July 15,2018 was a red- letter day and a day of jubilation and rejoicing for the good people of Ekiti State. That was the day the INEC, through its returning officer, declared Dr. John Kayode Fayemi elected and returned as the governor of Ekiti State.
The last four years or so has turned out for Ekiti people a most humiliating and harrowing experience, having been governed by a maximum ruler whose mode of governance is characterized by autocracy and authoritarianism.
For the first time in our 22 odd years of existence as a state,we have a governor who turns governance into eating toasted plantain and groundnut by the roadside, buying cowhide( ponmo) in the market, serving himself and aides pounded yam and amala in local eateries,frying gari at local processing depots etc.
We became an object of scorn and ridicule in the eyes of the people of other states who despise and deride us that, as a land of honour and fountain of knowledge, we deserve a better deal than the short end of the stick we were being fed in the name of governance.
The question may well be asked: how did we get to this pass where odium and opprobrium of the worst form became our portion?
To be sure, this is our governor’s second coming having served as governor between 2003 and 2007, but I daresay that our experience the first time pales into significance as it cannot be compared with what we are going through at his second coming. In a proverbial sense, while he chastised us with whip the first time,he did with scorpion the second time.
I was not on ground in Ekiti during his first coming before he was impeached. So I had no first hand information of some of the odd things he did, even though I read quite a lot of them in the media and heard a lot from some of the people resident here.
And that explains why, when he sought to run, I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt that he should be allowed the second chance and given the opportunity to correct the shortcomings of his first outing.
In fact, I recall, with huge regret, that I had sharp disagreement with some of my close friends who tried to convince me that nothing good could come out of him as he was a leopard that could not change his spots. I stuck to my gun since he sounded sincere that since he had become born- again,he should be granted a second chance..
With the benefit of hindsight, it is a matter for deep regret that I allowed myself to be hoodwinked by his chicanery and I have come to terms that I was driven by sheer naivety and grand illusion to assume that this leopard could change his spots.
Between 2008 and 2019, I had served as a Commissioner in Ekiti State independent Electoral Commission, but Fayemi,s assumption of office in October of 2010 put paid to my tenure, along with other members and truncated what was supposed to be a 5 – year tenure.
Expectedly, our entitlements were not paid by Fayemi who felt Chief Segun Oni, his predecessor in office, stole his mandate and visited the later, s ‘sins’ on his political appointees. Naturally we didn’t take it to heart because he came in as Oni’s political opponent but when Fayose came in,we felt a reprieve was on the way. We were wrong. All efforts to persuade him as a party man to do something about our claim proved abortive as he kept on insisting to our astonishment that we should pursue our matter in the courts to its logical conclusions.. While I was disappointed,I didn’t let that pour cold water on my opinion of him. I still kept faith,but subsequent events and some of his actions began to erode my confidence in his ability to govern with fairness and responsibility.
It became apparent as the months wore on that we had on our hands a governor whose stay in office was going to devalue,degrade and denigrate all the values we as a people have always held sacred. His manifold sins and transgressions against the people of Ekiti multiplied from day-to-day such that we began to lose count and we kept hoping and praying that this nightmare would fizzle out and we would wake up relieved that we have been spared of a creepy and eerie dream.
Through the grapevine, it became clear that this governor had no business with the conventional weekly executive council meetings and that decisions were taken willy nilly on impulse; talk of governing by impulse; the old- hallowed and revered traditional institutions were no longer accorded any respect but were defied, defiled and desecrated at will, decisions were taken without any consideration for the aggregate interest of the people and devoid of due process, hapless Ekiti people had their houses demolished without compensation in the name of urban renewal, civil servants were sidelined in the scheme of things and denied of their emoluments for several months, pensioners were routinely denied of their pensions, white elephant projects were embarked upon while projects that could have direct impact on the people of Ekiti were neglected, money was spent recklessly without regard for openness and accountability, the House of Assembly which should have served as a veritable check and balance became a mere rubber stamp having been completely emasculated and put firmly in the pocket of the ruler who unabashedly and routinely issued orders to regulate their day-to-day proceedings including downright usurpation of their powers to pass the budget to mention just a few of the sundry acts of misgovernance!