By Babajide Alabi
Ever since Channels TV made its foray into the United Kingdom broadcasting industry via Sky, I have been hooked on it. I am not the only convert for this station, as many Nigerians in Diaspora tune into Channels TV to keep abreast of events in motherland. The quality of programmes, video, audio and balanced news reports compared with other Nigerian TV stations have endeared diasporans to the station.
As usual, the station measured up to expectations when Dr. TKO Aluko, the former “right hand man” of the Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose, came calling for his “mother of all revelations”. In a few minutes, the Internet was agog with information about the programme and everybody was watching it. It was particularly of interest to me because I am from Ekiti State which happens to be the subject matter.
Ekiti State has been kept permanently in the news in recent times. Not for any major development or breakthrough, but by the antics of the state governor, who has unofficially become the opposition leader to the All Progressives Congress (APC) led government of Muhammadu Buhari. In an almost embarrassing manner, Fayose offers opinion on virtually everything that concerns the Commander in Chief.
Ekiti State more or less gained notoriety during the 2014 Gubernatorial Elections when a one time impeached run away former governor, Fayose defeated the incumbent Kayode Fayemi in all the local governments of the state. The emergence of Fayose as the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the election was not without controversy, with accusing fingers pointed in the direction of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
There was also the angle of financial inducement of voters by the powers that be, led by Jonathan. He was said to have been told that Fayose’s victory in Ekiti State held the key to his return as President for the second term. It was a fallacy.
Prior to the elections, Ekiti State was referred to as the “hotbed” of Nigerian politics, which necessitated the government to draft as many soldiers, policemen, etc to the state to ensure “peaceful conduct of the election”. The role of these security operatives in the election is still being debated, but the opposition party in the state has argued many times that they were used to intimidate the electorates. The secretly recorded “Captain Sagir Koli Tape” that surfaced immediately after the election which implicated military top brass and politicians had been accepted in evidence by a military tribunal.
There was also the allegation that Photocromic ballot papers were used for the elections to identify the votes for the APC and instantly wipe them out. As ludicrous as this may sound at that time, the recent revelations in Nigeria (e.g Dasukigate) are lending credibility to anything.
Aluko has not said anything new or different from what the people of Ekiti State or Nigerians knew about the election. What has made it alarming is the fact that he was part of the process of all these allegations. Infact, according to his self confessions, he was the arrow head of what has been termed as “coup against the Ekiti people.” Watching Aluko, you tend to wonder if he had written his PhD Thesis on “How to Win Election By Intimidation”.
Aluko came on TV with one mission – to portray Fayose as a “damaged good”. He laid it out bare. No hold barred. He was the “bad man” in the “movie” while the benefactor, a friend and boss, was Fayose. He was the strategic man in all the meetings planned against the will of the people of the state. According to him, he was the kingmaker who went to all troubles to make sure that his favoured candidate at the time won the election. He mobilised rough necks, intimidated, roughened and harassed innocent citizens to vote in Fayose.
For the first time in the history of elections in Nigeria, a “patriotic citizen” had come forward to publicly confess his role in the manipulation of the will of the masses. I salute the courage of Citizen Aluko. It takes a lot of balls to come out, raise your hands and confess to “crimes” as serious as these. But his love for the people of Ekiti seem more than his own political future.
It’s been a while I saw a confident “criminal” confess his acts like I saw TKO Aluko did on television. And to think I had seen it all on my favourite TV programme “First 48 Hours” on Criminal Investigation Network. Aluko was bold, unashamed of his past, showed no remorse but readiness to atone for the evils he committed against his people.
Mr Aluko, immaculate in his dressing and well spoken, was oozing with the “love” of Ekiti State. A new found “love, though.” He confirmed what we already knew how huge sums of money was allocated for the prosecution of the “war” on Fayemi and the Ekiti people. So as not to hurt our sensibilities, Aluko was silent on how much (if any) amount passed through his “Agbada” pockets. But he let us know that he was an important “leg” in the cash exchange “tripod”.
My admiration of Aluko since this TV interview has been sky bound. A man of “integrity” who sinned in his time of ignorance but saw the light and decided to come clean of his sins. Hail Aluko, but do not crucify him. He is human. He thought he had signed a Gentleman’s Pact with the master of the game of deceit – Ayo Fayose – but not knowing there would be underhand deal. He did not realise that in Nigeria, politics is a ruthless game reserved only for the heartless. Like a small child Auko was promised heaven on earth and a juicy post to ensure Fayose’s victory. He fulfilled his part of the deal only to be pushed aside on one flimsy excuse, that he could no longer be trusted.
What do you expect him to do? To keep quiet and watch Fayose enjoy the loot that he played a major role in delivering? No. The Yorubas say “ka ka ki eku ma je sese, a fi se awadanu” (literally – instead for the rat not to eat “beans” it would rather pour it away). For God’s sake, if the people condemning Aluko are in his shoes, they would have done same thing.
Hopefully Aluko’s mind would be free of any guilt now. He has spilled the beans that probably has kept him sleepless for days, weeks, and months. He has atoned for his sins against the people of Ekiti. He has exposed the evil governor and cleared himself while “re-arranging” himself with the people. Will this immunise him against any prosecution? I don’t think so. We learnt his former boss and friend has instructed that he be put “forward” for perjury.
The masses of Ekiti State do not seem bothered by the revelations of Aluko. They have been going about their duties as if nothing really happened because they cannot differentiate between Aluko and Fayose. They knew what happened during and after the elections and Aluko’s new song makes no good music in their ears. They concluded “ija lode, ti orin dowe”.