22nd January, 2015
By Lateef Raji
Mr. Ayodele Fayose, the current Governor of Ekiti State and his ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, recently took caution to the wind through a political advertisement placed in some national dailies, obviously for political gains. In the very distasteful advertisement, Fayose and the PDP demonstrated gross insensitivity to the unity of the country and in particular, the feelings of our brothers and sisters from the northern part of the country by throwing caution to the wind to sacrifice decency on the altar of political aggrandizement. In what appears as a mockery of the dead, the pictures of deceased Nigerian leaders of northern extraction such as Murtala Mohammed, Sani Abacha and Musa Yar’Adua (with the inscription North West, their geo-political zone, boldly written under their photographs to mischievously lay emphasis on their geo-political zone) were placed alongside that of the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari with a question: ‘Will you allow history to repeat itself?’ And the clincher: ‘Enough of state burial and northern presidency should wait till 2019’.
It is quite shocking and at the same time astonishing that Fayose and the PDP could be so careless, thoughtless, tactless and insensitive about the feelings of the families, friends and relations of these departed leaders through this seemingly barbaric, ungodly and impish act just to score a despicable political points. Is it not ironical and hypocritical that the President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan was in Sokoto, the same day the satanic advertisement surfaced in national dailies, preaching unity, decorum and prudence among politicians?
To demonstrate how cold-blooded and irresponsibly audacious they have suddenly become, perhaps out of desperation to cling to power at all costs, Fayose and the PDP did not just stop at spitting on the graves of the departed Nigerian leaders, they are actually wishing General Buhari dead by placing his picture among those of the dead leaders and putting a question mark on his picture signifying that he is next in line to die. This, to say the least, is highly provocative, wicked and loathsome. If the only offence that General Buhari has committed to deserve such impertinent treatment is that he is contesting against the incumbent President and the ruling party, then Fayose and the PDP have exposed themselves as a bunch of irresponsible and reckless co-travellers not worthy of the votes of Nigerians.
Conscious of their dwindling political fortunes across the country, as well as the rising profile of General Buhari and the APC, out of extreme nervousness, it is not surprising that the PDP and its leadership now resort to blackmailing General Buhari on health ground. In recent times, the social media has been awash with a fictitious medical report, purportedly gotten from the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Kaduna State, in respect of the supposed failing health of General Buhari. Not wanting to be associated with such injurious claims, authorities of the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital have since disowned the alleged fake medical report as not emanating from their stable, thereby puncturing yet another PDP devious scheme aimed at confusing the Nigerian public.
To discerning Nigerians, Fayose’s latest deviousness represents not just a deceitful scheme to sway the outcome of the forthcoming poll in favour of his party, but the desperate attempt of a drowning man to hold on to just anything in a frantic effort to cling onto power by all means. For one, being the street-wise ballyhoo that he is, Fayose knows that a PDP presidency remains the only way through which he could stick to power in view of the several judicial cliffs hanging around his neck. It will be recalled that Fayose was impeached in his first sojourn as Ekiti State governor on various corruption grounds and the charges against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, are only currently on hold on the account of the immunity clause that covers him from being prosecuted. That Fayose even secured his party’s nod to contest the Ekiti State gubernatorial election speaks volumes of our kind of democracy and the hollowness of the Jonathan administration’s spurious anti-corruption stance. Remember the disgraced duo of Bode George and the former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha? In sane climes, these men should be undergoing rehabs. Sadly, they are today power brokers in the PDP.
Currently, in Ekiti State, 19 members of the State House of Assembly are on forced exile out of fear for the safety of their lives. It will be recalled that seven members of the 26-member House recently sacked the Speaker of the House. Therefore, what now operates in Ekiti is that seven members of the State House of Assembly currently legislate for the state under the reign of his imperial majesty, Mr. Fayose. It is in order to continue this reign of impunity and crass affront on democracy that Fayose, and his co-travellers want Buhari dead at all costs.
However, unfortunately for Fayose and the PDP, they do not have the power to give or take life. God alone owns that exclusive power. In their perverse and crooked thinking, Fayose and PDP idiotically suppose that the aged is the only ones that are susceptible to death. How foolhardy! Age has nothing to do with death. Death will come when it will come. In the first place, what gives Fayose the assurance that he would live longer than Buhari? Just on the account of age? How idiotic! Today, we have many octogenarians bubbling with vigour and strength while younger folks in their prime are grappling with diverse health challenges that could lead to death.
As for Fayose, Yoruba monarchs and leaders, especially those from Ekiti State, should call him to order. In Yoruba culture, a child who gets in and out of trouble is not only desecrating his name but that of his family and community. His recent misadventure could lead to serious religious and ethnic crisis in the country thereby compounding the already precarious security woes of the country. Quoting dubiously from the Holy Scriptures to promote a deadly political agenda demonstrates Fayose’s opportunistic religious leaning. Here is a man who once rolled on the revered altar of a respected Pentecostal church to celebrate his electoral victory. Now, same ‘highly religious’ Fayose is wishing a fellow human being dead. His pastor(s), his people and his party should call him to order.
And talking about his party, it is a shame that the PDP is yet to condemn this latest ill-fated outburst from one of its crown princes. This is not in any way surprising. After all, it is often said that birds of the same feather flock together. President Jonathan himself recently called an ex-president a “motor park tout” while he once referred to Southwest leaders as “rascals”. So, without a doubt it runs in the family.
•Raji is Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Information & Strategy.