Saturday, November 13, 2021
Washington, DC, USA


Fayose (l); Fayemi (r)

n an article titled "Fayemi, Fayose's Newfound Friendship Unsettles Ekiti Politicians," which was published in the Punch Newspaper of November 6, 2021, the author, Abiodun Nejo, posited that the newly reignited friendship between Governor Kayode Fayemi and former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, is unsettling for Ekiti politicians who are warming up for the 2022 governorship election. With due respect to Nejo's journalism credentials, I make bold to state that he made too many naive and simplistic assumptions and generalizations, which cannot be ignored.

Ordinarily, in Ekiti politics, or indeed any serious political landscape, the reunion of two old political 'lovers turned rivals' cannot make beer parlor gossip, let alone cause sleepless nights to serious-minded politicians. This is because renewed political relationships and alliances are not a major surprise. Certainly not to any serious politician who is worth his salt! That kind of renewed political relationship can only unsettle probably a handful of narrow-minded people living on some narrow streets of Ekiti.

Ordinarily, Nejo's baseless conclusion wouldn't have been worthy of my attention to the point of actually putting pen to paper to comment on it. But because political neophytes and those who are not close watchers of Ekiti politics may erroneously think his false and infantile assertions are the truth of the matter, one is forced to comment on and correct them.

As Nejo correctly stated, neither Fayose nor Fayemi will be on the ballot for the Ekiti governorship election in 2022. He also correctly asserted that it is only their influence in their different political parties that will count. That's where Nejo stopped being relatable. And to his credit, there lies the crux of the matter, as influence can be positive or negative. Influence can enhance and influence can diminish. The influence could be such a poisoned chalice that a candidate's chances at the polls are better served by not going anywhere near it, not to talk of actually drinking from it!

Governor Fayemi seems to have a positive influence in his political party of APC and that may be useful to whoever ends up flying the flag of APC in 2022. More importantly, Fayemi has emphasized and emphasized that the choice of his successor will not be determined by him but by his party members. He further said that his party will democratically decide who the candidate would be. Kudos to Fayemi for his highly democratic public stand, which, hopefully, is his private stand. Is his friend, former Governor Ayo Fayose, on the same page with him in this democratic stand? One can allow time, situations, and circumstances to answer that question. However, as the elders wisely say, morning shows the day.

Fayose's actions show that his new friendship with Fayemi may have little or no influence on his political character and democratic credentials'. Very much unlike Fayemi, Fayose seems bent on suffocating democracy in his political party, PDP. From the league of politicians who are interested in the 2022 governorship race, Fayose has privately and publicly anointed his candidate.

He started by creating a political group christened Osoko Political Association (OPA). Rumor has it that four members of OPA had paid a private "expression of interest" fee of two million Naira each before Fayose woke up one bright, sunny day in his OPA headquarters, located in his Afao-Ekiti country home, and handpicked the chairman of his PDP group in Ekiti State as his anointed governorship aspirant. All hail the Emperor, for he has spoken! And apparently, nobody can whine or whimper, even after being made to part with N2m on the wings of false hope!

The 'legendary' Ayo Fayose is a very clever and calculative street politician. In his calculation, the likes of Chief Segun Oni, Senator Abiodun Olujimi, Professor Olusola Eleka, and others that he has vowed never to support in their governorship ambition, no matter how viable they are as governorship candidates, just don't fit into his actual script. He is also known to have a congenital phobia for superior intelligence and high educational qualifications.

As George Santayana(1905) eloquently said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Winston Churchill simplified this statement in a 1948 speech to the House of Commons when he said, "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it." Fayose seems unable to remember or learn from the past, so he is surely condemned to repeat it, as surely as day follows night. And he has taken enough steps to achieve this.

As sitting governor of Ekiti State in 2018, he used his maximum power to single-handedly pick his deputy as the governorship candidate of the PDP. He campaigned, prayed, spoke in tongues, and prophesied. He is even said to have sat his protege on the governor's chair and physically anointed him with oil right inside the governor's office! As it turned out, only God has the authority to anoint and bless. The rest has become history, which neither Fayose nor his acolytes seem capable of learning from!

Maybe Nejo does not realize, as any Ekiti politician who is worth his tag certainly does, that Fayemi and Fayose were actually "enemies in the daytime and friends at night" all along. They may fight in the day, but they shake hands, hug, share drinks and break bread together at night. Isn't that what treacherous politicians do to deceive their impressionable supporters? Nejo and many easy games like him have been caught in their deceitful political web. Maybe that is why his article did not emphasize the anti-party relationship that pushed Fayose, a member of the party, to carry a "VOTE FOR FAYEMI" placard during the rerun election in 2009. He also went to Adaba FM Radio to further campaign for Fayemi against Segun Oni, the candidate of his party, the PDP.

Despite what eventually happened, the duo of Fayemi and Fayose know in their heart of hearts that they couldn't beat Segun Oni. It was their Ilorin Court of Appeal abracadabra that worked the evil magic for them. They know too well what happened. And discerning Ekiti people know too!

The current Fayemi-Fayose 'bromance' is interesting to watch. Fayose was recently in a church in Ado Ekiti for the anniversary of Fayemi's third year in office. And Fayemi reciprocated by attending Fayose's son's wedding. The rapport displayed between the two of them at these events was a celebration in itself. But those who can read between the lines understand what's going on.

Very well known to be quick with his mouth, Fayose has already declared that he will decamp to APC if his candidate loses the PDP primary election. Could this be what he is banking on as an easy way out of his woes? Let's not forget that he has an N7 billion corruption case with the EFCC and that once a politician decamps to APC, even if his sins are red as scarlet, he instantly becomes white as snow.

Many even argue that Fayose is a PDP party leader in Ekiti State, but an APC back door member in Lagos. It's common knowledge that Fayose doesn't have to knock on the doors of the (in)famous mansion on Bourdillon Street to enter. The only thing left is for him to be assigned a guest chalet there. And that may not be far coming.

He recently and openly defended his relationship with the Jagaban as being ethno-cultural rather than political. Being Yoruba, Fayose argued, nothing can prevent him from honoring and respecting a fellow Yoruba and an elder, irrespective of the individual's political persuasion. Yet, he goes around spewing venomous insults on a Yoruba leader of his political party, who is not only an elder but is also a retired General and a former president of this country. So much for ethno-cultural considerations and traditional Yoruba respect for elders! Pure deceit!

But we cannot all be fooled. As Bob Marley famously sang, "You can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time." Many of us know too well that there is still a small EFCC matter of N7 billion to be sorted out. That tiny amount of money can liberate Ekiti State from poverty and lack of industrial development, even if it's just cottage industries. So disappearing that amount of money from the destiny of Ekiti State cannot easily be overlooked, unless the protagonist shows that he is able and ready to do everything and anything it takes to be forgiven, including selling his soul to Lucifer. So, some of us are watching this Super Story with keen interest! Yes! We shall see how it ends! KASHIMAWO! An Abiola's name.

Going back to the Grand Theft, or grand plan, as the case may be, despite not giving anybody sleepless nights, as Nejo contends, it will be political naivety of the worst order to think the Fayemi-Fayose bromance portends no danger for Ekiti PDP. If Fayose has his Machiavellian way and gets his stooge to win the PDP primary election, then, APC may have won the governorship election by default even before the polls open on the date of the election.

Is that the plan? Is that what it will take to be forgiven and canonized? Fayose could do everything possible and 'impossible' to make the APC candidate win the governorship election and later defect to APC with his co-travelers. That way, his N7 billion Sword of Damocles will be swung away from his head by the powers-that-be, and all will be well that ends well for him. Fayose is politically cunning, let's give that to him, and he can do anything to save his neck while throwing Ekiti PDP under the bus!

This is a clarion call to Ekiti PDP. We need to be sober and vigilant. Let's open our eyes wide and work hard so that Fayose will not play Russian Roulette (a deadly game played with a revolver) with the political destiny of Ekiti State! Let's ensure that his candidate loses the primary election so that he can defect to APC before election day, just as he has promised. That way, he can turn his N7 billion crimson to wool, without compromising Ekiti politics by handing an undeserved gubernatorial victory to APC, which will happen if his stooge emerges as PDP flagbearer.

So, to Nejo and those of his ilk, there's nothing new or unsettling in the romance between the two 'sometimes rivals, sometimes partners.' It's an old, opportunistic, and ideologically bankrupt game they have played in the past. On its own, their newfound love is not worth the paper on which this article is written. What may be noteworthy is its potential to throw up the trio of Oni, Fayose, and Fayemi in Ekiti politics again. If this happens, the people of Ekiti State will be the best arbitrators. If Fayose and Fayemi are pitched against Segun Oni, as happened in 2009, serious politicians in Ekiti and beyond can grab the best seat in the house and say, "Let's watch this game." Otherwise, there's nothing to the Fayemi-Fayose bromance!