If Fayose were Tinubu
I am trying to track the fault lines in the communication style of Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Peter Ayo Fayose that make it difficult for others to understand him clearly. This has nothing to do with the language he speaks. He does not speak Greek or such other foreign language that does not have linguistic basis in Nigeria. He speaks Yoruba and simple English, yet each time he speaks, people tend to hear beyond what he is saying, taking it for something else. Something close to what has now become known in American political lexicon as “alternative facts.”
His listeners do not just readily accept his facts no matter how compelling. People keep digging up alternative facts to counter Fayose’s facts. All the same, this wasn’t exactly the case before 2003 when Fayose was a private citizen doing business under the corporate name Spotless in Ibadan and Ado-Ekiti. Then, nobody cared about what he said or didn’t say. He started attracting attention when he expressed a desire in 2003 to dethrone Niyi Adebayo from Government House, Ado-Ekiti. And when this was made known, the reaction then was that some jester had come into town to offer comic relief.
Nobody believed him. Where was he coming from to dispatch Otunba Niyi Adebayo, whose father was the military governor of the old Western State, which comprised all the states of the Southwest except Lagos, in a political duel? Whose son was he? I had visited Ekiti State to report the build-up to the 2003 general election. Fayose did not look too good for gold for two main reasons. One, he was coming through the PDP, which was almost non-existent in the state and most part of the Southwest until 2003 when President Olusegun Obasanjo started his miraculous electoral performance in the region.
Two and more importantly, the path to the PDP ticket was rough. Fayose was not only up against the forces in Ekiti, but also against President Obasanjo who did not see him as worthy of the crown. There was a Chief S.K Babalola who reportedly caught the fancy of Baba. There was another unrelenting old horse called Dr. Bode Olowoporoku. Both men were interested in the PDP ticket. In all respects, Fayose was clearly the underdog in the emerging political game.
Even if he got the PDP ticket on a platter of gold, the battle would just be beginning. The real election to dethrone a sitting Alliance for Democracy (AD) governor in a Southwest state would be far more challenging. But he kept hope alive and carried on as if he had had everything in the bag. He actually started inviting guests for his inauguration as governor of Ekiti State even when nothing had been determined. “I know you do not believe I will be governor but I am inviting you to Ado on May 29 (2003) to witness my inauguration” he had told me when I would not stop asking to be convinced of his chances in the context of the unfolding dynamics. It happened exactly as he predicted.
What happened to Fayose at the twilight of the 2003 – 2007 political dispensation is all too known to be recounted here. He was violently uprooted through the state legislature (impeached) and kept away from active service first for the three years that Segun Oni usurped the throne and then the four years that Dr. Kayode Fayemi was governor. He did the needful in the judiciary to prime himself for fresh bidding at the end of Fayemi’s first tenure as governor. Again he was all over town with prediction of sure victory.
As always, his elite listeners listened beyond him to hear alternative facts. However, what they believed or didn’t believe did not change the facts, which is why Fayose has been governor of Ekiti State since October 16, 2014. The records show that he has come from nowhere as an underdog on two occasions to dethrone two incumbent governors of Ekiti State; namely Niyi Adebayo and Kayode Fayemi. These feats have been grossly understated. For no clear reason, some people have refused to reconcile with the facts of the situation. They stick to the fact that the last feat especially, was a product of manipulation and not fair competition.
But would this be the case if Fayose were to be someone else? For instance, with what he has achieved, if Fayose were to be Ashiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Jagaban Borgu, who used the judiciary and other invisible and unquantifiable means to recover most of the Southwest from the iron grip of the PDP, he would have perhaps been canonized the political tactician of all time. The so-called Southwest media would have presented him in glowing colours and nobody; I mean nobody, would have the courage to look beyond facts on the table for alternative facts just to detract from the achievements recorded.
But Fayose is not Tinubu and he cannot be Tinubu. In the 2015 political biddings, there was nothing personal at stake and so Fayose did not make predictions about himself. But he presented other facts as he understood them and as usual, his elite listeners strained their ears beyond what he was saying for alternative facts. In case we have all lost track, Fayose predicted that General Muhammadu Buhari did not enjoy good health and therefore less able to survive the rigours of the presidency for too long.
He even chose not to be politically correct or discrete about this as he went to advertise in newspapers that Buhari could die in office if elected President. He spoke for himself anyway. Voters listened to themselves and elected Buhari President on February 28, 2015. By last May 29, Buhari had spent 730 days, that is, two years in office of which about 200 days had been spent outside Aso Rock Villa and Nigeria in search of good health.
What is even more disturbing is that, in all of the debates about President Buhari’s health, nobody is remembering to credit Fayose with some prophetic gift. Nobody is saying for example: ‘eheen, Fayose told us but we wouldn’t listen!’ I wouldn’t know what the 16th Century French physician and seer, Michael de Nostradamus did differently in his time from what Fayose has done in Nigeria that earned him (Nostradamus) the sobriquet, “The Man Who Saw Tomorrow.” Fayose also saw tomorrow in Nigeria. Again, if a Tinubu had seen today from yesterday’s position as Fayose did, I am sure by now, all the governors of the Southwest would have pooled resources together to build a centre for star gazing in appreciation of his (Tinubu’s) power of clairvoyance.
One thing is clear in all of this. There is elite conspiracy to always make Fayose look smaller than himself even when he towers. Things others do and are acclaimed as innovations if done by Fayose, they become primitive political gimmicks. For instance, what is the material difference between Fayose’s policy of Stomach Infrastructure and the Federal Government’s payment of N5000 to the so-called elderly in society? Okay! I think I know the difference. One is called Stomach Infrastructure and the other, Social Security Scheme.
When Fayose enacted the anti-grazing law to checkmate the bloodthirsty Fulani herdsmen, he attracted more condemnation than commendation. But he had the courage to hold his grounds and today, governors, especially in states where incessant herdsmen attack on farmers is an issue, are falling over one another to do what Fayose did when nobody had the courage.
Haba! What is wrong if Fayose receives his credits and debits as they accrue? Why only debits without credits? Anyway, the man has begun another round of predictions. He is saying God has told him to take over from President Buhari in 2019. I am not convinced. I know you too are not but let us wait and see. 2019 is not too far from today. By the way, he has also predicted returning to Government House Ado Ekiti for the third time to repeat his first tenure, which was truncated. We shall also see!
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