The single most important thing lacking in governance in Nigeria is creative passion driven by determination and proactiveness. There are many who would mistake this for duplicity, but history attests to the ignominious end of leaders who thought deceit and pseudo-smartness would always hold the people spell-bound.
Adolf Hitler, a perfect example of such leaders, was an orator and a crowd manipulator (blessed with guile and gracious gait) who used dramatic strategies. His first public utterance at a Workers’ Party meeting so impressed the leader of the party Anton Drexler that he recruited him as manager of propaganda. But Hitler eventually passed away in ignominy.
This does not mean propaganda never worked, in fact as stated by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Propaganda (especially against a non-performing government) has worked very well in places where the people were simple-minded and could be easily taken for a ride, or in places like USSR where psychopolitics was used to make the people docile.
The situation, some may argue, should be dissimilar in a place where government has the best interests of the people at heart and is creatively dishing out dividends of democracy to them, but history has shown that the noblest of motives, when left to the jabs of malcontents, may be deemed anti-people. There are always those who would go to any length to set such good government against the people and vice versa. They would look for the tiniest hole in any policy, pronouncement or programme to create confusion while they stand aside, watching, gloating and counting their gains.
For some time now, this is what the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has done in my State (Ekiti). Of course, it is understandable that they have to provide a good opposition by constantly keeping the ACN government on its toes, but there is a thin line between criticism and bitterness. The message the PDP (precisely the Southwest division led by Chief Segun Oni, the Appeal-Court sacked Ekiti State former governor) sends across each time it opens its mouth is that of angry vituperations brought about by bitterness and a bad-loser spirit.
Normally, I would keep out of it and focus my energies on better engagements, but the PDP should be roused from its reverie which many Ekitis consider an amusement because of their (Ekitis’) impatience to speed up Fayemi’s performance rate, which is at present excellent.
Just like every true Ekiti indigene, I am not given to praise-singing – because it borders often on propaganda, but I love commendations because it bears in itself the reward of hardwork, creativity and sometimes, inner beauty. It is also important that I draw a line between propaganda and publicity. Propaganda is noise without performance and substance; publicity is when you are performing and you are letting the people know that you are. In this, there is no sin. Though Kayode Fayemi may not be a schizophrenic blower of his own trumpet like Ayo Fayose, he is definitely a performer and Ekiti people know this. For now, the PDP may amuse itself all it wants by erroneously thinking the people are on its side because of some TDNA or local government staff audit fallouts, the truth is that when push comes to shove, teachers and council workers know what to do. It is like the case of a father who says to his brilliant kid: “Oh, you can have a better result.” He is not saying the kid is not the best, rather he wants the kid to keep getting better. And thank God, Fayemi is getting better everyday in his quest to change the face and fate of Ekiti. When the time comes, PDP will know that no one wants them around here anymore, except for their few demoralised members who are even now seeing the light gradually. They will also that Fayemi would not be another Lishabi.
Lishabi was a warlord who liberated the Egba people from the misrule of Oyo kingdom, but eventually he was reportedly betrayed by the people he risked his life for. Some historical versions claim that Lishabi, as a result of the betrayal, went to the Oba forest where the ground opened up and swallowed him. Like Lishabi, Fabunmi Okemesi liberated the Ekitis from ‘ajeles’ and he was never betrayed. Ekitis know how to stand up for their own, especially when it matters. When the time comes to repay Fayemi, Ekiti people will show PDP that this is Ekiti and that Fayemi is not Lishabi.
There were governors in Akwa-Ibom before Godswill Akpabio, but Akpabio distinguished himself by converting the State’s resources into beautiful and lasting structures. Lagos State had governors before Bola Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola, but these two saw into the future beyond vain entanglements and political ‘roforofo’. History has since justified Tinubu and is writing on its un-eraseable slate of nobility and statesmanship the name of Babatunde Fashola. Just like these States, Ekiti had governors before Kayode Fayemi. One or two showed flashes of intelligence, but none can rival Fayemi in purposeful governance rooted in careful considerations and brilliant planning.
One of the fading ‘songs’ of PDP is that Fayemi is developing Ekiti with loans. Surely, there are some of these critics who were schooled with money borrowed by their parents just because such parents didn’t want them to end up as failures. Was borrowing money painful and sometimes humiliating to such parents? Yes it was. Should such parents have refrained from borrowing, folded their arms and watched their children turn out as uneducated and unlettered adults? Would those children eventually praise their parents for playing safe by not borrowing money to educate them, or would they salute them for taking the risk of doing what was necessary to make them responsible adults?
As one whose parents slaved to educate, I know the better answer. As I remember that day in JSS 3 when my mother had to trek from one end of Ado-Ekiti to the other to get my junior secondary school exam fee on an empty stomach, I feel nothing less than eternal appreciation and respect for my mother for that selfless my-children-first-at-all-times service. So, should Fayemi wait around myopically for the peanuts sent by the Federal Government? NO! Should he creatively and passionately (like my mother) do what is necessary to bring uniform development to Ekiti State? YES – PDP’s feeble jabs notwithstanding, because in the end, he will be eternally appreciated and admired like my mother.
Evidence abounds that the United States of America, which is the wealthiest and the most powerful country in the world, is yet the most indebted. Evidence also abounds that leaders of leading countries in the world have used loans to move their people and nations from the stone age to the computer age of innovations and advancement. But typical of PDP’s lack of brilliance and initiative, they could never come up with great ideas other than their babyish share-the-money goblin-like greedy tendencies. Save for exceptions like Akpabio, the PDP’s record would be that of all-round failure and bickering old men.
Fayemi became governor at a time when Segun Oni had almost, out of his habitual bitterness and stubbornness, turned Ado-Ekiti into another local council headquarters and had also rubbished whatever was left of Fayose’s cosmetic achievements. Fayemi could either go the way of Oni by dilly-dallying or camouflaging failure as success, or he could go the way of Fayose by constructing cosmetic roads, but as a true and well-groomed administrator, he chose neither, for both ways would have led to doom.
Fayemi chose a better way – the path of honour – and no matter what PDP or any of its governor-wannabes in Ekiti may say, results of that decision are visible in Ekiti State. Roads are being constructed, re-modelled and rehabilitated across the State, and these are not cosmetic roads that would give way in six months. Tourism has taken a revolutionary dimension with the turning of Ikogosi Warm Spring into a world classic. I was there. Sceptics should visit also. The Youths in Commercial Agriculture Programme is also afoot, not to mention the Operation Renovate All Schools in Ekiti (ORASE) and the toast-of-the-century social welfare scheme for the aged. My over-eighty-year-old grandmother, Janet Ojo is a beneficiary.
Fayemi’s achievements are many, too many that they make Segun Oni’s rogue election-founded administration look like the reign of locusts. And do Ekiti people want such days again? NO!!!
The PDP and Segun Oni may be in denial for as long as they want, clinging fruitlessly to their claim of red-biro judgement, the truth is, it is a new dawn and no amount of jabs, lies or propaganda will change this. Fayemi’s achievements are already on ground; it will take bulldozers, and not lies, to erase them.
Like I said, Fayemi is not Lishabi. This is Ekiti where hard work is rewarded, and in good time, John Kayode Fayemi will be adequately rewarded for his sacrifice, decisiveness and hard work.
By Dimeji Daniels
Dimeji Daniels writes from Ado-Ekiti
Last modified: December 17, 2012