Fayemi – Between Nationhood, Nationalism, Accountability And Conscience

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“Falsehood and delusion are allowed in no case whatever: but, as in the exercise of all the virtues, there is an economy of truth. It is a sort of temperance, by which a man speaks truth with measure that he may speak it the longer” – Edmund Burke

In Nigeria, politicians running for different seats and positions promise citizens a thousand and one things. Citizens are left to imagine rising from poverty to riches through promises they are given before elections. 

Once most politicians take up the seats, they forget the citizens and do things, which only benefit them, close friends and members of their families. In Nigeria, for example, where there are many tribes, a government can opt to practice total tribalism in the allocation of resources and allocation of top government positions. Through the culture of political deceits, the government tell us and the rest of the world that positions are purely given based on merits. They also apply what they call Federal Character.

Political deceptions should be equated with other evils such as murder and robbery. Through political deceptions, our people have been suppressed and no level-playing field created, resulting on political charlatans and opportunists rigging and murdering their way to the top of the political ladder, and hence leadership of the country hijacked by thieves. It is all there for us to see. Let us all rise up against the vicious circle of political deceits. 

Things have gotten so ridiculous that instead of just coming out and telling people the truth, government officials and politicians colluded in fraud to cover up the truth. Therefore, it stands to reason that any government that will do this is bound to be irresponsible, and foremost, corrupt. A government that lies to its people has something to hide; that is one element of political corruption.

One common strategy used is to keep the voters ”educated” only to a certain level of intelligence, and to give them enough goodies for them to want more at every cycle of election and instant ”development packages” – new roads, new playgrounds, new schools, new promises, etc, so that they will be happier voters. They let the voters corrode their own moral character and let the children of the voters learn that this are what democracy, politics, and elections is all about. 

Until voters are intelligent enough to understand this structure of dependency and are wise and ethical enough to reject the occasional crumbs from the politicians’ tables, we will still see corrupt politicians installed to further transform the lives of others through development projects created so that it is not the people that will benefit, but the few people that will make sure that they themselves will reap the benefits. 
Far too much we hear the word ”progress and development” these days. We hear of our economy doing well. We hear of the war against corruption and poverty being intensified. We hear slogans, rhetoric and “managed awareness”. We do not know what is real and what is invention, anymore. We see an intensifying effort to divide, subdivide, fragment and dissipate progressive individuals, parties and radical change. 

The voters should act pejoratively to such a decaying tactics if only they want a free and fair, credible democratic election and a fair representation in the government to monitor blatant abuse of power in the government of the day. The voters must become wise and ethical enough to reject the inducements often thrown by these canny, evil and corrupt politicians. 

Let our children learn that it is morally wrong for leaders to build palaces while the homes of the poor are demolished in pretence of slum upgrading.

I happened to be in Nigeria on 12 November 2008, when, after an election tribunal nullified the election of Oserheimen Osunbor (PDP) based on several voting irregularities, and erstwhile labour leader Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of the Action Congress was declared as the winner, Adams Oshiomhole was inaugurated as the Executive Governor of Edo State. I travelled to Benin City to watch this historic occasion, even as anonymous as I could be.

Now you will see why I know that Nigeria will be good one day soon. On Friday, 15th October 2010, just a few days after my 54th birthday, I landed at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos to be greeted with the news that Dr Kayode Fayemi of the Action Congress of Nigeria had been declared the winner of the gubernatorial contest of the partial re-run election of Ekiti State held in 2009. It was justice at last for Fayemi, even if delayed. Fayemi, whom I had met once in London even before he ran for election in 2007, was inaugurated following day after the historic verdict on Saturday, 16th October 2010.

His tenacity after 42 months should be recognised and applauded and commended. The tenacity was based solely on the belief that he was right and telling the truth. That was what must have kept him going. He was convinced that he won those elections; and that the wrong man was occupying the position of Governor of Ekiti State.

This then brings me to the real issue: why did it take so long for this victory, which everybody in Nigeria knew to be sure, to get to Fayemi? This is after the loser; Segun Oni had almost spent the stipulated 4 –year term as Governor of Ekiti State. Is this fair on Fayemi, his political party and especially the people of Ekiti State, and as a matter of fact, on the People of Nigeria?

The legal tussle had been fought by both parties, and one can only guess how much the cost is to the Nigerian taxpayers. We know that incumbent Governors facing electoral challenges, never ever use their own personal money to fight elections, not to talk of legal challenges in courts especially when they are still on the seat of power. This is already going on in Osun State, where the incumbent Governor is using state money to fight the legal challenge against him. It happened in Oyo and Ondo State as well as Edo State, I am sure Segun Oni did the same in Ekiti State.

So who is going to be accountable? Do we ask Segun Oni to return all the salaries and perks of office (and those he probably embezzled) he has been claiming as Governor since May 2007 under false pretence? Should we not now charge him and his party, the PDP, for impersonation, rigging of election, defrauding the people of Ekiti State, obtaining monies and goods and power and position under false pretence, etc?

This is a situation where public office-holders find themselves in offices based on stolen mandates through election rigging and political corruption and then proceed to use state resources to legitimise their illegal tenures in office. This should be of great concern to all of us.

We must not allow this to happen in 2011. This is why we must educate our people about the forthcoming elections. We must not allow thieves, fraudsters, educated illiterates, charlatans, never-do-wells and ragamuffins to steal our votes and get to power. Those already there must be rooted and voted out.

People tell me Segun Oni is a decent man. I said like hell he is! First of all, even in the 2006 Primaries of the Ekiti State PDP, Segun Oni actually came fourth. Yet he was the one presented as the gubernatorial candidate. He knew this should not be so, but he accepted it. He knew he and his party rigged the 2007 Elections that returned him as Governor, yet he went along with the deceit and deception and falsehood just to be in power.

At the rerun in 2009, he must have known too that the result was rigged in his favour, yet he stayed put as Governor. And people tell me he is a decent man! A man who ignored the truth and decided to claim a false mandate is a man of straw.

So who are the other culprits, nay, criminals, of this falsehood?

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo (who incidentally former President Shehu Shagari  said “Nigerians are very lucky to have our midst”) but who oversaw the worst election possible in any country in the world that brought Segun Oni to power. Obasanjo since the result in Ekiti a few days ago has not said a word on the result which debunked his claim that he conducted a credible election in 2007.

And Professor Maurice Iwu, the erstwhile INEC Chairman, who under Obasanjo, again was the architect or the worst election in any known democratic history of the world, and who after the election, and even after he was removed, was still going about saying his was the most credible election in the world, flying in the face of all known facts. Since he conducted the election in 2007, Rivers, Edo, Ondo and now Ekiti States, have had his own results of the election reversed by the courts. This is an indictment of his conduct of the election. And we might still have another reversal in Osun and Sokoto states.

Why do we find it difficult to tell and accept the truth? Is it because of this power and money in government? So after power and money, what is next? Do you want to become God?

And a VERY BIG SHAME on that woman called Ayoka Adebayo, the then Ekiti State Resident Electoral Commissioner who presided over the re-run election in April 2009, and who, having initially declined to declare the re-run election results on the premise that it would be against her conscience, and even publicly tendered her letter of resignation, was bought over or coerced to throw away her conscience and declared the results which declared Oni as the winner.

And her reward? She is now the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ondo State, the next door neighbour of Ekiti State.

Professor Jega, why is this woman of disrepute still doing overseeing elections in any state in Nigeria? She is in Jega’s (the Chairman of INEC) team, so to speak. With her still a REC, there is already a credibility problem for Jega and the conduct of the next election, if not in Nigeria as a whole, but in Ondo State in particular, where she is the REC.

Having said all these, shouldn’t Maurice Iwu and Ayoka Adebayo (even if we can’t get Obasanjo to answer) not be made to face the court of law for several criminal charges? For example political or electoral fraud, aiding and abetting and rigging of elections; knowingly declaring false results, making false claims, deception of the public, etc. The two of them, according to legal practitioner, Festus Keyamo “must be arrested, detained, charged and tried publicly and sentenced to jail with hard labour, as a deterrent to others not to toy with our democratic future”. I am afraid, knowing our country, this will not happen, but it is our wish and prayers that one day, such miscreants and criminals will be made to face the music. In fact, our prayer is that such criminals and corrupt officials will never see the light of day and be in positions of responsibilities again forever. Amen

And the former Inspector General of Police Mike Okiro? Another man of straw, who threw his conscience to the wind to serve the whims of his political mentors. He let his men stood by watching, and in some cases, aiding the thuggery and rigging.  Mr Okiro should be prosecuted too for aiding and abetting electoral fraud, breach of trust, manslaughter and dereliction of duty.

The then Minister of Information, Mrs Dora Akuyinli should also be charged for giving the public wrong information, aiding and abetting electoral fraud and breach of trust too.

What Obasanjo, Maurice Iwu and Ayoka Adebayo did was more than being “economical with the truth” which is popularly used as a euphemism for deceitful, whether by volunteering false information (i.e., lying) or by deliberately holding back relevant facts. This is outright deceit, deception, fraud and political corruption. Who will save us and deliver us from this deceit? I believe the God of universe will one day bring political, economic and social deliverance.

The Fayemi legal victory is not really for Fayemi (although he will reap the benefits), the people of Ekiti State (who had voted overwhelmingly for Fayemi instead of the pretender, election rigger and usurper, Oni) and his party (I always contend that every political party in Nigeria are prone to rigging elections, it is a matter of whose rigging can be most effective). It is a victory for democracy; a victory for Truth; a victory for decency; it is a victory for Nigerians suffering under the yoke of poverty and denial brought on as a result of unabashed and massive corruption, theft, thuggery and selfishness of the Nigerian political class.

It is also another reason for Nigerians to have faith, albeit, warily and little, in our judiciary. The judiciary is the last refuge of the common man in any social and political community. Over the years, many Nigerians have been betrayed, and continue to be betrayed, by the corrupt legal system in our country. However, while I always say that we should not be surprised that our judiciary is corrupt because they are part of an overall corrupt society, humanity still expect these learned people to be above board and serve the interest of truth, fairness, justice and equality. Because God will not come down physically to Earth to judge us; our judges and learned men are often equated to, or looked upon as “the representatives of the Supreme Being” to carry out His judgement on earth.

In Ekiti State, the Truth has been said, recognised and applied. In Nigeria, the Truth will one day be said, recognised and applied, we pray.

Let the Truth be said always.

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