ANALYSIS: Dayo Adeyeye: Saga of political misadventure?

Dayo Adeyeye
Dayo Adeyeye

Could this be a political retribution, miscalculation or a mere collision with fate? The dust is yet to settle over the sacking on Wednesday of the spokesman of the Senate, Dayo Adeyeye, by the Appeal Court.

The court declared his opponent in the last Ekiti South Senatorial election, Biodun Olujimi, as the validly elected senator for the district.

It was a hard and a bitter battle for the seat, at pre-election, election and the litigation stages. It was a battle of estranged party fellows, whose fellowship went sour as political interest and ambitions became incompatible under the Peoples Democratic Party’s umbrella.

Mr Adeyeye stood tall as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) which he joined not too long ago.

He only joined the party in 2018 when his governorship ambition was aborted by the maverick governor, Ayo Fayose, who was hell bent on fielding his deputy, Kolapo Olusola, as the PDP flagbearer for the 2018 governorship election.

The alleged highhandedness of Mr Fayose was flayed by not only Mr Adeyeye, but also Mrs Olujimi.

Both were aspirants for the governorship ticket, and were united in resisting the tilted landscape provided by the then governor for the party’s contestants.

Walking Away

Mr Adeyeye, in spite of the pleas and promises made by the leaders of the party, led by no less a person than the former Senate President, David Mark, walked away from the PDP to pitch his tent with the APC.

He wanted to have his pound of flesh, so many believed. He was willing to forego his governorship ambition, provided he could stop the PDP from winning the governorship election.

That was his perceived mission to the APC.

As it is with politics in Nigeria and with Nigerian politicians, it is about personal interest. The party is a vehicle to accomplish and advance that interest. Once the party appears to have a flat tyre, it is abandoned for another vehicle that would take you to your desired destination.

Mr Adeyeye had been a PDP man. At a time, he was its spokesman, serving as the National Publicity Secretary for the Ahmed Makarfi group of the PDP during its crisis.

Intimidating profile

Mr Adeyeye’s political journey began as a pro-democracy activist at National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) which was a frontline campaign against military rule during the dark days of military interregnum.

He was earlier Director of Publicity for Falae for President Campaign Organisation in 1992 and later became an Adviser on Policy and Press Matters, MKO Abiola for President Campaign Organisation in 1993.

Mr Adeyeye was the National Publicity Secretary of the Pan Yoruba Soco-political group, Afenifere, in 2001, and then became the Publicity Secretary for Alliance for Democracy(AD) in 2004.

In 2006, Mr Adeyeye wanted to be governor of Ekiti State and was an aspirant in the AD for the governorship ticket.

The party became the Action Congress of Nigeria, but he was beaten to the second place by current governor of Ekiti, Kayode Fayemi, in controversial and disagreeable primaries.

Mr Adeyeye and 12 other members of the ACN defected to the PDP after their grievances were unresolved.

Thus began his sojourn in the PDP. As a member of the PDP, Mr Adeyeye was appointed Minister of State for Works by the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

He served in the administration until its expiration in 2015.

It was the view of the PDP leaders in Ekiti that his departure from the party over his ambition to be governor was both wrong and unfair, given that he had benefited so much from the party, even more than he could have benefited from the other parties.

‘Difficult choice’

Mr Adeyeye had noted that his departure from the PDP was a hard choice. But his ambition to serve his people far outweighed party loyalty.

“For me politics has always been an opportunity to serve and make contribution towards the development of my community and the nation,” he said, while explaining his exit from the PDP.

“Therefore where I am compelled to make a choice between loyalty to a political party and loyalty to my community, l will readily choose my community or state.

“Political parties come and go but the community remains. I cannot change my state or hometown but I can always change my party if I feel that it can no longer serve as a vehicle for our collective good as a people.”

Mr Adeyeye’s defection to the APC was believed to be the game changer in the bid to rout Mr Fayose and his continuity caravan in the 2018 governorship election.

Mr Fayemi of the APC scored 197, 459 votes to beat Mr Olusola of the PDP who scored 178, 121 votes. The margin of victory was 19,338.

Regaining influence

Once Mr Fayemi became the governor, Mr Adeyeye became a prominent member of his team.

He contested and won the APC ticket to run for the Ekiti South senatorial seat in the last National Assembly elections.

He was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission as duly elected. He contested the seat against his former party woman, Mrs Olujimi, who alleged that she was rigged out.

The results as announced by the INEC had APC polling a total of 77,621 votes, while the PDP polled 53, 741 votes.

By the time the Appeal Court reached its decision on Wednesday, the results had changed.

The final calculations according to the respected jurists were APC, 52,243; while PDP polled 54,894. The final arbiter had decided and there would be no further appeals.

While Mr Adeyeye will be packing his belongings from the Senate and returning home, the APC and the PDP are in opposing modes.

The PDP is having a good laugh with a big commendation for the judiciary, it is time for the APC to sulk and lash out. For the PDP, the judiciary was excellent. For the APC, the judiciary has truncated the wish of the people.

Mrs Olujimi is returning to the Senate, where she had held the office of the Deputy Minority Whip and then was elevated to the Minority Leader after Godswill Akpabio decamped to the APC.

She has another chance to represent her people well. Mr Adeyeye has also shown the spark of a seasoned representative, whose wealth of experience in politics and in the media had enabled him to make a good impact in the red chamber.

Processes, not personalities

However, the judicial pronouncement was not about personalities, but about the process that threw up the persons that occupy the positions of leadership in the country.

The electoral processes are still fraught with irregularities. As long as politicians would play the old game, sacking of legislators and other elected officers by the courts would remain a recurrence.

Mr Adeyeye’s plight is not altogether strange. He will take a cue from a few of his colleagues who had suffered the same fate.

And as a loyal member of the APC, he might be considered for other appointments.

The Ekiti people are the ones in need. Whether Olujimi or Adeyeye, their interest remains the most important and that is what should be served.

To paraphrase Mr Adeyeye: politicians will come and go, but the community remains.

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