Fayose has killed pluralism in Ekiti- Dr. Ajayi

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Tunde Ajayi, a political scientist, a pioneer Director for the National Orientation Agency and stakeholder in Ekiti state tells AYODELE POPOOLA the chance of the Ekiti South Sentorial Zone to produce the next governor in 2018. He also speaks on the attitudes of Governor Ayodele Fayose among other issues. Excerpts:

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In 2018, we will be having the gubernatorial election in Ekiti state, how will you react to the political development in the state as a stakeholder?
Well, I am sure if you spoke to the politician on the field, they will probably have some raw details that I may not have. So whatever I’m saying to you now is from the non-partisan academic disposition as some of the things we know to be facts. I will answer that question by saying that 61 percent of the political field in Ekiti is control by the PDP and 35 to 37 percent is control by the APC while just about 3 percent is in the hands of the CNPP. It is PDP that has been winning elections in Ekiti. In fact the administration of Dr. Fayemi came through the Instrumentality of the Judiciary, may be in the next election APC will be able to spring a surprise and win an election for the first time in Ekiti, but we were delighted for the outcome of a recent Ghanian experiment that shows that about 60 present or slightly more of the political field in Ekiti is controlled by the PDP. We do know that the two parties have severe and significant problems, challenging intra party democracy. APC as of today has about six irreconcilable groups within the party. The PDP as we know, there is Ayo Fayose faction and there is anti-Fayose faction, and unless they are able to reconcile, they may not control the 61percent again. I mean the PDP. With some important and credible candidates in the APC, unless four of them are able to come together, they will not be able to produce a winning candidate. There are good candidates in the APC, there are also good candidates in the PDP but let me quickly say this, in the past three weeks there is a current plan that has been established within the leadership and elders of the two parties. There is a grand move within our elders now, and this favours candidates from the Ekiti South Senatorial Zone. This is the only zone that has not produced a governor for almost 20 years in Ekiti.

Sir as a political scientist, do you believe in the yearning of the Ekiti south people to produce the next governor of Ekiti state?
The arguments are varied and many. The argument for the Ekiti South is based on both equity, fairness and justice. There are those who believe that a father who has three sons, and two of them appear to be prominent will want to make the third one prominent too especially if he is equally a brilliant child. Fairness, justice and political equality will definitely be in support of Ekiti South producing a governor, but let me quickly say that unless they are able to come up with a formidable candidate. The best candidates are hardly known within the parties. If I look at the terrain of the two parties, from the South, in APC there is Aluko from Ode and many others but in the PDP, there is Surveyor Abiodun Aluko from Ikere, there is Bejide from Ilawe, there is Adeyeye from Ise-Orun, there is Olujimi from Omuo and perhaps one or two persons that will emerge later. I can simply say now that the two parties have good candidates but as I said the two parties have many intra-party problems which I know that the party that succeeds in resolving its own quickly will definitely produce the next governor. Having said that too, from the other zones within APC Segun Oni is a very good and popular candidate because of his antecedents in government. As of today, he is no longer disliked as he was disliked when he was leaving office. With time people are getting to realize that he ruled well and he did quite a number of things. His greatest drawback now is that the elders and leaders of the two parties are not particularly sure that it should go back to the North or to the Central again. The other drawback that he has will be the squabble, very serious squabble within the APC that may not allow the former SSG to work with the former Chief of Staff, the former Chief of Staff should work with his own Governor, the former Governor of that time to work with his supporters like Chief Fasaye and so on. On the other hand, the PDP stands the chance of resolving their crisis if they can overcome the Fayose imbroglio and if Fayose does not think that he must succeed himself by imposition of somebody who will continue after him. If the PDP can take care of this, the party may succeed. Let me also say this, we all know that Fayose is a great politician but he has this tendency of not wanting to allow pluralism in democracy and that is not democracy. He has killed pluralism in Ekiti state. Unfortunately, he does not allow pluralism, and all the people who do not agree with him on one thing or the other have found their way out of the party and that is dangerous for him because whatever faction that he thinks he’s controlling now may turn out to be a mirage by the time his tenure comes to an end.

How will you describe the Change under the APC-led federal government?
Let me say this, how many of us actually ask for the definition of the term change at that time. Or are we talking about the change in personnel, or are we talking about the change in policies or we are talking about the change in the grand norms of our rules in this country. Not one person, not even Soyinka asked for the meaning of change at that time. So for me it is difficult to blame Buhari that we didn’t ask him to define for us the change he meant. Perhaps what is doing now is considered to be sufficient change and so for some people that is no longer sufficient. Perhaps the war against Boko Haram was all the change he meant and if that was all that he meant then he has succeeded 75 percent, but there are people within this country whom the word change meant a lot to them. The word change at that time to me mean a change in the grand norm and grand rules we are using to operationalize our constitution. It also meant to me a departure from the absolute state of corruption that we had but he didn’t mean the kind of things that we’re seeing today. I actually thought that it will start from the so called “thieves” together and telling them point blank that we have enough facts data of you, return 60 percent of what you have looted and let me start afresh. Now we have not succeeded in even getting 20 percent of what has been looted. That for me is not even change in pursuit of corruption. The administration that has elevated a particular segment in this country over and above the other segment. Like I said, we were all consumed by the euphoria of that time and no one of us succeeded in asking the APC to elaborate on the meaning and concept of their change. We all know that we had already lost the momentum and we have no moral right now to start asking a man who has been in the service for two years to come and define what he ate two years. If he tells us that he ate pounded yam, are you going to know whether it was truly pounded yam or it was carrot he ate? That is the problem we have now but I do know that we have institutions that can at least help us to define what change really means in the last two years of Buhari. If the Senate and the House of Representatives together with the governors by partisan forum will help us to define what Buhari means and what APC means by change. Perhaps in the last two years of his administration will be something glorious and worth to look forward to

How can you assess the performance of Governor Fayose so far, and how will you compare him with Dr. Fayemi?
The two of them have offended the inner sensibility and sensitivity of Ekiti; Fayemi did two things that he didn’t know offended the people, the elevation of his wife to a position of an elected person did meet the satisfaction of Ekitis. The appointment of Ekitis who are living in Lagos and didn’t have grand understanding of the Ekiti people was a disservice to this state. Thirdly, there is also disservice to Fayemi himself because we all know what he gave to them, not one of them could admit to Ekiti that he gave them the latitude, the finances and the support they all say he didn’t give them, so they did damage to the name of Fayemi, and they did damage to the things Ekiti holds important. Mrs Fayemi became too important in the elected government. As for Fayose, there is high level of insincerity that has come into governance under him. I’m sure that Ekiti is not as poor as we are now. The fact that Ekiti State is the only state that has not been able to take care of the workers arrears is a gross indictment of his politics. He has not been absolutely transparent or honest with the people who appointed him. That to me is a great and gross failure. The other thing is that we have not seen a radical departure from the ugliness of the past where he could not understand that there are other ideas apart from his own ideas. It created a lot of tension in Fayose’s first term, and it’s creating even more tension now. The inability of Fayose to work with people of other opinions had led him into a selection process which is a violation of the election process. Intra party politics under him has failed, intra party politics under Fayose within the PDP has virtually disappeared, all we have been having is selection by the emperor that is not politics and that is going to be for me the greatest albatross of Fayose in the next election. But having said that, we know that the two of them are Ekitis, Fayemi is Ekiti and Fayose is Ekiti but they both got it wrong when it comes to the sensibilities of Ekiti. If Fayemi wants to come back now, I will advise him that he should give it time because the Ekitis have not forgotten what he did during his first term. If Fayose too is thinking that he is extremely popular, I will tell him straight to his face that he is making a mistake. He appears popular because the person before him had been unpopular, because popularity is built with the consent of the people not the consent of opposition.