Opinion: Ekiti poll: Between banana and Queen’s English By- GODWIN ETAKIBUEBU
ON May 12, 2014, l travelled aboard Arik Air to London andfour hours into the flight a very robust discussion ensued about the gubernatorial election in Ekiti State which is some weeks away. I found myself involved in the discussion, which itself was intriguing because l normally preferred listening during such discussions than being a participant. But somehow l was involved nevertheless. The discussion was about the most likely winner of the coming election between the two major political parties; the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the State.
While some believed that the PDP would sweep the polls, others were of the opinion that Dr.Olukayode Fayemi would break the jinx of being re-elected [no governor has won re-election in Ekiti State till date except Fayose but then, he had to return from a “sabbatical leave” sort of thing]. When l decided to intervene in the discussion, l was emphatic that there was no way Fayose could win the election and become a governor in Ekiti State again. I however remembered a young man from Ekiti State telling me that the election [incoming then] had nothing to do with political parties but individuals that is the contestants and he enumerated reasons why Fayose would win over any other contestant.
This young man’s presentation made sense to me so much that on my return to Nigeria from the trip I had to call retired Navy Captain Atanda Yussuff; last Military Administrator of Ekiti State under General Abdulsalam Abubakar, to tell me what he knew about the two personae dramatis and his expectation of what the election was likely to be. Another top politician from Ekiti State I spoke with on the matter was Prince Adedayo Adeyeye; former minister of state for Works under President Goodluck Jonathan [he decamped from PDP to APC two weeks ago). What these two gentlemen told me redesigned my opinion of Ayo Fayose differently. That election and its result in favour of “Osoko” is now history.
The man; Ayo Fayose, has been able to reinvent the rules of political survival in Ekiti State, so much so that the fear of Fayose is now the beginning of political wisdom in that State. These new inventions,which included stomach infrastructure, engaging the people in palm-wine drinking union and what Comrade Adams Oshiolmole called “a roadside banana eater”might not be “ethical or normal” for those in the “decent school of life with Queen’s English speaking accent”but they have yielded democratic result to the man who introduced them and they have become the foundation of his political strength.
It is in the light of this that the invasion of Ado-Ekiti, the capital of Ekiti State on Tuesday June 19, 2018, by the mighty machinery of the APC in flagging off the July 14 governorship election and official presentation of the Party’s flag to its candidate; Dr.KayodeFayemi, is to be evaluated. Leading the flag-off inEkiti State on the day in question was the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, former Governor of Lagos State; Asiwaju Bola Tinibu, recently dethroned Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, a former Osun State Governor, Chief Bisi Akande; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; a former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, 12 serving Governors and many other giants. They all made their beautiful speeches. Of course, they were not speeches we have not heard before. We know fully well that the Nigerian politician can do the talking more than walking the talk. So all that was said on that day by all the APC gladiators could be taken for what they were – cosmetic political window dressing. I will prefer closing this exercise with Adams Oshiomhole’s winning formula for Fayemi and Ekiti people on the incoming election. Listen to what he said. “PDP was known for abuse of power and their days are gone. Ekiti is the most educated state in Nigeria and I knew you voted for Fayemi in 2014 because Ekiti has highest pupil enrolment in schools then and I know that a state that is highly educated like Ekiti could not have voted for a roadside banana eater”. He crudely referred to the incumbent Governor, Ayo Fayose, as a “banana eater”.
What he implied by that reference is that because of the educational background of Kayode Fayemi; a doctorate degree holder, Ekiti people would vote Fayemi as against a less academically qualified Ayo Fayose who holds a HND from Ibadan Polytechnic. Comrade Oshiomhole got it wrong in this analogy of what attracts the Nigerian voters in casting their votes. Banana is a healthy diet and anyone who can bring banana to the people to fill their stomachs would be preferred to a man who speaks Queen’s English only without putting food on the table.
Ekiti people are most likely to respect a man who comes to them, sit on the floor with them eating roasted corn and banana with them than the one who walks around his academic tower with contempt for the largest industry in the State which is Education and Teaching as profession. On the first hand, the Queen’s English of Dr. KayodeFayemi did not help him to retain the Governor’s lodge during his first appearance which was why he crashed out. On the other, Ayo Fayose, in his banana-eating style and politics of stomach infrastructure captured the people’s attention and this is helping him in serving out his tenure in some days’ time. Shall the winning formula in Ekiti State’s election this time around beQueen’s English or Banana eating? Vanguard