Wednesday, 28 June 2017 17:53

Ekiti 2018: Can Fayose record an encore? - Bola Bolawole

We are quite familiar with the hypothetical question of ‘what is in a name?’ Some would argue that there is not much in a name and that a rose called by any other name smells just as sweet. 

 

Many, however, will posit that a lot has got to do with the name that a person, place or thing is called. The Yoruba would say “ile l’a n wo k’a to s’omo l’oruko” meaning that the name that you will call your child is a function of the home or background that you hail from. Names have deep meanings; they are historical as well as prophetic. 

 

According to scriptures, names determine or shape destinies; for instance Jabez, Icabod, and Benoni; even Jacob and Nabal. Again, as the Yoruba will say, “oruko n ro ni”, meaning that names can determine or influence a person’s behavioural pattern.

 

Today we seek to ask a similar question of ‘what is in a date?’ Are dates ordinary or do they have deep meanings?  Of course dates are important; different dates carry different meanings for different people. June 12, for instance, is a date with deep meanings. A mere mention of it and everyone begins to tell you what it means; not much talk is required by you to introduce June 12. 

 

Penultimate week the South-west was agog on the occasion of June 12, which was the anniversary of an event that took place in 1993. While other parts of the country can say it holds no attraction for them, it is a hallowed date with lots of history and meaning to the South-west and the Yoruba all over the world. 

 

The Igbo in like manner hallow their Biafra date, which this writer does not take much to heart. Different strokes for different people, as they say!

 

In Ekiti state, a date that is innocuous to people in other parts of the country holds a lot of attraction for the people. That date is the reverse order of June 12 –that is, June 21. 

 

On that date in 2014, Mr. Peter Ayodele Fayose, the incumbent governor of Ekiti state, defeated the then incumbent governor, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, to clinch the governorship. The election, and by extension the date, is significant in many respects. 

 

One: Fayose, whose first term in office in governor was truncated by an impeachment later declared null and void by the Supreme Court, was coasting back into office, a feat many had not imagined could happen. 

 

Two: He was defeating an incumbent governor for a record second time; the first being when he, as a rookie politician, defeated the then incumbent Gov. Niyi Adebayo to become governor in 2003. 

 

Three: The manner of victory and defeat for Fayose and Fayemi respectively was outstanding as it was scandalous. Fayose won in all 16 local governments while the incumbent lost even in his own home. This is what the Fayose people mean when they say “16 – 0” as they taunt Fayemi and his political party.

 

Since 2014, Fayose and the PDP have celebrated this landmark victory, rubbing it in as they boast to repeat the feat again in mid-2018 when elections are due again in Ekiti. 

 

Last Wednesday, I witnessed the mammoth crowd that massed into the Government House where Fayose first addressed it before it took a walk round the state capital in a show of strength meant, obviously, to intimidate the opposition. 

 

Apart from broadsides and swipes at the APC-led Federal Government on sundry issues ranging from its poor human rights record, dismal handling of the economy to a president ‘lost’ in transit and a caged and ineffectual acting president, Fayose boasted that in the coming governorship election, his candidate would trounce the other candidates. 

 

'Continuity’ is what is emphasized here while the main opposition party in the state, the APC, sounds the drums of ‘Change’.

 

Fayose relies heavily on three major planks. One: His record as the governor that is responsible for most of the landmark development projects dotting Ekiti. 

 

Two: His on-going development projects such as the first-ever flyover in the state; the State High Court complex, the first since the creation of the state in 1996; the new Oja-Oba modern market; dual carriage-way in many of the local government headquarters, to mention but a few. 

 

Third: The governor believes the good rapport that he enjoys with the Ado-Ekiti and Ikere leaders and people especially and his grassroots support all over the state as a ‘man of the people’ will tide him over. 

 

Hence this song, which the governor energetically danced to “B’e r’ise wa b’e r’ise wa: Igboro ni e wo, igboro ni e woo b’ee r’ise wa” meaning, whether or not you pretend not to see what we are doing, just take a walk to town and behold our development strides”.

 

Going round the towns and villages of Ekiti, there is no denying the fact that Fayose is working; especially when one considers the state’s paucity of funds and the huge debt burden imposed on it by the previous administration. 

 

The state capital especially and the nearby Ikere have been given great attention, possibly because of their importance as huge voting districts. The dual carriageway projects in other important local governments must also have been strategically sited with an eye towards votes. 

 

There are, however, three banana peels which Fayose must be wary of. One is the issue of salaries and pensions; though not limited to Ekiti and even worse in some other states, expect opposition politicians to catch in on it. Development projects cannot take the place of salaries in the mind of the people. 

 

Two is the recent clash with the Olukere of Ikere over the dual carriageway extension in the town and which threatens to allow the opposition an in-road. Fayose must move quickly to bridge the gap. 

 

 

Finally is the choice of Fayose’s successor. He must scale these hurdles to make good his boast to repeat the feat of June 21, 2014. Only then can we say with certainty that continuity, as we have seen in Lagos state, will berth in Ekiti come 2018.    

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