By Oluwaseun Fakuade and Oladipo Adejumo.
All was going smoothly during the APC gubernatorial primary elections in Ado-Ekiti until thugs disrupted the otherwise peaceful process. Watching live television coverage by TVC and the reactions by sponsored individuals present at the election venue showed an organized agenda (given the vituperations) against Dr. Kayode Fayemi, known to his fans as JKF. Any independent observer will see a baffling but conclusively premeditated bias to discredit JKF.
We must therefore ask; who is behind the organized attempt to malign Dr. Fayemi? Who is afraid of JKF? Why would these political miscreants disrupt orderly proceedings? We have to look at four broad categories; the populace, the party hierarchy, the delegates, and the opponents.
- The Populace: As a veteran of the pro-democracy movement that birthed the fourth republic, JKF has consistently shown that the safe and secure future of Nigeria and Nigerians is uppermost on his mind. No one can deny his track record of commitment to that cause and dogged pursuit of its objectives. His history in the political trenches of Nigeria’s return to democracy, his fight against tyrannical reign in Nigeria, the Radio Kudirat days, among others show a consistency of purpose and strong character in the person of Dr. Fayemi. One has to ask with all respect: “how many candidates aspiring for any position in Nigeria today can boast of a similar track record?” This is not his first rodeo in the government at this level. The people of Ekiti State, who benefited from his first administration, inclusive of many of his current political detractors within the APC, as well as the elderly, young citizens and the less privileged who eagerly anticipate more this time around; are part of the landmark records of his time as Governor. Without any doubt, Kayode Fayemi’s era as governor remains the most ennobling, inclusive and one that was focussed on public policy initiatives that uplift the people in the political history of Ekiti state.
- The Party Hierarchy: As a founding member of one of the parties that transformed into the APC, JKF has maintained consistent loyalty to the ideology of the party and its leadership over the years. JKF’s professional handling of the APC Presidential primary elections leading to President Buhari’s emergence as flag-bearer remains a reference point in election organisation in Nigeria. He is an asset to the party and his performance in government is a clear testament of that unimpeachable fact! As a democrat, he was the first politician to lose an election (rigged election according to revelations that has since become public) and concede with dignity. Even his detractors attest to his civility and his omoluabi disposition, a position which many view as a weakness in Nigeria’s volatile, condescending and vacuous political scene.
- The Delegates: It is a verifiable fact that JKF mentored most of the delegates and provided a conducive atmosphere for them to grow politically. He procured their forms while in office, and ward off political operatives intent on hijacking the party structure. Even after his appointment as a minister of the Federal Republic by President Buhari, he maintained close ties with the delegates, holding quarterly meetings with them in his country home at Isan-Ekiti. These delegates, unlike the treacherous snakes, feel a sense of duty to return JKF to Oke Ayaoba. They trooped triumphantly into the election venue in over 20 luxurious buses, overjoyed and in a celebratory mood in anticipation of a successful primary outcome for JKF. Victory was a certainty for JKF as was evident in the decisions of the delegates after just 5 LGA votes! Seeing that the potential landmark victory would invalidate their acclaimed popularity and organized political demise, JKF’s detractors led thugs to the venue, spearheaded by a certain but now-infamous Demola Adeusi, a renowned vagabond and mentee of one of the aspirants.
- The Opponents: Political treachery is not a strange phenomenon in Nigerian politics but the well orchestrated campaign of calumny against JKF takes it to new heights. Shortly after he lost the election, many of the beneficiaries of his administration (which led to the dissatisfaction of many party faithful and rebellion by others) betrayed him; engaging in anti-party activities. The truth is, many of his current opponents not only served with him, they are direct beneficiaries of his magnanimity and kindness. Shockingly, his declaration of intent to run brought out the very worst in them. It is also clear, in the weeks following his declaration, of the viral media apparatchik ran by Mr Ojudu and Bimbo Daramola to discredit him, malign his integrity, and assault his personality. Unfortunately, the delegates know of Mr Ojudu’s treachery following the 2014 election loss, and the irresponsibility that has trailed his political emergence in Ekiti State. Mr. Ojudu, a political feather weight, is tied to the apron strings of powers above within the APC and an opposition that is hell bent on destroying Dr. Kayode Fayemi’s political career. Using proxies, the huge campaign of calumny which he and his gang of shame embarked on to dissuade President Buhari from appointing him as Minister is public knowledge. Despite this, JKF has continued to rise and shine much to their sleeplessness, sadness and eternal depression.To thwart JKF’s re-emergence in Ekiti politics, no weapon is too low for them to deploy in ensuring that JKF fails to get the party ticket.
If the well-being of Ekiti State is as important to his opponents as it is to JKF, the thuggery incident that marred the party primary will not never have occurred. The parochial interest of a handful cannot take precedence over that of an entire state. Perhaps the constituencies that these political gladiators claim to represent ought to ask them the basis of their interest in the government house as there is a clear misalignment between their interests and those of the people they claim to represent.
Also, the people need to query the integrity and character of all who are contesting for the most hallowed position in Ekiti state, and ascertain if any of them fails the omoluabi test that Ekiti people have been known for. This is what separates Dr. Fayemi from the bloc: as a true descendant of Obafemi Awolowo’s political dynasty, he not only represent the character and intelligence of Obafemi Awolowo, but also the political ideology of service to the people and decency in politics. July 15th will no doubt be the beginning of a new Ekiti state as the people vote to reclaim their land and restore lost values by re-electing JKF.
- Oluwaseun Fakuade is a public policy professional who is interested in the people-oriented development and prosperity of Ekiti state.
- Oladipo Adejumo is a Public Relations professional with a bias for public affairs.