Three days ago, Dr Kayode Fayemi resigned from President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet as the Minister of Solid Minerals. It is so he can devote time to his bid to return to the Government House , Ado Ekiti, which he vacated in 2014.
The election holds July 14, 2018. Although the contest is largely a 2-horse-race between the standard-bearers of the All Progressives Congress (APC), —J. K Fayemi and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),–Professor Kolapo Olusola, 74, there are still a plethora of also-ran candidates numbering up to 30.
In a way, Kayode will yet be in arms against his traducer in 2014, Ayodele Fayose, the outgoing governor. The latter has nominated his deputy, considered in some quarters as a lackey, to succeed him. The choice of Olusola has caused huge disaffection within the PDP, as many members (like Dayo Adeyeye and his supporters) decamped to the rival APC, in protest.
Fayose, although not on the ballot, yet, he is the spirit and engine behind the Olusola candidacy, making all the political ruckus noise. He is actually the candidate by proxy. I have not heard the voice of the old man called Olusola himself. With Olusola in office, critics say, it will be like the voice of Jacob and the hand of Esau, as the candidate is a political puppet of his master, the raison d’etreof his choice.
So the question is, are Ekiti voters ready to accept Fayemi now? Have they been weaned from the Fayose abracadabra? Will they yet be persuaded and swept off their feet by the tokenism of baglets of rice, otherwise called stomach infrastructure?
Fayose, for all its comic effect, is eyeing the presidency, having declared for the position of the number one citizen, in his PDP since last year. He has been taunting President Buhari as an old man who is not fit to be in office anymore. Yet, he is foisting an equally old man, about the same age with Buhari, on his Ekiti people. It is double face on parade, also called hypocrisy!
The Ekiti people have literally carried palm oil and water, and they now know which one is heavier. Fayemi was obviously misunderstood in his first term. His supporters believe, he has learnt his lessons and has forged stronger ties with the Ekiti electorate.
It is remarkable that while he served as minister, in the last three years, Fayemi continued to connect with his people in Ekiti. He did not abandon them. What’s more, riding on the crest of his senior ally, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, the first executive governor of Ekiti State, he is bound to be on a stronger pedestal on this second missionary journey.
However, he must be working towards rebuilding all burnt or damaged bridges, on which he rode to higher and farther distances in his political journey. Fayemi should understand what I am saying. The Asiwaju Bola Tinubu bridge is one of such. He cannot but ensure that he rallies all “ralliable” stakeholders so he can get a rousing support for the contest.
Surely, Ekiti does not deserve to be in opposition. Many, including this reporter, believe that Ekiti people will be better for it by aligning with the government at the centre. If all the noise of Fayose is discounted, and we come down to brass tacks, what would we say Ekiti has experienced and achieved under Fayose? It is an agrarian state, with a good percentage of civil servants. These same civil servants are owed months and months of unpaid salaries, thus impoverishing the economy of the state. It is remarkable that there is no outstanding government-supported small, medium or large-scale business outfit, in the last four years of Fayose that should either impact positively on the economy of the people, or be a source of employment in the state. So what is the reading of the balance sheet?
Surely, the thought of leaving something substantial that can be pointed to, may have led to the building of the flyover bridge in Ado Ekiti. But the project has been condemned and poo-poohed by the members of the Nigerian Infrastructure Monitoring Group (NIMG) who went to inspect it. Not only did the team fault the design of the bridge as being too long and narrow (which could cause more problems than it is meant to solve), they noted that the idea of the bridge, was altogether unnecessary, since there is no traffic congestion where it was cited in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. The team stopped short of describing the project as a waste of public resources and a puerile attempt to tag an administration with a project, whether it is useful or not.
For Fayemi, it will be his last chance to prove his worth and mettle to the Ekiti people, who are yearning for good and progressive government that will raise their living standard, far and above the low-line economy it has been subjected to, for years. I wish him good luck at the polls.