COMMENTS: The New Fayemi Challenge

March 1, 2013

Lest we forget how Ekiti a ‘historically and culturally identical’ land of honor was desecrated. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in all his majesty surveyed our land and settled for an Ayo Fayose as a replacement for Niyi Adebayo as governor of Ekiti State. Following a contrived dispute between Abiodun Olujimi, impeached Fayose’s deputy and the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, a state of emergency was declared in October 2006. General Tunji Olurin, Obasanjo’s kinsman was installed as sole administrator. It was obvious his mandate was to do a hatchet job of preparing the ground for rigging Segun Oni into office in the same manner Dr Koye Majekodunmi did in Ibadan during the first republic when he reinstated Akintola who had been constitutionally removed from office as premier and prepared the ground for the rigging of the 1965 regional election in his favour.

Two years of purposeful leadership has already eclipsed eight years of political upheaval, violence, uncertainty and anxiety that characterized Obasanjo’s self-serving intervention in Ekiti. Peace has gradually returned to Ekiti, and today, Kayode Fayemi is dedicated to the ‘the restoration of the core Ekiti values of passion, courage, integrity, meritocracy and honour.’

He is building roads and renovating schools. He has already equipped students and teachers with about 30,000 laptops. He has put in place a social programme that caters for about 20,000 elderly citizens. His free health programme is said to capture about 60 per cent of the population.

But we are left with permanent scars of Obasanjo’s assault on our people and our land of honour. The most visible scar of Obasanjo’s selfish intervention in our affairs is the army of school dropouts following the near collapse of the educational sector of the state during the PDP years of locust. Ayo Fayose, it would be recalled, preferred poultry farms to medical school while a better equipped Segun Oni enmeshed in PDP politics of ‘sharing’ ignored informed suggestions to expend his energies on secondary schools instead of establishing universities the state could not support financially.

One very sad example as governor Fayemi recently pointed out is that Christ School, unarguably the best in the state, and one of the best (like my own St Joseph’s College Ondo) in the federation, was in recent years recording less than 10% success in the West African School Certificate examinations. Most of the dropouts, spread around the state in the last 10 years have since found new callings as Babalawo (traditional healers), political thugs and pastors.

One manifestation of this development was what happened in Emure last week, when misguided youths took law into their hands, disrupted market, stoned their traditional ruler the Elemure of Emure, Oba Emmanuel Adebowale Adebayo, and chased the community chiefs out of the palace.

Their grouses: harvests of deaths of young people in their community arising from accidents such as those involving “two undergraduates from the community who died in a motorcycle accident in far away Ado Ekiti on Valentine’s Day, and, three persons who also died in an accident on Ikere – Ise – Emure road when the vehicles they were travelling in had a head-on collision”. The youths wanted their traditional ruler and his chiefs to explain how the members of their community met their death in such ‘strange circumstances’

But if the governor thought the misguided youths with wild views were all he had to deal with, he was wrong. He also has the traditional rulers whose bemusing response to what by all accounts was an idiotic demand was a plan to ‘organise an interdenominational religious prayer session’ to curb harvests of deaths through motor cycle and car accidents.

In the circumstance, Governor Fayemi has an arduous task in a state where religion has become the most thriving industry, second only to political thuggery, where misguided miracle seeking youths, instead of working, depend on periodic handouts from politicians, and a state where the only value added to the lives of citizens by traditional rulers who share five per cent of local council allocation in addition to gifts of new cars from state government is prayers.

The task we are giving to the governor will now include the enforcement of God’s injunction that we must all ‘live by our sweats’ and the labelling as 419ers all misguided youths and community leaders who try to swindle God through endless prayers even after He, our almighty Father has decreed ‘we must all reap what we sow’. Their accomplices-the fake pastors who are insisting our youths can reap where they have not sown, must be declared enemies of the people and handed over to EFCC.

For those honest Ekiti youths who want to live by their sweat and reap what they sow, the governor can call their attention to the good news Senator Babafemi Ojudu brought back from his recent tour of Israel. Ojudu cited the case of three young graduate farmers he met in Israel during the tour who post an annual turnover of $12m by cultivating tomato for export through a new irrigation method.

Our hard-working and creative governor who has a way of getting things done must find a way of convincing our fraudulent young prosperity gospel preachers and their gullible miracle seekers that a new wave of miracles currently coming out of Israel, a war-ravaged, desert, land of unbelievers, who killed Jesus the son of God and thereafter unrepentantly proclaimed ‘may his blood be on us and on our children’, are also possible here.

Happily, Ekiti is not a barren land. Ojudu has said arrangements are being made to irrigate 40,000 hectares of land throughout the year and that this is to be parcelled out to youths who genuinely want miracle based on God’s injunction that we must live through our sweat. The overpaid traditional rulers who have been reaping from where they did not sow should be given responsibility to mobilise the misguided youths of their various communities towards productive endeavours. They have lived as parasites for far too long with powers without responsibilities. Fayemi must find a way of making them more relevant to their communities.

The stakes are high but the governor cannot afford to fail in this arduous endeavour because of its far-reaching implications for the future of our state. In another 10 years, today’s youth on whom he is investing so much are going to become doctors, lawyers and other professionals. As a social scientist, he knows today’s fraudulent miracle seekers, if not liberated, will provide only an insecure environment for his dream new generation of proud Ekiti young professionals. We are today witnesses to such failures in some parts of our country where those on whom huge investment had been made with the hope of bringing development back to their communities have been driven out to seek refuge and fulfilment in other areas including foreign lands.

By Jide Oluwajuyitan
This article was first published in the Nation

Last modified: March 1, 2013

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