Opinion: Ekiti: On Fayemi’s second coming – By NDUKA UZUAKPUNDU
Seek ye first the second coming of Fayemi’s administration and Ekiti State shall return to its enviable Olympian height of purposive leadership, where democracy would drive genuine development for public good.” – Culled from a research on Ekiti Politics and Fayemi’s Compelling Relevance. A SWEEPING majority of seasoned political scientists, psephologists and grassroots politicians, who are authorities in the politics of Ekiti State, are of the informed opinion that, come July, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, would be elected the governor. The election to that effect, they posited, would be fought on an issue for which Fayemi – a former governor of the state and, until recently, Minister of Steel and Mineral Development – is very well known and admired in the state: performance, to the happiness of workers, taxpayers and voters. Kayode Fayemi “It presupposes that, come the July polls,” said Adebayo Kasali-Phillips, a grassroots psephologist and mobiliser, based in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital,
“Fayemi will be the man around whom the election would revolve. Currently, he towers above all other prospective and confirmed contestants in the July polls. In vain, any attempt by a coalition of his opponents to rout him. In vain, again, the evil designs of professional riggers of election, who almost robbed him of victory, some years back, for which he resorted to a robust legal process to claim his well deserved mandate.
Today, he is far ahead of his closest opponent by nearly 47 percentage points, based on a February 9 to March 19, 2018 electoral sampling and research in 12 of the state’s 16 local government areas and the Ado-Ekiti metropolis.” A close watcher of the first Fayemi administration from Awo-Ekiti, Kasali-Phillips – alongside Yewande Olorunsore, a political scientist, based in Ikere-Ekiti, told this writer recently in Ado-Ekiti that, “people-oriented performance, as an ingredient of good governance and sustainable human development, are some of the issues going for Fayemi, as the research has shown.
Fayemi, as we found, from about 86 per cent of nearly 2,361 adults – including university and polytechnic students, skippers of industry, artisans and workers in the state’s civil service – during his first administration, that he was an unswerving Awoist: a stubborn apostle of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s philosophy of good governance for the general good; service to the people and prudent use of tax-payers’ money, if only to justify the confidence of the Ekiti people, who voted massively for him and, so, leave what would abide, for a long time, amongst them: a good name – the product of integrity in public administration.”
One interesting aspect of the research finding is the recognition of Fayemi as the only governor, in the past three decades, to have taken public administration seriously as should naturally be the case, in place of wasteful ingratiation with Ekiti voters by some politicians, who know little the nexus between politics and democratic development. The point is that in Fayemi’s first coming, which was in recognition of the role he played in the trenches to transmit to fruition the Fourth Republic, he was far from sectional. Indeed, as he once told this writer, in an unscheduled meeting in Lagos, “I was elected the Governor of Ekiti State, not a section of it. And that was why I decided to construct durable roads, pay workers their salary as and when due, and create employment for Ekiti people – a majority of whom were from opposition quarters.”
That was magnanimity in victory, Fayemi style. Add the fact that while in office, he broadened the state’s Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, base to augment the state’s chest, part of which he pumped generously into the establishment of industries, revival of nearly moribund ones and the tourism sector. All that – and many more, like the revitalisation of the Ekiti State educational sector to national prominence – are lingering legacies for which Fayemi’s second coming in July, will be a political prophesy fulfilled. And so, a form of political renaissance that would advance the cause of sustainable human development in Ekiti State into the third decade of the 21st Century.
A second readable aspect of the research finding is the popularity of Fayemi and the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ekiti State. Perhaps, that may explain the rippling crowd that Fayemi pulled in a recent APC rally in Ado-Ekiti. The truth about that rally, during which Comrade Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, a top brass of the APC, was shot, is that Ekiti voters have voted to disossociate themselves from a sitting governor who cannot pay workers’ salary as and when due. Throughout his first coming, Fayemi was faithful to his campaign promise to improve upon Ekiti workers’ welfare: regular payment of wages; and a fair raise above the National Minimum Wage ofN18, 000.00. It was a confirmation of Fayemi’s popularity amongst Ekiti voters that he was made a minister. If he were as shallow and wasteful as “Stomach” or “Infrastructure”, during his first coming, President Muhammadu Buhari would have kept him in a leprous distance.
As Ekiti voters get set for the July gubernatorial election, there is a Fayemi whom a visible majority of them said they had painfully missed. There is, besides, a Fayemi who, in the past three years, as a minister, clawed in nearly $10 billion into the Treasury Single Account, TSA, – a product of a strategic thinking that satisfied the Buhari administration’s bent to diversify the country’s economic base beyond the thinning-out riches of crude oil. Fayemi’s stubborn popularity makes a bald mockery of an orchestrated attempt by the PDP administration to tarnish his image in a childish accusation that he misappropriated the state’s funds. If, indeed he did, as either Stomach or Infrastructure, for instance, would want the Ekiti people to believe, where’s the evidence?
If Fayemi were corrupt as Stomach or Infrastructure would like the discerning and perspicacious voters in Ekiti to believe, the venue of the recent APC rally in Ado-Ekiti would not have attracted the mammoth crowd that rented it. Fayemi is an achiever. His unblinking opponents in Ekiti politics know so much. When the APC elected Fayemi as its standard-bearer in readiness for the July gubernatorial race, it was in recognition of his achievements as a governor and federal minister. “Truth is that the looming victory of Fayemi in the coming guber race,” said Yewande Olorunsore, “is that, Change, the Buhari style, will be their mantra as they seek to bring back, in July, ‘Our Fayemi”. Vanguard