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Published On: Mon, Aug 4th, 2014

Good politics but bad policy

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By Ahmed Salami

Outgoing governor of Ekiti state, Dr Kayode Fayemi, recently signed into law the Local Government Council Bill. With this, 19 additional local government councils were created, making a total of 35 councils, even with the paltry federal allocation and internally generated revenue. The people have accepted Fayemi’s parting gift with mixed feelings. The PDP had poured invectives on Fayemi for resorting to laying banana peels for the incoming administration of Mr Ayodele Fayose. Today, if there is anything that could be said to have caused the total collapse of the post-election fraternity between Fayemi and Fayose, it is the creation of more local governments.

It is widely believed in some circle that the next Government may find it a herculean task to scrap the Councils the people had embraced and applauded, though with apparent signal that they were only oblivious of the economic reality of such policy. The Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Pastor Kola Oluwawole had in various strongly worded statements lampooned Fayemi, describing him as a bad loser. The PDP had not hidden its disdain for this policy, it believed was targeted at pitting the people against the incoming government because drastic steps would have to be taken in addressing this sensitive issue.

It is not gainsaying the fact that local government creation may bring development to the doorsteps of the downtrodden masses But its viability, particularly in a state like Ekiti, with lean resources, could make many skeptical about its workability. It is inapposite and rather delusive, to liken Ekiti to economically viable State like Lagos in this context. It is a misapplied analysis for the government to have predicated its action on the success the APC recorded in Lagos with the creation of 37 LCDAs.  The recent financial status of Lagos State as at June, 2014, revealed that it raked in a sum of N120 billion in six months as internally generated revenue and this was an indication that it cannot be comparable with Ekiti in terms of policy formulation and execution, because access to opportunities are not the same.

A critical at this Fayemi’s ‘Greek’ gift could make one conclude that it is a good politics, but a bad policy. Politics is a good instrument to arrogate power. This is the more reason why those who got to government or into power and tended to despise politics, the ladder that brought them to stardom ended up being disgraced and consumed by the huge spark generated by such senseless action, because it is like joining two live wires together.

In actual fact, politicians of note like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the late Bola Ige, the late strongman of Ibadan politics, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and others see struggle for power as a war of survival of the fittest. They oiled their political machinery as if they are preparing for war to keep them in relevance and this had actually paid off.

With this policy, Fayemi has ended up in playing a fast game on the PDP. Having lost the June 21 Governorship election in an abysmal manner, the APC would have to restrategise to launch a comeback to power in 2018. This must have been one of the games on their cards and people seemed to have embraced the policy in all the benefiting communities.With due respect to the PDP, the party had maintained a blunt reflex in reacting to the policy. Immediately the election came in PDP’s favour, I expect the leaders to be on red alert. I expect them to raise their permutation and strategic thinking to checkmate hurdles that would be put on their way, but they got carried away by the euphoria of the victory.

Though, the party later responded by going to Court to seek various reliefs to halt the entire process, But such effort was belated in the real sense of it. The party ought to see the policy as a veritable weapon for Fayemi and APC to score cheap political point. The PDP ought to have gone to court earlier to seek perpetual or interlocutory injunction restraining the Government from proceeding on the procedures, at a time it slept away in victory and got soaked in post election celebration. Lessons must have been learnt from this that reacting swiftly to situations remain the best tactics to forestall future backlash in politics.

The governor-elect, Mr Ayodele Fayose has threatened fire and brimstone that the policy would not see the light of the day. He has

also accused the State House of Assembly of breaching the law on this matter. With his poor disposition, one could infer that he may end up scrapping the new councils. I want to say that doing so may sign his death knell in Ekiti politics. It will be erroneous for the PDP to believe that the policy is unpopular among the masses. This is wrong and will remain wrong forever. The people must have rejected Fayemi at the poll, but the policy has not been entirely rejected because of the series of protests that were staged in Ikole, Erinmope, Ikun, Ire, Ijan, Osi, Igbole Ekiti and other towns that felt shortchanged through the exercise. The PDP must get this right,Ekiti Governorship poll and Local Government creation are not the same. So, brazen scrapping of these councils without due consultation would mean Fayose is courting trouble and stretching his popularity and acceptability beyond elastic limit.

Ahmed Salami is on Twitter: @ahmedsalami

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