ACN National Leadership Endorsement: A Defining Moment For Fayemi

July 7, 2013

L-R: Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; National Chairman, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Chief Bisi Akande; National Leader, ACN, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; and wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, during a crucial meeting by the ACN National leadership with stakeholders of the party, in Ado-Ekiti.

Ekiti people should still rally behind Gov. Fayemi

A part from Ekiti’s demographic considerations which should ordinarily restrain Iyin-Ekiti born Hon Opeyemi Bamidele, MHR, (Iyin has produced two past governors) from wanting to contest the 2014 governorship elections in the state, one would have expected that a party leader of his standing, even if he could so easily discount friendship, would at least think of party solidarity, and control his ambitions, at least for now. Instead, so eagerly did Opeyemi pursue his ambition that very long ago, while Fayemi was making the rounds of Election Tribunals trying to reclaim a mandate Ekiti people have so handsomely twice given him, he had begun to expend enormous resources wanting to contest the 2011 elections with the believe that the then men of impunity would triumph at the tribunals.

I got the first inkling of this from a very senior party leader in the Ise-Orun Local Government Area who asked me if the Central Senatorial District where Bamidele wanted to contest, extended to that Local Government Area. Asked why the question, I was pleasantly surprised to be told that Mr Bamidele, as he was then known, was already extending tantalising items to party members in the area. I would later have firsthand knowledge of how LG executives have been split down the line -no thanks to him. Then came the rancorous Senate primaries about which we need not delay ourselves here.

Before the party’s national leadership came into the open with their heartwarming endorsement of a hugely performing Fayemi at the epochal meeting of of last week Wednesday, a lot of water has passed under the bridge as the national leadership has done everything to appeal to Hon Bamidele to rally round the party by supporting a performing governor with whom the party at all levels is happy.

Opeyemi’s recalcitance was one of the reasons for the meeting and as Ashiwaju did not fail to say, the meeting was intended to settle all, and every disagreement, endorse the incumbent for the next election, and set the party ready on the path for the 2014 election. For this reason, Hon Bamidele was expected to be at the meeting with the national leadership.

Both leaders, the Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande and the National Leader, Ashiwaju Ahmed Tinubu did not hide the fact that their mission at the meeting was ‘to set in motion processes to settle our in-house misunderstandings’, where any exists, just as Ashiwaju who said such meetings will hold in other states appealed to Bamidele when he said: ‘if anyone here knows Opeyemi, tell him that Jagaban has sent you to him to drop his ambition.’ He went on to say the party in the state should invite him and appeal to him. But if anybody should know Opeyemi, it should be the Jagaban. During a mid-night call I made to Ashiwaju the night before the 2011 Senatorial primaries rerun between now Senator Babafemi Ojudu and Hon Bamidele, the National leader told me how he had tried, without success, to dissuade Bamidele from unnecessarily fouling the waters, insisting on the Senate when he could literally effortlessly go to the House of Representatives.

With that for experience, I wrote as follows on a forum to which Opeyemi also belongs a few hours after the National leadership endorsed Fayemi, thereby concluding the series of endorsements we have seen at all levels of the party in the hope that he could still be appealed to as sugested by the leaders:

‘It is a warm and hearty congratulations to our party and our hard working governor who remains an exemplar. I have got tens of calls concerning my absence at the defining endorsement meeting and these included the one from our Deputy Governor but the callers were mollified when they heard I was at an Annual General Meeting, which I chaired, a few hours earlier.

It doesn’t get any better and because we need a united front to, once again, comprehensively deal with our ragtag, ever- feuding opponents, I hereby plead with my dear aburo, and Rep, the Hon Ope Bamidele MHR, to PLEASE heed the advice of the leaders. Like Otunba said, he did nothing wrong but we need all hands behind this performing governor. Opeyemi should wait for his time and, that time, God willing, he will have our prayers for success.

He should not allow anybody to use him to burrow into the A C N fortress in the South-west and ignite an Akintola- type scenario. He should know that we are daily making history and should therefore be guided by what legacy attends to those political leaders who ignited intra party feuds in Yoruba land. Their ugly skeletons are strewn over the entire Yoruba landscape as they are remembered only with ignominy’.

Opeyemi Bamidele comes from my Irepodun/Ifelodun LGA which forms a part of his federal constituency. He is, therefore, my Rep and he sure represents us well. That fact has made him, like some others, a target of that party with sundry minor surrogates, Labour inclusive, which, lacking good people, is running from pillar to post in the South-west looking for some of our progressive friends who would fly their governorship flags even when their own internal governorship wannabes would consider nothing reprehensible in their quest to be governor. The wise one should, therefore, keep them at arms length no matter how many times they had been led to the Villa. In case they are not far gone yet in the company of those who will not only use them to make Abuja money and dump them when they fail, as they sure will do, but are bound to shipwreck their future political aspirations because the Yoruba knows exactly how to treat traitors.

Asiwaju had barely got home in Lagos when , with the Party Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, present, Fayemi again launched what will go down in the state as a veritable milestone. At an impressive gathering at the St Augustines Comprehensive High School, Oye-Ekiti, of party faithful and representatives of Ekiti people from all over the state and amidst early morning showers of divine blessings, the governor distributed a total of N300 million as grant -in -aid to self-help projects in 82 towns and communities in the first phase of the trail-blazing programme.

This was in fulfillment of his campaign promise and his resolve to develop and transform Ekiti and make it comparable to any state in the country. This developmental paradigm, said the governor, ‘is based on the principle that his administration will only do development with the people and not for them. This, he further said, was borne out of his belief that development is more enduring when the people take full ownership of what is done by government by not only suggesting what they consider most valuable to them, but also participate actively in its implementation and monitoring’. But the philosophy girding this developmental model is much deeper.

On Saturday December 1, the governor brainstormed with the Chairmen and Secretaries of Community Development Associations in the State along the lines of the 8 point Agenda of the administration. The following were agreed:

– Continual brainstorming for budget process, implementation and feedback by all stakeholders.

– Creation of the Ministry of Rural Development and Community Empowerment to bring development to all the nooks and crannies of the state.

– Grants in-aid to communities for self-help projects.

– Revitalisation of Cooperative Development in Ekiti State.

What transpired at Oye therefore was a clear indication that the Fayemi administration’s word is its bond. As part of its efforts to bring development to the rural communities where over 75% of the populace reside, the Ministry of Rural Development and Community Empowerment was created in January, 2013. All the stakeholders in the state were fully involved in the preparation of the year’s budget which is based on the zero budgeting method as is currently being practised all over the world. This means that the opinion of all the various strata/segments of Ekiti people were sought before the 2013 budget was prepared using a dynamic bottom-up approach.

I am sure that a federal government, which by July 2013 is still at daggers drawn with the National Assembly on its 2013 budget, has a lot to learn from the Fayemi model.


By Femi Orebe

This article was first published in The Nation

Last modified: July 7, 2013

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