By Patrick Obahiagbon
After much pertinacious ballyhoo, conquistadorial rodomontade and political saber-rattling by the outgoing governor of Ekiti state, Mr. Ayodele Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), that he had his imprimatur audaciously stamped in the Sun, evidencing his allodial ownership to the land title of Ekiti, the outcome of the July 14, 2018 governorship election had shattered the false claim and opened a new vista in the surefooted political evolution that is set to redefine the state now and in future.
Fayose’s goebbelian irritabilities, innuendoes and direct assaults on the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari and the security agencies all in a bid to psyche himself up and manipulate public perception about his popularity and invincibility in the governorship politics of Ekiti state have come to naught in the face of the facts and election figures that were summative of the essential mandate by the people that tilted the pendulum of victory and legitimacy in favour of Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
Fayemi, who was governor in the state from October 16, 2010 to October 16, 2014, now has a better title, following his victory in the weekend’s governorship election. There is an emphatic change of ownership and with that change comes a new orientation in terms of the sublime and pragmatic socio-political and economic interactions and appreciation of the place of leadership in keeping fidelity to the social contract that has been forged with the elements of APC’s robust manifestoes on which Fayemi’s electioneering was anchored.
The era of Fayose’s peculiar political gambadoism that questions the cosmopolitan and enlightened spirit of Ekiti and its intelligentsia is fast approaching a euphoric terminus. All of us in the APC are in a celebratory mood that on October 16, 2018, Fayose would be hoisted in his own petard and the process of exorcising Ekiti of his negative politics and influence will begin in earnest. That is one task that holds a great promise for Ekiti under the watch of the urbane, unassuming and affable Fayemi.
But beyond the demystification of Fayose and the dislodgement of PDP in Ekiti is the domino effect of this political Risorgimento on the national reputation and acceptability of the APC brand by Nigerians. The APC has come under existential attacks by the opposition elements who have hurled all manner of propaganda to de-market it ahead of the 2019 general elections. In their desperate and diabolical schema, they have continued to portray the APC and President Buhari as incompetent in the enormous task of cleansing the Augean stables of corruption which they had inflicted on the nation in their 16 years of clueless and rapacious government.
As Buhari continues to put his nose to the grindstone, the PDP-led opposition and other retrogressive centrifugal and centripetal forces that are uncomfortable with the administration’s anti-corruption war and moves to correct the age-long appropriation of our commonwealth by a few powerful individuals have unconscionably and consistently sponsored killings in parts of the country in order to discredit the government. That has been the original sin of Buhari: his commitment to take back our country from the vice-like grips or strangleholds of those that have privatized it.
Understandably, the anti-Buhari elements have committed themselves to obfuscate the gradual but consistent progress towards good governance and integrity in government. Except for mischief makers, there is a national consensus that the level of rot inherited by Buhari is monumentally abysmal. It is such that it can overwhelm a revolutionary approach to governance. The necessity to systematically deal with the contending and problematic issues has, in fact, put a strain on a government that is eager to deliver.
The matter becomes more difficult in a situation where the president, as the poster child of the anti-corruption war, appears to be the only one that is committed to the war in terms of his antecedents, pedigrees, credible verbal exhortations and even body language. This has been globally acknowledged. Recently, he was conferred with the honour of anti-corruption champion on the continent of Africa by the African Union (AU). On the corruption issue, Buhari is on top of his game with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under the watch of Ibrahim Magu doing a yeoman job.
On the other governance issues like the economy and security which the opposition takes delight to criticise, the president has entrusted qualified individuals to superintend them and he is providing the requisite leadership gravitas. He is disposed to retool and re-kit his administrative infrastructure as time goes on for better efficient service delivery. That is the essence of government and governance.l
For close to four years, Buhari has been working persistently and steadfastly at rebuilding a better and greater Nigeria from the ruins of 16 years that he inherited from the PDP. It will be unfair to expect him to clear the age-long mess in a jiffy. It does not work that way. He has to conscientiously work at it. That explains the series of executive orders he has signed to bolster administrative actions that would conduce to good governance. With the direction that he is headed clearly defined as the president and head of the executive, it will be salutary to get the buy-in of the legislature and the judiciary, the two other arms that make up the federal government. Once cooperation and synergy are emplaced, the federal government will be home and dry.
Indeed, judging by the much the Buhari administration has achieved in so short a time, I am inclined to believe that another four years in the saddle will enable much more progress. The president will be able to build more physical and administrative infrastructure including institutions that will preserve official mores rather than the characteristic predilection of building individuals. It is in the above context that the president’s decision to seek re-election in 2019 is in apple-pie order: to continue the good work.
It is heartwarming that leaders and members of our party, working in concert with Nigerians, are pushing the apt narrative that a second term in office for Buhari is an opportunity to provide elixir for all of our nation’s fundamental turpitude and putrescence. To realise Buhari’s re-election in pragmatic terms, a vast majority of Nigerians would have to enlist in the campaign to dismantle all manner of shared prejudices, primordial sentiments and fault lines that the opposition elements and those who are determined to truncate his good work have mounted on the trajectory to 2019 victory.
Overall, their diabolic and odious agenda are headed for the political seppuku. Happily, the victory of the APC in Ekiti, under the national chairmanship of Comrade Adams Oshiomhiole, is both a precursor and fillip to the president’s surefooted march to a win in the scheduled February 16, 2019 presidential election. The outcome of the governorship election is a clear statement that the APC is an acceptable national political brand. This is expected to be reconfirmed in the forthcoming Osun governorship election. Meantime, Fayemi’s victory over Fayose’s candidate, Professor Olusola Kolapo, in the poll is a clear pointer to the string of APC’s successes in elections between now and in the scheduled 2019 general election.
- Honourable Obahiagbon, former member of the House of Representatives, writes from Benin.