The July 14 2018 Ekiti State Gubernatorial elections have come and gone, and Dr. Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress has defeated Prof Kolapo Olusola of the People’s Democratic Party to return for a second term, having lost in 2014 to Peter Ayodele Fayose of the PDP. As an “observer” who has always followed #EkitiDecides with interest, I have decided to note a few things that I noted in #EkitiDecides2018 just like I did four years ago.
That Fayemi of the APC won the election by a margin of twenty thousand votes showed that the election itself was a close call, any of the two parties could have won. What can be gleaned from that is the fact that Ekiti is deeply divided along party lines and that Ayodele Fayose might be on his way out of the Government House, he still has loyalists among the electorate. If Fayose was the one contesting for a second term, would he have lost that election? It is doubtful. As things stand though, one of the things that Kayode Fayemi will ostensibly is to ensure that someone like Fayose never has that amount of influence again. How he succeeds at that task depends on what he does in the next four years.
Now about the outgoing govern the self-styled “Rock” Peter Ayodele Fayose. I am not a normally vindictive person, but in this case the schadenfreude I am feeling about the way he has been humiliated in the past few days has been very sweet. If this #EkitiDecides2018 saga were a movie (as Oshoko was intent on making it all look like at some point) Fayose would be the pantomime villain, and his political demise is a fitting end to this whole farce. The only thing I wish for is that all his drama about neck braces and severe pains were not made up and that he had been tear gassed and shot for real (yes it makes me look like an asshole and I don’t care) but for now I can be content that he is leaving, and I am not even from Ekiti State . Fayose is a demagogue and no one like him should never be allowed near any Nigerian political position ever. Away with you “Oshokomole” the evil you have done in the last four years is enough.
It is also fitting of course that he dug his own grave. Fayose kept the people of Ekiti State in a state of desperate poverty, owing civil servants for several months and not doing any projects worthy of note in his four years as governor. If you try to establish control over people with money, they will of course turn on you the first time another person who can pay more comes around. After four years of Fayose using the rabid dog to terrorize people, it has come back to bite him in the arse. Maybe karma is a real thing after all.
That said, I would still love to see Fayose answer for some of his misdeeds. I cannot start listing them all here. It seems that he is in fact a walking bag of misdemeanors. I wish Buhari would drop his nonchalance for once and set the dogs on Fayose or something (that’s dictatorial I know but again I don’t care). We all however know that it will not happen. Fayose is far too influential. Also, if there is anything Fayose has perfected, it is making himself a matyr, and the only thing worse than Fayose as a demagogue, is Fayose as a matyr.
A word on Prof. Kolapo Olusola “Eleka” the PDP’s candidate in #Ekitidecides2018, deputy Governor to Fayose and the bit part sidekick in this whole saga. A mischievous wag on twitter said “The person who would be most relieved this election is Olusola. He would probably have a good night’s rest for a change.” That says all you need to know about him. If you hadn’t followed the election closely you wouldn’t have noticed that the PDP had a candidate that was not Ayodele Fayose. Such was Eleka’s anonymity and Fayose’s determination to make everything all about himself. Eleka redefined stooge so hard that he might just as well be a dummy put in posters for Fayose’s convenience. I am not even going to talk about what could have happened if he had won. Even merely contemplating it gives me the chills, and I am not even from Ekiti.
That said, now that he is accompanying his Principal out of the Government House, there is only one road in front of him, an exit out of politics and into obscurity. His other two options is to make like his academic contemporary, Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor of Edo state, who joined the ruling party after he was kicked out of the Edo government house in 2008 or to make like his political contemporary in Osun State, Iyiola Omisore, who has remained one of the remaining vanguards of a dwindling opposition in that state and has committed considerable resources to becoming the governor of that state since the end of his tenure as Deputy Governor to Bisi Akande in 2003. However it is difficult to see how a Professor who was weak enough to let a demagogue like Ayodele Fayose run roughshod over him in the first place can do that. So obscurity it is.
More than the future of Eleka and Ekiti, is the future of the PDP and the other opposition parties. For the first time in fifteen years. All the six states in the Southwest are united under the same party. President Muhammadu Buhari will rest a little easier now in Aso Rock, assured that the 2019 elections are in the bag, or at least the South West is. For all the talk about his unpopularity, his party has now won in Edo, Ondo and Ekiti. That kind of winning streak will take an extraordinary effort to stop. With Osun also likely to remain in the APC fold, we might as well just give the presidency to Buhari and have done with it. 2019 is now a matter of months now, and the opposition is losing more ground than they should be at this point. If they are to oust Buhari in 2019, the opposition needs ideas and plans, and they need it fast.
Now to the winner of this episode of #EkitiDecides2018, the new Governor Elect of Ekiti State, Dr. John Olukayode Fayemi. First of all let me use this medium to congratulate him. When the dog goes into the tiger’s lair and returns to tell the story, he should be congratulated (Yes every election is a tiger’s lair, regardless of how confident you are of winning it). Everybody has a bias they admit to, and mine is for the intellectual, cool, genteel men. As far as Nigerian politicians go, Kayode Fayemi is still one of my favorites (never mind that his wife and I once had a ferocious argument about feminism at the Ake Arts and Book Festival one year like that) and I am always happy to see him do well.
This is not to say of course that he was blameless in this whole exercise. He matched Fayose fire for fire in playing dirty, only without the theatrics. He has obviously learnt the lesson from being kicked out of the Governorship in 2014 very well. If he can apply the other lessons that his first term taught him just as well as he learnt this one, then he is going to have an enjoyable four years. If he uses that as a thorn in his side to ensure that it never happens again. As the Yoruba proverb goes “If a person does not learn from the mistakes of others, he can perhaps be excused, but a person who fails to learn from his own mistakes is the biggest fool there can ever be.”
As much as I like Fayemi, I was one of the people who felt he should not have contested again. Since he had tasted the office once, he should just have retired honorably and become some sort of elder figure in the state. However since he has won the election, all those discussions are now moot. As it is, he has a deeply fractured state to govern. He has been governor of Ekiti State before and one of his tasks is to ensure that the state is never again vulnerable enough that a ruffian like Fayose would be able to sway people with empty promises and smarmy pretensions of love again. He has four years and some experience, if he cannot achieve it, then he is not a man worth his salt, but again which Nigerian politician has ever proven to be?
Which brings me to the allegations of vote buying and “stomach infrastructure” that flew about in the wake of the #EkitiDecides2018. One can, of course, argue that a large chunk of the discussion is sour grapes from an opposition party that is understandably not happy to lose, but it is still a worrying trend. As I mentioned in the third conclusion in this list, keeping people impoverished so that you can control them was the Achilles hill of the Fayose/Eleka stewardship and it has never (and never will end) ended well. It is in Fayemi’s own interest to make sure that it does not continue. The rabid dog that Fayose unleashed bit Fayemi in the arse once, it winded up biting Fayose and Eleka too. If Fayemi allows it to continue, it will come to bite him in the arse again. As our people will say “the fire from nettles should never burn one more than once.” Keep your people happy, give them a better standard of living and hope for tomorrow, and they would follow you anywhere. Why do Nigerian politicians find it hard to do that?
For my final conclusion, once again #EkitiDecides2018 has been an election between the two major parties, and the other smaller parties who should be taking observing and strategizing are busy sleeping. There was the news of one dancing shaku shaku in Abuja, there was the news of one who jetted out to Atlanta, USA on a day elections were going on in his own home state. It makes for depressing reading. If those are the alternatives people want me to consider, I might as well just hope that one of the two main parties picks someone worth voting for. Otherwise, I might as well just throw my Permanent Voter’s Card into a fast flowing river for all the good it will do me.
The writer wishes to thank Boluwatife Afolabi and Ajibola Ayeni for allowing him to use their tweets on #EkitiDecides2018 as references in the piece.