When Dr John Kayode FAYEMI ( JKF) did the unusual by quickly conceding defeat to Mr Ayo Fayose at the EKITI elections, I was one of those who hailed him. In my article titled "EKITI Elections: INEC raises its game and Gov FAYEMI redeems the political class ",I concluded that JKF had placed his name in the hall of exceptional democratic leaders. His action was atypical among African politicians. To concede defeat in a political contest without a fight? Even if this was ever going to happen in Nigeria, it was inconceivable that it Would come from an APC Governor. My observation is that the APC Publicity machinery has mastered the art of crying wolf, when there is even no cat in the distance. They spoil for fight, when there was no reason for disagreement. And then to be quiet when there was battle in their backyard was befuddling. Perhaps they were shell-shocked by the convincing trouncing by the PDP, against the run of play, that they lost their voice for almost a week after the election and after JKF had made that memorable broadcast on that memorable Sunday in June, a few hours after the result of the elections were announced by INEC.
I am sure that when JKF will write his memoirs, he will be gracious enough to first tell us, the true motivation for his conceding defeat so quickly. Forget the story that he did it, so that EKITI would not burn. That is a lame story. How could EKITI burn? What were the large contingent of Police and Military men in EKITI for? To watch EKITI burn? If that were his true reason, why then did he allow the set up for EKITI to burn in his last days in office? I trust that he will reveal the true reasons in the memoir. Second, I believe he will be candid enough to tell us how much 'beating' he received from the leadership of APC for doing what he did. I can visualize him receiving tough bashing from the Asiwaju. Indeed, if ever there was another opportunity to go for political office elections, JKF may be denied any such opportunity by the APC for easily "giving up" Ekiti State. But I am sure that move has endeared him to Nigerian voters and he will reap the benefit. He is still young and has a great political future, party affiliations notwithstanding.
So what to do? The party decided to go to the tribunal and tried to coerce JKF to change his narrative. But nobody could be sure that would work, giving perhaps the convincing evidence of defeat. Infact, the Party chairman had said at the initial time that they were not appealing against the result but against the militarisation of the State and the bias of the security officers against APC members. Iam not sure the Party has not changed course since then! Also because the "rules" of the game especially concerning the judiciary had been altered somewhat, no body can rightly predict judicial outcomes any more. So what to do to stop Ayo Fayose from becoming the governor even after convincingly winning the election? Politricks?
As a matter of fact, many commentators after the result of the elections had been announced said in essence that the majority of the EKITI electorate was "foolish" and "stupid "for voting Ayo Fayose and actually seemed to be expecting apology from either the people or from Fayose for "deceiving "the people and getting them to vote for him. When none was forthcoming, then a plot had to be hatched to subvert the will of the 'foolish' people. And most of those in this plot or those supporting it parade themselves as 'progressive democrats '.
And the EKITI Eleven was born! A collection of 'reversionists'who believe that their will must override that of the majority of EKITI People and that the verdict of the People must be reversed.Their position was that Ayo Fayose was not qualified to contest the elections, because he was impeached or because there were some allegations against him. They pretended they were pursuing a just cause through the judiciary and connived with all those who hate Ayo Fayose with a passion to push the judiciary to take hasty decision so that Fayose could be stopped from being sworn on as the governor. If any thing can make EKITI burn, this was one. And I was disappointed that JKF would allow this evil plan to go on under his watch. In his famous speech at conceding defeat, he was on record as saying that " the EKITI People had spoken" and that he was willing to submit to their will. So, how come that he will allow a small clique of elites,no matter their credentials to enter into an "unholy" alliance to undermine and thwart the will of the People.
What gets me sad in all this is the conspiracy of silence in our Country when evil is being perpetrated by the vocal few. I am appalled by the hypocrisy. Because it is Ayo Fayose, any thing can happen!. No body believed that Fayose would win the elections except perhaps Fayose himself, not even his party. He won convincingly against most predictions. INEC could not disqualify him, his opponents could not prove he was in eligible to compete. Then despite all the evil stories told about him, despite all the heavy propaganda and de marketing of Ayo Fayose, a convincing majority of EKITI voters decided to vote for him. Should we not respect the wish of this "foolish" majority and allow democracy to thrive in EKITI State and in Nigeria? Must we use surreptitious methods including 'biased'Judicial panels to thwart the will of the majority and enthrone that of the minority?. I whole heartedly condemn the reported attack on the Judge in EKITI, as such act is uncivilized and anti democratic. Having said so however, we must beg our desperate politicians on all sides not to set up the judiciary! If all electoral choices have to be made by the courts then something must be terribly wrong about our brand of participatory Democracy.
Ayo Fayose may not be the best person in the World and he certainly has his weaknesses and his failings, most of which have been generously advertised, but the fact is that the majority of voters in EKITI find him trustworthy to lead the State. To have convincingly defeated two incumbent Governors at two elections to emerge governor of EKITI twice is no mean feat. Like it or hate it, Mr Ayo Fayose is a phenomenon who has not been properly represented in the Media. Most of his personality is as portrayed in the media. It is escapist for many commentators to suggest that he won the election just because of "stomach infrastructure" or because he ate pounded yam and bushmeat in bukateria. I am not from EKITI, and except for a few casual meetings, I have no personal relationship with the now Governor Fayose. But Iam thoroughly intrigued by his political prowess. He is indeed a master strategist and I believe , that rather than vilify him, we need to try and understand the content of his strategy. My bible tells me that when the righteous come to power the people rejoice and when the wicked bear rule the people mourn.
With his coincidental swearing on the 16 th of October, same day he was impeached eight years ago, Ayo has been offered another opportunity to complete the work he started in EKITI state. I believe he deserves the prayers of all lovers of EKITI State and true democracy. To continue to insist on undermining or subverting him, to me will be like kicking against the stone. May the People of EKITI Rejoice!Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR