I rise in defense of Mr. Odere’s response to attorney Akeredolu’s article both of which were posted on the Sahara website. Mr. Akeredolu had taken issues with Kabiyesi, Ewi of Ado, Oba Adejugbe Aladesanmi eulogizing Governor Fayemi as sharing some of the attributes of Obafemi Awolowo in the way and manner the young man has performed in Ekiti. I was an invited guest to his gathering with Ekiti’s in Diaspora held at the Round Tree Hotel near JFK Airport less than a year of his becoming Governor. 

I, like many in the same gathering, was impressed with his blue print for Ekiti State and his determination to borrow a script from the Awolowo’s ground-breaking achievements as Premier in the defunct Western Region of Nigeria and when he served as Deputy Chairman of the Federal Executive Council and Federal Commissioner for Finance. Kabiyesi,the Ewi of Ado Ekiti did not misspeak at all by comparing Fayemi with Obafemi Awolowo. 

Many in the gathering who knew Awolowo as well as I do, would agree that Governor Fayemi can be described as a clone of Awolowo with some of the things he has done in Ekiti and what he could still do, if re-elected to a second term. It is impossible to duplicate Awolowo but there can be variations of him in a country as big as Nigeria.

I have very little to add to the veracity of everything Mr. Odere and the Ewi have said about the Governor because they are all true. We, as Nigerians must learn to give credit to whom credit is due. That is one of the ways to reaffirm and encourage any of our youths aspiring to leadership position. Most Nigerians and the Yorubas all appreciate and pay glowing tributes to Awolowo today  because of what he had done in Government. In a society where very little is documented, it behooves our leaders and elders like the Kabiyesi to always speak the truth to power as often as necessary. I am therefore joining my voice with theirs to reinforce the powerful message that the Ekiti voters need to hear loud and clear as they get ready to go to the polls roughly a month from today to choose between Fayose and Fayemi.

I am happy to do that because I fully subscribe to the mission statement of the Sahara Reporters of New York to give credit where credit is due and to do so without fear or favor. If performance still remains the yardstick for re-election of any of our Governors or Presidents, I submit that Governor Fayemi deserves re-election and the full support of the great majority of Ekiti voters for his stewardship in the last 4 years.

We are not talking of two candidates who are asking to be elected Governor for the first time ever. We are talking of two candidates whose performance and track record in office can now be compared and contrasted in all honesty and the success or failure of their policies and track record in office including the policies and track records of the two parties they represent. We are comparing the pedigree, the qualifications and the integrity and character of the two candidates, their strength and weaknesses and the assets  they both bring to the table and their "modus operandi". Former Governor Fayose who considers himself and eagerly wants to be recognized as the strong man of Ekiti Politics in the same way that Pa Adedibu or Olusola Saraki had tried to do in Oyo and Kwara. 

In a few years after his being disgraced out of that office, Fayose has pitched his tent with both the A.P.C. and the Labor Party in a bid to remain relevant. He is today back in the P.D.P. and he says those decamping from the Party like himself always find their way back to the PDP because in his convoluted mind the one party dictatorship is what Nigeria truly deserves thus betraying his utter ignorance and the dereliction of his logic. A one party dictatorship, however benevolent , can never serve the best interest of any nation as the Indian voters have just proved to the world by voting out the Congress Party  and putting the B.J.P in power for a change. It is not the birth right of any political party to forever rule a country.

We the people should reserve the right at all times to freely pick and choose who should rule us based strictly on performance and good government. You never find the United States or the United Kingdom or many of the developed  nations retaining one party in power forever and going around shouting “Power” at their political rallies as if the opposition does not have  the right to exercise the same power for the benefit of the country. The voters reward performance and punish non- performance by throwing out the party at the next election and giving the opposition a chance to prove their mettle with a caveat that they too can be sent parking in the next election circle if they don’t perform.

Education-wise, Fayose and Fayemi are poles apart in my judgment. Fayemi is an intellectual, an administrator and a technocrat with some "gravitas" just like Obafemi Awolowo with whom the Ewi has compared him. Fayose on the other hand is a political contractor and business man whose world views about Government and accountability are totally different from those of Kayode Fayemi. Kayode is a civil rights leader and fighter in NADECO before becoming Governor in a state that has been called the intellectual power house of Nigeria and the fountain of knowledge and rightly so. Their two approaches, orientation and inclinations about governance and good Government can never be the same and the differences are clear. Kayode Fayemi is a strategic thinker who quickly became one of the respected leaders of thought in the party that brought him to power. He fought to take back his stolen mandate from the P.D.P and he knew he had to work his head off to keep that mandate.

Fayose on the other hand belongs to a different kettle of fish. I witnessed him on Youtube speak at a political rally at Ise Ekiti gloating about how he was going to use the power and the “abracadabra"of the Federal Government to crush his opponent just like he did to Governor Adebayo. He knew no other way to snatch and retain than power than by sheer force and brigandage which has become the hallmark of his administration as Governor. That is not to say that the man did not do anything while he was Governor. He sure did something but not nearly as good and as fundamentally enduring and beneficial as what Fayemi has been doing by setting a new template of leadership and lasting legacies similar to what Obafemi Awolowo is still remembered for till tomorrow in the old Western Region and Nigeria as a whole. Creating a safety net for the elderly in the society and making sure that the poor and the underprivileged are given a fair deal in life are some of his legacies in Ekiti State as eloquently stated by Mr. Femi Odere.

Ekiti State receives roughly 3 million in monthly revenue from the Federal Government and it is 35th out of 36 states in terms of financial viability. You cannot compare what Ondo State or Bayelsa State receives in subventions from the Federal Government to what comes to Ekiti State. Governor Fayemi has to make efforts to diversify the economy of the State and to increase internally-generated revenues by doing more with less and minimizing wastage and extravagant expenditures. Turning the Ekiti Liaison Building in Abuja to a 5 Star Hotel was designed to achieve that goal. Turning the Ikogosi Springs to a tourist center and money making venture is part of it as well. 

Reducing the state-funded University in Ekiti to one with many campuses in all parts of the State is another. He had to do that to reduce the overheads for personnel and create some savings for the State. He is one of the biggest advocates for the economic integration of the Southwest and other states controlled by his political party. He was the architect of some of the blue prints for that development because his other colleagues knew he has the brains and the know how to do that. He has done a lot more than many of his predecessors in the Ekiti Governor’s office. He has done a pretty good in Ekiti State and he truly deserves his re-election.

Governor Fayemi is assured victory on June 19 if the election is free and fair. Ekiti voters must just make sure that their votes are counted by being vigilant because the price of liberty is eternal  vigilance. The Military and the Law Enforcement agents in Nigeria who are all controlled by the Federal Government should steer clear of aiding and abetting the Federal –controlled INEC which is supposed to be neural but always finds some ways to side with their bosses at the Federal level without saying it too loud. They should do so in the interest of peace in Ekiti. Professor Jega should take a script from the just concluded elections in India  and give peace a chance.

Neither of the two candidates is perfect like the rest of us, but if I have to choose between Fayemi and Fayose, my choice will be Fayemi and that would be my recommendation to Ekiti voters across the board.

I rest my case.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

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