Love him or hate him, Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State is a man you cannot ignore. Even if you tried, Fayose puts himself in your face somehow, sometimes for a good cause, most times just for the sake of it. I own up to being an unrepentant admirer of this man, even if I understand why a lot of Nigerians cannot stand him.
Some of his critics think he is not fit to be a governor but I don’t know about that. The only thing I can say without any fear of contradiction is that one thing that Fasoye has in abundance compared to most Nigerian politicians is his unapologetic dislike for hypocrisy. That is what those who dislike him describe as his lack of finesse. But there lies the strength of the man who defied all odds to return to the government house in Ekiti State almost one decade after he was disgraced out office in a contrived impeachment process.
How Fasoye won an election in which he defeated the incumbent in all local government areas in the state still beats the imagination of many but a politician told me that if that election was conducted ten times, chances that Fasoye would be returned all ten times remained high.
Since he was sworn in last October, the Ekiti State governor has not stopped grabbing the headlines. If he isn’t doing populist stuff like buying fish in the market, he would be riding on a commercial motor bike known as okada, or promising illiterates twenty-five percent of the appointments in his government, or awarding contracts to local carpenters.
At some other times, Fayose would take on President Muhammadu Buhari or former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Do not forget his epic battle with legislators voted on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC). Fayose seems to be a governor ever at war with one person or the other. Right now the trouble has moved to his own Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has now split into factions. Yet time is moving fast on the Fayose administration.
A senior Ekiti Citizen told me in the course of the week that not much development has happened in the state since Fayose returned. He agreed that Fayose is a charismatic leader who is able to get away with a lot of things with the people but governance is much more than alluring speeches and endearing gestures with which politicians entice Nigerians and cage them.
In the next few weeks, Governor Fayose would be celebrating his first year in office and I am beginning to wonder if his attack on Buhari and Obasanjo or the fact that he is able to go to market places to haggle prices with market women and buy ingredients for his wife will count as achievements.
Although many states are currently groaning under very difficult financial situations, Fayose like every other governor should strive to bring meaningful development to his state. Rather than encouraging illiteracy by vowing to make uneducated people part of his government, Fayose should be working towards eradicating illiteracy in his state, providing potable water, improving healthcare delivery and laying the structure for a future that all Ekiti people would be proud of.
Mr Fayose must realise that it would be a tragedy if he passes through this state as governor again and at the end of four years, nothing but strife and some populist moves that hold nothing tangible for the people is all he is able to lay claim to. The time to get to work is now.