What Do We Do With Fayose?

Ekiti state ‘governor’ Peter Ayodele Fayose is no stranger to controversy, but last week, the self-professed apostle of ‘stomach infrastructure’ politics raised the ante further when he for shamelessly announced the payment of two month’s salary arrears to workers in his state, only to have same withdrawn before it hit their pockets. A spokesman for the governor later put the gaffe down to errors of a faceless service provider. The withdrawn salaries were for the months of November and December 2015!

Although it will be technically inaccurate to call Fayose a jailbird – that timeless American slang reserved for ex-convicts; he has, nevertheless, had some remarkable brushes with the law. He can comfortably navigate a few of our local prisons unaided.

Fayose was impeached as Governor of Ekiti state in 2006 after a panel constituted by the Chief Judge of the Ekiti state indicted on fraud related offences. He was implicated in a poultry farm scam where N1.3 billion was stolen from the state, for his personal use. In documents tendered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Adamu Hobon in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, Fayose was alleged to have diverted state money through his wife Feyi; his mother; his deputy Mrs. Biodun Olujimi; and others as direct beneficiaries of the funds that resulted from the scam.

Fayose was said to have cheated the state by building only four of the 20 poultry farms as stated in the contract agreement for the project. Some of the farms had three or four pens, instead of the five or six as stated in the agreement. The scandal inevitably resulted in his impeachment during the presidency of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

Soon after that Fayose was also arrested and briefly detained for the alleged murder of former Ekiti State National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) Chairman Omolafe Aderiye. There were also issues about his academic qualifications a fact which must count as a slur on the entire good people of Ekiti renowned for their academic prowess. The state is not called the fountain of knowledge for nothing. Naturally, because of such multiple scandals around the man, not a few eyebrows were raised when the same Foyese represented himself for reelection as Governor in 2014.

But those who believed that the PDP took a great risk  in presenting a candidate with so much moral and legal baggage’s in such a critical election when there were other competent  and credible alternatives available argued without contemplating the wider implications of the election beyond tiny Ekiti state. Fayose did. And it paid off handsomely for him, at least up till today. It is the fear of tomorrow in fact which has made him such an unbearable irritant. He understood the game back then and still does so even today.

Nigeria in 2014 was of course in the firm grip of a certain Goodluck Jonathan and rest of the PDP horde. General elections were also due the following year in 2015. If Fayose can be credited for anything, it was the political sagacity he demonstrated in selling Jonathan the idea that his faith in 2015 were fully rooted in the Ekiti state gubernatorial election of 2014.

He was able to convince Jonathan that his victory in Ekiti will present Jonathan, and the PDP with a platform to challenge the APC led by Bola Tinubu in the Southwest. With Governor Mimiko in neighboring Ondo to guard his flank, and the Osun state elections also due soon after the one in Ekiti, Jonathan could not resist the temptation. The rest, as they say, is now history.

When Fayose stood up in the crowded hall filled with PDP Governors during the presidential campaign in 2014 to invoke his obscene death wish against President Muhammadu Buhari, he fully understood the consequences. He also knew what the stakes were when conspired to rig the elections using the military and other security agencies with the blessings of the presidency.

He did not have to fear a rebuke. For President Jonathan, the end had always justified the means. He proved that during the sham elections conducted by the Nigeria Governor’s Forum earlier when 16 delegates successfully thumped 19! Fayose’s designs for Ekiti in 2014 fitted snugly into his own grand designs for Nigeria in 2015. The two complemented each other beautifully.

Fayose was of course to prove that in terms of political mathematics, he can be even more brutal that his boss president Jonathan. In an assembly of 26 members, seven of them, using the instrumentality of the Ekiti State Governor’s Office as alleged by Speaker Adewale Omirin, were escorted to the assembly by the boys specially selected by the former IGP Ibrahim Abba. The seven members swiftly voted and impeached the speaker and his deputy and elected their own Speaker. And the joke on all Nigerians was that the infamy stood.

One Samuel Ajibola, who defended the action of the members, explained that the seven members had more than enough to carry out what can best be described as a debauchery. It is established that to impeach the Speaker, you need two third majority.  Ajibola said the entire seven members were in support of the impeachment of Omirin and, therefore, had more than the two third majority needed.

As one commentator recently put it; “The Ekiti-7 ignored this and launched their expedition in misbehavior. If it had all started and ended there, with Fayose maintaining a dignified silence, excuses could still be made for him. But on television, when asked to review the events regarding the impeachment, he endorsed it. He welcomed the development and even said he has already recognized the ‘new Speaker’.

He then added that he owed nobody any apologies.”

Each time Fayose rises to condemn acts committed by the present government he does so in his ‘enlightened’ self-interest. He is and indeed sounds like someone who knows he has profited immensely from the proceeds of monumental crime. He is also prepared to do anything the distract attention from himself.

His comical and often irritating noises must be seen for exactly what they are: a dubious attempt at self-defense through the backdoor.  I am not a lawyer. I do not also know what the Supreme Court intends to do with the damning allegations from Ekitigate and the report of the military panel which has already indicted its own men for complicity in the heinous crime; but I do not that if there is justice in this world, Fayose will one day pay for his high crimes.

I don’t know whether it is accidental or part of their deliberate strategy, but I love the way the minders of the president have handled the frequent abuses from Fayose thus far. They have been mute. It is the same response you will adopt if a mad dog were barking in your neighborhood. And that is if we are not prepared to go as far as describing his attitude as “misbehavior on steroids” like one commentator aptly put it.