I consciously refrain from commenting on Nigeria volatile political environment as I almost always see the same charades exhibited by the same contenders. Pots and kettles etc. Today I feel I must disagree with myself on the account of my current experience in Nigeria and my investment in newspapers and online media as an extremely poorly served consumer. I am motivated by the near unanimous media aggression towards a candidate in Saturday’s gubernatorial election in Ekiti State namely Ayo Fayose.
Now to get the gist flowing, I as usual was virtually and visually assaulted with a headline in Sahara Reporters on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, alleging that SSS have arrested youths thumbing ballot papers in a resort owned by Fayose campaign director, Mr Anisulowo. I clicked and read and increasingly became dumbfounded by the concoction that masqueraded as a piece of investigative journalism. Partisanship by virtual media outlets is abhorrent. They abuse their power of reach to manufacture stories. Who wrote this story? Did SSS announce these arrests? A line quoting the supposed campaign manager is to be taken as gospel? Do SR have him on record saying what they are claiming? I’m disgusted by these kinds of lazy gimmicks by editors of SR. I don’t mind opposition or activism, but outrageous lies are anathema.
This sort of concoction will serve to diminish the best intentions that motivated SR founder Sowore into a life of struggle all those years ago. Sowore in the mid 90s survived cultists paid by then authorities in Unilag who hacked and chopped him up that his body arrived hospital in single bunk bed mattress to be mended back to the land of the living. A media gang rape like the story his outfit served me today will not kill the victim either, but it has diminished SR further in my estimation.
The elitist media gangup against Ayo Fayose governorship bid is all well and good but let the Ekiti people decide if they want to entrust governance to whomever they deem able. I’m tired and frankly nauseated by the middle class media diabolical rantings and campaign of hatred against a candidate whom they deride as academically inferior to the urbane and lettered incumbent Dr Fayemi.
From what I have seen from limited media coverage of the Ekiti PDP campaigns, the people of Ekiti in the majority swarm Fayose rallies. They may be there induced or not but they attend by choice. That is what democracy is all about..allowing people to choose.
This indeed most Ekiti residents will do come Saturday June 21st 2014 unless of course you are a student of the Tertiary institutions whom are deemed hostile to Fayemi ambition. The Ekiti Governor ordered the closure of state schools for 3 weeks after taking a straw poll according to the Federation of Ekiti State Students Union President quoted in the Daily Independent today. These same schools were open for the elections that brought Fayemi to power. Wonderful.
My unintended following of the Ekiti campaigns and elections was motivated by my study on the decline of elitist politics, as the last vestiges of military managed transition to democracy in Nigeria calcifies into political self-help, it is interesting to note that the elites who have always won political contests on the back of ‘illiterate thugs’ and other political camels are now on the decline. In Delta State from 1999 the upstart James Ibori retired the illustrious Ibru political clan. Amechi against the elites of Rivers politics, Oshiomole against the titian Anenih etc..GEJ against them all. In almost all legislative levels, majorities are members who in earlier times would only have been good enough as thugs and cannon folders. But alas, they have now turned on the elites and have realised that they can take power themselves.
This digression serves to allow me arrive at the crux of the substance of this piece. Democracy allows for the participation of those who see power and position as a vocation. Our largely non elite electorate now recognizes that from amongst them can be those to whom they can relate who are worthy of office. My townsmen last month regaled me with stories of those with whom they are not allowed to eat..coming out to ask for votes. They offer a resounding no to them in favour of the man or woman who they see as one of them. That is a well articulated case against elitism right or wrong.
The media barrage against Ayo Fayose in the Ekiti elections is a testament to the frustrations innately and instinctively felt by elites threatened by this political awakening. The common citizens are alienated and are suffocated. Grand designs and state-building are irrelevant to their current status and are therefore unable or unwilling to see the big picture. The urgency of the now is what they intend to address. Unemployment for the educated and lack of educational opportunities for the poorest 70 percent is responsible even in the relatively educationally advantaged state like Ekiti. Truth is the state suffer from a high level of deprivation and disadvantage. The victims see change as a better alternative than the status quo.
The elitist middle class media demonisation of Ayo Fayose candidature holds no truck with the teeming disadvantaged Ekitis who will troupe to voting booths on Saturday. They will not be swayed by pleadings and editorials, manufactured falsehoods in online media, including this limited write up. Gov Fayemi is a good guy, competent and well meaning but these outstanding qualities will hold no truck with the masses of Ekiti. A taxi ride, okada ride or keke ride in Ado, Afao, Ikole Ekiti etc will confirm this to you today if you’re independently interested. Fayemi is unfortunate to be running against Fayose.
An interesting enough observation on the negative campaign about Ayo Fayose is the name calling and brandishing of charges real and imagined against his person. But all these never mattered when he supported Fayemi against Engr. Segun Oni. Unbridled hypocrisy and intellectual hubris abound in this unprecedented elite fight against popular will. Engr. Oni couldn’t stomach the fact that Fayose got his party ticket so he promptly decamped to join his elite class on the other side. That he was mightily rewarded by the Elite-in-Chief of Yorubaland with APC Vice Chairmanship so suddenly reveals the clumsy outstretched graped hands targeted at Ekiti electorate. The names that Oni was labeled in the old order have been conveniently forgotten. I bet there will be those to remind him. I’m not qualified.
As a middle class member of the erstwhile elite political families in Nigeria, the import of what is a groundswell of opposition to our political dominance by the less privileged, is not lost on me one bit. Democracy allows for this condition and free elections rather than selections makes it inevitable. A return to the grass roots is well advised of this atrophied class whose glories can only be referred to in the past tense.
Ayo Fayose is a son of a migrant preacher who with only modest education but burning desire have wrestled victories out of vicissitudes. Described by some as a motor park boy, he is loved inexplicably by Ekitis. He ascribes this to God alone. Dr Fayemi may command respect from the elites and albeit some others, but that can’t trump love in our political firmament of emotions rather than objective realism. That is the real reason he is going to be the Ex-Governor of Ekiti State in a few hours.
Written By E.E. Clement
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