Fayose will remain Fayose, but we cannot let him distract us from the matter at hand


Now that he has perfected the long expected return “home”, that sonorous legislator from Kogi should absolutely compose and render the tribute song at the departure ceremony for thespian Ayo Fayose, the man now picking his things from the Ado-Ekiti government house.

Yes, Peter Ayodele Fayose – after this Saturday – will have a replacement, this time without a possibility of him returning after four years. Having him around has been… fun?

Yes, when he is in that mood of speaking truth to power and looking like the only Governor in the South West not under the control of the hooks on Asiwaju’s cap. Fayose, over the past three years, has wanted to be seen as the activist governor, that ‘Peter’ anointed to stand guard as though the presiding figure at Aso Rock were lurking dangerously like a predator. More than any other governor of any state in Nigeria, those opinions and actions unpopular in the Federal Capital but mused and gossiped on streets have found an amplifier in the governor, in his public speeches, tweets or those random audios and videos you receive from friends of friends on WhatsApp (that’s set to change by the way).

But, no, it has not been all fun. The clownery has not been, certainly not the recent theatrics of bewailing and bandaging following a tense past few days as the elections have drawn closer. To be sure, the Federal Government and the Inspector General of Police have prioritised Ekiti State as a war zone (sending 30,000 men of the Force for the elections; 12 men per voter by one estimate) over states like Taraba, Benue and Plateau where human beings are still being barbarically hacked with reckless abandon. The ‘Desert Storm’ in Ekiti state for the exercise of what should be a peaceful democratic process remains a stinking sign of Nigeria’s immature democracy and the disadvantage of an overtly centered and federally-interested law enforcement system. However, the outgoing Governor could not claim to be surprised that it is now his turn to experience this, making that the basis for creating scenes of victimisation that is only good enough as fodder for wannabe Instagram comics. His advent in 2014 during the Goodluck Jonathan administration was granted the support of a similarly ultra-policed atmosphere obviously hostile to an emerging APC and the incumbent at the time, Kayode Fayemi. Yea Pete, it’s payback time.

He has been adept to the art of capturing the sentiments of ordinary people with his consciously crafted casual appearances, the patronage of roadside corn and ofada rice vendors, and his part-time role as first responder to the collapsed would make Daniel Craig (or whoever the new 007 will be) jealous. But all rationality is not lost in Ekiti as to be deceived by his dramatic SOS shrieks in election week. Ekiti, that state famed for its many intellectuals and hospitable people, will find relief in the fact they don’t have to put up with Fayose’s saviour shtick for much longer.

It is over. Another chapter will begin.

Saturday July 14 presents a blank page for the people of Ekiti to develop the outline for the kind of stories they want to read for the next four years. They will want to have, as much as it can be possible, control over the drama, so it is in their interest that whoever is voted for goes about the business of governance like there are no cameras on. That does not mean not being accountable or transparent but serving for the sake of service; rigorous policy development, engaging with the people on expanding their productive capacities and planning for the future of the state. There are hardly any parents I know who are able to daily fight neighbours and help children out with homework at the same time. Governance is serious work; it is for administration, not theatric activism as the progress in states like Gombe, Anambra and Ebonyi show. Those who need a pulpit to attack and be admired for their acting should either establish NGOs or hit up any of the hardworking  directors of new Nollywood looking for a star performer to take our movies to the Cannes.

As they set the course for the coming years of their young state, everyone in Ekiti should be assured that, as newsworthy as the drama of the past four years has been, there is really more to “Excellency”. They deserve more but depending on what they choose.

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