By Femi Odere
As a self-styled political analyst, perhaps Segun Dipe should have done himself a world of good if——in the interest of full disclosure——he had intimated his readers that his piece which he titled “Why Fayemi should not run” in his so-called analysis of Ekiti State politics derived its source and sustenance from being the official mouthpiece of Ekiti Rebirth Organization, a political platform being used by Sen. Babafemi Ojudu to contest the July 14th 2018 Ekiti governorship election under the All Progressives Party (APC). Before going into the ‘meat’ (however tasteless) of his article as to “why Fayemi should not run,” it is important to bring into the reader’s attention some form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) of Dipe for Fayemi ever since when no one had any clue whether or not the Minister of Mines and Steel Development was going to join the contest for the Ekiti governorship seat.
Dipe has always been all over the social media in such riotous and insidious youthful exuberance about Fayemi that one couldn’t help but wonder if he really has anything to say about Sen. Ojudu——his principal. But one must also admit that there’s probably a strategy behind his OCD and that may be: Throw anything and everything at Fayemi in the hope that some would stick; thereby making him a ‘damaged good’ before those delegates who’re yet to make up their minds as to whom among the aspirants they should vote for, and by extension the voters.
Dipe’s peregrination about Fayemi’s intellectual solidity and his “distinguished career in the Nigerian politics,” having “done an excellent job” both in his first outing as the governor of Ekiti State and currently as a Minister within a relatively short period of time in his opening paragraphs notwithstanding, his assertion that “the controversies surrounding whether or not John Kayode Fayemi…should throw himself into the ring to vie for the governorship slot” was a figment of his imagination rather than the reality as we shall see presently.
Dipe should also have intimated his readers that his self-conferred credential as a political analyst now includes clairvoyance and/or clairaudience in light of his posers to Fayemi such as what the Minister finds “so attractive in the state pilloried by Fayose that he is ready to spend all his life savings to want to return to the seat.” For him to state matter-of-factly that Fayemi is on the verge of spending his “life savings” in his bid for re-election to Ekiti governorship seat, he’s either a clairvoyant or Fayemi’s personal banker to know his true net worth. Dipe did not only demonstrate a pedestrian thought pattern unbefitting of a serious political analyst with his insinuation that Fayemi is on a revenge mission “against the incumbent” because “he did something to me so I’m going to beat him” kind of reasoning, but how Fayemi will “take another defeat” by a man he admitted earlier has “pilloried” the state. Why is Dipe worried about Fayemi’s defeat when he should be concerned about Ojudu’s survival in this contest? He sounded like someone taking the Panadol analgesic for someone else’s headache. Why would Fayemi be “on a revenge mission” against Fayose? There’s no basis for this reasoning. But it should be pointed out that it would probably take about five lifetimes for Fayose to come to par with Fayemi even if he retires from public life today. So, it is mischievous, if not asinine of Dipe to put these two politicians on the same pedestal.
Perhaps what Segun Dipe has refused to take into account in his political analysis of Ekiti and its politics and what, for the most part, the current crop of the state’s political gladiators are yet to comes to terms with is not necessarily the physical “pillorization” of the state by Fayose, but how he has largely re-orientated the thinking of Ekiti people as they have lost their sense of Being which the governor has encapsulated into what he calls “stomach infrastructure.” Physical infrastructures can be rebuilt within a short spate of time, but the “de-fayoselization” of the larger society requires a politician with sterner stuff at the helm. This is the hardest part of “re-growing” Ekiti. But I digress.
While there’s not much that can be faulted in his observation that “confidence in the honesty of political leaders is seemingly at an all-time low” in the people’s democratic experience, Dipe’s assertion that “Fayemi has reduced his status from that of a leader of the party in Ekiti to that of an aspirant” is akin to saying that Awolowo lost his leadership and political status when he attempted to return to the Western Region after his sterling performance at the federal level. It takes someone with a high sense of public service and a clear idea about how a society must be structured and re-engineered to have Fayemi’s commitment to want to serve Ekiti. Win or lose, Fayemi will remain a political force to be reckoned with not only in Ekiti but the larger Nigerian political canvas because he stands out of the pack of the country’s integrity-challenged and values-deficient politicians.
One should ask Dipe what was the sense in throwing APC’s National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu into his analysis if not because his overarching strategy, as mentioned earlier——and assuming he even knows——is to throw everything and anything at Fayemi with the hope that some would stick. What makes him think that Fayemi “has fallen out of favour with Tinubu?” Was it Tinubu or Fayemi that told him this? How has Fayemi committed a sin because he has not played “a key role in organizing the Bola Tinubu colloquium” that just ended not to talk of the “last two years?” Assuming he was not at this year’s colloquium, Dipe should have at least asked if anyone saw Fayemi who sat with other ministers in the second row of the colloquium hall before he went to town with this falsehood. And since when did frequent attendance of Tinubu’s events become the necessary requirement for his protégés to validate and re-validate their loyalty to the man? This is definitely the most idiotic aspect of Dipe’s so-called political analysis of Ekiti State politics.
Drafting Tinubu into a campaign that Dipe’s principal doesn’t have even a fighting chance is not only in poor taste, but a red herring whose political value has since been lost. One wonders why there seems to be some kind of siege mentality in Ojodu’s camp about the man who gave Ojudu the 2011 senatorial ticket against wise counsel when he was the governor.
The contest for power in any clime has been aptly described as war by any other means and Nigeria is not an exception.
The country is probably one of the few countries of the world whose politicians still deploy the crudest ‘weapons’ during contests for political power. Politicians throwing monkey wrenches dressed in jurisprudential garbs to their opponents has been one of those ‘weapons of war’ for achieving ‘success’ for political power in this clime.
Since it’s obvious that Dipe is on a mission to advance a particularly negative narrative about Fayemi, he may not be faulted for his unwillingness to engage in any critical thinking in his desperate attempt to weave the narrative of Fayose’s so-called White Paper as part of the items to throw at the minister. Just so that Dipe may know, Fayose’s white paper is not only already soaked in cooking oil and cannot be read by any competent court of jurisdiction, but there had been similar cases that had set precedents from the lower courts to the nation’s Supreme Court.
In his reference to Fayemi that his candidacy has the capacity to “attract legal maggots towards APC” because of Fayose’s White Paper, Dipe should be reminded that a court of competent jurisdiction overturned a 2004 indictment against former Kano State governor and governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Rabi’u Musa Kwakwanso. Kwankwaso was alleged to have wasted the state’s ecological funds while in office and for not disclosing the fact of an indictment by the government after him while filling an affidavit issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for his particulars.
The plaintiff, Hassan Indabawa, prayed for an order that Kwankwaso should be disqualified from the April 2011governorship election because he was indicted by the Commission of Inquiry constituted by the government of his predecessor Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau.
The court struck out the case because it lacked merit. Also, in an attempt to stop Atiku Abubakar, who was then Vice President from contesting the 2007 presidential election, then President Obasanjo set a booby trap through some legal abracadabra in which INEC was involved. In its verdict, the Supreme Court ruled in Atiku’s favour that INEC has no right to exclude the then Vice President from that year’s presidential election.
The point must also be pointed out, however, that if there’s a general consensus that Fayemi, who brought nothing into the murky and criminals-infested waters of Nigerian politics except his name, is one of the most decent few politicians in the land, to which Dipe also alluded that he “has had a distinguished career in the Nigerian politics,” it goes without saying that the former governor would not have risked his name and “distinguished career” if he believes that Fayose’s White Paper has even one leg to stand on in any competent court of jurisdiction.
Fayemi is like the 500-pound elephant in a small forest patch which is being kicked by other animals in the hope that it will just leave so that they can breathe easily and their chances of survival can be significantly improved. This is the fundamental objective and directive principle of Dipe’s disguised vilification in his “why Fayemi should not run” so-called political analysis of Ekiti State.
Femi Odere is a media practitioner. He can be reached at email@example.com