By Femi Odere
In “Paradise Regained” by John Milton, the English poet quipped that “The childhood shows the man, As morning shows the day.” Probably only the discerning would have recognized how this immutable truth intricately weaved itself around Dr. John Kayode Fayemi on yet another date with history on Tuesday, October 16, 2018——a day of his inauguration as the governor of Ekiti State for the second time.
Defined by a value system permanently etched in his subconscious that, at intervals, makes itself heard in a still, small voice that it is only when society’s politics is married with intellection in solving complex societal issues can a people ascend the next ladder of civilization and modernity. So, the equanimity that trailed him into adulthood and coalesced to his recurrent struggle for a fair, just and equitable society could only have issued from his childhood.
Thus, the poet’s first condition that “the childhood shows the man” was fulfilled on this day. Milton’s other component—which man has never, and most certainly will never have any control——also reared its head on this day as the early morning rains brought succour into a geographical space that has long been famished in both spiritual and material sense of the words.
So, rather than the scorching and suffocating sun reasonably expected at this time of year that would have made the day very uncomfortable not only for Ekiti people in general but the congregation at the pavilion ground in particular, the early morning rains that descended into the universe of Ekiti brought calm into the land and all creatures became joyful and animated. Thus, the second condition by which a man’s trajectory can be measured and predicted was also fulfilled——on this day.
After taking the Oath of Office and that of Allegiance, it was crystal clear that Governor Fayemi and the stars were in harmony and in perfect alignment which set the stage for a remarkable inaugural speech. Inauguration speech——it should be said——is a pointer to the direction of travel of a State Chief Executive in the course of his/her constitutionally allotted time in office. It is therefore against this backdrop that Fayemi’s inaugural speech was presented and should also be seen.
Christened “Reclaiming the Land of Honour,” the speech took a people whose history was negatively impacted by his predecessor a step back in the hope that they will be properly guarded in the future and that the inhuman condition to which they were subjected will never repeat itself.
It was also a speech that seems to have drawn line in the sand with a proclamation that never again would anyone take the “Land of Honour” and the “Fountain of Knowledge” to another dark era of ignorance and want as exemplified by the state’s former governor who succeeded, for the most part, in changing the psyche of a generation that now takes delight in advertising the fact that their ignorance is just as good as the knowledge of their forebears.
But the line in the sand couldn’t have been more pronounced with the opening poem of the inaugural speech titled “This Land Is Ours” written by none other than the First Lady Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi. Fundamentally, it was a speech that clearly mapped out the direction that the administration will follow for the realisation of the greatest good for the greatest number of its people.
In his characteristic “Omoluabi” persona, Fayemi payed homage to the state’s ancestors “upon whose labours our generation is building upon; our forebears of ages past who bequeathed to us a rich history of honour and dignity” as well as the ancestors who “taught us that only in fighting together can we truly win” which eventually culminated in the “creation of Ekiti State on October 1, 1996.” While the governor said his speech clearly marked “the beginning of a new phase” in the history of Ekiti State and its people, he also insisted that Tuesday, October 16, 2018 was not as much “the end of an era” but “more appropriately, the end of an error.” It couldn’t have been anything but an error for a people whose discipline, principle, honour and integrity are what legends are made of to have exhibited such cavalier attitudinal disposition that allowed a certified brigand to rule over them and presided over the socio-economic and political conditions that affected their existence that they became cowed and subjugated by his ruthlessness.