“We have relied essentially on natural gas for the generation of electricity. This has created a lot of problems for the nation, particularly when gas supply is disrupted…Virtually all the developed and emerging countries…rely heavily on coal for electricity generation, and our own coal is better than theirs” – Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology.
The next governorship election in Ekiti is not due until 2018; yet, the state is already agog as combatants prime themselves up for vantage positions ahead of time. For Ekiti PDP, perpetuating itself “is a task that must be done”, to borrow the words of erstwhile military Head of Head Yakubu Gowon. The name of the game everywhere is installing someone to watch over one’s back and cover one’s tracks; witness on-going shenanigans in Edo state, with Ondo threatening to follow suit. My grandmother said no matter how smart or careful you are, your head must shake on your neck when you walk. Chief Alex Akinyele once put it differently: If a finger is dipped deep down enough into anyone’s anus, it will contact faeces. In other words, no one is perfect. Hence, the pre-occupation by leaders to plant surrogates; but, in reality, it seldom works. Godsons and god-fathers have stripped each other naked before our very eyes. In places where it appeared to have worked – like Lagos and Kano – there were scares recently but they quickly firmed the lid on the can of worms before much damage was done! Conversely, APC is bent on regaining power in Ekiti. Since they believe “Federal might” railroaded Fayose into office under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, you can also expect full “Federal might” against Fayose. One thing we cannot say for now is whether APC, too, will leverage on its own “ONSA money” to aid the party’s electoral conquest of Ekiti!
Ekiti politicians are a conglomeration of strange bedfellows; cats and dogs, so to say. Plotting the graph of shifting alliances in Ekiti is herculean: The leaders are friends today but enemies tomorrow; enemies today but friends tomorrow. “Ekiti Kete”; “Kete Ekiti”: They are sophists and masters of subterfuge. And like a sheep led to the slaughter, they lead the simple-minded astray. One time, it was Segun Oni + Fayose against Fayemi; then it shifted to Fayemi + Fayose against Segun Oni. Once upon a time, Opeyemi Bamidele, Babafemi Ojudu and Dele Alake fought a fight-to-finish over the Ekiti Central senatorial ticket. The battle was so fierce that their common godfather, the Jagaban Borgu, took cover. Eventually, the ticket was given to Ojudu while Opeyemi reluctantly cooled his heels in the House of Representatives. That “war” gave rise to what seemed like an eternal enmity between Ojudu and Opeyemi. It is said that Fayemi as governor sided with Ojudu; so it was Opeyemi versus Ojudu+ Fayemi. The battle led to the madness that ripped the then Ekiti ACN in two, with Opeyemi eventually pulling out to join Labour Party. Rumours had it that Opeyemi agreed working relationship with Fayose to teach Fayemi a lesson; so, it was Opeyemi + Fayose versus Fayemi. Opeyemi eventually played the role of a spoiler. “If the rat will not eat the beans…” and Fayemi lost the election to Fayose. But today, Opeyemi is back in APC and the equation is Fayemi + Segun Oni + Ojudu + Opeyemi versus Fayose. What new-found love and joyful camaraderie! Ekiti’s political permutation is a maze or labyrinth sort of. If you are not a master at Crosswords Puzzle, you will likely get lost trying to understand the delicate but deadly Ekiti political game of intrigues, baloney, deceit, and treachery.
The people’s needs are not what the leaders attend to. Ekiti has important sons in high places; let them synergise to bring development to Ekiti. Fayose must rise above partisan politics to seize the initiative. He is governor of all Ekiti, not only of PDP. He must provide the enabling environment for Ekiti’s development. I sent text messages to Fayemi when he became Minister that he should not forget to help develop the mineral resources in the South-west in general but Ekiti’s in particular. Let it not be said that the list of his achievements after he leaves office will be of the resources he helped to develop elsewhere to the chagrin of his own place and people. The above quote from Ogbonnaya Onu, Fayemi’s Cabinet colleague in the Buhari administration, should be food-for-thought for the Isan-Ekiti-born Minister of Solid Minerals Resources. Where is Onu from? And where is coal found? “Omo eni o se’di bebere…” My wish for a recalibrated Fayemi – which he knew – is that after his stint as Minister, he will, like Fayose, return for his second term as governor of Ekiti. But he must show something tangible to Ekiti to justify his stint as Minister. We Yoruba are fond of neglecting our own people and getting wiser after the act! Witness Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure as president and compare it with the other presidents after him; the incumbent’s especially. As Presidential Adviser, Ojudu, one of the quartets of senior journalists at “The News” magazine, is highly placed and Ekiti should benefit from that in terms of the development projects he can attract to the state. Truth, be told! Ojudu and the others at “The News” magazine suffered for this democracy. They were hounded, harassed, tortured, incarcerated, and driven into exile. The other members of the quartets are Bayo Onanuga, Dapo Olorunyomi and Kunle Ajibade. God has “settled” Dapo (O Dapsy! BJ!! ) with Premium Times and Bayo recently got appointed MD of the News Agency of Nigeria. Bayo deserves applause not necessarily because of this appointment which, sincerely speaking, adds nothing to him but which I expect him to bring his wealth of experience and intimidating journalistic prowess to bear upon; his heroics when “The News” and the entire nation were under dictatorial siege will honour him for all times. Congrats, Bayo! Of Kunle Ajibade, “the last man standing”, someone said “Kunle is okay once he has books, and lots of them, to read”!
As with Ekiti, so it is with the South-west generally! We Yoruba delude ourselves thinking we are still front-runners amongst the various ethnic groups in the country. But the naked truth is that we have lost ground all-round. We cannot feed ourselves any more as virtually all foodstuffs and fruits come from elsewhere: Tomatoes; peppers, onions, millet, carrot, potatoes, yams, beans, oranges, palm oil, beef; even garri! But go round the South-west and see kilometres after kilometres of arable land lying fallow! Fruits and crops grow wild in the wild! Much of the little that is harvested rot away by the roadside! The economy of our cities and villages is in the hands of Igbos and others. A number of landed properties that I knew were sold in Lagos recently were all bought by non-Yoruba people. The security of our homes is in the hands of mai guards. The “meruwa” are the ones who fetch us water. Most of the “Okada” riders are from elsewhere. Our house-helps are from where? In the professions, our grip has waned seriously. Even in Sports, we are down the pecking order. When last did we even have players of note in the national team after the exit of the likes of Segun Odegbami, Muda Lawal, Peter Rufai, Mutiu Adepoju, and Felix Owolabi? In education, we are no longer the high-flyers we used to be. Who will bell the cat for us? Who will stop the rot? Who will turn the tide? The urgent task at hand is not the fight-to-finish going on over Ekiti but to take back the South-west and begin to re-position and return it to the egalitarian society that our fore-fathers laboured so hard for – and which they succeeded to a large measure in attaining and handing over unto us.
LAST WORD: Immediate past Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, is alleged by his successor, Ibrahim Idris, to have carted away 24 exotic cars while retired DIGs and AIGs also allegedly went away with between seven and eight cars each. Arase has replied, saying this was not so. He made a very important point, though, which should set every right-thinking person wondering, to wit: why the new IGP should hastily go public with such a damaging story without first calling his erstwhile boss on phone or sending him text message. It speaks volumes; especially about the new IGP and or his brief. The way Idris handled this matter is far more damaging to himself and the Force than to Arase and the others so alleged. And have you heard the news? The EFCC is said to be after a Dubai-based property firm that allegedly fleeced unsuspecting Nigerians of 200 billion US dollars; not 200 million dollars or 200 billion Naira but 200 billion dollars! That is more than seven-and-half times our entire foreign reserves! How manage! You mean such money could be missing from this country and the country is still standing? It must mean, then, that it is not only our economy that “defies logic”; to quote ex-military dictator Ibrahim Babangida, the whole country itself defies logic! Consider the foreign reserves of the United Kingdom (164b US$); United States (121b US$); Canada (84b US$); Nigeria’s is up-and-down around or less than 30b US$; and South Africa (47b US$). Source: Wikipedia. It defies logic that we have 200b US$ to run after and we dissipate energy on “petty thieves”. Imagine if just a quarter of this heist is recovered and injected into this comatose economy! My reservations about EFFC’s current Gestapo style notwithstanding, I volunteer to help pursue this 200 billion US dollars! Exaggerations, hypes, media-lynching should have respectable limit. Finally, Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos state has been appointed chairman of the APC Edo governorship campaign; this appointment “smells Gulder”, as journalists would say. Do they really need Ambode or Lagos state’s well-known deep pockets? Ambode should ask Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of Osun state of his experience when he accepted a similar appointment during the last Ondo governorship polls. Shine your eyes… Eko o ni baje o! TO BE CONCLUDED NEXT WEEK!