There is something about politicians. They are too often ballooned with hope and confidence. They never seem able to read the social temperature correctly. That is why, several times, politicians who clearly stand no chance in an election, continue to wax strong faith in their dreamed victory.
Sometimes, such politicians are simply naïve. And at other times, they want to merely belong to the rank of the also-rans, especially as the latter group often end up being compensated with one appointment or the other.
It is not clear which of the two considerations above is driving the governorship ambition of Mr Peter Ayodele Fayose, the son of a late Christian cleric.
Fayose had been a governor of Ekiti State between 2003 and 2006. He had one more year to complete a term, when on October 16,2006, 24 out of the 26 members of the State’s House of Assembly impeached him and his then deputy, Mrs Abiodun Olujimi.
Among many other administrative malfeasance, Fayose was accused of embezzling various sums of money including the N1,3 billion meant for the Ekiti poultry project in Afao-Ekiti. He was said to have awarded the contract for the poultry to his childhood friend, Mr Gbenga James. Both the funds and the eggs from the birds have all remained stuck in the belly of the chickens that were never seen in Ekiti.
Fayose is currently being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the said roguery.
Recently, Fayose had asked the court to either quash the charges of graft against him or suspend the trial till after the election. Smart guy! So in case he wins, he would enjoy immunity and be shielded from trial throughout his tenure. Of course, the court rejected his plea, and insisted that he must face his accusers. It is bad enough that the case has been allowed to drag on since 2006 till now, yet it will be doubly wrong to suspend the trial on account of his heading back to the same office he was accused of abusing, eight years ago.
Little wonder that the chieftains and fellow contestants for the governorship ticket in the state (within the Peoples Democratic Party –PDP) have roundly rejected his candidacy, preferring to line up behind Chief Aluko, even though Fayose clinched 462 votes out of the 477 votes cast at the disputed primaries that produced him.
The PDP chieftains had threatened to dump PDP at the polls if Fayose was upheld by the party’s apparatchik in Abuja.
And in a familiar boastful verbiage, Fayose declared that his emergence marked the beginning of the end of the Kayode Fayemi administration, claiming that he was solely responsible for the ‘installation’ of Fayemi as governor, as if the latter is a monarch.
He told a newspaper in an interview that, ‘‘I will be the game-changer. This election is a pointer to 2015. I am going to be the man of the game. I keep saying that I brought Fayemi. I asked Ekiti people to vote for Fayemi. I have told them now to remove their hands from Fayemi matter. Me that brought Fayemi will return him back to the people I took him from. By the grace of God, let’s watch”.
It is nerve racking to see a Fayose come forth as wanting to govern the Ekiti people again whereas he has not cleared his name from the mess of the past.
His carriage in and out of office has been less than gubernatorial.
Here was a man alleged to have hidden himself in the trunk of a Kabukabu car to escape from the Government House, Ado Ekiti, after he was impeached.
Here was a man who had a running battle with his siblings over the manner and venue of the funeral rites of their late father. It was so much a crisis, that while a faction of the family had the body of the old man in one state, another faction of the family held the ceremony in an entirely different state.
His entire life is defined by one controversy or the other. In 2004, there was a raging controversy whether or not he actually attended The Polytechnic, Ibadan. This was resolved in his favour as he was confirmed to have graduated from the institution with his HND in 1987.
But what even worried more people at the time of Fayose’s governorship tenure was the degeneration of Ekiti State which was synonymous with peace and rustic ambience of safety to the scale of violence that became a running narrative of the state. From the murder of Ayo Daramola, a world bank consultant who was eyeing the governorship election of 2007, to the murder of Kehinde Fasuba, and attack of Tayo Fasuba, the Ado Ekiti Local Government Chairman, to the murder of Mrs Eunice Omojola, alias Mama Thatcher, and more, all during the administration of Fayose, Ekiti State at the time was already becoming the state of Golgotha.
Instructively, all that scepter of killings ended when a new governor came to power. It is remarkable that some of Fayose’s aides at the time were arraigned in connection with the murder, but later freed for want of evidence.
Yet, in all of these mire and more, Fayose adopts a pet name of “Spotless”, while some think he is indeed “spotful”.
Ultimately, it will be the responsibility of the Ekiti electorate to determine who will govern them in the next four years.
As a state informally described as the headquarters of petition writers, and the largest collection of Ph.D holders, it is to be expected that when the chips are down, the “learnedness” of the Ekiti people will come to play.
What many cannot deny him however is that he tried to improve the decrepit infrastructure of the State. With a few roads here and there, he had seemingly met some of the yearnings of his people. Some of the Fayose feats have however been reduced to token gestures by the administration of Governor Kayode Fayemi who recently (and expectedly) clinched the ticket of the All Progressives Congress, for the coming election. From the courageous reconstruction and dualisation of many roads, through the radical rebirth of educational infrastructure including physical school buildings, to the reloading of the tourism potential of the state (via the enormous upgraded re-jig of the Ikogosi Warm Spring) and the technological leap courtesy of the synergy with Samsung, amongst other strategic moves.
All said, Fayose who contested for the senate (a third of the state) and lost, under Labour Party (LP) in 2011, seems kitted for a political duel that will run him against the incumbent as well as another young turk, Hon Michael Opeyemi Bamidele. As the French would say, I wish them all Bon voyage.