Fayemi at 56… Courageous Warrior who chooses his battles carefully
Little wonder Yoruba says, Moja Mosa la un mo akinkanju, Akinkanju to ba Moja, ti o Mosa, iru won lo un bo’Ogun lo (literally, a warrior chooses his battle wisely).
He fought for almost three years before retrieving the mandate freely given to him by Ekiti Kete and was sworn in as Governor on Oct 16, 2010. His days in office throughout the constitutionally approved 4years of stay in office didn’t come without different challenges; but he selected his battles and conquered whichever he set out for. Most notable of the battles is his re-election in 2014, where he accepted electoral results and concede defeat to former Governor Ayodele Peter Fayose, despite having the knowledge of the electoral fraud perpetrated without recourse to war in the state.
He left Ekiti State only to be saddled with the management of the presidential primary election of the APC as Chairman and the shadow election which was free and fair produced Buhari as the party’s flag bearer. This didn’t come without a fight – for him to compromise electoral results for the then moneybags in APC but his discipline and determination to be an unbiased umpire, carved a niche for him as the very first Nigerian who conducted presidential primaries without rancor within the party. Erelu’s husband, Fayemi, came out triumphantly as he was celebrated across the globe for the exceptional record making and breaking. Despite the efforts of powers that be to exempt him from the 2015 Buhari presidential campaign committee, Buhari insisted on Fayemi’s inclusion in the campaign team, which made JKF the head of the Strategic and Planning Team of the campaign committee.
Did I forget to tell you that Fayemi was favourably positioned to run as Buhari’s running mate, there was a campaign of calumny against Fayemi by a group led by a notorious Ado man, where he used his pseudo-journo skills to downplay the popularity of Ilufemiloye in Ekiti and Southwest as a whole, but after a very deep negotiation, Fayemi who knew when to and not to fight, gave in to even lesser opinion not because he wasn’t eminently qualified but saw the battle to wrestle power from the then Pdp led Govt more important than anything agreed to let go.
After the NOW CALLED ABUJA BOYS, where denied the Vice Presidential ticket, Osinbajo was brought in. This didn’t come as easy as thought, because the Abuja boys also fought many underground battles to deny THE CAPO Dei Capi of the same Ticket; but for the bigger war ahead against PDP, they conceded the ticket to him but not to his person. Still Fayemi was in the Strategic and Planning Committee of the election, which President Goodluck Jonathan will never forget anytime soon.
After Buhari’s victory in the 2015 election, the battle of who becomes what started and either by choice or by force, Fayemi was the centre of the noise especially from the southwest and Ekiti in particular. Different political names sprang up to be appointed as Minister from the state when Fayemi a former Gov, Chairman Apc presidential primary election and Chairman strategic and planning committee was tactically downplayed by Judas and Spoilers of the State but Buhari being so sure of the stuff the war expert (JKF) is capable of, against all odds appointed Fayemi as Minister for Mines & Steels. Did the Battle end there? NO, did Fayemi despite all the challenges fight back? NO, he conserved his energy for bigger battles; little wonder he won the Ekiti 2018 Apc primary election effortlessly despite being the last contestant to show interest in less than 3 months of the said election. After the primaries, the Chief Strategist made peace with his co-contestants in less than 15 days and got set to wrestle power from the PDP in the State, and the rest is story today. Fayemi was sworn in for the second time as the 3rd democratically elected Governor on the 16th of Oct 2018.
The battle didnt end there, as the legal battle between him and Eleka of PDP lasted for a while. That of Engr. Segun Oni didn’t conquer him; local and national politics got his name in almost every politics (local, regional and national). The contest for Nigerian Governors Forum came; Fayemi won the contest unchallenged, as Mallam El-Rufai of Kaduna, who happens to be his close friend stepped down to make Fayemi the NGF Chairman.
The agitation for the creation of Southwest Security Network codenamed “Amotekun” was a fight of point of duty after the NGF Election, where Fayemi talked tough, challenged the presidency and the Nigeria Police Force on the need to protect our region. He didn’t shy away from the fact that he had northern friends who saw the creation of Amotekun as a threat to their kinsmen in the southwest, as much as nothing will kill the lofty dream of Amotekun. Fayemi thus reassured the safety of law abiding citizens irrespective of the tribe, colour, language or even nationality. Akeredolu despite preparing to slug out his second term ambition as Ondo state Govenor, gave all his best; likewise Makinde the only PDP governor in southwest.
Fayemi as a warrior took the battle ground to Ondo state where his long time friend Akeredolu contested his second term, despite all threats from opposition both within and outside APC family, Fayemi with the support of other of his APC colleagues and the overwhelming votes of the masses, secured victory for Aketi as second term Govenor of the Sunshine state. I deliberately skipped the APC Party Chairmanship, as though Oshiomole keeps fingering Fayemi as one of the Governors who wanted him to fall, Fayemi had severally denied his involvement in Oshiomole’s plight, but for the fact that Oshiomole lost out and he claimed Fayemi is the arrowhead, shall we not call him a warrior?
Fayemi was among many, who fought for Nigeria’s democracy through the creation of “Radio Kudirat” to amplify the voice of the voiceless, and many of these stories are flying around the internet, but my concentration is the latest.
At 56, Fayemi has fought battles selectively and you will agree with me that his name has been dragged into the 2023 Presidential election by many political analysts as he is seen to be qualified for the number one political office of the country. As much as I am not in any position to determine whether he should contest or not, since the world has seen the potential in him, I will advise the governor of Ekiti State with the popular German writer- Bertolt Brecht’s quote, which says “If you fight, you might win; if you don’t, you have already lost.” But the, the victory of Progressives in the Ekiti 2022 elections will determine how easy 2023 pendulum will swing in favour of Dr. John Kayode Fayemi.
Adesoji Gabriel (AngelGabby)
Writes from Ado-Ekiti.