I would know if Nigeria truly voted for change on March 28 and April 11, only when the Rule of Law takes hold in Ekiti and a few other places in Nigeria. Part of the reason Nigerians voted against Jonathan and the PDP was their crass impunity and attitude to the Rule of Law as an instrument of power.
Other reasons include his low tolerance level for corruption and his inability to keep his oath to guarantee the security of Nigerians and his politicization of the Nigerian Military, the Nigerian Police Force and State Security. I dislike his toying with the destiny of the Nigerian Military because I view myself as a product of the Nigerian Military because I was the first recipient of the British Canadian Legion scholarships for children of the Nigerian veterans of the Second World War and I will treasure that honor and privilege for the rest of my life.
It was for the same reason I expressed my disappointment in Reuben Abati for appearing to look the other way instead of speaking the truth to power like he has always done before eating out of the forbidden fruit of power in Nigeria. That guy was my hero and favorite columnist before he joined the Jonathan Cabinet. I was happy he joined because I thought he was going to save the President from himself because I thought the guy was tough and fearless. I thought would either do the right thing or quit to save his name and reputation I was disappointed when he did none of both.
I am happy that one Oranika quickly wrote his own rejoinder on my article titled “Reuben Abati.” His and my article were rightly posted by Sahara Reporters for viewers to compare and contrast and to show the neutrality of Sahara Reporters. I encourage all of you to go read the comments on both articles posted by Sahara. You will realize that many more viewers and commentators agree with me than they do with Oranika.
Some people in the PDP have alleged that Sahara Reporters were paid agents of the APC but one thing they do not understand is that Sahara wants to be a part of the change it wants to see in Nigeria like the rest of us. Sahara is on the side of good Government in Nigeria and is totally unbiased in its reporting and coverage of the 2015 elections if you see what I see.
You can be sure that the APC and Buhari are going to have the shortest honey moon with Sahara Reporters and with many columnists like me, if they do not live up to their promises. One clear proof of that is Sahara’s immediate criticism of Buhari when he was alleged to have banned AIT from covering any of his events as President-elect. It was the right thing to do, and I am glad that Sahara Reporters did not shy away from making its position clear and unequivocal. I also did not approval a gag order against AIT but I was much more concerned that Buhari should be more security-conscious since he has not formally taken his oath of office. I was concerned about the mixed messages Jonathan was sending saying that there cannot be two Presidents, and that he is still President till May 29. In other words if anything were to happen to scuttle the inauguration, it could be argued that Buhari was elected but was never sworn in as a civilian President for one day.
The rumor has since been denied by one Ms. Owoeye an AIT reporter sent to Daura to cover the President-elect. It turned out that the gag order was the brain work of overzealous APC supporters who wanted to be more “Roman Catholic” than the Pope. The President-elect was on the side of press freedom even though he might not have been too happy, like some of us, with the role of AIT which carried party patronage and blind loyalty to a ridiculous level by violating some of the ethics of Journalism.
Success must come with scrutiny like is done in more civilized countries of the world like the UK and the United States. I wrote my piece criticizing Reuben Abati because I loved and respected the man and because I expected him to have played by the same rules he had helped to articulate and champion before becoming part of the Jonathan Government.
I had earlier written an article on him within a year of his joining the kitchen cabinet of President Jonathan making pretty much the same case I made in my latest article. Some of my Igbo brothers and critics led by my good friend, Chika Onyeani, the Publisher of African Sun even made some insinuations I was probably positioning myself for a job in the Buhari Government. I thought Chika knew me better but he evidently did not.
I have had my chance in the Public Service both in Nigeria and here in the United States where I finally retired from the New York State Public Service in 2013. I checked out of Nigeria to give myself and my children and grandchildren a chance to be the best they could ever be in life and God has answered my prayers in that regard beyond my wildest imagination. I earn a decent pension here and in Nigeria that should make me a happy and fulfilled man till I die if I do not overstep my boundaries or live above my income and if Nigeria would pay their part of my pensions when they are due like is done in God’s own country.
If there is anything I can still do to help my country within my area of expertise or competence, I would gladly do it because I have been very fortunate in life. I got all my education using one scholarship or the other from the Nigerian Government, the British Canadian Legion and the Karl Ichan Fellowship of Yeshiva University of New York. 6 out of my 8 children were equally as lucky as I was. They were all born in Nigeria and they all went to the University at a time Nigerian parents did not have to pay as much as half a million of Naira or more for sending one child to a private Nursery school, Secondary School or private University like it is now. There is no way I could have survived with those kinds of fees if my children are just going to school now.
Those children are all graduates now and doing pretty good. I am saying it not to gloat, but to disabuse the minds of my friends who think I am writing what I write just to position myself for a job like some of them might have done before or plan to do in the future. They see every move with a jaundiced eye that the person they are criticizing is looking for one favor or the other. There is more to life than just looking for a way to join Government to make money or loot the Treasury. Nigerians and Buhari and Osinbajo would be shocked when they see the enormity of the kleptomania that has occurred in Nigeria in the 6 years of the Jonathan Administration. It is a prediction I am confident to make because I have been in Government before and I know some Nigerians have no conscience at all about looting the Government. It is their preoccupation.
That said let me return in full force to the outrage in Ekiti. Can we in all honesty say today that there is a rule of Law in Ekiti under Ayo Fayose? The Ekitis take pride in calling themselves “the Fountain of Knowledge in Nigeria” and most Nigerians agree, because the highest number of Professors and intellectual giants in Nigeria come from Ekiti.
I come from Ondo State. Ekiti used to dominate the Ondo State Public Service before Ekiti State was carved out for them by Sani Abacha who knew the state was not financially viable but still went ahead to create the state in the hope the people would support his move to perpetuate himself in office. Before that happened, Ekiti used to be among the most loyal supporters of late Obafemi Awolowo and the Action Group, the UPN and AD. Ekitis love Awolowo with passion because of his free education and medical coverage programs in the old Western Region. The programs benefitted Ekiti the most and the programs put Ekiti children on a trajectory to be the leading intellectuals in Nigeria. Education liberated Ekiti so to speak, and it enabled us to shed our “Ara Oke” meaning uncivilized label or stigma that some of our neighbors and fellow Yorubas in Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states put on us because of some of our behaviors which are well known in Nigeria.
With education came the other vices that have held Ekiti captive for a long time. Some of us were vicious petition writers and trouble makers. I count myself as one of them because Akure, my home town used to be part of Ekiti till 1946. Akure speaks exactly the same dialect with Ise-Ekiti. Kabiyesi the Deji of Akure, Kabiyesi the Ogoga of Ikere and Kabiyesi the Arinjale of Ise-Ekiti were historically linked and they traced their linage to the same parents. That is a story for another day.
What I am saying is that the Akures share a lot of the behavior and characteristics of the typical Ekiti man or woman. I know them inside out because I am part of them. As a matter of fact I have part of my roots on my father side traced back to the Chief “Ousode” family of Ode-Ekiti. That was how come I always refer to Professor Bolaji Aluko, the Vice Chancellor of Otuoke Federal Univsersity as my cousin. His father, Professor Samuel Adepoju Aluko and his great uncle late Uncle Iyun, the former Headmaster of St Michael’s School, Ilara-Mokin who later became the Personnel Manager of Vegetables Oils Nigeria PLC in Lagos were my uncles.
I have the Ekiti blood running in my veins just like I also trace my roots to Idanre because the mother of my late grandfather, Kabiyesi Erinlakatabu, Ogiso Otolu Apara, Afunbiowo Adesida the First, The greatest Deji of Akure was our matriarch, “Adojolomo” the first daughter of “Sashere Lagokun” of Idanre.
If I feel concerned about what is going on in Ekiti, it is because I am one of them. I repeat that there is no rule of Law in Ekiti right now because of what has been happening there ever since the man I jokingly call “Osiun Afao” has taken over the governorship of the State. A state of terror exists in Ekiti today, sad to say, for a reason I will use the remaining segments of this article to articulate.
Three of the very prominent legal luminaries of Nigeria today come from Ekiti. The best known of them is Oga Afe Babalola, the highly-respected founder of Afe Babalola University in Ado Ekiti. The second is Femi Falana from Ilawe, (Omo Alawe ko tori wiwe, ko m’akuro s’oja) The third is lawyer Olanipekun Omo Olosunta Orun Ikere, an old boy of Iju Itaogbolu Grammar School or Amoye Grammar School. They are all Senior Advocates of Nigeria by merit because they are great lawyers.
They would all tell you there is no rule of Law in Ekiti if you ask them. I am aware that uncle Afe babalola has been making efforts to mediate the current crisis between the present Governor and 19 APC legislators whose tenure must end by May 29 when all the newly-elected PDP legislators are expected to assume duty at Ado Ekiti House of Assembly. I think that Ayo Fayose did everything he knew how to do to make sure that the PDP wins in Ekiti because it was his only means to his survival as Governor if not for the 4 years he hopes to be there at least for a year or two before power begins to change hands as the legislators try to realign themselves with the new Sheriff in the APC.
I am predicting that Ayo Fayose and Olusegun Mimiko would both consider crossing over to the APC at one point after the dust settles down because they all draw their oxygen from the Federal Government in Abuja but more so for Ayo Fayose whose state cannot survive without the infusion of federal Naira to its Treasury, and if he can no longer use the State Commissioner of Police and State Security to go after his political enemies. Ondo State can only survive because of the oil revenues coming to it, but still Mimiko who loves power and retail politics, is going to still feel like a fish out of water if he can no longer use the Federal might any way he likes to prosecute and intimidate his opponents as the strong man of Ondo State Politics. If Buhari and Osinbajo keep their promises to observe the rule of Law, the two Governors of Ekiti and Ondo are going to be the first causalities in Nigeria. Mark my words.
What has been happening in Ekiti from June 21, 2014 till now is my reason for doing this article. That was the day Governor Ayo Fayose won in each of the 16 Local Governments of Ekiti to defeat another sitting Governor of APC, Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ishan close to Ilupeju in Ekiti. Dr. Fayemi was a decent Governor, an intellectual who could never deploy some of the Machiavellian tactics of Ayo Fayose.
By some covert operations captured on tape by Captain Sagir Koli of the Nigerian Army, Ayo Fayose of the PDP in collaboration with President Jonathan pulled off a victory that could never have been possible in any country governed by the rule of Law. To add more insult to an injury, Ayo Fayose repeated the same feat again when on March 28 and April 11 when the PDP won again in Ekiti. Ekiti for all its education was among the two states in the Southwest to embrace continuity rather than change which would have been ok if the victory was achieved without bending the rule in any shape or form.
I am one Nigerian who does not support and would never support a one party dictatorship like the one we used to have in the PDP. I am rooting for a Nigeria where the opposition would be strong enough to always hold the feet of the Government in power to fire at all times like happened in the Western Region when “Penkelemess” Adegoke Adelabu, the leader of the opposition NCNC who lost by a few seats only because a few members of the Mabolaje Grand Alliance, an affiliate of the NCNC, led by Meredith Adisa Akinloye of Ibadan had crossed carpet to join the Action Group on the floor of the Western House, to make Awolowo the first Premier of Western Nigeria from 1954 to 1959. Ogbuefi Nnamdi Azikiwe was on his way to become the first Premier of the Western Region if those few Parliamentarians had not crossed carpet.
The Awolowo Government became the best and the most progressive Government ever since in Nigeria in large part because of the quality of the opposition that Adelabu provided. Awolowo knew that if he did not perform that NCNC Adegoke Adelabu, an old boy of Government College could predictably become the next Premier, if the Action Group lost a vote of confidence on the floor of the House at Agodi Ibadan because the opposition was the Government-in-waiting should the sitting Government fumble. It was that simple because Nigeria was governed by the rule of Law when Sir John Rankine was the last colonial Governor of Western Region.
There can be no Democracy without the rule of Law. What is happening in Ekiti would be the first major test for the incoming Buhari Administration but by the time Buhari takes over on May 29, Governor Ayo Fayose would have been allowed to get away with murder, so to speak, by the way he has treated the 19 legislators of the APC in Ekiti.
Part of the reasons I am so disappointed with Reuben Abati is because I have not seen him express any outrage that could even lead to his resignation as a Presidential adviser to Jonathan. When Abati was still the Abati we used to know, he would have written powerful editorials condemning what had happened in Ekiti on June 21, 2014 and what is currently happening in Ekiti where 7 legislators supported by Ayo Fayose and President Jonathan have literarily driven out 19 APC legislators from performing the jobs to which they have been elected. Jonathan’s and Reuben Abati’s silence in the face of the criminality in Ekiti makes me want to throw up.
How could any law-abiding President tolerate what Ayo Fayose has been doing in Ekiti? Ayo Fayose and President Jonathan who says that stealing is not corruption is just waiting for time to run out on the 19 APC legislators. Their salaries and allowances have been stopped by Ayo Fayose without any justification. Only the 7 legislators loyal to Ayo Fayose are now performing the role of the Legislature in Ekiti. It is an untenable outrage in a country governed by the rule of Law.
Any of you reading this will recall that late Governor Agagu was illegally allowed to remain in office for 46 out of 48 months because the Nigerian Judiciary had just dragged its feet to allow the criminality to go unpunished until it became too little too late. Governor Agagu was never made to pay back all of the salaries and allowances he had drawn for the 46 months. He was not sanctioned in any way to serve as an example to other culprits in the future. That is what I am talking about. It is an outrage.
The change that Buhari has promised would not come until he has been able to place a handle on the Nigerian Judiciary to make sure they would no longer be able to tolerate the kind of outrage currently going on in Ekiti. I read the substance of an interview of Senator Benjamin Ojudu of Ekiti by the Sunday Sun Newspaper. The man’s life is currently in danger and his family and children are being threatened with kidnapping and assassination and there is little he could do to protect them against the criminal activities of Governor Ayo Fayose. No Court has been able to sit in Ekiti, No Legislature and no Judiciary. What we have in Ekiti today is a one man rule superimposed on Ekiti by a dictatorial President Jonathan who is advised by Reuben Abati, a famous journalist who double-down as an attorney.
The role of a good presidential adviser on the Media is to help shape public opinion for his boss. He should have helped to provide enough information to make the voters care enough or change their minds on Jonathan. Reuben Abati failed miserably on both counts. He should have let Jonathan understand from the “get go” that he could not in good conscience support what Governor Fayose had been doing in Ekiti.
There can be no rule of Law when Governor Fayose is intolerant of the opposition and is behaving more like a gangster and a hoodlum than the Chief Security Officer of his state who is duty-bound to protect all the people of Ekiti not and just a cross section.
The question now is whether or not General Buhari and Osinbajo are going to tolerate the situation in Ekiti, and for how long after their inauguration on May 29. The 19 APC legislators who have been run out of town by a criminally-minded Governor would have lost out in the animal farm kind of scenario we have in Ekiti today.
The situation is not funny at all. If we all put ourselves in the shoes of those law makers and Senator Ojudu, we would understand that they have all become the victims of the Law in Ekiti right now. How General Buhari and Osinbajo respond to the outrage in Ekiti would determine whether or not they are the change agents that Nigerians voted for on March 28 and April 11.
By the way President Jonathan who said he has come to transform Nigeria is now telling anybody who will listen that Professor Jega did a very shoddy job to make him lose the election. He said he only conceded victory even before the election was certified by INEC to save Nigerian unity. In his convoluted mid he actually won the election. If you believe him, you will believe me if I tell you I have an island to sell to you in the Pacific.
I rest my case.