By Omotoso Okeya
Must you be referring to Ayo Fayose who had served out two-term as Ekiti State Governor in all your discussions, when most especially another man has taken over the helms ?. This is a period of sober reflection please: the world is terribly combatted and terrorised by the coronavirus; movement restricted, curfew declared in many cities and towns, some remain in agonising pains in various centres and hospitals across the world, while tears are ceaselessly rolling down the cheeks of those burying their relations, off course all activities locked down without any palliatives and yet some are busy talking and arguing about a former governor at this crucial period.
Truly, we heard them, the hot argument was centred on Ayo Fayose vis- a- vis how he would have managed the situation if he were still the governor. They argued that he would have taken certain proactive measures, engaged a more effective sensitisation method and possibly rolled out series of palliative measures to cushion the immediate and remote effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the people of the hilly state.
In a similar vein, Ayo Fayose became the topic of discussions when the southwest governors inaugurated the Amotekun security outfit, saying that he would have done this or that differently he were one of the governors. Some even said Fayose was the progenitor of the idea, referring to how he had earlier mobilized the local hunters and militias to effectively checkmate the menace of the Fulani herdsmen in the state, without forgetting to back the action with the relevant laws through the state assembly. Others even said he would have personally appeared in Amotekun regalia during the inauguration.
Fayose had been vilified by some people for thinking that the local hunters and militias could enhance security at the grassroot but his idea was later borrowed hook line and sinker by the entire southwest governors.
Oh, I equally remember, his “stomach infrastructure initiative” was initially condemned by the opposition but the idea was later stolen and practiced under different guises. Fayose distributed raw food items while the hypocrites preferred to serve cooked food in schools; what’s the difference?.I think the primary intention was to combat hunger in both cases, though the former encompassed more people.
The society is dialectic and retrospective in nature otherwise, why must Fayose became the fulcrum of arguments and discussions everywhere at this crucial period, whereas he was branded names by his adversaries while he was governor. Anyway, this type of attacks should not be totally stranged to any African. We hardly praise the king on the throne. An African sage explained “whenever we compare the reigns of the past and present kings, we will be constrained to appreciate and praise some kings posthumously”.
Thank God Fayose is alive while people are already singing his song of praises based on his numerous achievements as governor. Its only a woman who had dated two men that knows which is better. Now, comparison has set in, using various parameters and they wish Oshoko should have come back.
Truly, every nook and cranny of Ekiti has a touch of Fayose in terms of physical infrastructures. Nearly all the notable infrastructures that make Ekiti looks like a modern state were achieved during Fayose’s administrations : The flyover in the capital city, various small and big markets and shopping malls across the state, dualization and tarring of intra and inter town roads, a befitting Governor’s Office, Adetiloye and Jibowu Halls, Adunni Olayinka Centres, Presidential Lodge, High Court Complex, Ewi Amphitheatre, Fountain Hotel, Trade Fair Complex, beatification and electrification projects and befitting parks across the state, etc, with lots of other intangible achievements most especially in the areas of security, education and social welfare.
Fayose has evidently invested so much in Ekiti State. Efforts or plans made to protect and sustain these achievements is worthwhile. His continuity agenda was motivated by the greater good of the state because the moment a successor fails to build on the legacies of the predecessor, the outcome is negative for sustainable progress. Smooth and well planned succession programmes has enhanced development in the West.
Ayo Fayose is not a saint like many other leaders but history has shown that the weaknesses of many performing and astute leaders are usually forgotten with time. Lee Kuan Yuu, who is generally regarded as the liberator and father of Singapore was once perceived as a dictator by his opponents but now only remembered as a helper and great leader of Singaporeans by all and sundry the world over. Chief Obafemi Awolowo was a respected leader not because he never made any mistakes but primarily because his good deeds had overshadowed his shortcomings.
Truly, with each day passing people talk less about Fayose’s perceived excesses than his meaningful contributions to the development of Ekiti State and Nigeria Politics. His is evidently a grand master in the political chess game, thinking and taking several moves ahead of his opponents – knowing when to sacrifice to get something bigger and better. The political life of Fayose has been characterized by ups and downs, his road has been rough and tough but he has a story of victory to tell always; the struggles over the 2020 PDP congresses will not be an exception.