Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State recently defied warnings and declared his intention to contest for the ticket of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party. Amid shouts of ‘Oshokomhole, Oshokomhole’, he challenged aspirants from the North to which the party zoned the presidency to make public their intention and meet him on the field in the fight for the ticket of the party.
Watching Fayose speak when he publicly declared his intention at Chelsea Hotel, located at Central Abuja, it was obvious that he was convinced of his invincibility as a politician. He spoke as ‘a prophet’, quoting the Bible, just as he tried hard to convince the audience that his project had already been accomplished in the heavens.
He declared that there were 17 specially created human beings in Nigeria and he is one of them. He did not name the other 16 Nigerians, neither did he indicate if they were alive or dead. He, however, left nobody in doubt that his mission to be president could not be derailed.
Contrary to Fayose’s claim to spiritual and physical accomplishments, the reality on ground does not back up his position on his presidential project. How does Fayose intend to convince his party to change the zoning formula? He made reference to Abubakar Rimi, who contested the presidential primary election of the party in 2003 even though the party zoned the ticket to the South.
But the first Secretary of the party, Okweselieze Nwodo, said he did not sell the nomination form to Rimi and that the party came short of stopping security men from arresting Rimi when he went round campaigning at the convention venue.
The national acceptability of Fayose may not be judged by the dignitaries that graced the launching of his presidential aspiration because they were all from the South-West. They include a former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, who is also aspiring to be national chairman of the party; former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani Kayode, and former deputy governor of Osun State, Chief Iyiola Omisore. The two PDP governors from the North East also sent representatives.
No notable leader from the South-East and the South-South bothered to send representatives. Party leaders from North-Central, North-East and North-West were conspicuously absent. It is estimated that 90 per cent of the crowd that witnessed the launching were from Ekiti State. Key officials in Fayose’s administration had key roles to play at the ceremony. Fayose and those handling his presidential project would have to work on national spread to make Fayose’s acceptability national. Ekiti State and a few leaders from the South-West cannot make his presidential ambition a reality.
Already, there are pointers to the fact that Fayose was merely flying a kite by the declaration. Party stalwarts claimed that Fayose and some young Turks in the party were planning to take over the party and his declaration was part of their grand plan.
The next stage, it was also alleged, would be the convention of the party scheduled to hold on December 9, when they hope that their candidates would take over the National Working Committee of the party. Already, it is being alleged that the young Turks already have candidates for all the key offices to be contested at the convention. They have also allegedly concluded plans on how one of the governors will be chairman of the convention committee to ensure easy passage for their candidates at the
it was obvious that he was convinced of his invincibility as a politician. He spoke as ‘a prophet’, quoting the Bible, just as he tried hard to convince the audience that his project had already been accomplished in the heavens.
But those who regard themselves as fathers of the party are said to be aware of the plot of the young men in the party to sideline the older generation. What they intend to do to checkmate the ambitious young men has not been made known. It is believed that the elders will ensure that none of the governors would be made the chairman of the convention committee. The plan for the young Turks to have total control of the party through their surrogates would be checkmated.
What informed the position of the young tucks in the party? It is alleged that all over the world, young men are taking over governance and Nigeria’s case should not be different. Old men in Nigeria, they said, were unwilling to leave the stage and they must be eased out of the stage. They agreed that mistakes would be made and corrections must be made. They are also aware that it is not going to be easy to ease out the old men from the control of the party.
Acknowledging that the party zoned the presidency to the North, Fayose pointed out that zoning was a gentleman’s agreement as the Constitution guaranteed the freedom of all Nigerians to contest for any office of their choice. In addition, he argued that recent history of the party showed that people often contested from other zones even when the party zoned it to a particular area.
He said, “Going down memory lane, in 1999 and 2003, despite that our party zoned the presidency to the South, the likes of Alhaji Abubakar Rimi of blessed memory and Chief Banabas Gemade contested the ticket. Also in 2007, some party members from the South did not only declare their intention to contest, they also showed interest and collected nomination forms. Those from the South were: Chief Victor Attah, Dr. Peter Odili, Dr. Sam Egwu, Dr. Donald Duke, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, among others.”
Sounding unapologetic, Fayose wondered if aspirants from the northern part of the country expected that the party should beg them before coming out to declare their intention. He told the crowd that some of them were afraid and could not speak out against the rot in the system, adding that zoning always brought clueless people into government.
Fayose was his usual exuberant self. He reeled out his political achievements and the several enviable, unparalleled feats he had attained, including his penchant for defeating incumbents. He vowed to defeat President Muhammadu Buhari if he is able to secure his party’s presidential ticket.
Obviously enjoying himself when he was to make his speech, Fayose spoke extempore for almost an hour before he read his prepared speech. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of his speech was when he pointed out his political ingenuity by making reference to Ekiti as the fountain of knowledge with many PHD holders and professors and how he emerged governor even though he had HND. “I pay their salaries,”
To drive home his point, Fayose said in the entire South West, it was only in Ekiti that all 26 members of the House of Assembly, all the three senators from the state, all members of the House of Representatives, all council chairmen, and all councilors were in the PDP. He pointed out that in Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo and Osun states, there were other political parties winning election into different organs of government. To him, that proves his acceptability as a leader of his people.
“People of Ekiti love me, they believe in me as
a leader,” he said.
Declaring that he is a young man, Fayose said it was not in the interest of Nigerians to have old men in positions of power.
According to him, he is the only governor who picks his phone personally and replies to every text message. To him, that is how a leader should relate to the people. Those in government must connect with the people, he stressed.