Mark Lawrence may have had the accidental Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, in mind when in his award-winning book, Prince of Fools, he wrote that “It is often said that cowards make the best torturers. Cowards have good imaginations. Imaginations that torment them with all the worst stuff of nightmare, all the horrors that could befall them. This provides an excellent arsenal when it comes to inflicting misery on others. And their final qualification is that they understand the fears of their victim better than the victim does himself.”
Fayose fits perfectly into Lawrence’s description, and even more, as he continues to ride roughshod on the people who have given him the rare opportunity to govern them twice. He is the quintessential coward, who has mastered the art of chess-playing so well that the best form of defense, for him, is to attack, attack and attack. This record-breaking regret from Afao in Ekiti State is one coward that thinks very highly of himself. He suffers from schizophrenia, a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves, whose symptoms include false beliefs, confused thinking and hearing voices that normal people do not hear.
Fayose is a control freak who also suffers from hubris. In Greek vocabularies, hubris means violating the bounds set for humans. It is an excessive display of confidence, pride or arrogance, which ultimately causes the transgressor’s ruin. He is an enemy of decent living, and like the proverbial “Ajegbodo,” he loves to drag as many decent people as possible down to his low level. Since he is not aspiring to an elite status, he is equally not expecting anyone to do so. He loves to wrap the people in his emotional cocoon, play the servant role and cloak his self-serving agenda in the guise of a service to a noble cause.
Because Fayose is a bully and he is manipulative, he is obnoxious, loud, rude, with limited knowledge of governance, uses foul language on his people, his country and his superiors, he has courted enough controversies to last him the rest of his lifetime, and even have more than enough left to bequeath his children. But he is not done yet. He keeps courting more! It is rather predictably pathetic, therefore, that he continues to manipulate his people at will, so much that he is still giving them false hope that all will still be well under him, and if he is allowed to choose his successor, he will continue from wherever he stops through a surrogate, without minding that Ekiti, under his claws, has continued to grow down instead of up.
What oozes out of the once hallowed state today is impunity, brigandage and gangsterism. Fayose has turned a once-upon-a-time land of honour and integrity to land of horror and a bad example of how a state should be governed. Yet he keeps saying there is no cause for alarm, that he means well for the people and they should keep trusting him with their future.
Fayose is the *Prince of Fool* in Mark Lawrence’s book. A coward, which he is, he feigns both confusion and innocence at the same time. One moment, he tries to play dumb, at another, he suggests that any harm done by him was unintentional or he was helpless to do otherwise. He would use covert intimidation and empty braggadocio to prey on the conscience of his undiscerning victim. You can never be right with Fayose as he would consistently throw you to the defensive by veiled threats. In keeping his victims permanently down, Fayose the coward also employs guilt trip, a special kind of intimidation tactic, which usually boxes his victim to a self-doubting, anxious and submissive position.
A brute, which Fayose is, he would employ a great deal of sarcasm and put-downs to increase fear and self-doubt in his victims in order to make them feel unworthy and defer to him. Sometimes he gives a fierce look, sometimes he speaks in an unpleasant tone, sometimes he casts snide in rhetorical comments, or even makes one feel ashamed to challenge him. He kills, he maims, he plunders, yet these are only ways to hide his cowardice and foster a sense of inadequacy in his victims.
Notwithstanding, Fayose remains a coward, and a pathetic one, who hides under the façade of being brave. Whenever he is boxed to a corner, like it happened during the week of governorship ambition declaration by Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Fayose would go into self-pity, portray himself as a victim of circumstance in order to gain pity, sympathy or evoke compassion with the intention of getting the sympathisers’ attention and support. If all these fail, he would resort to blackmail.
More often than not, Fayose, is the aggressor, who would brandish anger and rage to shock his victim into submission. If this is resisted, he would vilify his victim as the oppressor, thus putting such victim of his wicked acts in the defensive while simultaneously masking his aggressive intent. He would falsely accuse his victim as an abuser in response to the victim’s standing up against him.
According to William Edwards Burghardt Du Bois, there is but one coward on earth, and that is the coward that dare not know he is a coward. Fayose is the one. Ekiti does not deserve him or any of his cronies any longer. Having built the gut to commit countless atrocities, one would think he would show remorse or save enough to face the consequences.
Like the proverbial stray dog that would not listen to the hunter’s whistle, his days of perdition are very close. No doubt he keeps wishing that the hands of clock should suddenly start running anti-clockwise or the people remain in perpetual ignorance. These are the wishes of a fool, since someone brave, bold and brilliant is set to rescue the people and the state from his cowardly claws. But don’t expect Fayose to go down without fighting like a bull in a china shop.
Dipe, journalist and political analyst, writes from Ado Ekiti.