Ekiti is on the march again and it is, this time, caught in a decrepit conundrum. The general impression is that its present governor has ridden roughshod over the land of “Honour and Integrity,” seriously battered that it is now feeble and frail.
So feeble, so frail that anyone can take it up from wherever Fayose stops and it won’t make much difference. As a Yoruba adage would say: “Bi iya nla ba gbe’ni san’le, keekeekee a ma gun ori eni.” (Should a big mishap befall one, little troubles will start taking one for a plaything).
The greatest mistake anyone would be making at this point is to suggest that the state be given to just anyone to manage come 2018. Yes, Ekiti may appear too weak and fragile right now to attract quality minds, it should not be thrown to the dogs. Its journey back from Golgotha must be smooth, steady and assured. It will however be too stretchy for a short-distant runner and too cranky for the faint-hearted to drive.
Ekiti has been challenged by a problem which confines it into a state of no retreat, no surrender. Most importantly, 2018 should be its year of turnaround and this should be an exclusive function of dyed-in-the-wool progressives, with the right strings to pull. There are, on one hand, the incurable optimists who believe the state has actually not lost its shine and Fayose is beatable. On the other, are the jokers who believe the state has suffered so much infraction that it can now fall into the hands of anyone, just any jester willing to negotiate his/her way, to govern.
It was Lord Chesterfield (1694 – 1773), British statesman and writer who once wrote that “the perfect knowledge of history is extremely necessary; because, as it informs us of what was done by other people, in former ages, it also instructs us what to do in the like cases. Besides, as it is the common subject of conversation, it is a shame to be ignorant of it.”
History has it that some group of revolutionaries once staked their all to rescue the same state from the claws of the same clown who was making a sucker of it. They became united in purpose, set aside their personal political ambitions and embraced collective struggle. Eventually, they were able to liberate the state from the shackles of mis-governance.
The dogged fighters ensured that nothing was left to chance in lifting the state from the cliff end. The fallout of the struggle was such that those dogged fighters ensured that candidates were presented from common front to slug it out for power after the liberation. The candidates were properly scrutinised, or so it seemed then, and eventually, both candidates of the two leading political parties came out of the same revolutionary group. The rest, as they say, is history.
The present governor of Ekiti State is a living disruption. He has always been. He caused the first great disruption of the state and today, he is gradually decimating the state again. Ayo Fayose is a monumental failure. His represents the worst description of how a state should be governed. In the words of E11, a socio-cultural group that decided to play the role of watchman in the state, “Fayose has brought the exalted office down to his level, characterised by uncoordinated behaviour, shabby appearance and disgraceful public conducts.”
Such a description should not be ignored. The words were not chosen in vain. There are evidences that, if given the chance to appoint his successor come 2018, Fayose would handpick his like and Ekiti will continue with its free fall. Like can only beget like. Fayose today is one man political party in the state. He is the PDP and PDP is him. It is thus a given that anyone who had not won a war against this selfsame man cannot just wake up now to lead one and 2018 election should not be the laboratory for such experiment. Fayose is a monster who can only be conquered by an enigmatic political warrior. This is where experience counts.
There are often political factors involved in why societies remain poor, paramount among which is bad government. Governments need to do lots of things to encourage development. They need to build and maintain infrastructure, raise and spend finance wisely, on the right projects. When governments are inept at managing infrastructure, development is impossible. Nobody wants to build a factory in a state where the governor is either an erratic or a fainthearted person.
On whichever side anyone may find him or herself at this point, therefore, what stands sure is that the governance, come 2018, should be a serious matter and should neither be toyed with nor allowed to fall into the hand of a jester. The stake is high, not necessarily because of any gain, but because of the sacrifices expected from whoever eventually mounts the saddle. If the pride must be regained sooner than later, all hands must be on deck and whoever is given the baton must be well prepared to run a selfless race.
Voters are demanding a radical change. They are keen on having someone with the potential to advance democratic transformation in Ekiti State, otherwise a wrong choice will stymie it. Citizens will willingly respond to and act upon influence and the broader historical and social forces that have produced such personality. They want a steely man whose trajectory can intimidate Fayose, someone who can look him right in the eye and say: “Gerrout, you slush!” Whoever plans to reframe Ekiti must have great focus. Such must represent a hopeful future for Ekiti, while at the same time reflecting the Ekiti politics of the past. Certainly not a rookie or a JJC. No, c’est ne pas possible.
Dipe, a journalist and political analyst, writes from Ado Ekiti