17 Feb 2015

When Will Fayose Start Governing Ekiti? - by Bayo Olupohunda

When will the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, stop talking and start performing the job he was elected to do by the good people of the state? Why must the controversial governor always want to “put his mouth” in everything that does not remotely concern him or the development of Ekiti State? Is it a must that the governor must respond to every issue that has no direct relationship with his stewardship as a governor? Since his second coming after he won the governorship election when he defeated Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress, Fayose has been known to involve himself in mundane issues leading to awkward situations.

With his penchant for speaking on every issue, it appears that Fayose just enjoys listening to his own voice – even when his intervention does not make much sense. Sometimes, I wonder if the governor is running a one-man show in Ekiti. Otherwise why can’t someone in his cabinet caution him and let him know there is work to be done? Why can’t someone let him know that his verbal haemorrhage is causing embarrassment to the great people of Ekiti State? Does the governor for once think that by talking people will respect him and his views?

Really, every time Fayose opens his mouth to release his verbal missiles, they cause concern and heat up the polity. Immediately after his election in August, the state was thrown into turmoil when his loyalists were alleged to have beaten up a judge adjudicating in a case that was to determine his eligibility. Immediately after this, the governor was engaged in a long drawn media war with the opposition he had just defeated over how much the former governor left in the account of Ekiti State. Before the dust of the media war about the state’s debt profile could settle, Fayose was embroiled in another war of attrition with civil servants over payment of salaries.

Since then, the governor has been engaged in spats with almost everybody. He makes statements that portray him in uncomplimentary manner. Certainly, the image Fayose is creating in the eyes of the public is not the one expected from a governor. The position of a governor is the one that should command awe and respect. Why then should Fayose always want to get into a fight all the time? The last time, it was the petrol station of an opponent that was sealed off. At another time, an attempt to impeach the Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly led to violence.

While this piece is not in support of any of the parties in Ekiti State, Nigerians are all witnesses to the peaceful tenure of the last governor in the state. Not once did we hear of violence or threat of violence in Ekiti. Must government business be always controversial? While it is also true that politics can bring disagreement among politicians and political parties, politicians must conduct their business with civility. The likes of Fayose must know that the youths of this country are watching their actions and utterances. They must thus lead by example and conduct their affairs peacefully and with respect for the people they govern. The governor must not be seen to respond to every issue. If he must, then he should do it through the proper channel. He must make use of the line of communication and respond through his media aides through press conferences or releases that address issues rather than abuse and personal attacks.

A situation where the governor sounds off on every issue, abuses and attacks known and imaginary enemies diminishes his exalted position. It amounts to talking first without thinking. A few weeks ago, the governor took up a political advert in which he attacked the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari. In the advert, he listed Nigeria’s former leaders from the North-West who either died naturally or were killed in military coups and admonished Nigerians not to elect Buhari because he reasoned he might suffer the same fate. The advert, which was in bad taste, was widely condemned by Nigerians. Even his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, also distanced itself from him.

Another source of embarrassment is the governor’s constant spats with former president Olusegun Obasanjo. Let’s even agree that the governor has a score to settle with the former President, I believe there are ways to engage without resorting to abuse and name-calling that have characterised public discourse. While I believe Obasanjo to be the cause of our present travails as a nation, his years in power also witnessed so much brigandage that is now causing our country so many traumas. Yet, Fayose must refrain from crying more than the bereaved.

A situation where the governor has turned himself into the spokesperson for President Goodluck Jonathan while neglecting his own duties in Ekiti portrays him as a busybody. I want to advise him to let Jonathan fight his own battles. How does he sleep well at night with all the controversies he brings upon himself and still has time to govern?

I believe there are many issues in Ekiti begging for Fayose’s attention. The state needs him to improve their lives not through tokenism or propaganda but through enduring programmes and projects. Sometimes, I wonder if the governor realises he has just four years to make a difference. My advice is for him to thread softly. Enough of talking! It’s time to work for Ekiti.

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