Fayose My Now, My Is, My Was: Tribute To A Quintessential Leader @55 By Sunshine Ilesanmi Anifowose
Though he was not born with a silver spoon like most of his colleagues, but he has achieved for himself what most sons and daughters of Jacobs that attended foreign universities could not achieve. Ironically, his personality means many things to different people. To some, he’s a genius while some hate him for whom he is. Though still strong, vocal, rooted, rugged and grounded, the ever courageous Ayo Fayose, the incumbent governor of Ekiti State clocks 55th on the surface of earth on November 15. How time flies!
Governor Ayo Fayose is a man who like taking uncommon decisions. He’s unique, original and exceptional. His political adversaries said he love dining with the common people yet, they have been trying to enact his style in their various states. Critics of Fayose failed to understand that governance is a mixture of idealism and pragmatism. Thus, none should suffer.
A leader should be able to come down from his high horse to interact and feel the immediate challenges of the masses and deploy strategies to ameliorate those needs. It is about giving governance a human face. A leader should be seen patronizing, dinning and wining with his people not only during electioneering period. Fayose’s detractors only dine and wine with the common people when seeking for votes but reverse is always the case when they got elected.
Once some gladiators assume office, they forget the ladder which they climbed in getting to that office. Forgetting they got to that office with the votes of the masses comprising of thouts, drivers, artisan, students, garage boy, street awkers, market women, elites, inteligensia, lunatics, illiterates etc. This is extremely bad.
In fact, I wonder why people do castigate Fayose anytime he visits and interact with common man. It’s only in this part of the world we believe or do see political office holders like Governors and presidents as God. Who are they before getting to that office? British Minister, David Cameron, was seen sometimes last year in a public transit with other passengers. We all showered praises and encomium on him then hailing such development. But in Nigeria, those who praised Cameroon are abusing Fayose. What a contradiction!
President Barack Obama of the United States have been seen in different occassions with common people trying to listen to what they are saying about his government. It happened times without number during his first tenure. Obama disguised to shops, Eatries, relaxation joints, silema’s etc seeking people’s opinion about his government. These people hardly recognise him then as the president. He did that for almost 6months of his first tenure. Expect Nelson Mandela of the blessed memory, I have never seen any African leader doing such.
However, Fayose is the only politician today in Nigeria to be celebrated on this. You hardly see a Governor today in Nigeria that doesn’t wind up the tainted glasses of his armored vehicles. Fayose is someone you see on a bike and public taxi. You see him with market women and at food canteens and relaxation centers with common people dinning and winning with them. He believes they are one. He doesn’t look down on people. And that is why he’s loved. He’s loved with his downtrodden life-style. And I want to say without any prejudice that Fayose is not pretending unlike many of his colleagues.
Though some believe Fayose’s style has nothing doing with governance, but I want to disagree with them. Any leader that continues to pursue or see him/herself as the Almighty at the expense of the masses of which he climbed as ladder to get to that position doesn’t worth being addressed a leader. This act alone serves as motivation to the some people that the son of a palm wine seller of today could be a chief executive office of a state tomorrow.
Politics remains a local affair and the people who actually sacrifice their blood and energy to ensure victory for the political aspirants remain the local masses. They shoudn’t be looked down or dangraded. These ordinary people will continue to give the verdict at the polls.
Fayose is not using any magic in winning votes. He’s seriously loved. And that’s just the basic fact. If you are a leader and you believe you can only satisfy the members of your own class, the elite, the intelligentsia, and keep speaking the language of the intellect while ignoring the humorous jibes at the local bars of your forest, politically, a day will come when a bewildered elite will look back and wouldn’t see the members of his class any longer.
Politically, Ayo Fayose is my now, my is and my was. Any where he go, I go also. I trust and believe in his erudition and sense of judgement. He is disciplined, hardworking and very practical. History and posterity will never forget the fact that Fayose whom some reactionaries would say only dine and wine with the common people to the detriment of good governance, revolutionized infrastructures in Ekiti State.
I can say unequivocally that 70% of all the major roads in Ado-Ekiti today were either constructed or reconstructed by Fayose. Fayose has built and renovated schools and hospitals than any other governor in the history of Ekiti. And presently, despite the paucity of funds across the states of the federation, Fayose has not stopped serving his people. Egberun International Market, Ikere-Ekiti has just been built and opened. The 13km road from Irewumi community to police headquarters, Ado-Ekiti is near completion. Petim-Onala-Housing road is near completion. The dualisation of Afao township road has been completed and commissioned. The dualisation of Awedele-bank road is near completion. The dualisation of Ikere township road is in progress. Covenant to Upperland road, Ado-Ekiti has been delivered.
Also, the frightening drainage at Oloogan area of Christ School, Ado-Ekiti has been reconstructed. The ultra modern Funmilayo Olayinka International Women Development Center, Ado-Ekiti is 85% competed. The electronic library built with the support of Sterling Bank at college of education, Ikere-Ekiti has been opened for the use of the people. Civil servants and other government workers are being paid as at when due. Under Fayose, FRSC announces Ekiti as the state with best roads network in South western, Nigeria.
Now, country people, tell me, why one should not celebrate the life of this quintessential colossus? A man that did not attend Harvard University but in reality, he is a better manager of economy, people and resources than most graduates of Toronto universities masquerading as change agents.
Consequently, i celebrate this erudite and worthwhile personality who has successfully redefined populism and introduced pragmatism into governance in Nigeria. As you celebrate 55 years on the surface of earth, all I can wish you is more grace to enjoy the goodies of life. Cheerio, Osokomole!
Sunshine Ilesanmi Anifowose is the Personal Assistant on Administration, Human Development and Special Duties to Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State.