I have just read Tope Fasua’s 2,640-words account of what actually his lamentations are about last Saturday’s Ekiti elections, an essay he titles “WHAT EKITI ELECTIONS SAY ABOUT NIGERIA”.
Tope is one of the young men who have chosen to dare the system and present themselves for the 2019 elections. He must be from Ekiti going by the kind of points he made in that essay and considering that he is probably one of the few Presidential hopefuls who are indigens of Ekiti, he deserves to be listened to.
I hope he is not just lamenting but using what he says happened in Ekiti to plan for 2019. In fact he says “Our leaders simply need to reorder their priorities in order to lift millions out of poverty. The ideas are out there. I have offered a few myself” which makes me ask that somebody who knows, if not Tope himself, should kindly update me on those few things he had offered. They are the things I actually love to know to enable me choose who among the aspirants I will talk for if I should.
‘Copy & Paste’ of
“WHAT EKITI ELECTIONS SAY ABOUT NIGERIA
First, we came in at 17th position – CONGRATS TO ANRP
We were given our certificate on the 10th of January 2018. Out of the 4 such parties which could muster structures and documentations to participate in this elections (not a mean feat at all for those who haven’t tried), WE CAME FIRST. The others are FJP-42, YPP-49, and PANDEL-74. We did better than some of the older parties; KOWA – 23, AA 41, APGA – 70, UPN – 33, YDP – 31 and so on.
We know what the issues were. We know our own internal issues and lessons that we’ve learnt. We know it’ll be better next time. By Jove, we scored 138 in a local election at Oluyole Ibadan, in a single ward! So how much more the whole of Ekiti State. Something is amiss but we know we can surely do better.
Yorubas say we should not all sleep and put our heads in one direction. This means people should think outside-the-box sometimes, and bring on new perspective, no matter what it’s worth. This means that traditionally and historically our people understand the value of being contrarian. They also say that 20 children cannot play together for 20 years. This means that our people know that change is constant and that RENEWAL is essential. It is therefore against the spirit of our people that we remain fixated with a certain narrative; e.g. the PDP/APC narrative, for so long. But that was when we had much value as a people. PDP and APC are one and the same and we will not get tired of saying it. Everyone in APC has been in PDP, and vice versa. Well, almost. Now that Fayemi has won, check them out in Ekiti, all those who worked for Fayose will switch fast to Fayemi. It is all about their bellies, their fat accounts, the need to stay relevant, to feed the waste that they are now used to, the many concubines, the unwarranted foreign trips, the expensive schools for their children, the access to big SUVs and mansions, the ‘afowofas’, their egos. I watched as a former schoolmate of mine who was known for cheating and fraud ranted for Fayemi against Fayose and I shook my head. Deceivers are replete in politics. That is why I’m not a politician but a nation-builder. Nigerian politics has never been about THE PEOPLE OF EKITI, who have unfortunately been gutted. In the next 4 years, chances are those people will be in a worse condition – after all Fayemi has been there before and what magic did he perform? This election opened my eyes to the terrible state of poverty in Ekiti. I traveled there a bit, went to villages I’d never been before.
I thank and congratulate the 125 people who braved all odds and voted for us. These people ignored the monies on offer. It was show and collect. Those who gave the N5,000 were in every backyard near the polling booths. A party leader called to inform me that one of our polling agents came up to him and said ‘sorry, so and so gave me N10,000 and I am voting for them’. He stopped helping us monitor the votes even with ANRP tag around his neck. Such is life. The 125 people ignored the violence. There were menacing people at every polling booth, looking for that deviant who will not vote for one of the two clubs. It was as those boys used to do in university those days. You must be protected by gang boys or else! People voted and showed the sheet before squeezing same into the box. If you didn’t show your ballot paper you were a marked person. Many self-respecting people simply stayed at home, and allowed thugs to determine their future for them. These 125 who voted for us went with their consciences. We won! 125 times! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
I assure all those who are with us, that it shall surely be better next time. And this has strengthened our resolve to stick to the straight and narrow. We shall never offer anyone money in our campaigns. Anyone who wants to vote for us should vote for us. And those who want to vote for ignorance and poverty should continue. We will insist even more on our ethos and modus operandi. We stand in the gap to say Nigeria can change, and must change from what it is presently.
We congratulate Dr Fayemi. But all I want to tell him is this; don’t give excuses like you governors usually do. You knew what you were going to meet. so, don’t act surprised. Yes, Fayose was owing N117bn. He added to what you were owing before he ‘won’ in 2014. None of the debt is sustainable our serviceable. Ekiti will probably never be able to pay because there is no cash flow coming from anywhere. The debt is a one-way street; it can only grow. In Ekiti, in every state and nationally, we are in another, deeper debt trap as a result to the kind of economics that you, Kayode Fayemi, and your friends, plus the Federal Government you serve, subscribe to. Don’t go there to ‘blow grammar’. Make sure you aren’t deceived by your usual coterie of Oxford/Cambridge/Harvard consultants. They don’t develop any country/state they go to, much less Ekiti. They will collect the dollars and the people will remain exactly the same – or worse. You worked with them in your first term. They partly fed your insularity; your thumbing your nose at the Ekiti people as if they were smelling. Better not repeat the mistake this time else… I want to see the out-of-the-box ideas you want to bring to Ekiti. We are tired already!
A POST-MORTEM – WHAT THE ELECTIONS SAY ABOUT US
From the beginning of the elections, and due to the ubiquitous presence of social media, the world had been seeing images – photos and videos of poor citizens being induced to vote by the top echelons of these two parties who have access to the public till. A BBC report the night before captured women returning from where they had gone to collect N4,000 with which they were required to vote for one of the two parties’s candidates. The next day at the elections proper, it was vote and show. Images are replete as voters showed agents of particular parties and then marched to some backyard to collect their four or five thousand Naira. I was also told of how a small chieftain in one of the villages received N500,000 cash that morning; money that he is to share to voters around the area.
Brothers ditched brothers for a penny. Parents went against children. Wives turned their backs on their husband. All for the Nigerian brand of poverty politics. The youths took over. They saw it as another game between two favorite English football teams. They compared notes and did all they had to do to conjure numbers for the ones paying them. Two parties had a field day. The rest were hangers on. The two parties had access to state resources. That was the only way they could foot the bill. Not only does nobody produce anything in Nigeria, even if they did, no sane businessman will use hard-earned profit to gamble in politics. So people’s taxes were used to play this game. And the people will surely pay for it. In fact we’ve been paying for this.
What does this say about Buhari, a president whose posture is supposed to be about anti-corruption? Ekiti elections show that we are certainly not making progress in Nigeria. That is a state reputed for its many professors; professors who have not been successful in drilling down whatever intelligence they have into their own folks; professors who have probably since deserted their villages and towns and never looked back, whose children have nothing to do with Ekiti. Well, people were so desperately poor that nothing could convince them not to sell their own future for a mess of pottage (not even the Biblical fate that befalls those who sell their birthrights). And indeed so many people in that state are desperately poor, such as to justify the recently released report by the World Poverty Index that says Nigerians are now the poorest people in the world; a report that Buhari’s ministers like to deny and contest. It is as clear as day. Look, some of us have been complaining bitterly about the decrepit state in which our people live – from their housing to their environment to the food they eat or their access to schools and hospitals. This is matched by the unpardonably wicked luxury in which our so-called leaders across the spectrum live. Buhari seems to have no perspective on income inequality. He doesn’t just seem to care about doing anything serious about it because he too has been enjoying all these appurtenances of office since he came. Here we are not talking of the Abacha loot he intends to share for political reasons. Our leaders simply need to reorder their priorities in order to lift millions out of poverty. The ideas are out there. I have offered a few myself.
The election in Ekiti is a wakeup call to Yorubas. We cannot be reveling in unacceptable ignorance and poverty in the year 2018. The rest of Nigeria has respect for Yorubas but these kinds of events erode that respect. Imagine! The person who came third in that elections had actually withdrawn for the PDP candidate a week before the elections. His name is Dada Ayoyinka; totally unknown, not even google-able. He doesn’t even have a face on the ballot. His party is PDC. Perhaps in the attempt to mass-produce ballots, some ignorant people thumbed PDC instead of PDP. Imagine the level of ignorance and illiteracy that this depicts. It used to be that a few other parties will pull their weights. This time, our people allegedly flocked in one direction. What is happening to Yoruba minds? Is PDP the standard? Is APC the standard? Are we okay with the way Nigeria is today? Do the poor and disenfranchised deserve any pity? Are we destined to this sordid way of life? We need clarifications please.
Is it not a great irony, that in a state reputed for it’s education and intellection, the two arrogant and corrupt political parties which ignored the most-transparent aspect of an election; the debates, were also the ones that 99% of the voters were ready to kill themselves to vote for? Are there so few intellectuals and self-respecting people who are keen on knowing substance in Nigeria’s Fountain of Knowledge? Is there anyone in Ekiti who has a sense of history to the extent that Nigeria cannot keep going around in a yoyo between the characters who have laid this country waste in the last 19 years and beyond?
For as much as maternal and infant mortality, the out-of-school children phenomenon, crass poverty are still part of the fabric of our national life, this elections say that our people have little or no value on and for their own lives; that anyone will find it almost impossible to convince them that their lives can be even a little better; that in a world that has banished some sort of unsightly poverty, filth, stench and what have you, our people are still roiling in such irritations and they really don’t want a marked departure from the present circumstances. The elections say that we live in our own Dark Ages in Nigeria; an age where even though the sun shines every morning, we pointedly, adamantly, and resolutely refuse to see the light. How can Nigeria make progress if our people are not making progress? How can Nigeria develop in any manner – economically, sociologically and otherwise – when our people are not developing? The challenge of leadership in Nigeria today is that a few of us must do all we can, put our own lives on the line, to take our people TO WHERE THEY MUST BE, indeed whether they like it, or know it, or not. Ekiti’s and Nigeria’s poor majority must be liberated, given a new vision, irrespective of their uninformed opinions on the matter. The PDP or APC will not offer that kind of vision. We must let them know however, that there are no laurels for winning elections and grabbing power where the people are this ignorant and poor. There is nothing to be proud of if all you can do is join parties that are not taking the nation and people forward because there are so many big mouths to feed. The competition is not among us here, but between Nigeria and other nations of the world that are making some real progress. We need a wakeup call.
For the countries where these kinds of things happened in the distant past (because many will come up with examples), they went into wars, and bloody revolutions, they eradicated classes and revolted, chopped off the heads of thousands and sent millions to their graves in needless attritions, just to press ‘reset’. And they never forgot where they are coming from. Are we ready for such purges in the near future? Are we trying to grab and enjoy in the immediate without thinking about the future? What legacies are we laying for our children unborn and the ones who are watching us now? We are blacks, and that means that in order to make progress we must be doubly clean and work doubly hard. Only those who can think properly will be terribly pained with just how we keep frittering away all our opportunities and the respect that we require to make some level of purchase. The rest are either gaming the system, kicking the can down the road, fooling around, praying to God for nothing to happen while they’re blindly looting the country of its resources. These people believe they are the luckiest people alive; for they can rob a people and get the same people to worship them. Many of them are actively stealing in billions and stashing money abroad. These ones don’t just care.
In four years time, Ekiti elections will still be the same, or worse. The people will most certainly be poorer, and mentally in the same state. They will wait for bigger payouts on election day four years from now, even if they crawl out of hovels and whine about hunger once this present largesse is burnt on beer and goat meat. Or the payouts could be even smaller, depending on how much they have been ‘dealt with’. Those collapsing mud houses all over Ekiti state will still be there, only more rickety. Those riding okadas with university degrees will still be riding. And if Ekiti is representative of the whole of Nigeria, there is no hope for the black race. Or is there? Will the Ekiti results, and the one-track-mindedness it depicts discourage those who believe there could be a profound change in Nigeria? It better not. Will Nigerians be put off the new parties (some of which are honest new attempts at a new beginning for our nation), and generally resign to their fates? They better not. We live in a globalized age. We see what happens elsewhere and how human beings are living much better, quality lives that dignify humanity. We too deserve some of that. I am standing up to say enough already of the shame and opprobrium that is associated with the name Nigeria. The criminality, the illegal migrations, the child and human trafficking, drug dealing, underachievements and so on. Enough already!
Time will tell where this all ends.”