Opinion Comments Off on ÈKTI 2018: ‘FAYOSE’S MASTER STROKE COULD BYPASS SUCKER PUNCH TO BECOME A KNOCKOUT BLOW FOR APC’ – Ògbéni Yínká Erínfolámí
Ògbéni Yínká Erínfolámí, UK based Lawyer, Public Affairs Commentator and Publisher of Keteekitipost, from Ijan-Ekiti, in this interview, speaks with our correspondence Ayo Akintoye, on matters relating to the sociopolitical and economic wellbeing of Ekiti people and the upcoming 2018 gubernatorial election in Ekiti-State. Excerpt:
Are the Nigerian people, even partly, at fault for the state of current politics?
We are not just partly but fully responsible for the politics and general situation of things in the country, although some, especially people who normally benefit from the moribund system may disagree.
As usual, we tend to blame our woes on corruption and bad leadership, when in fact things are getting worse because followers too are terrible, due largely to sophisticated ignorance. M.M Ildan once said “Ignorant voters of democracies are always a great threat to the progression of humanity, simply because they give their votes to the people who look like themselves.” For sure, we can only pick our leaders from among us, not from another country or planet! So, what do you get, when in choosing our leaders, we usually base those choices on cognitive biases and serving individual interests, rather than the greater good of society at large?
We are naturally oppressors, who apart from lording it over others at the slightest opportunity, we like to show off and engage in unhealthy rivalry among ourselves. With due respect, truth be told (laughter), Nigerians are generally not good at being truthful or impartial when there is no personal benefit or pecuniary advantage to be gained. Otherwise, we’d have realized these things, because that is why when people get into positions of power, they tend to misuse and, or abuse that power.
Most dangerously are the existence of rabble-rousers, those beneath the Ògá in power – Retinue of alátenuje butt lickers, the praise singers who are constantly looking for food and biding their time or waiting for turns to also become fully fledged self centred oppressors in a kind of vicious circle per se.
Tell me, how can a nation survive with such individuals? Bad people/followers beget bad leaders! Our problem in Nigeria is huge!
You seem to have painted a grim picture of our situation
Like we needed reminding, or isn’t it obvious we are at rock bottom?
I hate to agree, but I believe so
Unfortunately for us, as bad as things are, people are still continuing with business as usual, with some still hoping there’ll be opportunity to have a bite of the proverbial national cake, which I think is delusional. We also have those who have decided to play ostrich, thinking they can bury their heads in the sand and wish things away. Professor Niyi Osundare once submitted on why our people are docile and take all kinds of cheating because many of them envisage themselves in the position of power someday, too. If I am X and the oppressor is Y, and the oppressor is oppressing me, stealing all the money, and making life difficult for me and my children, I am not likely to attack him. I’ll pray to God to let my own “miracle” happen so that someday, he will go and I will be in his place. No; I am praying for him to go but for the structure to remain.”
Bottom line is, our meanness, greed and selfishness are preventing us from seeing things clearly to enable meaningful change to occur.
For instance, if we contrast our situation with a place like the United Kingdom, where majority of the people are conservative, considerate and more sympathetic towards one another, it won’t be difficult to see why they are thriving, and we are not.
We can also see why it’ll be very difficult for a few good people to save or change Nigeria for good. I have as a matter of fact given up hope of witnessing any significant change during my generation, except there’s a miracle. However, that won’t stop me from continuing to work with like minded individuals to push for change.
Earlier on you identified a group you referred to as “Alátenuje butt lickers”, who are these people?
I challenge you and others to think about it, considering the very leading terminology (laugh). Seriously, I wish we can neutralized this very dangerous group of individuals, who are the ones really stoking and fuelling the fire of degeneration in the country. The problem is, some of the people we interact with regularly are bona fide members. I want to believe we all have them in our close circle, but we may like to pretend not to recognize this. As usual majority of the people, for selfish reasons lack the backbone to confront the issue.
You see, If such individuals would stop expecting crumbs form Oga’s table and stop massaging their ego… If those in power of authority know people generally will not tolerate their excesses, below par performance, insolence etc… If they are challenged, I believe things will change, as everyone will start to sit tight and become more accountable.
All said and done, neutralizing them cannot be easy because of the threat it poses to their means of survival – na the only way dem dey chop or fit chop be that. If we are to make any headway and change the society for good, we must do away with personal sentiments and be ready to call ‘a spade a spade’. We must be ready to stand upright, to take them head on!
That said, what’s your opinion about our Politicians?
Hmmm, Naija Politicians sha! As usual, we have the Nigerian factor again to contend with here, and there’s no running away from that.
I believe one way or the other, certain circumstances in our everyday living makes every grown up person a politician. Speaking in terms of those actively in politics, there isn’t much to write home about them, since there are nearly all infested by the Nigerian syndrome, so nothing good is occurring from their activities. Engagement in politics for most Nigerians is strictly a means to an end for them.
Our Political food chain consists of: The mega rich, who run the show; the rich with plenty money to spend on election campaigns; people with God fathers to bankroll, influence or manipulate the system in their favour during elections, and; others who never contest in elections but schemes for political offices and other appointments. The Nigerian syndrome has turned our politics strictly into money politics – ‘chop and chop’, ‘chop and clean mouth’, ‘cash and carry’ etc (sigh).
I laugh most times when some of them refer to themselves as politicians, when it’s all evident they are political jobbers whose survival is solely dependent on political activities. It is the only way majority of them can put food on the table and Bùga. Typically, some of them are grandees, who have been in the game like forever, some since 1979, and others from 1999 till date with no positive effect on day to day live of the people.
Collectively they have all failed to make meaningful impact on the society, as evidenced by the poor state of things in the country. The masses have not benefited at all from our political experiment because of the attitude of the players. Unfortunately, I see no sign of any lesson learnt, a change of attitude, or new strategy to engineer change that will benefit the electorates and move the country forward. There’s still nothing to offer, except continue to feather their nests and look for ‘Awoof’ chop money at our expense.
That’s a damning assessment on politicians, what about the parties?
Really, our politicians are easy targets because they do nothing!
We’ve been dished a wrong hand all round! APC and PDP, the two main political parties – ‘six and half a dozen’, ‘two fingers of a leprous hand’ (May Chief Bola Ige’s soul rest in peace), are simply not fit for purpose. They are on a rampage, uncontrolled and unchallenged. They exist purely to serve the selfish interests of a few. The two have swallowed up other smaller parties, and the current system is so much skewed in favour of the old bad order, which is making it difficult for people passionate about turning Nigeria into a working entity.
Although difficult, I urge those few good men and women to redouble their efforts and keep going on at it, because the oppressors will not give up power easily – Yoruba would say ‘àti gba omo ní owó ekùró kìí í se ojú bòrò’.
Going into local politics, how will you rate the performance of your current state governor?
I don’t want us to focus on Fayose’s tenure but think about all the other civilian governors from 1999.
My honest assessment of them is they have tried their best, but on evidence they haven’t tried well enough to score them average. For obvious reasons our people continue to be short-changed by successive administration.
Majority need or projects beneficial to the masses is of secondary importance to all of them when projects considered or embarked upon. When they are not building a new secretariat, it will be new governors’ lodge, Fly-over Bridge, event pavilion, flower planting, poor quality roads etc, all at over blown costs. Simple truth is they are all ‘jeun jeun’ and ‘bojú bojú’ projects designed to siphon and funnel money into a few pockets. They come into government as regular guys but leave government mega rich, while the State sinks deeper into debt!
I may live in England I do visit and interact socially and politically with regular people in Ekiti and I know for a fact that people are not exactly complaining about not getting a better deal from Fayose’s government than they did previously, neither are they yearning for a return to APC rule. Majority of those complaining as expected are mainly opposition members and some others with elitist agenda. That is not to say there are not people with genuine complains but on the whole it’s being same of same – head or tail, the masses are the loser!
As a matter of fact, in my book, when a person govern a state like Ekiti for four years and fails to at least leave one or two viable industries behind to generate income for the state, that person has failed, period!
How do you reconcile your rating everyone low, with the fact you supported Fayemi against Fayose in 2015?
I don’t see any contradiction as those were the two main choices then, as far as I was concerned. That my position hasn’t changed. In any case the governor hasn’t given me any reason to regret my actions, ‘nothing concrete don happen since, na just same of same’.
That however doesn’t mean I will support Fayemi again in another election, whoever he’s competing against. I believe that answers your question fully.
You did. Another governorship election is coming up in 2018, do you have a candidate you are supporting or which party are you favorably disposed to?
In terms of political parties, I do not have a preference, as I do not find any one of them attractive. They are merely platforms for people to contest for elections since there is no provision yet for independent candidacy in our constitution. That is why we are pressing for INEC to register our new party, Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP www.anrp.org.ng), so people can have uncomplicated and viable alternative. Consequently, at this point in time I am going for an individual candidate over party politics, meaning the party the person belongs to is not important.
I believe what Ekiti needs to proper and for the generality of the people to be really happy is an honest, transparent, hard working, innovative and genuine person who is cosmopolitan in nature. Such that will also accord the people respect and not take them for granted. An individual that has sincerity of purpose, with an ability to manage people and resources very well, to generate sustainable development, create opportunities and prosperity for the people and the state to achieve full potential.
On that basis I am supporting Dr Oluwole Oluyede, who is a successful self made home boy, highly skilled, hardworking, impartial, considerate, passionate about Ekiti, brilliant family man, contented, refreshingly different, with an untarnished pedigree, among his many brilliant qualities.
What happens if your candidate doesn’t get his party nomination?
Dr Oluyede is self- assured and he’s driven solely by the desire to serve Ekiti people because they deserve a lot better than what they are getting. It will be up to the party delegates, assuming they are truly representing the interests of the masses, to fully understand and appreciate what is good when confronted by it, to make the right choice.
I know for a fact he’s not taking anything or anyone for granted, and I know he’s being working really hard, dotting his I’s and crossing his T’s. Therefore, I cannot think of a reason why he will not make an impact and win his party primaries.
But you never know, as nothing is ever straight forward or impossible in our politics. I am certain though he will cross that bridge when he gets there. However things pan out, I can assure people that he is not a desperate person that will do anything to become governor of Ekiti State. Olórun ló mòla, it’s in god’s hand!
Governor Fayose has already indicated his preferred choice of candidate. Do you think it’s a wise move by him?
Wow, I’ve said it before that governor Fayose is a field marshal in terms of Ekiti politics, and this latest move by him is an attestation to that. He seems to have the opposition’s password, but only seem not to know (laughter). I won’t really call promoting or putting forward his deputy who is from Ikere Ekiti, a sucker punch against APC, but it is definitely a master stroke.
With Fayose’s antecedent, as a sitting governor and publicly acknowledged leader of PDP in the south west, he can easily push his agenda through, by all means necessary.
As a political party or governorship candidate in Ekiti politics, you stick the middle finger up to Ikere Ekiti at your own peril. Ikere has the largest votes after Ado Ekiti, and traditionally those two towns always vote together. Moreover, Ado Ekiti as the state capital will always benefits regardless, so the idea of the governorship candidate coming from the town to garner votes, is a nonstarter, and people from Ikere will definitely vote for one of their own 100% – o ti sure ju!
When you add these to the fact that APC hasn’t done much to gain hearts and minds of the people, it will be foolhardy for them to claim upper hand, when in an open contest, the proposed PDP candidate will easily win 25% of votes cast in more than two thirds of the local governments in addition to scoring the highest total vote.
Fayose’s very attractive prospects will work and the Naija syndrome with surely kick in. In fact, I expect majority of his party members in the state to toe the line, get behind Fayose, rather than stay with other candidates that offers them nothing and guarantees nothing – a case of ‘ bird in hand is worth more than a thousand in the bush’ – Obè ko ti jiná suàn jèyí kàan tì ra uhun kàn á mú sebè, débi kàn a ti gbe súná (laughter).
Assuming Fayose’s deputy gets the party ticket, it will be good night for the APC, and the only way APC can afford itself a chance or avoid total defeat is to pick a credible candidate not just from Ekiti South, but from Iro quarter of Ikere Ekiti like PDP.
You know what, I don’t expect this to go down well with some APC members for obvious reasons, and I will also expect some will laugh it off as a joke, but I can assure them it’ll come back to bite them. Right now governor Fayose is the one sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat, and telling APC ‘Catch me if you can’. Nothing is set in stone as it is, so APC can either respond or continue in its usual state of denial.
Is you view because Dr Oluyede is from Ikere?
Far from that! I don’t ever base my view or opinion on selfish interest, I am a cultured person. That is based solely on my honest assessment of the current situation, and my candidate just happens to be in the mix. It is very simple, if care is not taken by APC, it’ll be lights out for both the party and the candidate, when governor Fayose’s master stroke could bypass ‘sucker punch’ to become a knockout blow!
Your final word on the 2018 election
Both parties still have a lot of work to do as none of them have things in the bag yet. How the parties maneuver and respond to situation of things in the coming days and months will determine the election result. We are all one big family, so I implore our politicians to conduct themselves well and eschew politics of bitterness or that of do or die.
We have seen in other elections, particularly Ondo State and the just concluded Anambra state elections how the new system introduce by INEC has drastically reduced how parties normally rig elections by declaring fictitious figures in contrary to the number on voters’ register. Voting to a large extent is now limited to only those accredited to vote on the day of election.
I hope people are learning from experience so as not to repeat past mistakes. I am expecting the parties and the candidates to work diligently to get their game tight, because I believe nobody or party will get any leg up or favours from Abuja or anywhere else outside Ekiti during the elections.
As it’s usually the case, many of the candidates will try to outspend themselves in their bid to induce voters, and there’ll be no shortage of takers, since one cannot really expect people not to take if offered. However, I believe there’s better awareness among the electorates, so I don’t expect inducements to change people’s mind so significantly to affect the outcome of the election – it ll amount to wasteful spending for desperate politicians and ‘chop and clean mouth for opportunistic electorates.
There are indications from recent elections that votes casted by people are beginning to count, and I see no reason why our own in Ekiti should be different. As the late Rev Fatuyi of blessed memory used to tell us those days in secondary school, ‘Kò si abùjá lórùn ope’ (no short cut to climb to the top of two palm trees growing side by side, one has to come down the first tree to climb up the second). Bottom line – political parties and the candidates should expect to reap only where they sow!