Since his assumption of office about eight months ago, the indefatigable Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Partrick Fayose has weathered unimaginable storms that would have swept away ordinary mortals from office but certainly not the Ekiti born astute and maverick politician. Governor Fayose has proved beyond any reasonable doubt that he is indeed a great political tactician with uncommon dexterity that had enabled him to succeed as one of the greatest political survivalists in the context of contemporary Nigeria political history. Indeed, Governor Fayose could be described as an enigma in the political equation of Ekiti State and the nation at large.
During the last gubernatorial election in Ekiti state, not many people gave Fayose any chance of electoral victory at the polls in view of the endless controversies that surrounded his eligibility or otherwise to contest the office of the Governor of Ekiti State in the recent past. As the controversies were then raging, several attempts were made by Fayose’s political adversaries to prevent him from contesting the gubernatorial election, hence the battle ground for supremacy shifted to the law courts for the resolution of the political quagmire. In the mean time however, Fayose’s political campaign machinery had stormed the entire Ekiti State like a wild fire or hurricane with the popular slogan – “Fayose for change.” Fayose’s mesmerizing personality that drew a large and uncontrollable followership to himself in Ekiti state was simply astonishing and unbelievable hence, he was generally regarded as the biblical “Moses-the Messiah” with the magic wand who had come to rescue his people from long sufferings and total bondage. The people of Ekiti state beginning from the very old to the very young, from the highly educated to the uneducated, from the very rich to the very poor otherwise called the “talakawas” all were yearning for immediate change in the governance of Ekiti State. Indeed, it was a revolution of a sort as Fayose, known as a political strategist, quickly seized the opportunity and capitalized on the frenzied mood of the people and the outpouring of their tremendous goodwill towards him which he exploited to his maximum advantage. Fayose’s campaign strategy was obviously aimed at reaching out to the very poor and marginalized in various communities in the state and he practically demonstrated his immense love for the people by identifying with their common problems hence during his campaign tours, he often stopped at the local food vendors’ shops by the road sides to eat food with the common folks. He also rode on motor bikes to meet with the people in order to assess their immediate problems thereby demonstrating in practical terms his humane and compassionate disposition towards the vulnerable and down trodden masses in society. It was no surprise therefore, that the strategy adopted by Fayose, the master political tactician, eventually paid off as he secured a resounding and overwhelming victory at the polls that forced the incumbent Governor Kayode John Fayemi to immediately concede defeat. The election was adjudged as free, fair and credible by independent observers who monitored the entire electoral process and concluded that the outcome of the election was the true reflection of the wishes of the people of Ekiti State.
However, contrary to the general expectations that Fayose’s electoral victory had already been sealed, the political battle seemed not yet to be over as the defeated party in power, the All Progressives Congress, APC, not satisfied with the outcome of the election, immediately headed to the election tribunal and eventually ended up at the Supreme Court where the party finally lost its case after a long period of suspense and uncertainty.
And as Fayose was still savouring his electoral victories and about to settle down to the business of governance, nineteen members of the opposition party, APC, who constituted the majority in the State House of Assembly, were already oiling their political weaponry as they wasted no time in serving governor Fayose an impeachment notice on trumped up charges of “Gross misconduct.” Governor Fayose’s PDP minority seven members in the State House of Assembly consisting of a total membership of twenty six legislators had earlier approved the Governor’s nominees for appointment as State Commissioners at an undisclosed location in Ado Ekiti, the State Capital. The stage was then set for the final show down as the battle line was already drawn between the executive and the legislature. Apparently incensed by the dramatic turn of events in the State, Fayose’s mass followers, including his foot soldiers, stormed the State House of Assembly and effectively barricaded all the roads leading to the Assembly Complex, thereby preventing the nineteen opposition members from gaining access into the Assembly Complex to carry out their plot of impeachment against their political idol and “Messiah” which the “ anti people” legislators had earlier hatched. The people followed up their avowed determination to forestall any sinister moves by the legislators against Governor Fayose by keeping vigil at the State Assembly Complex thereby forcing the nineteen APC opposition legislators to take to their heels and go into hiding.
This rather bizarre political situation continued to play out in the State with the attendant negative consequences on all government businesses which became virtually grounded. Sequel to the above ugly and unpleasant development, the elders of Ekiti State including traditional rulers, religious leaders as well as intellectuals (who are in large numbers in Ekiti State) promptly waded into the political imbroglio, thus giving Governor Fayose some respite in the political chess game. However, as the life of the State House of Assembly was fast drawing nearer to its end, the unrepentant nineteen law makers quickly decided to resurrect the impeachment move against Governor Fayose and this time around, they deployed the weapon of blackmail and other arm twisting tactics aimed at extracting maximum concessions or simply put “a pound of flesh” from the embattled Governor Fayose. Governor Fayose on his own part however, was merely applying the delaying tactics to call the bluff of these self-centered and misguided law makers as the end of the life of the Assembly was fast approaching.
The historic moment finally came on June 5, 2015 when the new House of Assembly currently dominated by Governor Fayose’s party, the PDP, was formally inaugurated by Governor Fayose himself amid wide jubilation by the people of Ekiti State who had borne the brunt of the lingering political impasse that negatively affected their lives for too long. The highly elated Governor Fayose who rode on a motor bike to the House of Assembly, waving the national flag as he went, was accompanied by his teeming supporters, many on motor bikes and others trekking to the House of Assembly Complex in solidarity with their political hero to celebrate a new dawn in the chequered history of Ekiti State.
Today, Governor Fayose and the entire people of Ekiti State are overwhelmed with great joy and immense happiness as their dear State hitherto known for her endless political turbulence and crises would now heave a sigh of great relief hence the people are once again on the threshold of a new beginning that would expectedly usher in progress and prosperity, thus finally putting behind them the dark days of political bickering, confusion, and instability.
Finally, Governor Fayose’s astronomical rise to political stardom obviously would be a case study for students of contemporary Nigerian political evolution. Indeed, Governor Fayose’s political sagacity and brinksmanship could be described as a phenomenon as he was able to surmount all the political land mines placed on the way to his great electoral victory. Governor Fayose could equally be described as a man with nine lives having survived the many evil machinations of his political detractors in his burning quest to serve the down trodden and marginalized people of Ekiti State.
It is needless therefore, to emphasize the point in this write-up that Governor Fayose has clearly demonstrated that he is a great mobilizer with uncommon capacity to galvanize the masses for positive action as he realized that power truly belongs to the people.
Nze Akabogu (JP), is a regular public affairs commentator and analyst. He writes from Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State,
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