VIEWPOINT: Fayemi Must Be Stopped

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By Gboyega Ajayi

Indeed, this is an interesting moment in Nigeria with the unceasing multifaceted mudslinging everywhere. Now we wake up daily to be entertained with the good, the bad and the ugly critiques of bogus, anticipated or real enemies. If it is not about the authenticity of the mandate given to the President-elect, it will be about National Assembly leadership and ministerial or other appointments. In their desperation, most of these agitators leave God out of the equation. Now brothers are fighting and attacking brothers all in an attempt to outwit one another. You don’t have to destroy another person for you to succeed if your interest is to serve the people. One single positive dream is more important than a thousand negative realities. “A dream of car ownership must not be through armed robbery, if God must be involved.”

Nigerians look forward to the inauguration of the President-elect on May 29th with mixed feelings. While majority are warming up hoping for the manifestation of the renewed hope as promised by the ruling party, some are whining unpatriotically that the process be truncated. This scenario can be closely related to the biblical story of King Solomon and the two women that laid claim to a baby. While one lady wanted the baby cut into two so that none of them will have the baby, the other was willing to part with the baby so that the baby can live. The moral lesson in this story is that the life of the baby was more important to the real owner whereas the illegal claimant care less. “Since my baby isn’t alive, yours must not live!” That was her stand. Unfortunately, this ungodly and ugly notion played out almost in every strata of our lives, be it business, politics or even religion. 

In politics, there is no permanent friend or enemy but permanent interest. Interest in this context is not personal but collective. Unfortunately, most politicians place personal interest above collective interest and would rather rubbish or truncate a process than to allow another person succeed, even if it is in the collective interest of all. Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. – Martin Luther King. 

The immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, JKF, is a newsmaker any day. “Courage is the most important of all virtues because without courage, you cannot demonstrate other virtue consistently and effectively.” From the moment he invaded our consciousness through Radio Kudirat in the 90s, JKF remain a newsworthy personality in-and-out of government. Since he left office as the Governor of Ekiti State in 2022, he continues to make meaningful impacts within and outside Nigeria. However, there seems to be conflicting trends about him at the moment. While we read about his contributions to good governance not only in Nigeria but across Africa through the Forum of Regions of Africa (FORAF) and the world at large, there is an ongoing well-orchestrated guerrilla media war against him on the other hand.

Fayemi is many things – a lecturer, journalist, author, diplomat, administrator, motivator, politician, etc. but definitely not a saint. Nobody is! However, he is a meticulous and shrewd politician. When he declared his intention to contest for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC, people read different meanings to his move. While many agreed the move was a smart one, some predicted the move as the beginning of his end, politically. Therefore, not a few were stunned when he stepped down for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and went ahead to work for and with him all through the electioneering process that culminated in what is to be celebrated on May 29, 2023. JKF acted not only in national interest but to strengthen the chance of the Yoruba race and was widely applauded for his patriotism and activities all through the electioneering process.

Politics is a serious business! Politicians like businessmen speculate for chances or opportunities before investing in any process for anticipated gains or benefits. While some people were happy that an Ekiti-man was brave enough to aspire for the presidential ticket of the APC, some were waiting in limbo to benefit from the crisis they anticipated between now President-elect and JKF after the primaries. They were busy fanning the ember of hatred before the APC presidential primaries and positioned themselves as the main beneficiary of the expected implosion. JKF dashed their hopes and sent them back to the drawing board with his altruistic withdrawal from the race and support for the President-elect. He didn’t just deliver Ekiti State to the President-elect he also broke the continuity jinx by ensuring that the APC continue as the ruling party after the expiration of his second term in Ekiti State. Ekiti people embraced and supported the continuity agenda because Fayemi positioned the APC as the best choice through his viable and impactful programs, policies and projects.

The ongoing guerrilla media war, therefore, is an offshoot of the frustration encountered by those who were disappointed by how JKF stepped down for Tinubu and went ahead to work with him in the collective interest of not only the Yoruba race but Nigeria as a whole. Because the crisis they speculated and anticipated to benefit from didn’t manifest, they now shifted their attention to campaign of calumny against Fayemi. 

Commonsensically speaking, what is the purpose of spending so much money to discredit a previous administration when you could channel the same energy to advice and guide the incumbent? The answer to this isn’t farfetched. The agitation is not about good governance or the interest of Ekiti people. It is about the interest of a few! Yes, a few whose hope were dashed when they couldn’t benefit from the anticipated crisis between Tinubu and Fayemi. They hate Fayemi not because he dared to aspire for the Presidential ticket but because he was patriotic enough to join forces with Tinubu in our collective interest and thereby averted their anticipated crisis. Awon arije nidi ibaje!

These people ignore the obvious that your resourcefulness will stand you out in every sphere of life. “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” The mind of man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps. Fayemi’s resourcefulness should be adduced for all his positive and progressive exploits. He was in his 20s while on Radio Kudirat. He consulted for many governments within and outside Africa before joining active politics in Nigeria. As a Governor, Ekiti was a reference for good governance in his first term. During his second term, he was the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and he is still assisting the NGF. He is currently the President of the Forum of Regions of Africa. And if it pleases the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu he may be invited to serve his fatherland again in whatever capacity. How can any sane mind conceive the idea of destroying such “a pride of Ekiti” because of mere aspiration for a political office?

Surprisingly, none of the sponsored attacks on Fayemi can be traced to the PDP or any other party but his own political party, the APC, in Ekiti State. “Don’t fear the enemy who attacks you, fear the fake friends who hug you.” Ifesowapo is a common concept in the Yoruba parlance which means we are bonded by love.  What we have in Ekiti now is Otesowapo within the APC which means we are bonded by hatred. In the words of Ernest Hemingway, “never go on trips with anyone you do not love”. However, this quotation means nothing to the Otesowapo of Ekiti State because they are blinded and bonded by hatred for Fayemi. They are made up of frenemies and enemies within the APC with a sole agenda to stop Fayemi at all cost. 

Political intrigues will always create clashes of interest. However, that should not override collective interest. The frenemies among the Otesowapo are those who have benefitted or are still benefitting from Fayemi’s ingenuity and secretly joining forces with his enemies to smear him. “It is better to have an enemy who honestly says they hate you than to have a friend who is putting you down secretly.”

When Fayemi handed over to the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2014, he was not harassed, attacked or accused recklessly like this not because he was a saint back then. The PDP could have played the devil’s advocate when President Buhari wanted to appoint Fayemi as minister in 2015. The PDP did nothing of such in the best interest of Ekiti people. 

Fayemi led the APC to break the continuity jinx in Ekiti State and handed over to an APC-led government, now, he is being pestered simply because of parochial interest of a few. This needless in-house persecution is uncalled for and will do the perpetrators and Ekiti people in general no good. If at the end of the day despite their propaganda, Fayemi is given the appointment they so much dread, what are they going to do? Hope they won’t relocate out of Nigeria like an uncle purportedly threatened.

This time shall surely pass! That is my message to JKF. “One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized, cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.” Fayemi has passed this route several times with some members of the Otesowapo and has always come out victorious, stronger and better. He lost his second term bid in 2014 largely because of the conspiracy within his own political party. He encountered the most unruly hindrance to his return for second term in 2018 from his own political party. The greatest stumbling block to his continuity agenda that produced the incumbent in 2022 still came from within his political party. In all of these situations God always vindicates him. Indeed, ibaje eniyan ko da’se oluwa duro…

The present hatred for Fayemi is brewed from envy. Envy ought to have no place allowed in the heart of man for the goods of this present world are so vile and low that they are beneath it, and those of the future world are so vast exalted that they are above it. – Charles Caleb Colton. If you are not driven by envy-brewed-hatred, you can easily promote your candidate for an appointment without hounding his alleged competitor. “Envy always implies conscious inferiority wherever it resides.” You can be civil and even make more sense marketing your preferred candidate without mudslinging your imaginary rival. Nothing speaks louder or more powerful than a life of integrity. – Charles R. Swindoll.

Fayemi is the target of a guerrilla media war now not because he is a siting Governor that must be corrected or put on his toes to enhance his performance. He is at the receiving end because of the ambition of some people. He left office about eight months ago but this ferocious attacks started just few weeks ago. You may not like JKF. As a matter of fact, you don’t have to like him but you cannot deny the fact that he did his best in Ekiti State. Though, his best may not be good enough by your estimation.  That is because he is human with flaws like you and I. Criticism is the easiest thing to do but in reality most critics can hardly match the person they criticise if saddle with the same assignment. “…When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love.”

Political office holders are endangered species because of the reality of the insatiable human wants. No government, no matter how good, can meet the demand of all. Every administration can only solve some of the problems. Despite this reality, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi has been nothing but a blessing not only to Ekiti State and Nigeria but to the continent of Africa. Most of the people writing or posting gibberish about him now have benefited from him in the past either as Governor or Minister. They praised him to high heaven back then despite his, now proclaimed, shortcomings. The same toast of the moment, back then, is now being persecuted. Hosanna today, crucify him tomorrow! This is a lesson to current political office holders. Most of the people milling around you today are not your friends but friends of your office. Igi da, eye fo ni gbogbo won. “Their loyalty ends where their benefits stop!”

They say, a big tree attracts the woodman’s axe. You become a big tree as you acquire more accomplishments and the woodmen are those people who will try to bring you down. Fayemi is a big and fruitful tree that must be cut to size but in whose interest? This ignoble act of destroying your colleague to rise is absurd and unpatriotic. There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.  –Epictetus. Power is of God and He alone can decide who truly deserves it. 

The President-elect was harassed, insulted and portrayed as someone whose health cannot survive the electioneering rigour talk less of leading a vast and diverse nation like Nigeria. He was called all manners of names but today, all that negativities have disappeared because they were packs of lies employed to de-market him. In the same vein, all these fuss about Fayemi will soon fade off after Tinubu must have constituted his cabinet. That will bring natural end to the hoopla; Fayemi must be stopped.

Sincerely, we must ask ourselves. Fayemi must be stopped in whose interest? Is it in the interest of Ekiti people that love him, appreciate his modest but impactful strides and voted for his continuity agenda? Is it in the interest of the APC government / Governor that he put in place? Or is it in the interest of certain individuals that see the ministerial slot of Ekiti State as their birth right? In truth, Fayemi must be stopped from acceding to their evil machination because Ekiti people and Nigerians need more of his altruistic and patriotic services. Indeed, Fayemi must be stopped!

Gboyega Ajayi wrote this piece from Ikoro Ekiti.

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