NO! TO RETURN OF PRODIGAL SON – By Bayo Oluwasanmi

— For as long as we can remember, power, money, and greed have corrupted our elected government officials at every level. What’s alarming and frustrating is that the blatant corruption running rampant in Abuja and the state capitals is being tolerated by Nigerian people.

The victory of Ayo Fayose the disgraced ex-governor of Ekiti State in the recently concluded PDP gubernatorial primaries, is an astounding extended conceit and ignorance on display but expected in the pre political drama for 2015 gubernatorial elections.

Fayose contested the primaries with other three aspirants. With a substantial vote of 462 out of 477 votes cast, Fayose rout the other three candidates – the immediate past Minister of Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade 7 votes, Dayo Adeyeye 3 votes, and Modupe Ogundipe one vote.

Fayose, whom EFCC the anti-graft agency says he stole at least N416 million public funds that belong to Ekiti people, all things being equal, is expected to be the main challenger to the incumbent Governor Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the June 21 gubernatorial election.

Since Fayose won the primaries, I have been trying to use mindfulness as a means of living with an emotional narrative, as opposed to thought based narrative. Fayose’s longing stubbornness to regain his old job is like revisiting his childhood obsessions made more grandiose, beatified, and made into overwrought history. A conspiracy which has now ensnared him in the center by playing the fool. And the fool has interest in follies, and follies themselves represent the apotheosis of the absurd.

Election and political corruption go together. It is natural to think of elections when we think of political corruption. It is no secret in Nigeria that people or organizations with their own agendas can skew voting. Big donations are given to parties. Parties and candidates buy votes instead of winning them. According to SaharaReporters, indicted drug kingpin Buruji Kashamu is planning to spend N1billion to ensure Fayose is returned to the state house.

But political corruption isn’t just about election rigging. It can lead politicians in office to steer away from good government. This was proved beyond reasonable doubt during the Fayose administration in Ekiti. As governor, Fayose’s decisions benefited those who fund him and other political appendages. The interest of Ekiti people came second. He diverted scarce resources from poor and disadvantaged people. His private rather than public policy interests dictated policy.

Fayose is on trial on 27 counts of misappropriation of state money. Some of the petitions received by the EFCC against Fayose include the N1.4 billion poultry scam. The poultry project was meant for the 16 local government councils in the state. Till today, no poultry was ever built in the four designated centers in the state.

His tenure as governor was aptly captured and characterized by The News magazine as a “reign of terror.” The 2004 local government elections in the state were a shamble. Members of the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC), were handpicked by Fayose himself. The News, in its April 5, 2004 edition reported extensively on Fayose’s reign of terror and how his men went on rampage and killing frenzy.

The magazine also reported that Tunde Omojola who vied for the Ifaki Ward II councillorship bye-election was killed by Fayose’s thugs and mobile policemen. Dr. Ayo Daramola, and nine students of the College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti were snuffed in the political hara-kiri initiated and supervised by Fayose.

Others like Aseweje, Ben Ogundana, Dapo Osunniyi, Kamoru Folorunso, Ojo Sunday, and several others did not escape Fayose’s reign of terror. Fayose literarily prevented worshippers at Emmanuel Anglican Cathedral, Okesa, Ado-Ekiti from worshipping when he blocked the church’s two main gates with sand, gravel, and gutter deliberately dug in front of the church because of Chief Ojo Falegan his perceived opponent who attends the church.

By thinking about often buried painful memories of his three-year rule as governor in my home state of Ekiti, the Fayose factor in the June gubernatorial elections in Ekiti creates a huge involuntary spasms in my stomach, accompanied by a deep groan.

Fayose’s pretentious aura contrasted sharply with the mayhem he provoked and promoted in Ekiti. The atrocities under his administration can never be fully accounted for. The peace loving people of Ekiti became a ping pong ball being battered from one end to another. Political opponents were maimed, hacked, killed, beheaded, kidnapped, dismembered and disposed with gloat and glee. Vicious and cruel ruffians roamed the state looking for people to kill. It was our own holocaust.

Fayose and his PDP admirers and supporters believe he’s something. As soon as they start believing he’s something it becomes precarious. They ceased to be mindful and mistake fantasy for reality. In this process, they have lost all their imaginative faculty. They’re unable to rationalize or ratiocinate the true home-bred feelings that Governor Fayemi’s administration ignited in Ekiti people. Fayose’s candidacy is the ultimate joke of being mistaking “the fool” as the future of Ekiti State.

Human behavior is regulated by many factors – moral standards, the sense of shame, of conscience, of duty, and so on. The basic manifestations of ethical life are the sense of social and personal responsibility and the awareness himself is the real relation between society and the individual. Responsibility expresses society’s specific demand on the individual in the form of duty. And in all societies a certain responsibility is laid down for such violations.

People are responsible for those they elected to represent them. Ekiti people will be held accountable for the person they elect as their next governor. If we Ekiti people elected an ignorant, a thug, a reckless and corrupt person, it is because we tolerate ignorance, recklessness, thuggery, and corruption.

If we elected a governor who is intelligent, brave, a prudent manager of people and resources, and pure, it is because we demand these high qualities from our governor who is going to direct affairs of the state for the next four years.

It is insulting the sensibilities of Ekiti people for Fayose to stage a comeback. The endorsement of Fayose, a criminal suspect as the PDP gubernatorial candidate by the PDP chair, shows clearly there is not a serious outrage of Attention Deficit Disorder in the PDP an increasingly defined party by the ascendancy of corruption.

In an abject embarrassment of his past, Fayose pleaded for his unforgivable sins against Ekiti people saying “They should give me a chance so that I will turn around the fortunes of the less privileged in the state. I want them to know that I am Ayo Fayose, 12 years older, more responsible, more experienced and I will listen.”

Seems like he’s saying “I am finally now exhibiting a moral compass about leadership and governance.” Fact is, like the great white shark, a scandal must be fed, or it sinks to the bottom and dies. And Ayodele Fayose-governor page scandal has not had the full scrutiny. This is the best time – election season – to unearth the buried skeletons in his corruption grave.
He dismantled our hopes and disbanded our collective aspirations. We were violated, victimized, and persecuted. Ekiti people have never been so raped – openly I might add. We’ll never forget or forgive what Fayose did to us. Under Fayemi, the Ekiti people are just starting developing coping skills for hoping skills for the future.

Now it is time for Ekiti people to stand up and protest the rampant corruption and election rigging that are destroying everything that made our great state of Ekiti great. We need a governor like Fayemi who will place the interests of Ekiti people before petty disagreements and personal agendas.
Many of us think the turning point for the prodigal son takes place in the far country when he “comes to his senses.” Fayose’s turning point didn’t take place in a far country and he’s not back to his senses, rather he has only returned to himself.

There is no element of repentance or remorse visible and verifiable in Fayose to reconcile him to Ekiti people. He has shown no readiness for reflection, much less contrition. His coming back is ruled by blind necessity. Loud and clear, we say no to the return of the prodigal son.

byolu@aol.com

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