Government of Ekiti State, Nigeria.

OPINION: Letter To My Friend, The Governor

October 27, 2013

My dear Kay, Let me humour our civil servants by starting my letter with a parody of a trite phrase that introduces all their speeches including those delivered at funeral ceremonies; “It gives me great pleasure” (to write you this letter). It beats me hollow how an individual can derive “great pleasure” at the death of a fellow human being. What a wicked joke this is! Is the service that intolerant that it does not allow room for linguistic upgrading and lexical restructuring? Or is it the civil servants themselves that are prisoners of linguistic conservatism? Little wonder that most of their speeches contain lethargic influenza.

I write in respect of the defection of Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (The MOB) from All Progressives Congress (APC) to another party of his choice. We both know that he has gone even though he is yet to make a formal declaration of his defection. The MOB visited Chief Bisi Akande and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (at different times) with a 35-man-entourage, including an octogenarian Bishop from Ilawe, thus foreclosing the possibility of reconciliation. He had gone to inform them of his decision to leave the APC. What is happening to our culture and sense of dignity these days? Why should an 83-year-old man allow himself to be dragged from Ekiti to Lagos for a meeting that took place between 3.00a.m. and 5.30a.m.? What does a Bishop, whose less than 20,000 per month pension was raised by the Fayemi Administration to  100,000, want that he allowed himself to be parcelled into the betrayal train of a young man of his son’s age at such unholy hours?

I can imagine how devastated ‘Oga’ (Tinubu) was when he was confronted with the reality of Bamidele’s exit from APC. Whatever relevance Bamidele had today in Nigeria’s politics was made feasible by Tinubu who ignored early warnings about Bamidele’s treacherous romance with the Judas of Ekimogunland. Sometimes I wonder how and where Tinubu finds the strength to absorb the perfidy of those he helped to power, because they are legion. Many pretenders and unctuous power seekers had exploited Tinubu’s unstinting readiness to help, to get to power only to stab him in the back by betraying his trust in them.

When at the 3rd Anniversary Mega Rally at the Ado Ekiti Stadium, you and Rauf Aregbesola were hoping for a last minute miracle that will see MOB renouncing his prodigal adventurism by changing his mind and staying put in APC, your supporters, encouraged by KWAM 1’s songs of hostility, knew you were playing politics. I am sure you saw the ecstasy and hysteria that followed when KWAM 1 sang his famous lyrics: AÌgoÌ loì ma deì diÌ gbÌhiÌn… ¸ maì ce gbaìra leì wÍn ÍÌdaÌlÌ ni wÍìn… ¸ni maì lÍ koì miìa lÍ, ni maì lÍ koì miìa lÍ… Nothing could be more declaratory than what Opeyemi said to Asiwaju during the meeting: “…Asiwaju, I can afford to offend you but I cannot afford to offend my supporters who want me as their next governor…” A progressive who moves from the mainstream party to a Labour Party of suspect identity had already committed political suicide. Though, the late Akin Omoboriowo who left the progressive Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) for the conservative National Party of Nigeria (NPN) was treated with contempt by the Ekiti people till he died, I plead for sympathy for our very good friend with whom we shared some good times in the past. A man who is troubled by complex and ambition deserves our compassion and nothing more.

From what happened during the 3rd anniversary celebration, there is no doubt that the Ekiti people are in love with your administration because of the numerous projects and progammes that your government has done in the state. Mrs. Bosede Balogun, the second market woman that spoke in Ekiti dialect during the mega rally, did a good job for you when she highlighted all the achievements of your government using the 8-point agenda as her framework. It was a convincing presentation and that was why she received the loudest ovation at the rally. Hers was not a make-believe or stereotyped narrative of achievements. She spoke with passion for your government. She spoke with love for your government; she spoke with an affection for a government that had touched the lives of the people in the rural communities in particular and the state in general.

Talking about the rural communities, what I witnessed in Annunciation School, Ikere -Ekiti during the second phase of the Grants in –Aid To Communities across the state; 32 (Ekiti North), 36 (Ekiti Central) and 27 (Ekiti North), showed that your government’s acceptability was not just because of what you are doing in Ado Ekiti, but also because of the massive development and transformative projects that has taken place in these rural communities. According to some of them, your interventions in the areas of infrastructure, provision of portable water, school renovations, primary health care, etc. have endeared your government to them. The Alawe of Ilawe, Oba Banji Alabi, was so elated that he was boasting that Ilawe-Ekiti is now like New York, London, Tokyo, Paris where youths can access the internet within a given distance courtesy of an ICT Centre the community was able to put together with the grant-in-aid it received from your government.

I am aware that some people are accusing you of giving contracts to non-indigenes. Kindly handle this with some maturity. During the commissioning of some roads your government constructed, you mentioned the names of the local contractors that handled some of those roads and also challenged your accusers to name any local contractor with a good track record of performance in his fields of interest that had not benefitted from contract awards.

You also needed to let them know that the reason you inherited many abandoned projects was because local contractors patronised by previous administrations failed to discharge their contractual obligations even when there was evidence that they had collected between 80 and 100 percent of the contract sum. While local contractors have the courage to abandon projects, non-indigenous contractors do not have such courage because of the implications. An indigenous contractor, for instance, can claim that because he is an indigene of the state, he should be forgiven for abandoning a project that he was adequately mobilised for. But a “foreign” contractor feels unsafe and unprotected should he dare abandon any project that he had been mobilised to do.

Another complaint which seems to be very prevalent among a particular group of people in the state is that of “stomach infrastructure”. Some of them are complaining that you do not behave like a typical Nigerian politician who throws money from his open jeep as he goes on a campaign trail around town. I must confess that this is a knotty issue to crack because an intellectual-politician like you should not be seen throwing money to people on the road during campaign. But meanwhile, try and look for a good construction company to construct roads, dig boreholes, renovate schools inside such people’s stomachs since that is where they want their own ‘infrastructure’.

If you must know, you are not the only one accused of not doing “stomach infrastructure”. They are also accusing Senator Femi Ojudu and Yemi Adaramodu, your Chief of Staff. The impression that was created about Femi Ojudu was that of an “absentee Senator” or in their own language “Senator moÌ nìbÍÌ”. When I told Femi what the people were saying about him in town, and he told me the numerous projects and programmes he had done for his Senatorial District in two years, I was amazed. All these activities, projects and welfare programmes were captured in a publication on his two-year stewardship – titled: Half Term Score Card. I am bringing this to your attention because they were saying that Femi was creating problem for you because of his non-performance in Ekiti Central. When Femi told me of how much he had spent in his one week stay in Ekiti for the Ileya festival, it was shocking. Seriously, I pity Femi when he was debunking all these snide comments by people who use stomach infrastructure to measure the performance of their elected representatives. If Femi’s case was deserving of commiseration, that of Yemi Adaramodu was nothing but a baloney. At every event, the same Yemi that they accuse of not ‘doing anything’, is always hailed and applauded by the same people accusing him of non-performance. May GOD deliver all the “Alajese” people in Ekiti land.

If today, the Ekiti people are hailing and applauding your achievements, it is because you have performed far above the expected benchmark, and I can imagine how tough it has been. To satisfy an average Ekiti man who also believes he can perform similar feat given the same resources and opportunity could not have been an easy hurdle. It becomes a more herculean task when you have to impress all the “Professor Iguns” and “Professor Alukos” that hibernate in every Ekiti village.

What I observed was that the people are happy with your government and what it has done in the state. But you can never tell with our people. I know you already know what to do: keep working hard as you have been doing, remain focused, be strategic, be prayerful, be watchful. Regaining the legacy is commendable but please don’t stop there. Move on until you have raised the legacy.

Finally, I thank you for giving me a copy of your latest book, Regaining The Legacy. Nice book, I must say. It contains all the speeches, papers and tributes which you delivered at different fora both at the local and international levels. It is a professional delight both in contents and packaging.

However, I am sure the book is not meant for those suffering from Stomach Infrastructure Deficiency Syndrome (SIDS) in the state. How do you expect somebody afflicted with this kind of disease to find the space in his brain, nay stomach, to digest the theme in the Part II of the book: The Sub-National: Structural Reconfiguration, Good Governance and The Imperative of Sub-Regional Strategies? If you have no cure for “stomach infrastructure”, why are you adding “stomach constipation and intellectual congestion” to their problem? Is it now a sin for the Ekiti people to have put an intellectual in power? Haba!

Thank GOD, Ekiti is blessed with “Book people” who can read and understand the loaded contents of your book. I suggest you compile the names of all serving and retired professors, bishops, civil servants and traditional rulers in Ekitiland and send copies to them. This is the strategy of “occupy till I come”. They have a veritable companion to keep them busy till the end of the election, otherwise the restless ones among the retired professors will turn themselves to emergency auditors scrutinising all contracts awarded since you came to power including the total cost of the food and drinks you consumed in the Governor’s Lodge since the past three years. An idle hand is a sure tool for the devil. Extend my greetings to Bisi – your wife, girlfriend,  sister and one and only Erelu Bambam.


By Dapo Thomas

This article was first published in The Nation

Last modified: October 27, 2013

One Response to " OPINION: Letter To My Friend, The Governor "

  1. … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here on that Topic: […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *