Ekiti: The Bigger Man!

Ekiti: The Bigger Man!

By SOC Okenwa…

The Ekiti gubernatorial election had come with a bang and gone with a whimper. Penultimate weekend (Saturday July 15th) the electorate in Ekiti state trooped to the polling booths to choose between the Deputy Governor of the state and the Peoples Democratic Party flagbearer, Prof. Olusola Eleka and the former Governor of the state and ex-Minister Kayode Fayemi. Prof. Eleka was anointed by the incumbent Governor Ayodele Fayose, so the latter could be said to be the former’s godfather. At the end of the titanic electoral battle the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Fayemi the winner. The figures released by the electoral umpire indicated that it was a tight race with the ruling party trailing narrowly behind the opposition APC candidate.

Prior to the governorship ‘war’ there was widespread apprehension over the militarisation of the state by the powers-that-be in Abuja. Days before the poll Governor Fayose was heard shouting on top of his voice complaining to the international community about the “siege” laid on his state by the federal intervening forces. And again few days before the D-Day the same executive man of little honour was in his best comedic element. Wearing a neck brace and bandaged hand he had told a bewildered nation of how he had escaped death by the whiskers as the police had shot at him and beaten him up near the government house!

The Fayose executive comedy was fit for a Nollywood blockbuster movie! Not even the celebrated Mr Ibu or ‘Osuofia’ (Nkem Owoh) could have performed better than he did. He lived to his billing as a political reprobate by going over to the state radio and TV and reportedly announced the “official” results in his possession which gave a resounding victory to his protége, Eleka! The state TV station was consequently shut down by the authorities.

Of course the guber poll was free and fair and peaceful but there were scenes of vote-buying, thuggery and intimidation by law enforcement agents. Poor voters were financially induced to vote for ‘continuity’ of Fayoseism or a new order embodied by Fayemi. Like the PDP and candidate Eleka himself Fayose had rejected the outcome of the election, claiming it was massively rigged by the All Progressives Congress (APC) under the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari. He had said : “I am Peter Ayodele Fayose, I hold with my head high. I can never be suppressed. I don’t lose battles and I will not lose this. I will laugh last”.

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Indeed the PDP has indicated its intention to sue the process that brought Fayemi back to power in Ado Ekiti. The gubernatorial litigation would be an interesting one to follow given what is at stake. But we hasten to add here that justice must be done and seen to be done. Using filthy lucre to buy power (as the case was in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia states) must be condemned with vigour.

Yes, we agree that Fayemi may have won the election with some dubious tactics and methods but that should pale into insignificance when compared to ‘Ekiti-gate’ of 2014 when Fayose and his godfathers in Abuja stole brazenly a mandate he is still enjoying even now. As a political scoundrel he has tried in the last four years to sound like a serious politician with the interests of the opposition or the downtrodden at heart.

Of course several issues marred the Ekiti election including ballot-box snatching, vote buying, intimidation and meddlesomeness by security agents making the poll to fall short of the globally accepted democratic standards. Yet the truth is that when one is fighting with a political pig like Fayose then gentlemanliness becomes a disadvantage worth dispensing with. Fayemi is a gentleman but he must have resolved that to beat the pig in its own game you must first go into the gutter to fight it!

Fayose believed that he was a strongman of Ekiti politics but the Fayemi ‘tainted’ victory had somewhat demystified him and his stomach infrastructure nonsense of a state policy. In the entire 36 states that make up the federation he remains the ‘black sheep’ that regularly antagonized the Abuja supreme power. Governor Nyesom Wike is another black sheep that must be ‘killed’ politically for Rivers state to regain her lost glory!

Fayose prides himself as a ‘champion’ of democracy — a democracy he obviously understands very little of its workings and limits. The Ekiti Adedibu incarnate never demonstrated any affection towards President Buhari. For him the retired General should not have been elected President because he had not what it takes to preside over a vast country like ours. So he has been calling PMB out more often than not, sometimes carpetting him and sometimes accusing him unnecessarily. Indeed Fayose holds the presidency in little or no esteem!

But the Ekiti grandiloquent man should have smelt defeat coming given the antecedents that brought his second coming into being. Abuja may have gone to the extreme to reclaim Ekiti and put an end to Fayose’s rising national profile. As a gadfly he must have known that the game was up when the APC’s federal military might was deployed to send an intimidatory message home.

A digression may suffice here to drive home a salient point. The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in the United States is one organized competitive sporting event that thrills me to no end week in, week out. Like drug addiction I am hooked to the network. One could stay awake all night long watching a late-night monthly live event on the TV. The events rake in billions of Dollars in ticket sales alone! The high-wire politics, intrigues and change of fortunes I religiously follow. In WWE one could become Champion tonight and the next morning you could lose same after just a shove backstage or a spat online!

The eccentric Chairman of the corporation, Vince McMahon is an old man who is both unpredictable and imperially hubristic. He could fire anyone on the spot for nothing; just for challenging his authority or gloating over an achievement could earn you the popular phrase: “You’re fired!”. He runs the industry like a power-drunk dictator out to prove his omnipotence over his subjects. But that does not mean that the ‘Boss’ had never been challenged nor dealt with by professional wrestlers. The ‘Texas Rattlesnake’ Steve ‘Stonecold’ Austin had gotten a better part of the Chairman in their storied rivalry.

I remember vividly watching some years ago his epic bloody battle inside the ring with the living Wrestlemania legend of his generation, Hulk Hogan. Before the clash of the titans McMahon had boasted that he had made Hulkamania and he would be the one that would kill same. But he failed in his determined bid to vanquish Hogan despite violent interference from outside forces to his aid. Hogan prevailed after a gruelling gory combat that brought out the beast in each men!

Mr McMahon, a megalomaniacal billionaire, no longer runs the day-to-day activities of WWE but he places his children in charge. His son, Shane, runs the show at ‘Smackdown’ as Commissioner with Paige as Manager while Stephanie holds the ace on ‘Raw’ with Kurt Angle as Manager. Before Angle was appointed ‘hardcore’ Mick Folly was in charge of proceedings. And before the British-born Paige was made Manager Daniel ‘Yes-Man’ Bryan was there. Now the bearded former Champion has returned to active competition.

Stephanie McMahon is married to a former world heavyweight Champion, Triple H, who is currently the Chief Operating Officer (COO). Between Triple H and Chairman McMahon there is no love lost! The two had clashed publicly on many occasions. In one of such public display of animosity between father-in-law and his son-in-law the arrogant Vince had dressed down Triple H telling him to go to hell! He reminded him that he was not only the boss and the senior man but the Bigger Man!

The Ekiti guber combat was more between President Buhari and Governor Fayose than Fayemi and Eleka. By the time October 16 comes and Fayose hands over reluctantly to his bitter rival, Fayemi, the ‘Stomach Infrastructure’ exponent (a la Lamidi Adedibu) would surely know who the bigger man is. Two of them (PMB and APF) are big men in their own rights but as the cocky Chairman McMahon had told Triple H Buhari could still have an opportunity to tell Fayose, directly or indirectly, that he remains the senior man, the bigger man!


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Ripples Nigeria

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