Ekiti State politics has many interesting scenarios in view of its many peculiarities. But one dimension of the politics of the state that is fast becoming quite worrisome is the emergence of a crop of barely informed commentators and analysts labouring to define and re-define the political realities of the young state with narratives that are way off the mark. This trend has increased in the last few months with many writers coming up with poorly researched stories and presenting same as “exclusives” or “informed commentaries”, as citizens of the state prepare for the 2018 governorship election in the state.
Sufuyan Ojeifo’s article “Ekiti governorship, Fayose and Oni’s second coming”, published in Thisday and Tribune Newspapers of February 27th, falls into this category of carefully crafted lies served in an arrogant omniscient narrative style. The need to draw public attention to such ugly trend and set the record straight for the reading public should therefore not be too much a task for any well meaning member of the public.
Ordinarily, Ojeifo reserves the right to comment freely on political development of Ekiti or any state for that matter, just as he has the right to project the interest of any individual, aspirant and even the incumbent government in the state. What he does not have the right to do as a writer is to attempt to distort history with unsubstantiated claims and blatant lies, aimed at pulling one down as a necessary condition to lift the other.
While on the surface, the article appears as an analysis of the 2018 contest in Ekiti, but the real motive of the writer became apparent when he resorted to falsehood in a desperate bid to malign the personality of the immediate past governor of the state and currently, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
Ojeifo made an unpardonable blunder by asserting that salaries of workers remained unpaid under Fayemi’s administration. A little check would have revealed to him that workers salaries were paid by last Friday of every month throughout the four year tenure of the administration and that the only month salary owed workers before the end of the tenure in October 2014 was the September 2014 salaries. It is on record that arrangement for the September salaries with banks had been concluded before it was truncated by the then incoming Governor Fayose, who threatened the banks to halt all arrangements with the outgoing government thereby making it difficult for workers to be paid for that month.
It is also ridiculous for Ojeifo to praise the incumbent administration for what he described as its openness in the handling of public finance, while the exact opposite is what is currently obtainable in the state where different figures are being bandied as allocations from the federation account among other shady deals.
Ojeifo’s attempt to present the loss of the June 21, 2014 governorship election as a direct consequence of the alleged disconnection on the part of the Fayemi administration leaves much to be desired. With startling revelations of how military and other forces were used to take over power in the state, many informed writers have since come to terms with the reality of the situation and had jettisoned the disconnection fable being spread by the same perpetrators of the crime.
If Ojeifo must know, Fayemi as governor may not be seen frolicking at a paraga joint as a way of demonstrating his closeness to the people. He connects with the people through genuine and strategic engagements with them through town hall and community based meetings he held with them periodically where they freely made input into the workings of government. The product of those engagements were the developmental strides recorded by the administration, which till date remain incontrovertible.
Talk about social security scheme for the elderly, where elderly citizens above 65 years and without any form of pensions were paid N5,000 monthly stipends; the Conditional Cash Transfer which benefited 2,200 vulnerable women across the state; youth empowerment; security of lives and property; State Community Assisted Projects where the Fayemi administration released N600million for 176 of such projects which included completion or renovation of town halls or civic centres, Obas’ palaces all over the state; the laptop per child initiative; free health mission;
The Youth in Commercial Agriculture Development (YCAD) where young farmers were produced and which made Ekiti State the highest producer of cassava with the highest yield in years 2013 and 2014. These were schemes that resonated in all communities and which the citizens took ownership of. In all, there are over 2000 completed projects of various sizes in all 131 towns and villages in the state which are direct result of village square meetings requests of communities in the budget. This is apart from 1,038 kilometers of roads that are either newly constructed or rehabilitated.
Fayemi renovated all 183 secondary schools in the state, constructed and rehabilitated 1,533 blocks of classrooms in primary schools and delivered 11,700 pupils’ desks across the state; and rehabilitated and equipped all 18 General hospitals in the state apart from completing the Oba Adejugbe General hospital which the incumbent has abandoned to overgrown weeds. The moribund Ire Burnt Bricks was resuscitated and had started production before Fayemi left office. Today, the profit making business concern has also been abandoned by Fayose. Same goes for the Road Materials Company in Igbemo which has also been left to rot away. The Fayemi administration commissioned five mini-water treatment plants and almost completed state wide pipe laying to replace dilapidated ones thereby improving water supply in the state from the initial 25% to 57% . He also reactivated mini dams in the state. The Human Development Report (2012) described Ekiti as the most conducive environment to live long and healthy with a life expectancy average of 55 years.
So, one is constrained to ask Ojeifo, what connection with the public entails other than engaging them in a manner that allows them develop confidence in the government and positioning them to contribute meaningfully to governance and development.
While no one can fault Ojeifo’s undying love for his patron, time will tell whether the generality of Ekitis truly adores Fayose as he wants us to believe, just the same way time will separate genuine writers from hack writers who rely only on handouts.
Dauda Lawal, a public affairs analyst writes from Ado-Ekiti