Have you ever seen a governor jump on a table, roar and spit fire ? I saw Governor Ayodele Fayose do these during the public hearing on constitution review in February 2006. The venue was the Osun State House of Assembly, Osogbo , where delegates from the South -West states converged to discuss the modalities for a review of the country’ s constitution .
Before the hearing chaired by the then Deputy Senate President , Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu , took place , an ominous cloud of suspicion hung over the country. The cloud was thick and sinister. Members of the Mantu-led Senate committee on the proposed review had been accused of receiving N50 m each from the President Olusegun Obasanjo -led executive . Clairvoyants who saw beyond the evil cloud disclosed that they saw an old; black, wily hand writing on a wall . What did the hand write ? “ Third term” , they said. The cacophony generated by the invisible handwriting greeted the government’ s decision to hold the public hearing nationwide , thereby , setting the Osogbo venue for a war between pro and anti -third term interests .
Expectedly , Fayose led the Ekiti State delegation to the venue just as the host governor , Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and all other South -West governors, except Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of Lagos State, were present at the event . Delegate after delegate spoke . Some submitted memoranda . Everything was going as scheduled until the late Bamidele Aturu turned up .
Flashback : Aturu came to national limelight in 1988 when he, as a National Youth Service Corps member , refused to shake hands with the then Military Governor of Niger State, Col. Lawan Gwadabe , during a ceremony in which he was honoured as one of the best-serving corps member in the state . The young law graduate cited human rights abuses by the military as the reason behind his action .
Back to Osogbo : There was a grand design to bar anti -third term activists who had travelled from far and near from gaining access into the hallowed chamber . Aturu fooled the sentries at the gate and door with his dove -like mien as he produced for scrutiny his lawyer ID card and memoranda for the hearing .
The parliamentary chamber was filled beyond capacity . Many of those who stood in the gallery and hallways were , literally speaking , in straitjackets ; they couldn ’ t see their feet if they decided to look down. Those who thought the anti -third term forces in the chamber had brought a knife to a gunfight soon discovered they were wrong . They brought plenty AK -47 . Aturu gave it raw to the Mantu-led committee, which had the late Senator Uche Chukwumerije , among other eminent senators, in attendance . In unmistakable terms , Aturu described the hearing as a kangaroo contraption designed to fetch Obasanjo a third term, warning that Nigerians would resist the plan with their blood. The hall erupted. Some people tried to shout Aturu down, but no, he wouldn’ t budge . Other activists rose in support of Aturu . Bedlam overtook reason ; as the maverick Afrobeat singer , Fela Anikulapo -Kuti, would say, “ confusion break bone”: uproar, chaos , madhouse !
To Fayose, loyalty is 100 per cent, not 99 .9 per cent. Legend has it that Fayose’s word is his bond . Was it his promise to support the constitutional review hearing that he remembered ? Or was it a realisation and fear that the third term agenda was under threat ? Something in Fayose snapped ! He must take a decision in the ultimate protection of an unseen political interest . Like an angry tiger , the Oshokomale, in the majesty of his height , agilely climbed a table and lambasted Aturu and his cohorts, ordering the Ogbagi-Akoko-born lawyer to be thrown out . Who is this irritant ? What nonsense! Enemies of progress! Mmttcheeeew !
Call it comeuppance or ingratitude, Fayose was impeached eight months later over allegations of corruption and a state of emergency was declared in Ekiti . Obasanjo appointed his kinsman , a one-star army general , Olutunji Olurin , to take over as the sole administrator of the state . However , the Supreme Court , in April 2015, eventually set aside Fayose’ s impeachment, saying it lacked due process . Since Obasanjo left power in 2007 , Fayose has told the world that the Owu farmer truly schemed to get a third term in office . The governor had never missed an opportunity to attack Obasanjo just as he had asked for a refund of the N10 m he donated to the presidential library built by Obasanjo in Abeokuta – with interest . In December 2010 , Fayose, publicly and physically , insulted Obasanjo in Okuku , Osun State, when both of them were guests to Oyinlola during a thanksgiving service , calling Baba Iyabo some unprintable names . But not a few see Fayose in the same mould with Obasanjo ; like father, like son , they say.
Thus, when the news of Obasanjo ’ s letter got out earlier last week, I looked forward to Fayose’ s reaction and, was I disappointed in the response from the Ifaki-Ekiti -born governor ? Characteristically, Fayose attacked Obasanjo over the admonition letter written to President Muhammadu Buhari , saying it was belated and self -serving. Fayose said that Nigerians were already poised to boot Buhari out of office , maintaining that Obasanjo ’ s letter amounted to playing to the gallery after “ deceiving ” Nigerians to vote for Buhari in 2015 .
A careful look at a recent video clip of Obasanjo dancing with his wife seems to buttress a general belief and Fayose’ s description of Obasanjo as perpetually labouring to attract attention to himself at all times . In the video , Obasanjo , in blue ‘ buba ’ and ‘soro ’, is seen dancing with his wife while some acquaintances – in tow – watched in expected admiration. Visibly in a good mood, Obasanjo , holding in his left hand something that looks like a bean cake ( akara ), digs into the food with his right hand and eats while he gyrates to the instrumental music . Enjoying every bit of the moment, Obasanjo enthusiastically moves about , boogieing and leaving his wife behind to do some catch up . She eventually catches up with Baba Gbenga , only for him to shuffle away towards the buffet while the beautiful wife trails in the distance . Obasanjo ate all through the one -minute, 38 -second video.
Despite being controversial , incumbent US President, Donald Trump , in his inaugural dance , described his wife, Melanie, as his number one supporter, adding that it was “ a wonderful honour to have the dance ” with Melanie. All through the dance , Trump did not abandon Melanie to engage in any other thing .
The timing of Obasanjo ’s letter to Buhari and the previous ones he had written to other Nigerians depicts a man who knows when to strike . His timeliness brings to mind the tale of Okolo in the Old Oyo Kingdom . Okolo was a slave, who was derided and overlaboured with work. His entreaties to be treated fairly fell on deaf ears and he vowed to strike at the appropriate time. “Talo mo Okolo e l’Oyo ? ( Who knows you , Okolo, in Oyo ?), ” the young and the old taunted him . He complained no further but bid his time. One night , Okolo torched all the houses and farms belonging to his master, and fled into the darkness . “Eeehh ! Calamity ! Who torched the houses and farms?” “It is Okolo o !” Thus, Okolo became known throughout the old Oyo Kingdom and beyond.
The Balogun of Owu is no slave; he won’ t flee from battles. And may he write more letters in good health . While I pray for more ink to the quill of the Ekerin Balogun of Egba , I wish the Humpty-Dumpty Buhari administration would see the sense in the weighty letter and wake up to truly serve Nigerians for the remainder of the tenure .
Fayose and his colleague from Rivers, Nyesom Wike, are not the biggest challenges militating against Buhari ’s second term bid ; kinsman Atiku Abubakar and a formidable number of northern elements would hold the Sword of Damocles on the threshold of 2019 . Sai Baba , remember also that the South -West are going to vote their minds . Nigerians won’ t forget the naked corruption within your government, your clannish appointments and the enthronement of herdsmen
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