JKF: No Longer ‘the Apprentice’

Last Saturday’s governorship election in Ekiti State, has stoked some interrogations on the political artery of the state, with ideology at the centre of it all. There’s also been interesting reports and opinions about the fact that the feat of Saturday had broken 23 years succession jinx in the state. But a few people have equally been stifled by the inadequacy of that single-minded submission. Yet, it might not have been a function of mischief.

Spare a moment and take an introspective look at the politics of South-west since return to civil rule in 1999 and ask the obvious: Has there been any state, apart from Lagos, that has succeeded with the politics of succession? None, and not that they do not readily come to mind.

Let’s do a quick run of what it’s been like. Take a look at Ogun. From Chief Segun Osoba to Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and now the Eleyi of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, they had each emerged, independent of their predecessors and sometimes, switching parties.

In Oyo, it was first Lam Adesina, to Rasheed Ladoja, Adebayo Alao-Akala, Abiola Ajimobi and now, Seyi Makinde. Ondo Had Adebayo Adefarati, Segun Agagu, Olusegun Mimiko and of course, the incumbent, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu.

The neighbouring Osun had Bisi Akande, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Rauf Aregbesola and currently, Gboyega Oyetola. Although like Ogun, successor in Osun came from the same party, certainly not a plan engineered by their predecessors. That’s public knowledge.

Now, come to Ekiti. Starting with Niyi Adebayo, Ekiti got into the hands of Ayodele Fayose, briefly to Segun Oni (let’s not reckon with the Tunji Olurin interregnum) and to Kayode Fayemi. Again, it moved from Fayemi back to Fayose and back to Fayemi, before the latter finally broke the jinx.

Fayemi, however, appears to typify a school that presupposes, “Failure is an opportunity to begin again even more intelligently” and like Steve Harvey, a US-based independent TV presenter, said on one of his shows, “You have to lose your fear of failure. Failure is part of the process. People, who never fail, never try. You have to fail. You’ve got to get it wrong to get it right. You learn nothing from winning; you only learn from your failures.”

The four years that Fayemi failed to return to the government house seemed to be the best part of his life, politically. Whatever school he went back to or learning that he embraced, changed him completely and made him a better Fayemi in terms of deep political thinking.

His knowledge of high wire politics is now top notch. He knows strategy better in the extra-ordinary fashion. He dreams and lives tact. And guess what? You will never see any of these coming. He enjoys being underrated and insidious in approach. He would not even engage anyone with warped views. He is not out to impress you. But, he just wants you to see result and result, will always speak for itself.

With just Lagos, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, started to conquer the politics of the zone, region and now, country. Today, he boasts an entire chapter in the nation’s political history – whether or not his ways are pleasing to many people. Fayemi is coming closely behind him now. Although Ekiti may not have the kind of money that Lagos throws around, but where strategy plays a key role, Fayemi has proven to always come out as a force.

It’s hard to tell what the future looks like for the outgoing governor of Ekiti, he is definitely coming on stream as another big issue from the politics of the zone, region and the nation in general. It might take some time, naturally, he is clearly walking his way up that promising ladder, having spent the last over two decades in government, actively building consensus and networking.

There’s no doubting the fact that Fayemi might have inadvertently stepped on toes, mistakenly bruised friendships or even come off as betraying some in ultimately managing the success of his politics and the delicate future that’s currently in his hands, these could also pass off as some of the unavoidable sacrifices required in stepping up the ladder. But, know this and know peace: the Fayemi you see today, is no longer the political apprentice of yesterday.

The Ekiti election is a green light and indicative of many other positive things to come. It may, however, appear early in the day to start pontificating, especially, when no one can predict how his successor, Biodun Oyebanji, could turn out or how power may challenge his loyalty in the long run, but once Fayemi gets this right – say no more – the future is his for the taking.

Olawale Olaleye

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