Cheta Nwanze: Fayose as a metaphor for APC’s “change”

by Cheta Nwanze

Is Ayo Fayose, governor of Ekiti state, a good governor? Any one who can, without shaking, owe pensioners for 11 months straight, is definitely not a good governor.


But can a bad governor do a few good things? The answer is definitely yes. And therein lies the irony. Ayo Fayose, for all of his bluster, has actually gotten two things, at least, right. The Ekiti Grazing Law blew open the conversation on the Pastoral Conflict, and from where I am standing, will eventually be seen as a watershed moment in the conversation over the rights of Nigerian states. That is a good thing.

The second good thing that he has done, is in making sure, for whatever his reasons are, that his children attained their first degrees in Nigeria. It’s a gesture of faith in the Nigerian school system. It stands in stark contrast to President Buhari who after first telling us that he was not a wealthy man, restricted access to foreign exchange for educational purposes, advised parents to withdraw their kids from foreign schools, but in the same breath told Al Jazeera that his own kids are in foreign schools because “I can afford it.”

But this piece is not about Buhari. It is not about Fayose. It is about us.

Yesterday, when I found out about Fayose’s kids, I tweeted my thoughts, and since then, it’s been, well, interesting.

Asides the usual flip flops in trying to change the discussion from Fayose’s kids attending a Nigerian university to whether they are in a private or public institution, the attacks were visceral. As is usual, I ignored the reactions.

So, here I was, eighteen hours after said tweet, minding my own business, and quietly enjoying the reactions on the TL. Someone else was minding his own business on his TL (I never respond to subs) and calling me the favourite name, Bigot, when a third party decided to tag me in it, and tell me that I’d lost my way. So, I decided to engage this third party.

It was a very enlightening conversation which ended prematurely when I asked him to bring evidence of the achievements of this government. His response, “I’m not here to duel with you.” It bears noting that I was minding my own business when he came into the TL….

This is not to castigate him. Everyone is entitled to his position. However, it bears noting that we, as a people, are more interested in how we feel than in the brutal hard facts.

There is nothing wrong if you voted Buhari two years ago. I did. However, as events have shown, Buhari was not up to the job that he sought for twelve years. To hold on to the clearly faulty position that he is the best man for the job is to do him, yourself, and the country, a disservice. It is something that I warned about two and a half years ago, when I was still a “good guy”.

The answer, my dear friends, is in our hands, for we must tell ourselves a fundamental truth: no matter how good a person is in form and character, the Byzantine nature of Nigeria’s political terrain means that he can very quickly be cut off from the reality of our day-to-day living. If you, you, you and me, allow this to happen to General Buhari, should he win, then we will all have ourselves to blame if his government goes sideways despite all his good intentions.

That was a passage from that speech that I gave to the APC Youth Convention on March 21, 2015. Unfortunately, what has happened is that truth has not been told to Buhari. It must be stated here for the record — it is one thing for him to be told the truth, it is another thing for him to act based on what he has been told. From where I am sitting, Buhari has not been told the truth. Whether he would have acted on it, I cannot say.

What I can definitely say is, if he had been sternly told the facts early enough, these numbers would have been completely different.

The fault, is in the people around him. The people who as he is even now involved in the very same thing he criticised, have found it impossible to tell him the truth. The people who even as he gradually disowned the bulk of his 171 campaign promises one after the other, cheered him on, and attacked those who dared to point out that things were going awry.

Let’s make it very clear — the same people who right now are attacking any who dares to criticise this government, only two short years ago, were on the same side as I was. At the time, I was a “good guy”. Life is a pendulum. Neither Buhari nor the APC, will be in power for ever. I have absolutely no doubt that when the change comes, some of these same people, will hail people like myself, Ayo Sogunro, Tunde Leye, Amara Nwankpa as truth tellers.

Our problem is deep, but at the risk of sounding presumptuous, I think I have identified it. We run, not on data, but on dopamine.

What this means is that when the Nigerian does not like someone (think Fayose), no matter what the person does that may be commendable, the Nigerian will shift the goalposts, find a way to criticise, and denigrate what the person has done. However, for the person who somehow makes us secrete the most amounts of dopamine, we will bend over backwards, shift the goalposts, and follow him to the gates of hell. Because the gates of hell, is where we are now as a country.

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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