By Rotimi Ojomoyela
As Ayo Fayose bows out as the Governor of Ekiti State, tomorrow, October 16, 2018, the people of the state would not forget in a hurry his second four-year reign.
Like a wild wind, he swept into power in 2014, in a very controversial manner, though the Supreme Court affirmed its legitimacy but many believed it was a victory induced by the defunct President Goodluck Jonathan’s use of federal might.
Electoral scandal, intrigues
Fayose’s tenure was heralded by a revelation of what transpired in the 2014 Ekiti State governorship election, by a young Army officer, assigned for election duty in the state, Capt Sagir Kohli, who released incriminating evidence of how Fayose and some highly placed security officials schemed and plotted the rigging of the election and which was corroborated by a very senior member of the People’s Democratic Party, who was also involved in the intrigues.
The army subsequently upon the revelations, effected sanctions against those indicted.
Policy of stomach infrastructure
The very first policy direction of Governor Fayose was the displacement of Kayode Fayemi’s eight-point agenda with policy of stomach infrastructure. This policy engendered so much reactions across the country because of its strange and pedestrian inclinations.
Ekiti became synonymous with ‘stomach infrastructure’, this policy was implemented through distribution of food items such as rice, chicken and little cash to people across the state by the executive governor himself.
He moved around the towns in the state in convoy of rice-laden vehicles, the rice already re-bagged in little bags were given to people who were made queue up in a single file, a little cash of N200 or N600, was added to the jubilant individuals as they filed past.
This endeared him to the people at the grassroots, who saw the governor as not only their saviour and voice but a friend. During festive periods, the children got their share.
Stringent critic of Buhari administration
From the very day he assumed office on October 16, 2014, he positioned himself as a critic of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government. He sometimes went after the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, when he said the First Lady was wanted in the United States and would be arrested once she stepped her foot in that country. He also alleged during the period of Buhari’s extended medical vacation that he was in coma in a London hospital.
Fayose’s campaign of calumny against Buhari’s administration came to a head when he asked the Chinese government not to grant a loan the Federal Government was seeking for infrastructural development. He actually asked Ekiti State Lawmakers to tender a letter at the Chinese embassy, protesting the $2bn loan request.
Fayose was and still remains a newsmaker, he grabs the headlines at will with his brash and off the cuffs outbursts.
Public analysts concede to the Ekiti State Governor, the fact that he was the lone opposition voice when the major opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party was in disarray and battling with serial court cases, Fayose, according to them, was the only voice, so much so that he asked the Ekiti State House of Assembly to declare him the leader of opposition in the country.
Running battle with EFCC
A serious blight on Governor Fayose‘s opposition career was his running battle with the anti graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over the N1. 2bn slush fund from the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, which was deposited in his Zenith Bank account and which has been frozen by a court order.
Another case which promises to be interesting was the alleged diversion of N680m from the state purse into a private account.
The EFCC alleged that Fayose diverted the sum of N680m belonging to the local governments into a personal fixed account with Zenith Bank, with a monthly interest of N6m.
One source also alleged that it was in a bid to hide his atrocities that Governor Fayose has been blackmailing the Federal Government, in a bid to make his trial after leaving office to look like persecution.
”The cost of the various renovation and construction work currently going on in the Ekiti State Government House would make the alleged N1.2bn Fayemi’s new governor’s lodge in 2014, a child’s play, which would pale into insignificance, compared to what have been sunk into these projects by Governor Fayose.
Huge debt profile, unpaid salaries, pension and gratuities
Governor Fayose, despite his outspokenness and moral grandstanding against the Federal Government, has a very defective and deficient fiscal governance with a huge debt profile of N117bn, from Fayemi’s N18bn which he inherited in 2014.
Presently, civil servants are being owed five months salary arrears, while the arrears of local government workers stand at eight months.
Fayose never bothered to pay gratuity in his four-year tenure. Gratuity to state civil servants was paid last in the state in 2012.
Up till now, nobody in the state knows how much the state earned from internally generated revenue. In the four years, there was no deliberate policy on employment generation and no effort to stimulate establishment of industries, the economy of the state was at a complete stand still.
Unpaid salaries, pensions and gratuities
Against its much avowed statement of not leaving Ekiti as debtor governor, the reality on ground is that he would be leaving with five months salary arrears to civil servants, eight months for local government workers and 10 months for pensioners. Throughout his tenure, no pensioner got gratuity. The chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, in Ekiti State, Elder Ayo Ikumapayi told Vanguard recently that pensioners in the state are being owed over N20bn in pension arrears and gratuities.
Grassroots mobiliser, Master and Lord
Fayose would go down in history as a mass mobiliser of note, a thorough grassroots man, with a unique gift of winning the hearts of the masses through street presence. He ate and frolicked with the masses but analysts would argue that initiating policy or programme that would lift them from poverty permanently, aside from the cosmetic approach of doling out food items to them, seemed a problem for Governor Fayose.
Analysts also pointed at the use of members of the State House of Assembly, where he functioned as the de facto Speaker, to massage his ego and for unnecessary political battle with real and imagined political enemies.
Those who could contend with him such as Dayo Adeyeye, Abiodun Aluko, Dare Bejide, Senator Clement Awoyelu, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Bisi Omoyeni and many others were hounded out of the party. Throughout his tenure, the party had no functional secretariat, as it was run from the Government House. No section or leaders of the party could summon any meeting without his consent and whoever violated his orders got his hands bruised or burnt.
After chasing these bigwigs from the Ekiti State Chapter of the PDP, the coast was clear for him to implement his succession plan. His deputy, Kolapo Olusola became the candidate of the party in the July 14 gubernatorial election in the state. But Fayose’s plan to install his anointed man as the governor of the state fell apart. His nemesis, Fayemi, the man he had tried to unsuccessfully put hurdles on his way, to prevent him from contesting, and who emerged as the candidate of the the All Progressives Congress, defeated his anointed successor and today, Fayemi would be sworn-in as the Governor of Ekiti State!