By Yemi Akinbode
Since his ascension to the mantle of leadership of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum, Governor Fayemi has become the most popular governor in Nigeria, and perhaps the most maligned occupant of that position in recent time.
Incidentally, most oppisition to his leadership has come mainly from some elements in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) not necessarily because he is not a performing leader, but majorly because of the sounds and rhythm of 2023 politics.
The rising propaganda by a few out-of-favour narrow-minded and self-serving interest groups to annihilate the reality of a potential Fayemi presidency is fuelling the ill-talk, lies and endless media assassination of the character of governor Fayemi.
Readers should not be oblivious of the fact that Fayemi is one of the most brilliant leaders that Nigeria has produced in a while. At the root of this are mere hearsays, rumours and wicked views that have no iota of truism.
Thus the hate campaign has become so huge, that if we allow it to fester, the undescerning publics may think the table shakers have something good to say, This may be twisted and snowballed into serious public negative perception.
Perception most times, may be greater than reality, even though perception in most cases, are misconceptions and wrong notions held on to tenaciously by the “nay sayers” in an emerging public scenario. Perception, most times are wrong notions of a people about issues, personalities and subjects that may convey a false impression, which in most cases are laden with bias, prejudice and total falsehood as the case may be.
It is always good to debunk falsehood and wrong notions in public space so that the general public will have the benefit of balancing their views on key public discourse. We would attempt to dwell on the facts of the issues at hand as much as we can without joining issues with the anybody or group of people.
This will also send some signals to the peddlers of falsehood to realise that they cannot have their way all the time.
In recent time, I have read commentaries and views of certain people, some of who are interested stakeholders, public opinion moulders and concerned individuals on a range of narratives bordering the leadership of Ekiti State, Governor, Kayode Fayemi, the politics of the All Progressives Congress(APC), the role of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum of which Governor Fayemi is the current chairman.
We have also watched with keen interest various attributions that have been made to the man at various levels on a variety of issues.
Matters ranging from Senator Biodun Olujimi versus Senator (Prince) Dayo Adeyeye’s protracted election legal battle in which Olujimi secured a final victory at the Court of Appeal.
Also we have read many articles and commentaries detractors on the purported or what they called the “anti-party posture” of Governor Fayemi in the just concluded Edo governorship election, for which the social media is replete with countless narratives of allegations of how Governor Fayemi being the Chairman of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum connived with elements in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) to scuttle the election of Pastor Ize-Iyamu the APC candidate in the September 19 2020 election.
So many stories have we also read about how Governor Fayemi was alleged to have turned himself into a cog in the wheel of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s intransigent moves to emerge as the APC’s presidential flag bearer in the 2023 general elections.
A few days ago, Governor Fayemi’s name has been trending in the media, where he has been fingered as the architect and arrow-head of the suspension of a number of APC members who the state party authority accused of anti-party activities. The root cause of all of this, is not too far from the general notion of Governor Fayemi’s purported interest in succeeding President Buhari after he must have run out his term as president of Nigeria in 2023.
At this point in time, Nigerians must endeavour to interrogate these issues, the APC must speak to these issues as much as we can correct certain misconceptions and put some record straight, so that we do not overtly or surrepetiously implode the APC ahead of the 2022/2023..
Generally speaking, the little we know about the man Dr. Kayode Fayemi, it behoves on some of us to safely opine that JKF has been misunderstood and unnecessarily maligned in most of, if not in all the instances where he has been wrongly alleged. Naturally, Governor Fayemi that we know is a very quite, gentle and perhaps a man that can be described as an introvert.
He doesn’t jump into issues, and would not like to join issues as he holds strongly, that a man must dwell on issues that have strong factual background. He would listen to peoples’ view, believing that one of the principles of good leadership is that a good leader must be a good listener. A good leader must listen to a spectrum of opinions and views on every issue before reacting.
I guess that perhaps has been one of the reasons why his team are yet to officially respond to some of the allegations against him. Most of the reactions we have read in the social media may have come mainly from those who know him, and have been persuaded and compelled by goodwill to speak on some of the matters.
I feel obliged to also lend my voice by joining other wellwishers who sees Governor Fayemi, as a great patriot and loyal party leader whose interest in the Nigerian political space transcends narrow, self-serving political interest.
What are the nucleus of the matter?
Adeyeye versus Olujimi senatorial legal tussle.
People tends to forget history so soon. For those who know the history and political evolution of Dr. Fayemi and Prince Adeyeye, they would agree that the duo have had their shares of high and low times.
Their low time is encapsulated by the departure of Adeyeye from ACN in 2006 after Dr. Fayemi emerged the governorship candidate of the ACN in Ekiti state. The aftermath of the relationship between the two are available for students of political history to review. Their high time was seen in 2018 when Adeyeye, having lost the governorship ticket of the PDP, decided to take refuge in the APC when he was convinced that he was badly treated by Governor Fayose who did all he could to deny Adeyeye the PDP governorship ticket and instead made Eleka, the PDP flagbearer in an election that was later won by Fayemi.
Out of his benevolence, Fayemi offered Adeyeye the Ekiti South Senatorial ticket of the APC, regardless of the fact that, other aspirants for the ticket who had worked and campaign assiduously were denied the opportunity because of Dr. Fayemi’s strong love and believe in the candidacy of Prince Dayo Adeyeye.
The APC party structure and machinery campaigned tirelessly for the election of Prince Adeyeye against the candidature of the PDP, Senator Olujimi who was a sitting senator at the time. Adeyeye was elected and sworn -in as a senator.
Olujimi did not back out, she was insistent of challenging the election of Prince Adeyeye at the tribunal. The battle shifted to the tribunal. We all know that winning or upturning an election at the tribunal requires very strong legal and technical argument. So the two went on to argue their cases based on relevant technical grounds. At the end, the tribunal ruled in favour of Sen. Olujimi.
This informed the decision of Prince Adeyeye to proceed to the Court of Appeal, where he challenged the ruling of the tribunal which had hitherto ruled against him. Yet again Sen. Olujimi secured a second and final victory at the Court of Appeal, based on the merit of her case and evidences that were presented before the court of appeal.
The narratives by Adeyeye’s team and supporters fuelled a theory of conspiracy by Governor Fayemi with insinuations that it was Governor Fayemi who influenced the tribunal to rule against Prince Adeyeye, thesane APC candidate who Fayemi offered a ticket at the eleventh hour, after Adeyeye lost the PDP governorship ticket to Eleka.
To many intelligent observers, this is dumb and laughable.. How on earth do we think a Fayemi will do such? Fayemi is one of the most loyal APC party leaders that will do all within his powers to safeguard and protect the interest of his party. Fayemi is not one of the betrayers who will compromise the APC for any reason. He is known to be a party devout whose commitment to the progress of the APC can not be over-estimated. The argument that Fayemi is involved in Adeyeye’s removal from the Senate to install Sen. Olujimi, is lame, ridiculous and mischief. It is a lie from the pit of hell. It therefore, holds no water. It is total falsehood and should be disregarded by any right-thinking person.
The Defeat of APC in Edo Governorship Election
What else do we have to say about the loss of the Edo election by the APC that has not be said and written. Why is it difficult for the detractors to say it the way it is. Putting the blame and responsibilty at the doors of Governor Fayemi is uncharitable and mischievous. It was very clear that, in the build up to the APC primaries and election proper, that it did appeared that Oshiomohle was power-drunk, such that he was warned by the leaders of the APC to tread gently and reconsider his stand on his decision to change a winning team. How do we explain the decision of the former national chairman to disqualify Obasieki because of a framed up certificate scandal, knowing fully well that the same man was screened and cleared in 2016 when he contested and won election on the platform of the same party.
Even at that, why did Oshiomohle and his group refused to heed the call for caution, when the University of Ibadan authority wrote to clear the air and confirmed that Obasieki actually attended and graduated from the premier university. It was clear that the decision of the Oshiomohle led- caucus to deny Obaseki, the APC ticket had more than the eye could meet.
With that scenario, it was very obvious that, Oshiomohle had an over-bloated impression about himself, he arrogated to himself the power and influence he never had. He refused to heed the words of party leaders who advised and persuaded him not to dump Obasieki, a sitting governor in whom the Edo electorate were well pleased. When Obaseki was disqualified by the Adam Oshiomohle screening committee in Abuja, it didn’t occur to the nay sayers that Obaseki could go to another party or that the PDP could spin the surprise that resulted in their victory. Oshiomohle over-rated himself and his group. He undermined the power, influence and popularity of a sitting governor. He threw caution to the wind and began his shameless dance that cost the APC the victory in Edo election.
What other proofs do one need to conclude that it was Oshiomohle, and not any other person or group of persons should be held responsible for the APC defeat in Edo State.
The narratives that Governor Fayemi is the cause of the party loss in Edo is not only laughable, it is the figment of imagination of the peddlers of such falsehood. Fayemi as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum we all know he is committed to the unity and progress of the APC.
And it was obvious that concerned party leaders and faithful called Oshiomohle attention to the danger inherent in his decision to dump Obaseki who they saw as a very strong candidate for the Edo election.
The former national chairman turned a deaf ear, believing in himself more than the people. He refused to listen to the voice of reasoning. Now that Fayemi and the NGF have been vindicated, instead of laying the blame on Oshiomohle doors, detractors have resulted to “call dog a bad name so that they can hang it”. This is hypocrisy! We must as stakeholders learn to call a spade a spade. We must learn to speak truth at all time, not minding whose ox is gored.
Oshiomohle has forgotten his history, he has forgotten where he is coming from. He didn’t know the Edo people were waiting for him at the election to prove to him that he has arrogated to himself the power and goodwill he never had. Oshiomohle had an over-bloated impression about himself, and he was deceived and overrated by his ilk, and goon who helped put a final nail on his political coffin in Edo State. Oshiomohle was too rapacious and vindictive as a leader.
He was just out to destroy the good work Obaseki is doing in Edo. His hatred and malice for the governor be clouded him to the extent that he did not know when he cut his own hands. That is the problem with deal cutters. He underestimated the potency and power of the electorate.
Blame Oshiomohle, not Fayemi, not the NGF, not the APC, not Buhari for the defeat in Edo and the fall of Adams Oshiomohle.
Purported Suspension of Governor Fayemi
I was amused when I read the news story of a faceless and unknown group which call itself the Executive Committee of the APC, on Friday hitting the waves with a ludicrous statement.
One wonders where that was coming from. One wonder what kind of jesters were behind such junk of a news.
Though we have followed the ongoing probe of the Ojudu-led dissident group who have been causing ripples in the Ekiti APC for sometime.
Yet, however “powerful” Ojudu and his group are, I don’t think they should be oblivious to the rules governing political party like the APC. Suffice to say that, it is unthinkable for the group to become so childish with the way they are handling their suspension from the Party. I think this people should be more intelligent than the way they have acted.
The national party leadership advised that, the group should not mock the Party with unnecessary and frivolous legal tussle, yet they went to court. They were persuaded to withdraw their court case, so that the party can apply internal mechanism to resolve the issue, yet they refused. Consequently, they were invited by a committee set up by the Bar. Omitosho- led state party leadership to defend themselves of anti-party activities.
Whatever the party must have seen as the rationale for the suspension of the group notwithstanding, it was in bad manner and also amounts to contempt for Ojudu and his group to repudiate, the power and authority of the party with a ridiculous and shameless reaction that defile all logic.
An individual or group can not be more powerful than the system in which it exist. Which one is bigger, the party or Ojudu and his cohorts? This is part of the arrogance that Ojudu is known for.
Power is what power is, authority is what authority is! Regardless of whatever Ojudu call himself, he should be known to him, that he is just an addendum, and appendage in the power game. If he is not careful, he may be consumed by his own reckless game. The power game is not played on the pages of newspapers or in the social media.
Ojudu should have learnt his lesson. After all, he played it high and eventually low, during the 2018 APC governorship race with the same Fayemi.
This same Fayemi saved Ojudu “ass” (excuse my language) in 2014 when Opeyemi Bamidele was prevailed upon to allow Ojudu fly the Senatorial ticket of the party, when everyone knew that Opeyemi had already defeated Ojudu in the primaries.
Yoruba says “Abo oro la’nso fun omoluabi…(a word is enough for the wise). The game is bigger than an individual, it is bigger, much bigger than Ojudu. If Oshiomohle had heeded the counsel of the elders, the counsel of the wise men, today,he would have remained a solid member of the winning team. “Ila ko le gun, ko gun ju olure lo” (the okro pod, can not be tall to the extent of proven taller than the tree that grown the pod).
Like the APC party leadership has said, the purported suspension of Governor Fayemi is a joke taken too far. Where is the locus standi of Ojudu and his group?
On which authority are they standing. Where is the prism? Definitely, you can’t build something on nothing! The problem with Ojudu et al is that they never wanted to recognise Fayemi leadership, whatever their reasons are, it is high time they face the reality of a Fayemi leadership, not only in Ekiti in particular, but in Nigeria in general.
Whatever, their differences, Ojudu should note that he is gradually losing the spark and rhythm for which he was once revered. I have read many articles and comments coming from very close associates of Ojudu disparaging him and letting the undescerning public to know that Ojudu is not the saint he claimed he is.
Politics like other human endeavour is not static, it is dynamic. It evolves as much as its characters and leaders are growing in leap and bounds. Once you have the opportunity, make sure you play your part and build your own followership.
That is how great leaders play politics. That was how Awolowo, Azikwe and Ahmadu Bello played theirs. That is what Tinubu, Fayemi and others are doing. Ojudu is yet to grapple with a Feyemi transcending the prism of Ekiti politics, Fayemi is far ahead of many of his peers. It is important we give honour to whom honour is due.
Yorubas say “Eeyan ju’e lo, oni die’lofijue, t’ioba ribe oo’se fidi yen’kun”. Meaning, you were told that someone is far more important or better than you, but you said he is only better than you with a little edge. The question is why don’t you add the little edge. It is important to let these people know that Fayemi is not only the leader of the APC in Ekiti State, he is a leader and pillar of the Party in Nigeria. This is the truth, and we must all come to terms with it. This is his time, just like it was for others before him. History will record all he is doing for his people and the nation. Let’s give honour to whom honour is due. I hope this people will not run themselves out of the game because of their clannish perversion, sheer hatred and self-serving interest.
In all of this perfidy and provocation by Ojudu, Governor Fayemi has remained calm, with a desire to win back his fellow party members and friends, believing they can hold hands together to the dinner table as partners for the good of Ekiti, the APC and Nigeria as a whole. The truth be told, I can not see how Ojudu will win this battle, i can not see it now, and not even tomorrow. As we say in Ekiti, “Amori bale a mori re dele”. He who bow down his head, in resoect for his leader, will go back home with the same head unhurt.
What these amount to is a gang up, a bitter machination and conspiracy by a group of out of favour party members whose political interest and ambition is in jeopardy because they have suddenly realised that they have taken their sinister moves and campaign against the leadership of Governor Fayemi too for, and knowing this may dealt a great blow to their fortune in 2022/23, the only tool available to them is to continuously shake the table, believing their outcry may receive the attention of the national party leaders, particularly the presidency. But with the turn of events, it seems the presidency have foreclosed their chances.
At this junction, it is not yet too late for this group and their sponsors to retrace their steps by allowing peace to reign in the party. It is true that Governor Fayemi is not perfect, just like no mortal is perfect, yet Fayemi is a very kind and accommodating leader. He is a omoluabi personified.
Fayemi is a unifying factor in Ekiti and Nigeria. He does not discriminate, he is humble and does not arrogate power to himself. He listen to you whether you are poor or rich, high of low. He listens to good counsel and genuine advise, such that he is always ready to shift grounds and concede certain things in order to accomodate the interest of other party leaders and stakeholders. He has done this many times, and this, he can always do.
For the good of the party, stakeholders and Ekiti people, it is in the interest of all for the Ojudu group to allow peace to reign in the APC in Ekiti State. This is the only way we can all achieve our objectives as members of the Party.
Wrote this from Are Ekiti