By Abdulwasi’i Ilyas.
Seeking attention at the expense of reputation
“Court attention at all cost” exhorts Robert Greene in his controversial book the 48 laws of power. In the 5th law, he wrote “so much depends on reputation, guide it with your life.” Most people, particularly those wielding substantial power can gain the attention of the public by merely hurling scandalous and petty accusations at public figures. Consequently, they are left without the microscopic amount of integrity and reputation.
They are seen by the same public they are trying so hard to impress as merely shallow and using their attention seeking tactics as a mere vain attempts to cover up massive levels of insecurity.
“Mr. Fayose had no reputation worthy of protection by any court.” said the trial judge that dismissed Fayose’s suit against the news magazine in 2004 . The news magazine had earlier reported on the N1.2 billion Fayose stole from Ekiti state’s coffers and his funding of a squad of killers.
A Governor seemingly entrenched in the ways of the people
Fayose has twice unseated incumbent Governors of Ekiti state. First Niyi Adebayo in 2003, and later Kayode Fayemi in 2014. The man’s popularity is widely sourced from artisans, motorcyclists, traders and market women. He is always quick to identify with the poor and downtrodden masses. It is a rare sight to behold the man in any form of official or corporate attire. T-shirts and polo shirts dominates the Governor’s wardrobe. He is often noticed strolling streets and market places, mingling uninhibited with market women, treating himself to local cuisines at the most unexpected circles and places.
The ‘stomach infrastructure’, a concept coined to depict the distribution of food items to commoners is acclaimed to have generated massive followership for Fayose. This is one factor observers claim is responsible for his electoral triumphs. His first tenure ended ahead of time owing to his impeachment. A phenomenon that nearly replayed itself in his second term as Governor but thwarted by Fayose’s shenanigans.
Two extremes exist in the aura maintained by people of position and authority toward their subjects. An air of aloofness, close to the way Fayemi carried himself while governor of the state is one extreme and arguably proved to be his undoing. A visit to Katsina State revealed a remarkable positive impact of government’s activities on citizens in the state while former Governor Shehu Shema was at the helm. That’s where it all ends. Aside from political beneficiaries and associates of the man and a few others scattered here and there, Shema’s love in the hearts of citizens was barely sufficient to satisfy a toddler’s thirst.
That submission should not be seen as general, Mr. Shema had his teeming supporters, as I heard, but could not verify, considering that most of those I interviewed posited otherwise. Back to the other extreme, the one epitomized by Fayose. The idiosyncrasy of unbridled intermingling with the grassroots. This has paid off immensely for Fayose but it’s one reason the man has been christened a ‘thug’ by many. How far this demeanor takes him in his political voyage, time will tell.
The electorate in Ekiti state opted for the short-term option of ‘stomach infrastructure’ over long term planning and development of physical infrastructure offered by Dr. Fayemi.
Recall that Fayose’s second term victory came in the face of two pending court cases reported by the News magazine as I referred to earlier.
Fayose’s other goof
The much touted money meant for arms procurement diverted from the office of the then National Security Adviser for electioneering campaign of members of the PDP has been traced to Fayose through his personal, company and the joint accounts with his wife.
Agents of the EFCC traced N4.745billion out of the $2. 1billion arms cash to a former Minister of State (Defence), Musiliu Obanikoro, Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose and a former deputy Governor of Osun State Iyola Omisore. Both Omisore and Fayose denied receiving any campaign money from Col. Sambo Dasuki. Fayose claimed his campaign was funded by Zenith bank, associates, and from the sales of campaign souvenirs. Zenith bank is reported by Sahara reporters to have denied the claim but that rather, it handled cash from office of the then National Security Adviser meant for Fayose.
The EFCC froze Fayose’s accounts with Zenith bank in connection with the arms money. Fayose and his party regard the move as a vengeful attempt by President Buhari to silence him and the entire opposition. Fayose on the one hand will drag the first family’s name to the mud by exposing their corrupt tendencies and on the other hand cry foul that the freezing of his accounts is a contravention on his immunity. “Even the President cannot claim to be an angel. The estate he built in Abuja is known to us. His wife was indicted over the Halliburton Scandal (sic). When that American, Jefferson, was being sentenced, the President’s wife was mentioned as having wired $170,000 to Jefferson. Her name was on page 25 of the sentencing of Jefferson. We can serialize the judgment for people to see and read,” Fayose claimed.
The man once again got it completely wrong by mixing up two different cases and qualifying them as one. The Halliburton scandal and The corruption case for which US congressman Jefferson was convicted and jailed differ in both place and time. An Aisha Buhari was mentioned in connection with Mr. Jefferson who claimed then to be a daughter not wife of Muhammadu Buhari. At the time of the case, EFCC under Nuhu Ribadu waded into the matter and their investigation revealed that Ms. Aisha Buhari was an impostor. President Muhammadu Buhari was equally contacted and he denied having a daughter in the US at that time by the name Aisha .
Aisha Buhari and “The unchained mad dog”
On social media, a tweet said to have emanated from the official twitter account of the wife of the President called Mr. Fayose an unchained mad dog. Twitter users saw this as a stain on the image of Mrs. Buhari to resort to the use of such bawdy language seen as unbecoming of her exalted status. However she neither deny ownership of that account nor did she recanted the statement. She was reported to have through her legal advisers request an apology from Fayose or he faces litigation.
In response to Fayose’s Allegations of corruption levied against the first family, the Presidency through the SSA on media and publicity Garba Shehu challenged Fayose to provide evidence that the Aisha mentioned in Jefferson’s case is the President’s wife or is in any way directly or directly connected to her. Mr. Fayose is yet to do that.
Can the EFCC freeze the account of a sitting Governor?
The EFCC’s freezing of Fayose’s accounts is to enable investigation to be carried out into his involvement with the arms cash. The impunity enjoyed by the Governor does not extend to his wife with whom he Jointly owned an account.
“Since there is no immunity for impunity as far as electoral malfeasance is concerned the investigation by the EFCC is in order.” says Femi Falana.
The health of our democracy depend on a viable opposition. Making unguarded and unverified statements in the name of keeping the ruling Government on its toes is not part of that bargain. If Mr. Fayose wrongfully incriminate the President’s wife, he should not expect to gain sympathy from a disenchanted public hankering for a viable opposition.