I was asked by Mr. Idowu Oluwole Adelusi, Chief Press Secretary to Ekiti State Gov. Peter Ayodele Fayose, to be reviewer of a book he had just written titled “Trial, travails and triumphs of Ayo Fayose: A compendium of newspaper reports (2006 – 2014)” – if he got approval. He did get approval and I also did consent to perform the task. The book, which has been launched, was one of numerous activities that commemorated the second year of Fayose’s second coming. We all know Fayose; my first “meeting” with him was fortuitous. I had just finished Holy Communion service and was getting inside my car when the phone rang. The time was around 7.00pm. “Am I on to Bola Bolawole?” I said “Yes” and the caller immediately launched into a tirade against my column for that day titled “What again does Fayose want?” After speaking for about five minutes while I listened patiently at my own end wondering who could this be; the caller satisfied my curiosity when he asked, “You may be wondering ‘who is this?’” I answered “Yes”. And he said “My name is “Ayodele Fayose” And I responded, “No wonder!” The rest, as they say, is history.
Reading through the compendium as well as speaking to people has enriched my knowledge not only of Fayose but also of Ekiti. Let me list seven factors that I found has worked in Fayose’s favour. One: He is connected to the people and not elitist. Ultimately, all politics is local. Two: He is not a captive of the people around him. He finds a way to get correct and not panel-beaten feedback. He ensures that what he asked to be done is done. Three: He has facts and figures on the issues he speaks on. Remember his expose when they lied that an interview conducted for Buhari here in Nigeria was held in London? His warnings concerning the health status of the same man, which was regarded as scare-mongering, now stares everyone in the face. Four: In his party, PDP, the circumstances are perfect for him to step into a very unfortunate leadership void. Five: In society at large, the abandonment of the barricades, as it were, by pro-democracy groups has handed Fayose the “leader of opposition” laurel on a platter. Nature abhors a vacuum. Six: The economic depression and unprecedented suffering in the land make Fayose’s activism to resonate with the people. Seven: Whereas many others have been cowed by EFCC, DSS, CCT, etc. Fayose’s voice of dissent helps to keep the powers-that-be in check.
Some have said it is because Fayose has constitutional immunity; yes, but is he the only one with immunity? Why are the others not also standing up to be counted like Fayose has done again and again, even at great personal cost? I dare to say it is because Fayose also has something that is more than immunity; he has what the Yoruba call “amuniti”. Literally interpreted, “amuniti” means an irrepressible spirit: cannot be gagged, cannot be caged, will not bow, will not bend, will not break, will not give up, will not kow-tow, will not compromise, will not surrender; will speak up, no matter what and regardless whose ox is gored. When a man combines constitutional immunity with “amuniti,” it is a very dangerous combination. Now, there are three levels of “amuniti”: The first is recorded in Joshua 1: 9 where God told Joshua to be strong and of good courage and be not afraid. The second is recorded in Jeremiah 1: 17 where God told Jeremiah to “be not dismayed at (the) faces of his opponents; whether they are stern-looking; non-smiling or hiding behind dark goggles like Sani Abacha. The third, which is the final and highest stage, is described by the apostle Paul in Romans 3: 38 & 39 where nothing can separate us from our purpose, vision and mission; where we are focused and consumed by what we believe in so much so that the perilous present cannot obfuscate the glorious future envisioned and ingrained firmly in our heart. Once a person crosses this Rubicon, the most despicable of dictators becomes powerless. Passions cannot die; goals are not killable; and visions cannot be arrested.
But I offer Fayose a few unsolicited advices: One: Bend over backwards to pay salaries, pensions and subventions as at when due. Note that you, too, can no more play the blame game (against ex-Gov. Kayode Fayemi) than Buhari can do with ex-President Goodluck Jonathan; neither will the fact that many other governors are not paying salaries and pensions absolve you. Two: Listen to your critics even where you do not agree with them. Criticisms, when handled correctly, are beneficial; they either help you to avoid preventable mistakes or give you more conviction about the correctness of your chosen course of action. Three: Limit cracks within your political family. Very soon as people begin to jostle for the seat you will vacate in two years’ time, you will again see human beings in their true colour. Four: Begin to see and believe in the larger picture. Reach out for a long spoon; you need to dine with the devil in the interest of Ekiti, the Yoruba race, and your own political progression. Five: Play a leading role in ongoing or soon-to-unfold political re-engineering. Many believe that someone like you will be better able to defend the interest of the Yoruba where the national cake is being shared. Six: Continue with your can-do spirit; the recently enacted herdsmen’s legislation by Ekiti is instructive here. Seven: Continue to hold on tenaciously to God, who has been your support (Genesis 15: 1).
I for one never gave Fayose a chance. His own qualifications notwithstanding, he appears to me to be reaping where others had sowed. He is standing, as it were, on the shoulders of (spiritual) giants. His father, mother, and wife are all sold out unto God. That, I dare to say, is very instructive!
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