The contest today is not a battle between the forces of good and evil. It is a choice between the crass and evil populism of Ayo Fayose, and the pretentious, egotistic, and equally corrupt Kayode Fayemi…
We have the state of Ekiti to thank for the phrase; stomach infrastructure. I doubt that Ayodele Fayose came up with the phrase, they are most likely words that were used by his detractors to derisively describe his brand of populist politics, a clap back at his pretensions of being possessed of a common touch. But Peter adopted what less savvy politicians would have disowned, and he shamelessly made it his own.
John Kayode Fayemi is a different type of politician. He is well schooled, has a doctorate degree, is a professor, has lectured in universities abroad, was deeply involved in the activities of NADECO in the diaspora, and was a major part of Radio Kudirat. Unlike Buoda Ayo, Fayemi is something of an egghead. Highly cerebral, he has the Awolowo cap to complete the ensemble.
Once upon a time, these two have worked together. Segun Oni was the loser when they joined forces, and they have a lot more in common, than meets the eye. I will not bore you with Professor Eleka, he is not a factor in this election. The contest is between Fayose and Fayemi, Eleka is of no consequence to the outcome, and I doubt if any serious voter in Ekiti, would consider him when deciding how and who to vote.
Fayose’s stomach infrastructure is defined and characterized by the consumption of food. He is known to visit Bukas, Akara and Dundu joints, places where foods are sold and bought by the common people. He would share bread, rice, and other food items as inducements for electoral votes, but he isn’t unique in doing this, so do other politicians in Ekiti, including his traducers.
It is important to trace the trajectory of Ayo Fayose’s political ascendancy in the state of Ekiti, and it is germane to do so if my point must be understood. Prior to the 2003 elections, there was an acute shortage of potable water in Ekiti State. Ayo Fayose acquired water tankers and started distributing water to the residents of the worst hit areas of the state. I am told that General. Adebayo’s country home in Iyin-Ekiti, was a frequent beneficiary of this largesse. Problem was, the General’s son, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, was the governor. The rest as they say is history.
By the time Fayose was to launch his second assault on the state of Ekiti, the poverty of the residents had become more existential than just material. The denizens of Ekiti are happy with whatever water is available to be guzzled, food had become a much more pressing need, and Ayo Fayose, consummate politician that he is, has merely met their needs.
The Awo cap wearing professor, is not cut from much different cloth. He ruled Ekiti for 4 years, beneficiary of the Jagaban’s judicial abracadabra, that swept Segun Oni out of office. Remember Ayo Salami and his MTN line? Fayose was his ally when Oni was to be swept out. His tenure was riddled with corruption, and whilst Fayose and the then ruling PDP, left nothing to chance, Fayemi was roundly rejected by the Ekiti people in 2014. No amount of revisionist propaganda will erase the memories of his irrelevance to the life of the people.
In the APC gubernatorial primaries, a theory that I have canvassed for some time was tested and proven, and this is the preoccupation of my treatise today. I speak of the weaponizarion of poverty. Chief. Segun Oni, the PDP governor that was removed by the judiciary, now an APC stalwart, came second behind the then serving minister for mines and solid minerals, today’s APC candidate, Fayemi. Obscene amounts of money spent by Fayemi and the deployment of his Abuja clout, ensured that he won the ticket. His victims took his money and preferred him over Oni.
Oni is the only governor of Ekiti, that left a record of achievement behind. He owed neither staff, nor pensioners, he worked to develop the state. He had a developmental program that was being faithfully followed by his administration. I know because one of my closest friends worked in his government and was one of his closest aides. Oni left government poorer than he entered, and he inflicted his “poverty” on my friend too.
Weaponized poverty has decimated a once proud people. Ekiti was the richest province in the heady days of the Western Region, and under the stewardship of Chief. Obafemi Awolowo. The wealth of Ekiti was largely responsible for the growth and development of the region. It has taken the rule of wicked men, to hobble a once proud people.
The contest today is not a battle between the forces of good and evil. It is a choice between the crass and evil populism of Ayo Fayose, and the pretentious, egotistic, and equally corrupt Kayode Fayemi. Fayose is limited in his capacity to pretend to be anything other than what he is; a loutish crook. But Fayemi is no saint either. Do not be fooled by the degrees and diplomas, the Awo cap nestles on top of a head, that contains a brain that exists solely to pursue his own gains.
When the tear gas canisters have been exhausted, after the bullets have done their work, when heads have been smashed, and the winner declared, the only losers will be the poor people of Ekiti. Their poverty will remain, another false messiah will afflict them for a season. If Fayemi is declared the winner as I fully expect, the empty posturing will commence, and Fayose will rightly be declared a thief, just as he had himself declared Fayemi a thief. Fayemi will blame Fayose’s cannibalization of Ekiti’s treasury for his assured failure, after all, PDP is the reason Buhari hasn’t been able to achieve anything.
And the beat goes on….
First published 13 July, 2018.