergency stomach infrastructure and conquered and reclaimed the soul of its Esaus. The evolving Fayosification of Ekitikete portends a threat to our democracy. This piece is for all left wing “intello” who are still baffled and battling with the debacle of JKF’s shocking defeat.
Taju Tijani wrote in from University of Staffordshire, UK.