Fayose: The Fall and Triumph of a General By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
In the words of William Shakespeare, a veteran writer and author of the blessed memory, the wisest warrior is the one who run away to re-oil his weaken artillery whenever he perceives being overpowered by superior enemies at war front. That is, a foolish warrior is the one that stays at war front to continue fighting a battle that is obvious he cannot win.
Retreating from a battle that one knows he could not win is not an act of coward; it is the smartest way to success. A run away warrior of yesterday who resurface at war front today to continue from where he stops would be remembered for intelligence and success while an arrogant warrior that was foolishly defeated at war front would be known for imprudence.
On October 16 2006, Ayodele, the scion of Fayose’s dynasty of Afao-Ekiti ran away from political war front in Ekiti State having smell defeat in the hands of his political enemies.
God entrusted the sovereignty of Ekiti people into Fayose’s hands in May 2003 to be distributing the fruits of democratic governance to his people but he was controversially and unconstitutionally impeached in 2006 via the conspiracy of Ekiti Elites and a Retired General from Ogun State.
A recap of his political journey will suffice, nobody knew Fayose until he stormed the political firmament of Ekiti State in year 2000 like a thief walking in the night. The then incumbent Governor, Otunba ‘Niyi Adebayo had not spent a year in office when Fayose stormed Ekiti with the inscription “Who is Fayose?” pasted in all the nooks and crannies of the state.
Affirmatively, the question on the lips of every conscious Ekiti people then was who truly Fayose is? The Elites of Ekiti State considered him as a tenderfoot, neophyte and tyro and therefore was never taken serious. But before a twinkle of an eye, he had become the talk of the town. From the North, to the South, East and West of Ekiti, Fayose was the major point of political discourse.
He defeated Chief S.K Babalola who was the candidate strongly supported by then President, Olusegun Obasanjo and the Elites in his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at the governorship primaries. Also, Governor Adebayo never took him serious until the results of the governorship election were announced in favour of Fayose.
Meanwhile, Fayose had not spent three months in office when some people who considered themselves as Ekiti intelligentsia declared a maneuver war fare against him. His integrity was roundly bashed and massacred in the media by the opposition. In fact, some people outside Ekiti State considered relating with Fayose as a height of immorality.
An Ekiti born Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, according to news reports, single-handedly submitted seventy three petitions against Fayose at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). A state reputed as Fountain of Knowledge and Land of Honour was turned to an Egypt by Fayose’s political foes.
Ekiti was always in the news from May 2003 to October 2006 that Fayose held the insignia of power for negative melo-drama. It was violence for violence between Fayose’s men and those after his job.
Conversely, after many twists and turns, a general was defeated at the battle field. On October 16 2003, Fayose was illegally impeached by the members of the state House of Assembly over offences that he had earlier been vindicated over by the panel constituted by the state Chief Judge, Justice Kayode Bamisile.
Fayose was vilified and found guilty by a panel constituted by an unknown Judge, Justice Jide Aladejana who was unlawfully appointed by the state House of Assembly as Chief Judge of the state to investigate Fayose.
Fayose was sent out of Oke Bareke government House, Ado-Ekiti via a civilian coup that was strongly supported by the Nigerian bourgeoisies. And to further compound his problems, Fayose was declared wanted by the EFCC after his impeachment for sleaze, gross misconduct and mal-administration.
Oh! A general fell at war front though he was not captured! His enemies jubilated while the poorest of the poor in Ekiti wailed. He ran for his dear life when he was defeated by the warriors of the earth to re-oil his weapons. He went on a self-imposed exile in only God knows land.
For 15 months, nobody knew his where about. His political hibernation was the talk of the town when he was invincible. His foes called him a coward not knowing that he went on exile to re-invent, re-plan and re-strategize.
On December 8th 2007, the missing general re-surfaced on the streets of Ado-Ekiti. The news of Fayose’s appearance spreads across the 120 towns and villages of Ekiti State and outside the shore of the state and the country within ten minutes.
He was welcomed by all and sundries across political divides. A few days after re-appearing, he submitted himself for investigation and prosecution at EFCC office in Ikoyi, Lagos. Third day after visiting EFCC, he became a guest at Ikoyi prison.
He spent the Christmas and New Year yuletide of year 2007 at Ikoyi maximum prison on the order of Justice Abubakar of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos. He was set free after spending 21 days in the cage of the almighty Goliaths of the nation of Nigeria. An attempt to further incarcerate him for trump up charges of murderer in January 2008 was rejected by the people of Ekiti who stood against the move.
He left prison and joined the masses on the streets of Ekiti who were fighting against the illegal government of Engineer Segun Oni that was imposed on Ekiti people in year 2007 by Obasanjo. Fayose openly declared his support for Oni’s challenger, kayode Fayemi.
After over two years of a titanic battle, the alliance between Fayose and Fayemi sacked Oni from government. Then, Ekiti people were happy that the saviours had arrived from Canaan land.
Fayose was expecting to be incorporated into Fayemi’s government but he got what he never bargained for. He was rejected by those he helped enthroned. He declared interest in the senatorial seat of Ekiti Central in year 2011 but his once upon a time political friends used the instrumentality of power and money to rubbish him at the polls. Fayose was defeated again.
For the second time within a decade, Fayose went on political exile. For six months, nobody read nor heard from Fayose. Nonetheless, he came out again stronger. He went back to re-unite with his party members, the PDP to re-build their then shattered house in Ekiti.
He was confronted by enemies within his party and conquered. In less than six months, he took over the structure of his party in Ekiti. Above all expectations, he was granted a waiver by his party to run for elective positions.
On March 27 2014, Fayose won the ticket of his party to run for Ekiti governorship seat for the second term. Just like in his first term, nobody took him serious when he declared his ambition to re-govern Ekiti State. He won the primaries of his party against all odds and traps set for him by enemies within and outside his party.
On June 21 2014, the elitist government of Fayemi was democratically and lawfully dethroned at the polls by a populist. Fayemi who had spent all his days in government formulating and implementing elitist polices looked back and he could not see the members of his class. The Elites could not leave the comfort of their hotel suites to queue on the sun. Only the commoners came to judgment and they voted to restore their man back to government.
Ekiti people voted Ayo Fayose again to resume from where he stops in 2006. They voted for a leader that is high in ideas and lowly at heart. He overwhelmly triumphed in all the sixteen local government areas of the state.
His political foes publicly congratulated him after defeating them at the polls not knowing that they had plans to ensure that he’s not inaugurated. He was dragged to a court of competent jurisdiction to stop his inauguration on the excuse that he was not qualified to run for the seat that he won June 21 2014 having been impeached in 2006.
Fayose sent his legal luminaries to court to defend him. Meanwhile, as the suit lingers, issues surfaces. When angry Ekiti people saw the suit slammed against Fayose as an opportunity to steal their mandate, they brazenly invaded the temple of court on September 26 2014 and set their man free. What a sad occurrence!
On October 16 2014, Fayose was inaugurated for another term. He was sworn in for another term of four years but another trouble started within five weeks of his assumption of office. A battle of supremacy ensued between Fayose and the opposition dominated members of the state House of Assembly.
The war saw the seven members of the house that are loyal to Fayose impeaching their Speaker, Adewale Omirin who enjoyed and still enjoy the support the remaining nineteen members of the house. The seven members loyal to Fayose took over the house and the remaining nineteen sent themselves on a self-imposed political exile.
However, the nineteen anti-Fayose members resumed on April 2nd 2015 after almost four months on exile to commence an impeachment proceeding against Fayose. They resurfaced after the victory of General Mohamadu Buhari of their party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the March 28 presidential election.
The impeachment plots caused a violent unrest in Ekiti. A young man, Temitope Olaiya lost his live in the process. On April 11th, Ekiti people went to polls again to deliver their judgment against the anti-Fayose lawmakers. All the 26 assembly seats were won by Fayose’s men.
On April 14th 2015, a lingering case that started at the Election Petition Tribunal in Ado-Ekiti through to appellate Court seeking for the nullification of Fayose’s victory on June 21 2014 on the allegation that he was not qualified to run for any public position having been impeached in 2006 was decided at the Supreme Court in favour of Fayose.
The Apex court rules that Fayose was never impeached in year 2006 because the Chief Judge who constituted the panel that found the Governor guilty of impeachable offences was an impersonator and therefore, any function carried out by the panel is null and void.
The cloudy atmosphere that had pervaded Ekiti ever since the forceful exit of Fayose on October 16, 2006 was finally blown away by the Supreme Court on April 14, 2015.
The Judge who was the pawn used by desperate politicians to circumvent the mandate freely given to Fayose by the people of Ekiti in 2006 remained suspended till date by the National Judicial Council (NJC) for gross mis-conduct.
The fall and triumph of Fayose is a lesson to all politically inclined young souls. No matter how long, light will always triumph over darkness.
Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye, Magodo, Lagos.
+2347039168005 (SMS only)