FOR Dr. Peter Ayodele Fayose, former governor of Ekiti State, even diehard critics for want of epithets think he is the “Comeback Kid” whose sterling trait is the ease with which he reinvents self when the chips are down. No matter what happens, Fayose has demonstrated time and again that he has what it takes to navigate his ship through turbulent waves with a distinctive stamp as a leader with tremendous conscience and a sense of compassion for his people, especially the downtrodden masses.
This has always been the source of his endearment to the people; the ability to steer their energies in one conscious direction. What with the divine confidence that bouys his spirit, that which was instrumental to his lifting of Ekiti Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the valley of defeat to the mountain top of victory through many self-financed, life-changing projects, which his campaign movements took to the people?
Through mobile clinics which he ran, the distribution of potable water in lorries and tankers which reduced deadly incidence of typhoid in the state, Fayose marshalled out his blueprint to lift the poor masses out of poverty and poor health. This remains the thrust of his populist vision for a new and viable Ekiti State.
In 2001, it was his quiet optimism and knack to turn things around for the common good that inspired one of the most sought after medical outreach programmes during his political campaigns. In reciprocation, the people gave him their mandate in the gubernatorial elections that ushered him into the Government House, Ado Ekiti.
That was then. Now, stakeholders in Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including current and former local government chairmen, women leaders, secretaries and treasurers in 16 local government areas of the state, expressed confidence in the leadership of the party by adopting him as their preferred choice for governorship ticket. However, to strengthen internal democracy within the party, President Goodluck Jonathan’s insistence on fair play and primary elections in the Ekiti State chapter of the PDP led to the recent gubernatorial primaries in which the Comeback Kid reasserted his relevance in the politics of the state through a landslide victory as the party’s governorship flag bearer amid 13 other contestants of great pedigree, including former Minister of Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade.
This puts the final punctuation on the dreary sentence weaved by detractors that he did not have the political clout to deliver Ekiti State to the PDP in any election. It seems even the Presidency is shocked by the turn of events with Fayose’s current disposition as the man of the moment, which appears to be sending jitters through the camp of Governor Fayemi. It is not contestible that among the contestants in the governorship race, this includes the incumbent governor, Dr. Peter Ayodele Fayose is the closest to the people at the grassroots. None understands the plight of the common man better than him. His campaign strategies geared towards alleviating the plight of the masses is a testament of his recourse to communality and sense of purpose. Thus, the sentiment being expressed by some aides of Governor Fayemi that Fayose’s choice as the PDP flagbearer is a walk-over is misplaced.
The man Dr. Fayose is a tested and reliable quantum destined to unleash a spectre of development that would be unequalled in the annals of Ekiti State. His developmental streak during his tenure as governor exonerates this thinking.
Fayose’s open admission of past mistakes and willingness and readiness to redress these in the light of exigencies in the state as one of the poorest in terms of monthly government subvention is an indication that all is on track to give the state that is made up of 177 council wards, 16 local government areas and 3 senatorial zones requisite facelift deserving of the most intellectually resourceful of all states in the country, if he is given the chance to unfurl his development blueprint.
The opposition now has an ache to contend with: Ayo Fayose. He is not a flash in the pan as they imagine. He is the man to beat. If the opposition thinks it is business as usual, Fayose’s popularity is cause for concern in the normal run of things. You do not discountenance a man who has been there as governor and who enjoys the goodwill of the electorate; it would be suicidal to even contemplate.
Driven by the desire for enduring change, Ayo Fayose says his passion is “to lead the people of Ekiti State to a greater land of my dream.” He is yet to renege from this ardent commitment to his promise of brighter dawns for Ekiti State. An unalloyed commitment to an ideal such as this, that holds the social contract sacrosanct is a great virtue indeed, no matter one’s human shortcomings. This is what sets the man apart from the league of contestants in the governorship race in Ekiti State.
•Olusoccer is the Publisher of Abuja based Kakaaki Magazine