Ekiti: The conquistador at work

Governor Ayo Fayose sealed his conquest of Ekiti State with a victory parade through the streets of the capital, Ado Ekiti, last Friday, with a declaration and a warning.

Declaration:  “I am a man destined for greatness and with the power of God, nobody can bring me down. I have defeated my enemies (emphasis added) during elections, and now I defeated impeachment.”

Warning:   “Whoever thinks he could impeach his governor and the Deputy for him to become the Acting Governor always ends being destroyed. You have to learn from history. Those who impeached me the other time have died politically today.”

Fayose’s election on the platform of the PDP in June 2014 was the first in a long line of the conquests that have now established him as a modern-day conquistador.  He conquered the incumbent governor, Dr  Kayode Fayemi, and the ruling ACN.

But that stunning conquest was not enough.  At his inauguration, fresh from taking a solemn oath to serve all the people of Ekiti faithfully, to be governor for all and not just his supporters, he vowed to drive out the ACN out of the South West, its traditional stronghold in the short term, and thereafter out of Nigeria.

As rule, conquerors don’t like sharing territory or power.   It is everything or nothing.  But here was Fayose, PDP governor, facing the daunting prospect of having to cohabit with a                27-member State Assembly, all of them elected on the platform of the ACN before it fused            with other parties to morph into the APC.

By sundry inducements, he won seven of the 26 to his side.  Bolstered by hired ruffians pretending to be members of the assembly and cheered on by a rented crowd, the seven promptly “impeached” the Speaker of the Assembly, Dr Adewale Omirin, elected one of              their own to replace him, and proceeded to exercise the authority of the legislative branch.

The police dutifully provided cover for the proceedings and, together with Fayose’s people – truck drivers, motor-cycle taxi operators, truck drivers, motor-park touts, artisans, petty traders, the usual crowd, you know – barricaded the precincts to keep away bona fide members of the Assembly.

If you cannot persuade a person to be your friend, the Italian philosopher Niccolo Machievelli laid it down six centuries ago in his manual on how to win, exercise and retain power, make it impossible for that person to be your adversary.

This piece of wisdom probably came naturally to Fayose, who has no patience with book learning, which he regards as the opium of the elite.  He made Ekiti unsafe for the 19 legislators who would not bend to his will.  They fled to the safer and more hospitable clime of Lagos, there to continue the struggle through the judicial process to regain their place in the Ekiti Assembly, and thereafter use that platform to impeach Fayose who had had treated that institution with such blazing contempt.

They never returned.  He mobilized his supporters to blockade highways leading into Ado Edo Ekiti to ensure that they could not return to the city under any guise or disguise.  And in case they somehow slipped through the cordon, they would run smack into another band of Fayose’s enforcers from whom they could expect no mercy

Score that not just as a coup but as another conquest for Fayose – conquest of the legislature.  But even that would be understating the matter:  It was a victory against the right of free movement of persons and lawful goods across the territory of Nigeria or any portion thereof

There remained that other pesky third branch, the judiciary. Down the ages, no self-respecting conquistador has ever allowed it to function without interference, much less one marked for greatness by Providence, and against whom all weapons fashioned by the enemy will fail.  So, the judiciary had to be conquered, too.

That turned out to be the easiest task on the conquistador’s agenda.

Set your enforcers on the hallowed chambers of the court house in the state capital to harass, intimidate and bully, roughen up and physically assault its officers, rend their robes and tear up court documents.  Instill fear in them, those court officials in ermined raiments and black robes; primal fear, from which the police cannot deliver them.

The heavens did not fall.  Rather it was the court officials that fell, and with them the machinery of justice in Ekiti State.  Score that as yet another one for the conquistador:  conquest of the judiciary.

Nor were these Fayose’s only conquests.

He conquered accountability.  He claimed to have sunk close to a billion Naira on, of all things, an “integrated poultry project.”  The scheme did not produce a single egg; yet, he could not be called to account, just as he has not had to account for operating the exchequer without lawful authority.

He conquered truth, by knowingly deploying falsehood so readily and so often that can no longer distinguish between actuality and his own fabrications

He conquered honour.  “Call me a bastard if Buhari ever becomes president of Nigeria,” he said during the election campaign.  Buhari took office nearly two weeks ago, but Fayose is yet to change his name.

He conquered dissent.  By their support, he said during his latest victory lap, his enforcers had proved that “Ekiti will continue to speak with one voice.”  Fayose’s voice.

He conquered and forced into a shameful silence or abject capitulation traditional rulers and elders, the custodians, if they are true to their station, of the mores, the value system of society.

Every one of these conquests was undergirded by Fayose’s  earlier conquest of the rule of law and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with the active support of the Jonathan Administration and the PDP, the deluded holdovers of which have been threatening lately to resist any attempt to undermine “democracy” and the rule of law and all that in Ekiti.

Fayose even conquered the most fundamental of decencies –the respect indeed reverence, that each person owes his or her mother’s privacy.  Just to score a political point, he told the whole  world that his mother suffered from an affliction of an intimate kind that is rarely mentioned               in traditional society outside family circles and even there only in whispers.

In sum, he has conquered all that is noble and decent and of good report.

All that remains for Fayose the Conquistador is to conquer himself.  Unless and until he does that, all his vaunted conquests will vanish before his very eyes like rainbow gold.  The monsters he has spent his entire political life creating and nurturing may well devour him.

The post Ekiti: The conquistador at work appeared first on The Nation.

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