By Emmanuel Aziken
Every generation has his type. So it is not surprising that Governor Ayodele Fayose and his acolytes may think that he should be a factor to be reckoned with in the political permutations ahead of 2019.
It was in that light that scores of the governor’s devotees thronged an Abuja hotel last Thursday to witness the governor’s public declaration as an aspirant for the 2019 presidential election.
The declaration, coming against the Peoples Democratic Party’s decision to zone the 2019 presidential ticket to the North would have been seen as another prank by a governor many have berated for turning governance into a comedy act.
Despite repeated provocations, the governor’s political jests have on the surface failed to elicit a response from the main object of his tirades; the taciturn President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari’s media handlers have sustained an unwavering policy of disregard concerning Governor Fayose. For Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, the president’s spokespersons, the standard response on issues, concerning Fayose is, “You know we don’t talk about that man.”
Populist commentaries about Governor Fayose note his habit of eating out in the streets, street processions with Okada riders and the periodic and public distribution of cash to hangers-on.
Despite his seeming inclination to making governance state satire, the governor has, nevertheless, nudged impressive achievements that are bound to impress even his harshest critics.
The state’s stellar performance in the Secondary School NECO examinations which has seen the state come first in the last two years cannot be detached from the efforts of Governor Fayose.
The governor and his supporters also claim to have boosted infrastructure in the state including constructing a new Governor’s Office. Never mind that the governor also chastised his predecessor for putting forward the construction of a new Government House ahead of the felt needs of the people of the state.
His strides and successes nonetheless, Governor Fayose’s democratic actions are troubling.
Of grave consequence to the country’s democratic culture is the governor’s seemingly desecration of the doctrine of separation of powers.
Those who thought that the anarchy that pervaded Mr. Fayose’s first term were acts of youthful exuberance were soon disappointed when just before his second inauguration in September 2014, thugs chased a judge away from his court in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital while hearing a case brought to stop the inauguration.
On the third anniversary of the election that returned him to power, the governor mocked the state’s legislators when he openly proclaimed himself as speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly.
The speaker of the assembly, Mr. Kola Oluwawole who was with him on the platform on that occasion when asked by the governor who was the speaker quickly replied, “Yes, you are!”
It was as such not out of place when last year one of the members of the House, Gboyega Aribisogan representing Ikole-Ekiti State Constituency was slapped with a six-month suspension when it was reported that the legislator had a friendly discussion with one of the governor’s political enemies, Senator Buruji Kashamu.
Last month another lawmaker, Fajana Ojo-Ade representing Ekiti-East State Constituency 1, was also suspended for allegedly hobnobbing with Senator Biodun Olujimi, a former political associate of the governor now turned foe.
Whatever his melodramatic predilections, Governor Fayose’s firm grip on his people can hardly be questioned. However, in moving his trade to the national stage, many are bound to ask whether the governor has not stretched his luck too far?
Indeed, the governor’s presidential aspiration has officially been described by his party as a joke! Even more, his spiritually gifted wife who many years ago prophesied his return to power has also been largely quiet this time.
Willy-nilly the insinuations are that Fayose’s presidential act may be part of his exit strategy to escape what everyone says is the sure day of vengeance from Buhari.
But doing that at the cost of the good governance and obviously with the resources of the people may be a circus taken too far.