I was with General Adetunji Olurin from October 2006 till March 2007 as media consultant, when he was in charge in Ekiti State as administrator. This was sequel to the political crisis that engulfed the state after the dramatic impeachment of Ayodele Fayose, erstwhile governor of the state. A member of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Fayose was impeached by the PDP-controlled State House of Assembly in highly controversial circumstances. This led to the war of succession as two members of the ruling party – Friday Aderemi and Biodun Olujimi – laid claim to the seat of power. Aderemi was the Speaker of the House of Assembly who presided over the impeachment of Fayose, while Olujimi was the deputy governor at the time of impeachment. Both Fayose and Olujimi were swept off in the political volcano that swept the man of power away from his ‘throne’. At that time, Fayose had almost converted the governorship position to an imperial majesty, dishing out orders, which the highly enlightened people of Ekiti found not only distasteful but undignifying of a people with practically one of the largest colony of professors and academics.
Olujimi did not take kindly to the blanket removal of herself and her principal. That resentment soon snowballed into a near major conflagration as she took on Aderemi, who had immediately pronounced himself governor in line with the constitution. It was in the hullabaloo that ensued that the then maximum President (note the use of the word ‘maximum’), Olusegun Okikiola Aremu Obasanjo, slammed a six-month emergency rule on the state. Although the emergency rule declaration on October 17, 2006 almost stirred another ‘okiki’ (hue and cry) as certain members of the House of Representatives vehemently kicked against the move.
By the provisions of the Constitution, the House of Representatives automatically assumes the duty of legislation for any state placed under emergency rule. The implication of this was that from then on, the duties of the State House of Assembly, which had been suspended, fell on the House of Representatives. The argument then was that Obasanjo ought to have consulted the House before making the declaration and subsequent appointment of a retired General to take over the running of affairs. Some of the members of the House, especially some principal officers, then seized the opportunity to extort money from the Presidency in order to dance to the President’s tune.
One other salient issue that came up in the House of Reps over the emergency rule was the dissolution of the local government councils. This was buoyed by internal wrangling in the political landscape of Ekiti itself, especially the fresh bid by those who wanted to succeed Olurin after the expiration of his six-month duty tour as Administrator within the PDP-dominated House of Assembly that was billed to resume sitting immediately the emergency period was over.
It was really a testing time for Ekiti politics but through prayers, divine intervention and perhaps sophistication of the people of Ekiti, no violence of the minutest magnitude was witnessed during the period. The rest is history. It was a sharp departure from the prevailing political atmosphere in the country today characterised by arson, killings and brigandage of unimaginable proportion which have completely taken over the landscape. This is probably the type of lawlessness and jungle justice a person like Segun Oni might have wished for in order to enable him to actualize his weird and myopic ambition to rule or misrule Ekiti once more since he cannot get his way through in the courts.
Unfortunately, and surprisingly too, after the latest defeat at the Supreme Court, Oni has now conceded defeat and said that he could not question God. But the reality is that elections will still hold in this country, and dissatisfied parties will still run to the courts and pursue appeals, even beyond the final point as it now appears. But should the electoral process always be compromised and made questionable? Should politicians always question the will of the people? And shall we then not question the decisions of the judiciary?
Should people or a person like Oni continue to weep and gnash their teeth over spilled milk, when in actual fact, it is glaringly clear to all that Fayemi possesses more administrative, management and human relations acumen to lead his people than the lacklustre administration or style of governance which completely alienated Oni and his government from the people? See the tumultuous crowd that heralded the news of the recent Supreme Court verdict on the Oni-Fayemi challenge. It is apparent that, that same large number or even twice or thrice that could have taken to the streets in protests if Oni had mistakenly been returned to the Government House. Perhaps, he could have thought about the option of ruling from his hometown of Ifaki Ekiti, if he had been returned to government. And, that is, if his people would not reject him outrightly.
Oni and others in his clique are no match for Fayemi whose sense of reasoning and scholarly adventurism are enough to send the Onis of this world scampering for cover. Who dare mention a Lilliputian in the gathering of giants? It is an abnormality, a complete misnomer.
Having said all these, it is instructive to sound a note of warning to the electorate in Ekiti State that 2014 is almost here when elections will be keenly contested in the state. Fayemi and his lieutenants in the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, now re-christened All Progressives Congress, APC, will be standing proudly with the flag of the party soaring higher and higher. Ekiti people should shine their eyes. Do not allow these never-do-well politicians who are clothed like normal human beings confuse you. Vote for Fayemi and his lieutenants and shame the devil. Apart from Fayemi and his henchmen in the APC, no other politician in Ekiti today has anything to offer or that is better to offer the people. They are only after the lean finances of the government, the public till which they are only interested in plundering and plunging the populace into endless poverty, misery and want. You can take their money because it is your money, take their rice and other perquisites but reject them at the final polls. They are not deserving of your votes. Any vote for them is a vote for hunger, deprivation and mass slaughter through non-provision of the essentials of a meaningful living like Fayemi and his people have been doing for the people in the past three years.
I am not an indigene of Ekiti but I have lived in Ekiti, I have enjoyed the warmth and hospitality of the people, I have observed them from both afar and within. Ekitis are a hardworking lot. With good leaders, they can be the food basket of Nigeria. They have hectares of uncultivated, arable lands scattered all over the state. They are a proud people because they believe in what they can do with either their brains or their hands. I do not see any other society in Nigeria or Africa that parades such a contingent of professors and other academics. It is only in Ekiti that every family has at least one professor or more. They dot the whole landscape, every town, every village, every hamlet. They are just ubiquitous.
I think Oni should go and look for something more profitable for him to do at the moment. His brand of politics has since become extinct with the coming into the arena by Fayemi and his group. Politics is not the best for Oni. As a water engineer, he can retire to his village in one of the hinterlands and devote his talents to agriculture, especially irrigation farming, channelization and all that. Let him leave politics for the Fayemis of this world!