The former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Peter Fayose, is a politician who made ‘history’ by introducing the ‘stomach infrastructure’ into our political lexicon just as the former dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida, had introduced ‘settlement syndrome’ into our corrupt national political life. ‘Stomach infrastructure’ has to do with using filthy lucre to win the hearts and minds of the poor by doling out financial and material gifts.
And ‘settlement syndrome’ had to do with using filthy lucre to bribe your way through the political class or state institutions. Any rejection of such Greek gift could portend danger for the intended recipient. Babangida used it effectively to undermine both democracy and justice during his giddy years in power.
Both Fayose and Babangida were corrupt in power to the point that even today calls are being made for them to be made to refund some of what they had stolen while ‘mis)ruling from Abuja and Ado-Ekiti. While General Babangida remains a reference point as it were on how not to corrupt state institutions and critical sectors and stakeholders Fayose simply ‘invented’ misguided charity towards the downtrodden for political opportunism and dominion.
Ayo Fayose is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He was engaged, just like other opposition big-wigs, in the gubernatorial campaign for the Ondo state governorship election slated for this weekend. While Fayose’s nuisance value and capacity has been acknowledged he remains strong in his convictions and vociferous whenever occasions presented themselves for political vituperation or aggression.
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He still has many supporters and beneficiaries of his novel ‘stomach infrastructure’ scheme in Ekiti state even post-governorship yet he is loathed by many (even in the PDP) for his grandstanding and megalomania.
Last Wednesday in Ondo state some unidentified hoodlums at a PDP campaign rally had removed Fayose’s cap from his head as he made his way to the campaign podium to speak! Whodunit? Who were the paid thugs that went near Fayose to the point of prying his cap from his head? They could have shot him dead given their closeness to him!
Ondo State would be electing her Governor this Saturday much like Edo State did few weeks ago. The incumbent Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, is facing challengers the principal of whom are the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) Agboola Ajayi who remains the state’s Deputy Governor and Eyitayo Jegede of the opposition PDP. Tension is high and reports online had indicated issues bordering on attacks and counter-attacks by armed and dangerous thugs.
The former Attorney-General of the state, Jegede, remains the candidate to beat in the election given his rich pedigree. But electons in Nigeria are not often won or lost by quality or popularity of a candidate. The contending parties and their flagbearers had signed the peace accord confirming commitment to a violence-free election much like what transpired in Edo State.
In a statement by his media aide, Lere Olayinka, following the shocking incident the former Governor said despite “the shameful act”, he “won’t stop saying the truth concerning the running of the party in the South-West zone”. Of course Fayose is fearless and outspoken and he knows how to defend himself when faced with any challenge in his political career.
Soon after his guber tenure as Ekiti Governor came to an end he had paid a highly-hyped visit to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) office in Abuja wearing a teeshirt that read boldly:”EFCC: Here I Am”. Up until now he is still standing trial for embezzling billions of Naira yet free politicking!
Fayose courts controversy and settles scores with ‘enemies’ no matter how highy-placed. He once abused ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo openly to his face refusing to shake hands with him in a public function! He recently adviced the Lagos State PDP to retire Chief Bode George from politics if the state hoped to make any meaningful progress towards winning the governorship come 2023.
Fayose had alleged that his opponents wanted to kill him! And he said he would be filing a formal complaint to the police authorities to unravel those behind his attack with a view to bringing them to justice. We wish him luck in his efforts in this regard.
But above all, he had likened the removal of his cap in Ondo to a similar incident involving the former assassinated Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige.
In December 2001, the late Minister Ige was shot dead in his Ibadan residence shortly after his cap was removed at the Palace of the Ooni of Ife! Till today no one had ever been arrested or prosecuted for the gruesome elimination of the veteran politician.
In Nigeria it is tantamount to political apocalypse for a politician to receive a mock coffin or have their caps removed. But that does not mean that it constitutes enough bad omen for one to entertain fear of imminent demise. Bad omen it could be, of course, but that does not amount to death sentence like in Ige’s case.
Fayose should, therefore, not be afraid. The removal of his cap could mean two things: intimidation by those afraid of his rising profile and acclamation. And/or a crude message to remind him of what is possible in politics Nigeriana. Whatever happens Nigerians are sick and tired of the shenanigans of politicians dancing naked in the public square.
We remember the late Bola Ige and advocate for the murderers to be brought to book soonest. Such gruesome fate must not be allowed to befall Ayo Fayose for whatever reason.
AUTHOR: SOC Okenwa…
Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.
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