Fayose: Of greed and indiscretion

Ill-equipped and ill-mannered Ayo Fayose, the self-styled voice of the opposition is a man with the heart of steel. He without trepidation tramples on sacred areas where angels fear to tread. Like Ali Mazrui said of General Abacha, the late Nigerian maximum ruler, Fayose is too dim-witted to know fear. Unfortunately, this recklessness is what has made him easy prey to both the crafty and the devious politicians.  Just as he blamed his detractors including Obasanjo who took him from the street of Ibadan and foisted him on the people of land of honour, for his fall from grace to grass when EFCC hounded him from detention to court room, he has been blaming everyone else but his own recklessness for his current travails.

Following EFCC’s freezing of two of his personal accounts and another one belonging to his company, Spotless Investments in the course of its investigations into N4.745billion allocated to a former Minister of State (Defence) Musiliu Obanikoro by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) as a war chest to win the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states in 2014, he first attempted hiding under the immunity clause of the constitution instead of addressing the issue. When that failed, he falsely claimed the President’s wife had a link with Jefferson who was jailed in the US over the Halliburton scandal in Nigeria. And when that also failed, he tried intimidating Zenith Bank for a possible cover- up. And when he discovered helpless Zenith had already performed its corporate responsibility, he claimed the funds traced to his Zenith account was a donation by the bank towards his election bid. But that was not until he had sought the protection of the court where he was advised to go and face his own demons just the same way the courts told him he had no integrity worthy of protection when he sued The News magazine that reported his alleged theft of N1.2billion just before his impeachment in 2006.

But as said, Fayose’s lack of depth makes him easy target for scheming politicians.  For instance, when Obasanjo, a prophet rejected in his own city, became President in defiance of Edmund Burke’s thesis which literarily postulates that one cannot climb the palm tree from the top, (he lost the whole of South-west including his own ward in Abeokuta in 1999), he found Ayo Fayose, fearless but bereft of prudence the ideal candidate for his ‘main-stream’ experiment which started with Ekiti and later extended to Ondo, Oyo, Osun and Ogun states. Months before the election, he took him to Ado Ekiti where he raised his hand and proclaimed him as the next governor of Ekiti.  He gave fillip to his pronouncement by luring some marketable commodities from AD to PDP with money, vehicles and other forms of security logistics.  With military tactics, Obasanjo rigged Niyi Adebayo out of office in 2003 just as he did in other Yoruba states short of Lagos.  But Fayose, a man without discretion started waging war against the people. Widespread insecurity and assassination of political adversaries including Tunde Omojolaand an alleged theft of N1.2b led to his impeachment

Thereafter, Fayose,was for eight years in the political wilderness, chased around by EFCC sometimes from detention to courts until a new set of crafty  politicians who saw him as lacking in forethought, recommended him to drowning Jonathan as the fearless man capable of taking on his Ekiti people and leading the squad of Obanikoro, JeliliAdesiyan, and Omisore in the pacification of the Yoruba land.As it was in 2003 when the battle was Obasanjo’s, Fayose did not have to fight any battle in June 2014. He didn’t even need to campaign. He had no manifesto. Jonathan just improved on his estranged godfather’s 2003 strategy. According to Dr.TemitopeAluko, Fayose’sself-confessed partner in crime, at the Aso rock meeting presided over by Jonathan with Fayose, former PDP chairman, AdamuMu’azu, Obanikoro, Jelili, and Omisore where decision to capture Ekiti was held, apart from making N4.7b available for the battle, it was resolved ‘there would be a strike team, a mixture of the DSS, military, and the mobile police’. It was as if Ekiti was at war in June 2014.

Aluko also claimed that the electoral materials were delivered through Akure Airport and taken to a hotel owned by Fayose’s Chief of Staff DipoAnisulowo in Are-Ekiti, where the alleged manipulation was carried out. According to him, the ballot papers were thumb-printed and result sheets filled by PDP members, which gave the party “undue advantage”. Aluko also disclosed that even when the Department of State Services (DSS) operatives, led by a woman officer, stormed Anisulowo’s hotel and arrested the PDP henchmen, they were released within three hours. EFCC has since confirmed.N4.7b was shipped by Obanikoro through Akure airport out of which Fayose allegedly got N2.2b, Omisore N1.7b and Obanikoro N800m. That was all they needed for the pacification of Yoruba land.

As it turned out, all the battles were fought on behalf of Fayose in 2014 just as it was in 2003. Fayose’s undoing was his greed as well as his indiscretion. With no lesson learnt from his first tragedy, he again started by waging war against the people. Determined to reduce the state to his level, he, with the connivance of President Jonathan first chased out 19 elected lawmakers and relied on five PDP thugs as lawmakers to pass his budget and confirmed list of his commissioners. He also prevented the embattled lawmakers and new aspirants from entering the state in order to reconstitute the new house in his own image where in the place of the Havel; he could use a carpenter’s hammer to personally pass the state budget without a debate.

As for greed, a leopard cannot change its skin. While he arranged that the electoral materials to be thumb-printed be taken to Ani’s hotel in Are, he allegedly took personal delivery of his own N2b portion of the N4.7B slush fund. N1.219b of the fund according to EFCC, has been traced to his three frozen accounts in Ado Ekiti. And part of the fund according to EFCC has also been linked to the purchase of three choice properties in Abuja and Lagos by those said to be fronting for Fayose.

Fayose so far has not denied receiving the money. Besides a failed attempt to hide under the immunity clause in the constitution and blaming others, he has also gone spiritual. Quoting the Bible, he has asked ‘those who have never sinned to throw the first stone.’ Predictably, long discredited ‘PDP Governors Forum’, now headed by Mimiko of Ondo and the Senate caucus which has expressed its opposition to Buhari’s war on corruption have openly identified with his travails.
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