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By Remi Oyeyemi
The landslide defeat of the APC gurbernatorial candidate and incumbent governor of Ekiti state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi is a lesson in the importance of humility while occupying a public office. It is a lesson on the ephemeral nature of any position and indeed our lives on this earth. It is a lesson on how not to over value one’s worth. It is a lesson in how not to take a highly sophisticated and well read voting public for fools. It is a lesson on how a river which treats its source contemptuously would dry up. It is a lesson a wise ought to take to heart and it is a lesson only a fool would discard.
JKF as he is popularly called is a man who seemed to inappropriately gauge his own value. He was arrogant, condescending as well as disrespectful to a lot of people. Some of them are fathers of the Ekiti State who under normal circumstances ought to be accorded respect. Those of them that I know, are not the type that were begging for contracts, they were not begging for patronage, they were people of integrity that wish the State of Ekiti very well. But JKF believes that these leaders’ time had gone. They had nothing more to offer, he reckoned.
He ignored the counseling of the elders. He disregarded the imploration of the young. He would allow his friends to sit for six to seven hours before giving them any audience if at all luck would smile on any of them. This is regardless that he was the one who gave them appointments in the first instance. His commissioners had to make appointments to see him. He was aloof. He was detached. He was at the apex. He was superior and could not brood any form of contamination from his assumed inferior subordinates. JKF felt like an emperor. He was above the people. He was above the staff. If you see JKF, His Excellency the governor, it is a sign that God might have granted you a special supplication.
Among the rest of his colleagues who are governors, JKF is renowned for calling much older leaders by first names. He had no regard or respect for them. Simply because he was the governor, he was suddenly older than those old enough to be his father and uncles. He is renowned for asking his security to keep them at bay at gatherings. He is renowned for his preposterous arrogance and condescension and noxious superiority complex. Chief Bisi Akande has had to come to the rescue of some political leaders subjected to such humiliating treatment on few occasions. He behaved like “Omo oju o r’ola ri ti o nwa obe s’aya.” Even, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has had to rebuke him on certain occasions regarding specific personalities who are leaders of the APC in the Southwest.
Majority of the Ekiti wondered why he was so arrogant. They tried to fathom the reason for it. They wanted to know why he felt he was “special” or “better than the rest of us.” They wondered why he could not speak to them in Ekiti dialect most of the time and would continue to speak English language to them. Some in Ekiti felt that because he had PhD is the reason why he was so arrogant, but many would often wonder if he did not know that almost every household in Ekiti land has a PhD anyway. “So, what is special about him?”, they would ask themselves.
One of the leaders was adamant that the reason JKF did not know “how to behave” was because he was an “Ekiti abroad.” He insisted that he was tired of all these “Ekiti abroad” coming home and suggesting to the rest of them that they did not know what they were doing. He vowed that he would never support any one brought from outside the state as the governor of the State ever in his life.
Meanwhile, JKF and his cohorts believed that they are the owners of the State. They are convinced that whatever they ask of the people in terms of political persuasion, the people would follow them. They are so cocky they did not think they owe anyone any explanation as to how they go about the business of the State. They believe that they can always win elections regardless of the candidate and regardless of the situation. Even though JKF and his men knew they had to perform, but it was not the performance that really gives them the surety that they needed to respect those who voted for them. It was the belief that as long as the people still continued to see them as the followers of the Awolowo philosophy of leadership, even when they knew they are not, things would be alright with and for them.
This mentality added another layer of arrogance to an attitude that was already repulsive. It made things worse. JKF and his men became blinded to the true feelings of the Ekiti people. They become shrouded from the fundamentals of the Yoruba culture which abhors the humiliation of the young and the disrespect of the old. They forgot they were operating in the cultural context that critically observes the powerful and consciously looks out for the weak. They ignore the social milieu that is suspicious of the rich and empathetic to the poor. JKF and his men took a good look at the highly esteemed value that the Yoruba placed the highest premium upon – respect and regard – and spat on it. They spat on it and damned the consequences which later came to bite them on June 21, 2014.
In the days that followed the election result of June 21, 2014, what was most palpable was the hopeful feeling that a different democratic, people oriented and listening APC would emerge from the ashes of this defeat. There was hope for an APC that knows the value of the young and appreciates the worth of the old. There was anticipation for an APC that would have learnt his lessons and had unnecessary arrogance extricated from its attitude and approach. What was not clear on the days that followed June 21, 2014, the day after Fayemi was massively voted out of power is whether those political leaders and friends that he, Fayemi has mistreated, maltreated, disrespected, humiliated and embarrassed would be willing to have him reactivated. There is a cloud of great doubts on this. But time will tell.
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