- Category: PETER CLAVER OPARAH
- Published on Friday, 21 October 2011 16:13
- Written by Peter Claver Oparah
Last week, Ekiti, that state that prides itself as ‘The Land of Honour’ was caught in the spasms of celebration. The event was the first year of what should rightly be dubbed the liberation of Ekiti from the vice grips of ramparts and their prebendal cousins. It was one year since that quiet, polished, suave and effective intellectual gadfly, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi retrieved his stolen mandate after a hectic three and
half years struggle that would have overwhelmed the stoutest of souls. It was one year since the rays of freedom shone on Ekiti State again, after the culture of political perversion was forcefully sown on that state, bristling with intellectuals in 2003. That damned culture was meant as a rape to Ekiti, as well as other states, especially in the South West and as it lasted, strove hard to mitigate a political culture that had served the people well for several decades.
The dawn of freedom in Ekiti State resonated in other parts of the country, for the just desert it served to rekindle hope that electoral impunity with the attendant negative fall outs, have its limitations and as Fayemi ascended the throne, there was noticeable sense of re-creation that promised to drastically reduce the heightened tempo that had overtaken Ekiti since 2003. His triumph after a long and winding effort was a sweet victory for someone, I see as a measured and unruffled long distance runner. It was simply a prize for perseverance, principle, hard work and diligence. For the people, it was a crowning glory for their resolute stand against political slavery and they spared nothing to celebrate that lofty dawn.
I have known and had been visiting Ekiti for several years, dating to my first year in the university. It is one quiet, serene and calm state that you won’t help but fall in love with. Before the macabre rape that compromised its virginity in 2003, Ekiti used to be a hallmark of contentiousness and peace of mind that you won’t get in many states. It remained ensconced far from the klieg lights and operated on a modest scale that was shorn of the hurly burly that life in more prosperous states has assumed. A recent survey put Ekiti among the most critical states in Nigeria, in terms of financial health, with the raging minimum wage war. That means that financially, Ekiti is a very poor state. I have seen no pretentions to disown this status. In fact, that has given Ekiti its seductive serenity and which was why when this serenity was violated with the brute imposition of alien political culture in 2003, the negative impacts resonated in Ekiti much more than its lowly financial status.
But what Ekiti lacks in terms of financial power, it gets in terms of its sprawling human resources, which it has in great abundance. Ekiti is the bastion of education and home to more professors than any other state in Nigeria. It is this great investment in education that makes an average Ekiti man source sufficient comfort in the modest financial status of his state as well as the attendant security and peace of mind he has, compared with those from other states in Nigeria. This comes with a certain swagger you will not miss in any Ekiti man.
So, it is this context that explains why an Ekiti man should feel concerned that he is ruled by those that neither appreciate education nor the essential factors that fires the state. It therefore means that an average Ekiti man will prefer to remain poor than be ruled by petty charlatans, irreverent quislings and people that lack refined cultural moulding. By this statement of fact, we will understand why Ekiti had its innocence compromised between 2003 and October 2010, when an alien culture that dignified brute force, compromised etiquette and damned principled and cultured pursuit of human welfare reigned in Ekiti. It was then that Ekiti became a theater of war; alien to the state and its people, assumed the status of a political flashpoint and excelled in nurturing dread and instilling fear into the hearts of simple-minded Ekiti men. It was at this period that Ekiti regressed into a state of nature where ghouls were generously laundered to enforce the diabolical wishes of the occupationists who deign that order as the surest means to preserve their strange mandates.
At this inter regnum, Ekiti ceased to be known as the state that produced some of the finest and refined men Nigeria has sired but became known as the state where closet warlords were given license to kill, maim and plunder in an effort to sustain an aberrant political order. It shred its innocence and became a negative travel advisory to those that are not desirous of quick suicide.
It is this debased order that advertised the sterling capacity of Fayemi, a suave, urbane and well bred intellectual, to take the state back to its enviable culture. Being hewn in tough political and pro democracy war fare, he possessed the needed skills to stand down the fierce rage of the deviant political order he was seeking to overthrow. Equipped with the refinement, patience and staying power of a long distance runner, he challenged this aberrant order, with the solid support of his people. He faced the mighty rage of the impostors and weathered their inclination to wax violent in the face of his intellectually-wrapped challenge. What we saw were the impudent commandeering of his certain victory on April 14, 2007, a more audacious and more brazen daylight robbery in Ido Osi, a windin legal battle that drilled deep gashes in both his confidence and his pocket, a fierce battle that led to loss of lives, severing of limbs and destruction of properties. All these were attempts to preserve the aberrant political culture that was suffocating Ekiti State and its people and frustrate the liberation that finally dawned on October 16, 2010.
There is no doubt the Fayemi, despite the paucity of his purse, is doing great things in Ekiti State. This is not the import of this report. To me, and I believe a large section of Ekiti people, what is most important and most prized in his coming is the lifting of the state of siege that hitherto reigned in Ekiti, the promise his sure footed approach is giving to the state and the demystification of governance, the stripping of the fearful halos that enshrouded Ekiti from 2003 to 2010. That Ekiti people will once again, sleep in the comfort that they have one of their own, who understands their heart beats, who lives with and among them, who feels their pains and shares their glories is enough satisfaction for the state. That they have a meticulous planner, a simple, deep thinker and a great tactician piloting their affairs is enough to repair the bashed confidence, fix the mauled pride and restore the severed trust of Ekiti people in their governance. These, I believe, is what has sustained the state thus far and holds greater promise of a better future.
With what I have known of Ekiti in the past one year of Kayode Fayemi’s reign, the state is back in its hallowed place in Nigeria. Its reaping of the dividends of investing in the process that birthed the present is a matter of little time. Ekiti is basking in the sun, which has risen over Ekiti, to set no more.
Peter Claver Oparah.