Is Ekiti Not Embarrassed By Fayose? By Idowu Akinlotan

imageLast week, Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State authored perhaps the most offensive newspaper front page advert ever, wherein he asserted with all the sham religiosity his dark heart could muster that Muhammadu Buhari, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), would die in office if elected. Three former Nigerian leaders, all from the Northwest, had died in office, he wrote ominously. And because Gen Buhari is from the same Northwest, and is 72 years old, he could not avoid the same fate, reasoned Mr Fayose in the advert published by two newspapers. Nigerians were tired of state burials, he indicated with feigned altruism. Though the uproar the advert generated was intense, Mr Fayose has predictably stuck to his guns, insisting he would never apologise for his hysteria.
Given the kind of leadership the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been saddled with in the past few years, the party is unlikely to show any serious remorse over the advert. In fact, President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign organisation spokesman, the capricious Femi Fani-Kayode, merely distanced the PDP presidential candidate from the advert, suggesting that the content was strictly Mr Fayose’s, and that neither the PDP nor Dr Jonathan was responsible for the advert. The Ekiti governor, he volunteered, was a man he and the PDP had great regard for, lest anyone should think Mr Fayose had become hated in the party for his strident views.
If the PDP, Jonathan Campaign Organisation and Dr Jonathan himself refuse to clearly and openly denounce the advert, and have in many ways produced tonnes of equally distasteful adverts against their main opponent in the February presidential poll, what of Ekiti itself? Are they not embarrassed by Mr Fayose’s sulphuric language and odious logic? They voted him into office, and have consistently resisted any suggestion, especially by the APC, that they acknowledge their mistake. But are they still sure they acted sensibly? They were almost of one accord in last June’s governorship poll when they wilfully threw away the baby with the bathwater, in effect asking for the biblical Barabbas to be released unto them and Jesus to be crucified. Are they sure they got their theology right? They wanted to punish former governor Kayode Fayemi for errors they could not forgive, even though their copious education should have led them to the Spartan forbearance necessary to withstand the blandishments and the engaging rusticity, populism and superficial egalitarianism that a Fayose governorship deceptively foreshadows. Do Ekiti voters still trust their sociology principles?
No one knows how Ekiti people now feel about their governor, his provincial appeal, brashness, foul language, errant logic and wholesale subversion of the law and constitution. Perhaps, having taken the spontaneous decision to enthrone a man so opposed to civilized living and so crudely enamoured of tyrannical politics, Ekiti feels compelled to live with their choice. Perhaps they resent being told ‘We told you so,’ or being ridiculed for marching backwards on a bad road. Until they come out in large numbers to denounce the dangerous atavism of their governor, we may never know exactly what they think of their governor as a person, and what they think of his statements and policies. But as for the rest of Nigeria, and in particular, the Southwest, everyone is embarrassed on behalf of Ekiti.
Ekiti, it must be reiterated, reserves the right to elect any party and any man of their choice into any elective office available. They have the right to cavort among a wide range of political parties, and to even denounce progressivism and embrace conservatism. The choice may seem disagreeable to many people, but the beauty of democracy is the right to be serious or sentimental, wise or foolish, and rash or temperate, as long as the choices are made lawfully. Pursuant to the freedom to choose, perhaps, is also the right of a people to build and elevate their civilization in faithfulness to their history, or to destroy their civilization because of one provocation or the other and in contempt of their proud history. One choice, sometimes, is all it takes for a people to perish — one careless war; one careless policy; one careless turn down the road. A society has a responsibility to keep its wits, for the decisions of today must take cognisance of the past, the present and the future. It is not clear that last June Ekiti made its choice carefully. The reasons are many.
Apart from the distasteful advert wishing a President Buhari dead, Mr Fayose had right from inauguration exposed himself to the rest of Nigeria as lawless and foolish. Ekiti may have resented many of Dr Fayemi’s policies and style, but they at least squirmed and groaned under a sensible governor they could introduce to the rest of Nigeria and the world. Under Mr Fayose, they are living their fantasies of frolicking in Government House swimming pool, resting momentarily and dreamily on exotic government beds, and savouring Fayose’s gourmet handouts. But whether style or substance, only the hardiest of Ekiti proletariat would proudly introduce Mr Fayose as his governor, let alone his leader and embodiment of Ekiti values and worldview.
Ekiti has no excuse not to understand whom they were voting for in last year’s poll. He never hid his ribaldries, nor tried even faintly to disguise his caustic tongue. His language is coarse and offensive, and his manners, which hark back to the Stone Age, underscore his indulgent medieval theology that constantly seeks to justify and explain his every action in divine terms. Thus the muscling of the judiciary, which he exposed to a systematic and orchestrated brutalisation and intimidation shortly after his inauguration, was justifiable because he feared the APC wanted to subvert the people’s will. He was not uncomfortable with getting seven lawmakers to approve his cabinet list, pass state budget, and give hasty assent to half-baked and disingenuous bills.
Many analysts have suggested that Mr Fayose is keener than anyone else, including Dr Jonathan’s most ardent aides, in getting the president re-elected since his stay in Ekiti Government House, which still rests on shaky judicial ground, could become even more tenuous under a Buhari presidency. The analysts are right. But what fully explains Mr Fayose’s lack of restraint and effortless resort to inanities is his natural and abiding inclination to wallow in the cesspool. His style is his life, and his life is not the modern kind Nigerians and Ekiti are used to. There is no reflection in him, and in him all the vices often on display in beer parlours and street fights cohere exquisitely. Such a man does not need reasons to be offensive; he is naturally and instinctively offensive.
If Ekiti is embarrassed by their governor’s atrocious behaviour, they have not quite shown it. The rest of Nigeria, except diehard PDP supporters, groan in pain at his excessive and constant execrableness. Ekiti, it seems to the judicious, will vote Gen Buhari, for they, like their kinsmen in the Southwest, are tired of PDP’s tomfooleries in Aso Villa. It is indeed inconceivable that any scaremongering could stop them from repudiating Dr Jonathan, or dissuade them from voting their kinsman, Yemi Osinbajo, who is on the Buhari ticket. Mr Fayose’s desperation is thus unlikely to bear any fruit. But his excesses will continue until they reach a crescendo, where the quietly mortified Ekiti, hitherto anxious to justify their rash electoral behaviour of last June, will rise in fiery indignation, damn the consequences of being ridiculed by their regional and national compatriots, and throw out a man whose political monstrosities all of literature is incapable of depicting even in fiction.

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