Apart from prophecies of God that the mantle of leadership has rested on Sen. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, popularly called M.O.B, as the next governor of Ekiti state, his unusual political exposure is a plus for APC in the upcoming election. It is a state of many scholars where puppet or pseudo governor can never rule. The state was created by Late Gen. Sanni Abacha, carved from old Ondo state in 1996. To Ondo people then, this was a great relief, these Ekiti people were virtually dominating all spheres of old Ondo state economy, mostly the various state ministries and parastatals due to their excellent pursuit of knowledge in various fields of human endeavors which was unparalleled compares to other clans of the world. From the first Military administrator, Col. Mohammed Bawa, who ruled the state for almost 2 years and handed over to Navy Captain Atanda Yusuf, transferred power to first executive governor of the state, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo, current minister of trades and investments, served as the first governor for a single term between 1999 to 2003 but defeated by Dr. Fayose of PDP in 2003 in his re-election campaign.
The adventure of former governor, Dr. Peter Ayodele Fayose to Ekiti politics came to some people by surprise, from his historic victory over his opponent in PDP, late Mr. S.K. Babalola, who had earlier served as a commissioner to late Pa. Micheal Adekunle Ajasin led government of old Ondo state in second republic and as a Special adviser on education to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s government in first term. As a dark horse in 2003 PDP governorship primary in Ekiti state, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, without any political experience, in his younger age of early 40’s, surprisingly defeated a well established, political guru, an elder stateman, old principal of many schools, teacher of many achievers, late Mr. S.K Babalola from Ijero/ Ipoti Ekiti. The wide unimaginable margin which then political neophyte, Mr. Fayose carried the day in the primary election of then acclaimed largest party in Africa, was beyond imagination of any political analyst.
As a destined child, Mr. Ayodele Fayose defeated another well grounded politician in general election of 2003, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo of AD, who was seeking his re-election, as a son of a retired general of Nigerian army and former governor of Western region of Nigeria( late Gen Adeyinka Adebayo ( Rtd commandant of Nigeria Defence Academic ( NDA)). He ( Adeniyi Adebayo) being the former governorship aspirant of UNCP of late Gen Abacha’s five- party system, UNILAG trained lawyer turned politician, born with silver spoon, these above stated credentials couldn’t save him from the unexpected defeat by almost opposite in terms of social, academic , classical upbringing but a son of a former C.AC cleric, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.
Following the swearing in of Mr. Peter Fayose, aka Peter the rock as the governor of the state, there were some unforgettable happenings, the authenticity of his( Fayose) HND certificate from polytechnic of Ibadan was challenged at various Courts of competent jurisdiction which he won, had issues with many political elders of the state , fought with many first class Kings like Ewi of Ado and Elekole of Ikole, killing of some protesters ( students) of Ekiti state college of education in Ikere Ekiti by police officers, impeachment of Surveyor Abiodun Aluko, ( first deputy governor of Fayose) by the state house of assembly, had issue with Mr. Taye Fasuba (then local government chairman of Ado-Ekiti), assassination of Eng. Kehinde Fasuba and Dr. Daramola by unknown gunmen and finally, Mr Ayodele Fayose was impeached . The late General Olurin became an administrator of the state for six months, following the state of emergency declared by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. These and many events characterized Mr. Fayose’s first term, most of the which he survived but finally bowed to pressure of his opponents and went on brief period of political Oblivion.
MR FAYOSE AND DR MIMIKO’S MISTAKE AFTER THEIR TENURES.
Despite the unceremonious exit of Mr. Peter Fayose from the Ekiti state government house in his first term, as a son of grace, he made his second triumphant entry to the state when he defeated Dr. Fayemi who was seeking his re-election in 2014 governorship election with the popular 16-0 i.e Fayose won in all the sixteen local governments. He( Mr. Fayose) had earlier contested for Senate under the platform of Labour party in 2011 national assembly election which he lost woefully to ACN led government of Dr. Fayemi in the state. The developmental programs that Ekiti state witnessed during these periods were second to none in which he was christened the ‘Architect of modern Ekiti state’. No one could forget in a jiffy, the first flyover in the history of the state that was constructed by this son of former Christ Apostolic Church ( CAC) pastor. The name Mr. Peter Fayose a.k.a Peter the rock became a political slogan in that state due to his uncommon achievements in governance.
After two terms thought interrupted, permitted by Nigeria constitution, Mr. Fayose single handedly picked Prof. Olusola Eleka as his successor, who served as his deputy for four years on the ground of loyalty, jettison other political bigwigs like Dr. Dayo Adeyeye, Sen. Mrs Olujimi, late Sen Gbenga Aluko and co, for his puppet as governorship candidate of PDP in the state. He eventually paid dearly for his action, his candidate lost to Dr. Fayemi in general election. Funniest thing today, the duo of Mr. Fayose and Prof. Olusola Eleka have parted ways in less than four years outside power.
In similar political situation in Ondo state, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, the Iroko of Ondo state politics, having served in various capacities as a local government chairmanship aspirant, a commissioner for health twice, Secretary to state government, minister for housing, Senatorial candidate of a political party. With all the intimidating political curriculum vitae, after unprecedentedly served the state for two terms as the governor, he made the same error of trying to install a puppet, in the name of loyalty, he went for Mr. Eyitato Jegede SAN, his attorney general for eight years, despite the warnings from PDP party leaders. He also lost the successor’s election to opposition party (APC). Both Dr. Mimiko and Mr Eyitato Jegede SAN have now gone on different directions politically.
Sen. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, a serving Senator from Ekiti central with a lot of experiences in both legislative and executive arms of government, as a trained lawyer both in Nigeria and United States of America, coupled with divine mandate of God on his head, this amiable individual is a aspirant to beat. Supporting Sen. M.O.B by Gov. Fayemi will save him from the stress of opposition parties, mostly PDP taking over the state in the upcoming election in the state. The recent house of assembly bye-election for Omuo Ekiti constituency in which APC almost suffered a defeat shows there is much work to be done if the ruling party will retain the state.
Sen. M.O.B stands a better chance than any aspirant from the state in both PDP and APC, he almost lost his life to the assailants who shot him in the battle of Dr. Fayemi winning the state in last governorship election of 2018 when he served as the DG for the campaign. The truth is this, if Gov. Fayemi succeeds in installing a puppet as a successor, who says they won’t fight before six months of his ( puppet) swearing in as next governor of the state. He ( Dr. Fayemi) should prioritise the party interest than personal or family interest in the upcoming Ekiti 2022.
Dr. Akeredolu O.N., a medical doctor, a leader of Aketi Medical team 2016, vice chairman Aketi-Aiyedatiwa Medical Committee, 2020 campaign, writes from Akure.