Archive for the ‘AFRICAN CULTURE’ Category


July 11, 2020

The BBC Shooting Itself in the Foot


Musician Femi Ransome-Kuti avoided being trapped by Bretton Wood’s agents in his recent conversation with Zeinab Badawi on BBC’s “Hard Talk” slot. He acquitted himself creditably and did not collapse to singing the tune of those zombies – IMF’s professors – who parade the corridors of power in Nigeria, as he dealt with misleading questions by the BBC’s interviewer. Badawi asserted that President Goodluck Jonathan was improving the people’s lot as certified by the IMF and that the removal of subsidy from petrol was for the general good. How uninformed those foreign-based African journalists, welfare cases, who serve the interests of their principals unreasonably! Should she have made such a categorical statement without facts about growth in Nigeria? Well, Elizabeth Ohene who got into favour with the British by deriding Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah at every turn in Ghana, rose to be BBC’s deputy editor of Network Africa which has been steadily deteriorating in the last 10 years that Robin White quit the stage. It now presents the worst types of news of readers and of presenters. One could pardon errors of possible inflexion in reading news in English but not that of phonetics and phonology. The grammar of presenters, like Akwasi Sarpong’s is awful. Peter Okwoche is not better.

The issue is the subtle support BBC’s staff give to capitalism a la Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, which has plunged the world into economic chaos, except for some eight years that Bill Clinton reversed it until a worse apostle, George W. Bush, came on the scene to take the world deep into depression. It is now worse than the one suffered under his father’s watch.

Femi Ransome-Kuti gave pride to the memory of his grandfather, Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, as he demolished all attempts by Badawi to justify that things were now rosy in Nigeria. How gratuitously can one sell one’s ignorance as Badawi displayed on the subject!

Femi said that in the 1970s, to be deprived of electricity in Nigeria for two hours was treasonable. Now, Nigerians, even in their new capital, Abuja, do without electric power for days.

Up till the late 1980s, Nigeria was an industrial power in Africa, serving the region’s needs in producing secondary goods. That has collapsed. Until the mid-1990s, Nigeria produced all the petroleum products for local use and for neighbours. It now imports petrol and other products from Benin, Togo and Ivory Coast. What has Jonathan done to alleviate this scourge of scarcity though Nigeria has four mighty refineries that now produce nothing?

Has he repaired the refineries to meet our needs? Must we import petrol? Who are these beneficiaries of the subsidy regime? Were they not the supporters of his campaign? Aliko Dangote opened one mighty cement factory manned mainly by Chinese workers. What has happened to Nkalagu, Ukpilla, Gboko and others that have been rendered moribund by bad government policy of the wholesale privatisation that the likes of Badawi are made to canvass for their principals?

Millions of Nigerian young men and women are estimated to be jobless. What has Jonathan done to scratch the surface on the subject of full and gainful employment with all the industries in Nigeria lying fallow, also from bad government policy? Visit Ikeja, Iganmu, Ogba, and Otta in the South-west kand see the damage the IMF and World Bank’s agents have done to Africa. Madam Badawi does not know that the names of the World Bank and IMF stink in Nigeria. Justifiably, Nigerians regard them as enemies as Dennis Healey, Britain’s Chancellor of Exchequer under Harold Wilson, once described them. Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iwealla, Jonathan’s economic miracle worker, is treated as a national youth service corps intern by those who planned the fortune Nigeria enjoyed in the 1960s, 1970s and part of the 1980s, that period of old that was egalitarian paradise. No policy can work without the mobilisation of the people. Nigerians do not know what Jonathan stands for, except that he still pursues the rot left behind by Olusegun Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar, two agents of the IMF’s privatisation project that set Nigeria back. It is gratifying that the court has just reversed the swindle of the sale of the Aluminum Smelting Company that the government spent billions of dollars to establish. It was one grievous bodily harm done to Nigeria to have sold a company worth $2 billion for $245 million! It was Ibrahim Babangida, earning $8 per barrel of oil, who established that company. How many were built under Obasanjo’s laisez faire regime? He sold it when Nigeria earned $100 per barrel from crude. It will be repeating oneself to speak of the illegalities of the sales of corporations established by acts of parliament and decrees for a song.

The National Assembly should take further steps to return the Nigeria Airways and other affected corporations to their old status. How can there be growth when Nigeria’s industrial life is comatose? The only thing Nigeria sells today is crude oil. She does not even enjoy the benefit of its derivatives. If we must ask, what is the octane rating of imported petrol from Ivory Coast and Benin? The Dana airline’s crash was said to have been caused by corrosion of its engine by impure fuel. Vehicles, machines and other plants that use imported fuel, have suffered from government incompetence. BBC has shot itself in the leg.

Femi really made his grandfather proud in his face-off with with Badawi, – a grandfather, who disagreed with the British in 1934 and caused the Yaba Higher College to be founded and in 1948 forced the University of Ibadan to be established. Nigeria must terminate this one-line chorus of “no government in business’’ because China, a command economy, has disproved that crazy talk. Germany is not laisez faire and it leads Europe.

Published in Opinion
Ben Lawrence

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Monday, July 03, 2017

Jay Z conferred as Chief during Visit To Nigeria In 2006 – Celebrities – Nigeria

Music mogul Jay-Z was in Nigeria in 2006 and he visited Ilorin , Kwara State, to see the efforts being made by the state government to provide clean portable water.

Jay Z is a Chief in Nigeria , the title was conferred by Alhaji Ibrahim Gambari, Emir of Ilorin. He also had a road renamed Shawn “Jay Z” Carter road and was present during the commissioning .Pics below:



February 25, 2017

Bayo Adebowale,the accomplished African Novelist and Poet will on Saturday,4th March 2017 be honoured with the prestigeous Chieftaincy title of ONIGEGE ARA OF IGBO-ELERIN by the Igbo-Elerin Council of Baales. This is a well-deserved honour coming from the Literary Icon’s kith and kin….
What a feat!
Congratulations, author of The Virgin, Out Of His Mind,Lonely Days, A New Life, Talent, African Melody, Oriki,Village Harvest, and A Night of Incantations!

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February 13, 2017

from the sun newspaper,nigeria

Super street beggar

Has 4 wives, 11 children

By Vincent Kalu

Begging for a living is hardly an enviable means of livelihood, but for Adamu Hassan Yauri, it is his source of blessing.  After his life seemingly ground to a halt and he found himself stranded at life’s dead-end, beggary offered him an alternative route to an honourable life. Through boom and bust these past 19 years, he has flourished, married four wives, fathered 11 children and sustained his large family on beggary proceeds.

The decision to earn a living as beggar was forced upon him by circumstances beyond his control, following an automobile accident in 1998 that led to the amputation of his right leg.

The native of Yauri Local Government Area, Kebbi State spoke with Saturday Sun at his residence in Igando, Lagos. He debunked any misconceptions about him being a polio victim.  According to him, he grew up as a normal human being without any defect and was on his way to making a success out of his life, attending school and at the same time trading in onions from his home town in the north to the southeast town of Onitsha, Anambra State. But in 1998, his life took a sudden turn.  It started first with his business partner who fractured his legs in an automobile accident.

“I went to visit him at the hospital.  On my way home, I was involved in a motorcycle accident,” he recalled. “Me and my parents spent all our savings on hospital bills, yet doctors couldn’t save my leg.  Eventually, they amputated my right leg.”

At the time, Yauri was a Senior Secondary One student.   The amputation of his limb was a double blow: “I had to drop out of school; otherwise I never planned to stop my education at that level.  The accident also crashed the onion business I was doing to sponsor my education.”

The hard knock of  life soon set in.  To spare him the misery of a wretched life, one of his brothers sold him the idea of moving south to Lagos where begging was a lucrative way of life.

“I followed my brother to Lagos in 1999, and as he told me, I found that begging was lucrative.  People took pity on me because of my condition, and in no time, I was making money, enough to start planning to get married.”

Marriage to four wives

He started this family by marrying one wife.  After some time, he married a second, then a third, and finally a fourth wife.  One of his spouses died, and he has lost two children too.  Aside from these tragedies, Yauri is a happy man, a proud father of nine children, six of them including a set of twins by his first wife.

“I’m the one taking care of them,” he said with pride, “and God is the one taking care of all of us. We may not have money to eat the best of food, but we always make do with the little we have and we are always happy.”

How come a disabled beggar was able to marry four women? Yauri avowed it was easy for the women to fall in love and subsequently marry him.  “It was from this occupation that I married these women,” he boasted.  Of his three wives, the first is from Kwara State, the second from Kano, while the third is a Nigerien.  He is emphatic he and each of the women started as lovers.  He explained his love life with the story of his first wife, Shafatu, from Ilorin, Kwara State, whom he first knew as a secondary school student assisting her beverage seller -mother at Ikotun market.

“All my women loved me dearly and accepted my proposal. Our initial problem was their families’ objections, but my ladies said it must be me or never. Don’t you see the work of God? I paid the bride price and performed the necessary marriage rites for all of them; I didn’t get any of them free, neither did I elope with any of them,” he said.

His women not only accepted him for what he is, they took him for better or for worse, including his means of livelihood.  And after marriage, they joined him in his daily routine of begging to make ends meet. Indeed, begging has become the family’s profession so much so some of the younger children, who are not yet in school, loiter around their mothers where they beg.

Satisfying his women

Don’t ask Yauri how he satisfies three women sexually.  He would respond with a chuckle, followed by a jovial question: “Is the number of children, both living and dead, not evidence of my virility?”

For him, his disability neither extends to his libido nor affects his ability to impregnate his wives.  He will tell you his wives have no cause to complain––though he is quick to add: “I cannot kill myself, I am not a machine.”

He basked in his good fortune of being so blessed with offspring despite his disability and poverty.  Instead of complaining, he counts his blessings.  “There abound many able bodied men who are still unmarried till date, and there are several rich men that have spent so much money seeking medical help to have children and yet do not have any.  I am not gloating over their misfortune, but rather citing this as an example of God’s love for me, a poor, ordinary, disabled beggar.”

God’s love for him extends to his wives’ ease during childbirth. “I believe these blessings are God’s way to compensate me for my disability,” he reflected. “If my wives were to deliver through Caesarean Section, where would I get the money from?”

To increase his number of children or to not increase––the question, Yauri said, is for God. “If God gives me more children, I will take them, especially, as one wife has two children, while the other is left with one after the death of her second child, and these two women may want to have more children like the first wife who has six,” he clarified.

Pains of polygamy

To ask him how he is enjoying  polygamy, is to prompt a lamentation. His woes are best summarised in his statement that “it is hellish keeping three women under one roof.”

To avoid trouble, he tried to be equitable to all three women in the all-important, but sensitive aspect of conjugal responsibility.

To this end, he came up with a ‘sleeping formula’: “To each woman, I give two days in a week to sleep with her.  Two days for each woman, and one day of rest for me.”

He found out it was not enough to stave off trouble permanently.

“I did everything possible for all of them to live together in harmony, but trouble and quarrels always erupted,” he lamented but curiously, blaming the trouble on the Lagos environment.

His theory: “It was hellish keeping three wives together, especially in Lagos, where everybody is crazy.  Bring a naïve person to this city, by the time she arrives, Lagos would open her eyes.  If we were living in the village where our relatives are around us, they (his wives) can’t be a problem to me, even if they were four, because they would be punished for disobeying me. But this is Lagos, where everybody’s brain is something else. In the village, your brain is normal. But immediately you arrive in Lagos, it is either other people scatter your brain or you scatter it by yourself.”

He had resigned to a life of permanent querulous matrimony with the women. “Usually, two ganged-up against one; if I did anything, one would accuse me of favouring the other, and they would start quarreling with me. It was a difficult situation.”

His wives’ endless bickering ultimately drove him to keep them in separate apartments and locations, an arrangement they initially rejected until he was able to convince them of a constant conjugal visit.  “I live with one here in Igando, I rented a house for one at Okoko, and the other at Isheri,” he said, declaring “It is now that I have peace.  Before, it was so much trouble.”

Finding a way out of begging

While trying his best to meet his responsibility as the breadwinner, Yauri admitted that his large family now constitutes a problem.  As his children grow older, proceeds from begging shrink, and become insufficient to sustain the family.  The hard reality had forced him to seek other options to begging for a living.

His first alternative was to join the battalion of tricycle operators who make healthy wages conveying commuters over short distance.  Unfortunately, his tricycle was stolen by thieves. Occasionally, his friends who have other things to do borrow him their tricycles.  When such opportunity is not forthcoming, he goes a begging to make his usual paltry proceeds.

After trying his hands on the tricycle business, Yauri became somewhat ashamed of begging. Now in his 40s, he is eager to learn a vocation that would help sustain his family.

He would welcome any help, from government or individuals, towards training his children––though he insisted an explicit agreement would be made in this regards so he would not be disadvantaged by such benevolence.

Within the limit of his ability, he is ready to go any mile for the sake of a better future for his children.


December 8, 2014




Monday, December 08, 2014



My 200% support for all my Sistas that wear and carry proudly their natural hair…
— with Lori Danley and 7 others.
Going back to our “roots”
How Black women all over the world are going natural..
  • You and 7 others like this.
  • Mary T. Jefferies When I was in lower level School, the Caucasion students would tease me about my hair. I told my Mother when I came home from School.My beautiful Mother sat down with me laughing and said”Baby, your hair states who you are. It’s part of your heritage. Your hair strong and kinky because your Ancestors are from Africa a Continent with many country’s full of your people with original hair just like yours because we are from the original people with strong hair. That straight limp weak hair you see on their heads is not the original hair. They are an extension on of us. Remember that we come from original people. You remember what I’m telling you are teach this to your children so that they can teach to their children. The Library is our information center we should go often and take our children because what we need to know will not be taught in the schools .
  • Princess Oyeyinka Oluwa @Mary T. Jefferies…you nailed it. Pple of my culture even question why I have locks on my hair? I tell them it’s the style I chose to wear my hair natural. My children know the reason is becos I need to maintain my Africaness. And my 9 year old daughter with curly and kinky hair cannot understand why I dress her hair with real sheer butter and unrefined coconut oil to enhance her curls. Teach your children how to be proud of their hair. And they will never go astray.
  • Princess Oyeyinka Oluwa Yep. I am nappy haired and proud.
  • Ta’Seti Efuntola-Osunlade We are the Mothers and Fathers of Humanity! Whites, Asians, Native Americans … all have Black African Ancestors! Their ancestors too had wooly hair!


July 14, 2014


Real reason APC lost in Ekiti


I was dazed by the flurry of reactions of the media and political analysts to the just-concluded governorship election in Ekiti, especially as it concerned the outcome. While some argued that the election was not free and fair, others shouted them down, claiming the whole exercise was the best ever conducted in Nigeria! Because of these discordant tunes and the need to do a thorough analysis of what really transpired I chose not to join the fray at the earlier time. I deemed it more auspicious to sit back and watch as events unfolded and do a wrap-up at a later date. And that is exactly what I have done with this piece.

From the investigations and analysis I carried out, I can state without any equivocation that, the Ekiti Governorship election was generally free and fair, having been conducted under tight security and less violence and in accordance with the law guiding elections in Nigeria. Even an average Ekiti person saw the election as free and fair. The wide margin between the votes won by the contestants also underscores this fact.

The promptitude with which Governor Fayemi accepted the result and congratulated his rival was exemplary. This is how it is done in other climes. There is nothing absolutely wrong in anybody having a contrary view or opinion about the election. After all, it is the constitutional right of every Nigerian to express him or herself freely on any matter he feels strongly about. It is also the constitutional right of APC to hold a contrary view or go to court to challenge any aspect of the election it disagrees strongly with. All of these are the latitudes democracy provides.

It will be morally wrong and antithetical to democratic norms for anybody to stop the opposition from challenging the outcome of the election, provided this is done with decorum and in conformity with the laws of the land.

The simple truth is that Ekiti people voted for Ayodele Fayose, because he struck the right chord with them. Apart from compensating him for his steadfastness and the injustice done him when he was wrongly impeached, the people voted for change. Their desire for change had nothing to do with the performance of the incumbent governor, Kayode Fayemi. Not at all! Rather Fayemi was a victim of an age-long ideological rivalry between the conformists and non-conformists. I expatiated below.

In terms of achievements nobody can fault Fayemi – he performed creditably and demonstrated in large doses his urbaneness and intellectuality. Probably, what he did not do was to connect properly with the grassroots who actually hold the mandate to determine who governs them. I have met and interacted with Fayemi closely; I find him a very gentle and honest man. However, the Nigerian political environment demands much more than gentleness and honesty. It demands a little of rugged mentality. You know what I mean.

So, I laugh when people fail to understand the peculiarities of Yoruba politics. I am sure not every political analyst would be able to see the striking difference, for example, between Ekiti politics and Ogun politics. Ogun politics is purely in deference to the laid down philosophy of Awoism, which is why it is usually difficult for the state to pander to the political whims of any other party that is ideologically in contrast with this philosophy.

There had always been some dilemma among the people of Ekiti whether or not to stick to the Awoist philosophy or design their own peculiar political direction. Remember that their neighbouring brothers – the Ondo – had already charted their own political direction by pitching their tent with an entirely new political party – the Labour party. Again, it is easy to see from the Ondo example that the Yoruba stock in Ondo and Ekiti states want to carve a niche for themselves, not deferring to the usual crowd-syndrome of obeisance to a monolithic political behemoth. While Ondo went Labour, Ekiti went PDP this time round.

What might have caused the revolt? This question becomes pertinent since the general belief had always been that Yoruba are politically and ideologically monolithic. Later events have since put a lie to this assumption. Since the death of Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1987 cracks have continued to appear on the once-impregnable political walls erected by this great patriot and nationalist. Alive, he trod the Yoruba political firmament like a colossus, was loved and revered by his followers, almost to the point of worshipping and adoring him. As Premier of Western Nigeria he lifted the lives of his people by erecting infrastructure, and sending many of them to schools abroad. In all of his achievements he made one irreversible mistake – he did not groom a successor. This obvious flaw became manifest the moment he died. The big vacuum he left behind became a problem to fill. A pair of legs to fit into the oversize shoes he wore also could not be found. Even the man who managed to step into his shoes, Chief Abraham Adesanya, could not do much to reignite the popularity of the late Awo. Instead of unflinching support from the Yoruba political elite all he got was half-hearted endorsement. He grappled with all kinds of problems – ranging from open opposition to his leadership to balkanization of the amorphous political structure built by Awo.

The death of Adesanya opened a new fault-line in the leadership crisis in Yorubaland. The Afenifere and Yoruba Elders Council walked on parallel lines, with each group championing a peculiar political vision. As all this was going on the masses were being constantly estranged, and that paved the way for infiltration by other political parties and aligners. They flaunted all kinds of philosophies and ideologies, and before one could say Jack Robinson they had overrun the entire Yoruba political landscape.

It seems the problem has got worse when it is considered that Yoruba do not have a clear-cut and anointed leader. And without such a leader it will be difficult to hold the people together under one umbrella.

The cracks in Yoruba unity became visible in 1999 when the entire Yoruba land, excepting Lagos, was conquered by a conservative political party. Though it was widely bandied that the election was manipulated in favour of a particular political party, subsequent events proved the argument untenable. Okay, assuming the election was manipulated, what did Yoruba do to show their discontentment? Every discerning political observer can easily predict what Yoruba could do when politically shortchanged. It happened in 1983 when the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) tried to penetrate Yorubaland at all costs. They targeted two states – Oyo and Ondo – where Bola Ige and Michael Ajasin held the reins of power. We all saw what transpired – hell was let loose. Sanity prevailed only after justice had been done.

Definitely, what the Yoruba demonstrated by their measured silence in 1999 and 2003 was clear discontentment with their leadership. They chose to go the way that suited their idiosyncrasies, if for no other reason, at least to hold their destiny in their hands. In 2007, they chose to go back to their ‘root’. They voted majorly for Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), but their votes could not count until the courts stepped in to actualize their mandate. The upturning of the early victories of PDP in Ondo, Ekiti, Osun and Edo by the courts has therefore signposted a new vision. Buoyed by these victories ACN became ambitious. It opted to reach out to other political parties (strange bedfellows, one may say) to form an amalgamation to uproot their common enemy – PDP. Surely, it was a deft political move. Nevertheless, one thing was missing – a definite ideology. Yes, a new party, APC, has been formed. What is new that the party is bringing to the fore? The crises it has faced since it was formed underscored the absence of a strong ideological direction. Change is always driven by solid and definable ideology, not sheer emotionalism or sanctimony.

The alliance between AC and other political parties signaled the advent of a new fault-line. Do not forget that each of the parties in the alliance had its unresolved crises that dogged it long before the alliance. And so they carried these multifarious problems into the new party. Naturally, like a keg of gunpowder, they are bound to explode someday. Lack of adequate time to consolidate, enlighten and enunciate its programmes also became a problem. And this was one of the factors that affected its fortunes in Ekiti.

Again, the decision of the leadership of AC to vote for PDP in some elections and AC in another in 2011 elections also posed its own problem. It never happened during the days of Awo. It was Awo’s party 100 per cent or nothing else. There was nothing like compromise. If you found something good to vote for PDP in a presidential election, what is wrong to vote for the same party in a governorship election? You see what I mean!

Leadership of a political party is not a tea party. It demands steadfastness, openness and strong will. Any mistake will mark the end of one’s political journey. And that is what is dogging APC in Yoruba land today. May be they found these qualities in Fayose, which was why they voted for him.

Another factor that caused the upset in Ekiti was security. I never knew Nigeria could ever be able to provide such water-tight security for an election. The security was, like the Caribbean would say, ‘something else’. This raises an important question: why can’t our security agencies work with equal commitment to fight the ills in our society? The election in Ekiti witnessed unprecedented air, water and land security. And this accounted for the relative peace that prevailed throughout the duration of the election. I have one fear though: what will happen when elections are held in about 29 states at the same time? Will we be able to muster enough security men to monitor the elections? This brings us to the contentious issue of staggered elections. So, will it be possible to conduct staggered elections in Nigeria?

The answer is ‘yes’. What else could one call the elections in Edo, Ondo, and now Ekiti States? They were simply staggered elections. All we need to do is put in place the machinery, and every other thing will fall in place. The United States, from where we borrowed our presidential system of government, practices staggered elections, though the cost is enormous. I do not know why the National Conference did not address the matter.

Now we need to consider the impact of what has happened in Ekiti on subsequent elections in Yoruba land. First, I wish to state that Ekiti and Ondo present isolated cases. They do not hold the ace as to what happens in other Yoruba states. I had already explained this line of thought in the early part of this piece. Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and Osun will always be difficult to penetrate. These are hardcore Yoruba states that still believe strongly in the Awoist philosophy. Osun, for instance, has two contrasting personalities for the governorship tussle next month. One calls himself a street-boy and the other sees himself as neither a street-boy nor a gentleman. Where that leaves us is anybody’s guess. What I see in Osun state is a straight fight between ideology and elitism. Put in another perspective, it is going to be a battle between the traditional adherents of Awoism and the new power block that revolves around the elite. Naturally, the Awoists are expected to win – all things being equal. Nevertheless, there is always the surprise aspect of Nigeria politics that makes situations not work out really as predicted.

Can Rauf Arigbesola stand up to be counted when the hour comes? I see some of his programmes as people-oriented, but I am not comfortable with some of his policies as they concern education and the civil service. And it is from these sectors that we have the largest number of voters. Maybe that also worked against the man in Ekiti as he had had a number of disagreements with teachers and civil servants in his state prior to the governorship election.

It is important to remind the governors about the need not to be estranged from their workers. Workers are a solid factor to consider when planning for a re-election. A new governor may be able to escape their fury at first, but may not be that lucky when seeking a re-election. Aware of this pitfall the Ogun governor, Ibikunle Amosun, has taken steps to reconcile with warring civil servants in his states. What a wise thing to do!

Now what are the takeaways from the Ekiti election? There are a few of them. The first is not to take anything for granted. Belonging to a popular political party is no longer enough to win elections in Nigeria. Nigerian voters have shown by what happened in Ekiti that they would vote for personality rather than political party in subsequent elections. This places a huge challenge on political parties to put forward credible and trustworthy candidates for elections. The era of mediocrities dancing like kings on the stage is gone. The second takeaway is that no political party can win elections in Nigeria any longer it failed to convince Nigerians of its ideology. Nigerians may no longer vote for a political party purely on regional loyalty. Such a party must show some clout and conviction. The third is that INEC has demonstrated the capacity to conduct free and fair election once it is determined to do so. I am happy with what happened in Ekiti. At least, in the interim, it has made INEC acquire some credibility, which places some smile in the faces of its leadership and serves as motivation for them to do better. The Ekiti election also tasks our security agencies to be more committed to their responsibility in order for our nation to achieve its long-expected goal of sustainable democracy.

While the winners in the Ekiti election are savouring their victory I wish to remind them that their victory is a call to duty, not a jamboree. It has placed a big burden on them to deliver or incur the wrath of the people. It is not a vote of no-confidence in Fayemi or anybody for that matter; it is the beginning of the sanitisation of the polity.


July 14, 2014



Fashola should stop running his mouth, he’s a product of god-fatherism–Ayo Fayose



The Governor-elect of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, in this interview with NIYI ODEBODE and ADELANI ADEPEGBA, comments on the controversy over his victory and politics in the South-West

Many people were shocked by the result of the Ekiti governorship election. Were you also shocked?

No, we know the facts on ground. We live by realities, not propaganda. There are no Nigerian politicians, serious politicians, irrespective of their political parties, that do not know that Fayose is on the ground and that Fayose’s name is a household name in Ekiti. Despite the fact that I have left office for eight years, I remain with the people. I have fought several elections, for and in support of even the All Progressives Congress. I supported Kayode Fayemi in the rerun. I was the beautiful bride then. It is their way when the going is good with them; when you are fighting on their side, you are the best in the world. Then, you will not be a criminal; then you will not be 419er; then you have integrity, then you will be celebrated. When you are against them; when you humble them, they call you all sorts of names. They look for theories that do not go with reality.

How would you respond to Governor Fashola’s comment that Governor Fayemi accepted defeat because he did not want bloodshed in Ekiti?

I really don’t want to join issues with them, particularly, Governor Fashola because I like him so much. I like his person and I have a lot of respect for him. But Governor Fashola is talking from two sides of his mouth. They say Fayose is not educated, according to them, but he is educated. He is learned but Fashola is not a product of internal democracy. Governor Fashola is a product of imposition, of god-fatherism. I remember when Fashola and Asiwaju Tinubu had issues, there were trumped-up charges against him through the House of Assembly. I remember vividly that he had to go to the court to clip their wings, otherwise they would have messed him up. And even at that, they still kept a tab on him. How would you be a governor, not elected in a transparent primary, but selected by one leader and you would still be surprised if an election was won through due process? Fashola knows that when he accused Asiwaju of not allowing due process or internal process in the party, Bola Tinubu told him, ‘Have you forgotten that if I followed due process, you would not be governor?’ So he cannot appreciate due process politically. When they were nominating commissioners, he didn’t have one commissioner. He cannot equally say this is my deputy. You know I chose my deputy myself, against all the odds. They gave him a deputy governor, probably, the only person I think he owns now is his wife. I am sure Fashola has forgotten that he is a lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and that the constitution of Nigeria says a man is adjudged innocent until otherwise proved by a court of competent jurisdiction. I don’t want to say anything negative about him. I would have asked a special adviser or somebody working under me to reply him, but because he is a governor, I have to reply him myself. Let me remind him very quickly, I was governor before him. He was an ordinary chief of staff at that time. I am his senior politically. If at all he knows anything about politics, I am his senior. We know the intrigues more than him. It is true he is sitting on a prime state like Lagos under the watch of his godfather, but he should not run his mouth. It is unfortunate that a man at his level is talking like that. I am an institution like his godfather in Ekiti. When I started, I didn’t have a godfather. I didn’t have anybody like the Saraki of Ilorin who put Bukola Saraki there. They should learn to allow democracy to run. I want to tell them, if care is not taken, they would lose Lagos. The tide, the movement is against them. One thing with the APC is that they would lure you to defect, the moment you defect, they would go and put you on the reserve bench. That is why they don’t have support continuously. When you work for them, as soon as you are used, they dump you. You can imagine a governor who is supposed to pay salaries and he refused to pay for two, three months, and election is coming, he is now rushing, borrowing money. The civil servants are now telling him, thank God for Ekiti election, if not for Ekiti election, this man would not pay us. Who is fooling who? Look at the heavy tax burden in Lagos, in all their states. The Tsunami is going to consume them and I am telling you the truth, it is not personal. I am not boasting, I am an institution in Ekiti. What is the business of Fashola in Ekiti? The problem is that they have all put their resources in Ekiti election and they lost. The bookmakers failed.

Despite the fact that Fayemi conceded defeat, you described it as political gimmick. Why?

Governor Fayemi does not have a choice than to concede. It is only honourable for him and I will continue to respect him even when it’s obvious he had no choice but to concede, that is the truth. In my village, people say if everybody doesn’t know the truth, you that is affected by an incident knows the truth; a sick man knows he is having pain in his tummy. Governor Fayemi knows the situation is bad.

But some people have argued that your victory was achieved through inducement of voters with rice and money?

Unfortunately, they (APC members) are the ones sharing money. I complained about them sharing money, check the records. In 2011, they brought money to every polling booth. Those people that were arrested during elections were caught with money. Which party did they belong to? The issue here is that they all know it. They are the ones that engaged in money politics. They buy all the buy-ables. I have been out of office for eight years, where will I get that kind of money to buy votes? The issue remains that somebody that eats your food must be convinced before he can vote for you. Can a meal of rice induce somebody to vote for you? Fayemi gave cooked rice, I gave uncooked rice. This is politics and you need everything to entice voters and rice was shared by me, almost two weeks before election.

Did you have to do that?

Yes. Why was Governor Fayemi buying buses and inscribing Iyaloja, Igbo community on them close to the election period? Why was Governor Fayemi’s wife donating garri to the farmsteads? Why was he giving money to aged citizens and giving gifts including recharge cards to the people? Why did his wife do that? These are petty antics of politicians to draw voters and that does not change anything. A container of rice would not change the mind of anybody because the rice cannot last you till the election day. When you attend ward meetings, you give your people money because some of them may have come to meet you from various villages. You see, when you fail, you must accept and Fayemi lives in Ekiti and we are there together. Are they now holier than the Pope? Most of the hotels in Ekiti were booked by Governor Fayemi six months before the election and they gave rooms to all the policemen that came for the election. We knew what transpired. Fayemi has been honourable. Their fear is not about Ekiti anymore. They are saying all these because of Osun election. When something is consuming you, you will hold on to anything and all things. If you look at them very well, they were in shock for the first three days after the Ekiti election, they had to summon a NEC meeting to take a decision. They had to look for words, which they coined to describe what happened because they were caught by the reality of the international accreditation of that election which was adjudged free and fair. The court is the highway for them, but they will meet us there. Are they the owners of the court? They are not. They always think they know it all.

There is a belief that federal might played a role in your victory.

I don’t know what is called federal might. In those days, they used to snatch ballot boxes, you can’t do that again. There used to be multiple thumb printing, but the ballot papers are now customised to the polling booth and the ward. Even if you want to help somebody rig the election, it is not easy anymore. They should stop lying. Some of them said they militarised Ekiti and brought so many security personnel. The question is that the law is not made for the godly, but for the ungodly. The military personnel were not for those that wanted to vote peacefully, they were for those that wanted to create problems. Some of them came to Ekiti with voter’s cards that did not belong to them, stayed in various hotels and had charms on them, they were caught. Who were the people that were arrested in Anambra? Were they not APC members? The same APC members and it is their method to always want to change the story. Thank God, Fayemi was honourable enough. I remember Governor Adebayo did the same thing. Na today them dey lie? It is not today.

Is it true that Ekiti voters did not sack Governor Fayemi for non-performance?

Governor Fayemi did not perform, that is the truth. I stand to be corrected, but he did not perform. Let me ask him one question: Governor Fayemi should tell Ekiti and the public one road project initiated and completed by his administration-from bush clearing, earth removal, sand filling, compacting, surface dressing, drainage works, culvert, asphalt overlay, none. I stand to be corrected. Governor Fayemi only laid asphalt on all the roads that I did. The people of Ekiti State till today have not got a replacement for me. They were not part of the events that took me out of office. Historically, they still remain with Ayo Fayose in their hearts. Let me go to another sector: in education, when I left government, Ekiti was number 35 out of 36 states in the country when I took over from Governor Adebayo, I brought education with credit in five subjects in the external examination as a yardstick, I brought Ekiti in 2004 to 18th position. In 2005, I brought it to 13th, in 2006, it came to the 8th position. Today, we are back in number 34 under Governor Fayemi. So, tell me the performance, the hype in the media, is that performance? I stand to be corrected again, Governor Fayemi should point at one project started by his administration and completed; none. The governor’s lodge that he is building in Ayaba hill, is Ekiti the Federal Government that he is building Aso Rock? Of what economic value are those projects to the average man on the street? The pavilion was commissioned uncompleted. I don’t like to take on Governor Fayemi, but we have to treat these issues. These projects, of what economic benefits are they and at what cost? Again, let me say this, when I was governor, I did not borrow a dime to run my administration and I still left N10.4bn in the coffers of the state government at my departure. It is not about your professorship or doctorate degrees, or your being a SAN. They love me. It is not about education. It is about native intelligence and your ability to humble yourself and live with the people. Most of the people that are local politicians, I know their names, I know their houses, I know their farms. I know what they need. I helped them. I have their phone numbers. I announced my phone numbers on the radio, they call me, I picked calls, how many of the opposition politicians can put their numbers in the public domain for people to call them? How many of them can spend two days in their local government areas? I have gone to look for ward leaders sometimes during party primaries, they would be in their farms and I would meet them in their farms and still help some of them to make heaps. Sometimes, it is not about money. There is no ward in Ekiti that I don’t know people by names, at least 10 people per ward. If I don’t know your name, I have an idea of who you are. You know most politicians give their T-shirts free to supporters, I sold mine. My T-shirt is N300 because I am like the football star. My T-shirt is not free. When others give supporters their T-shirt, they leave it and buy my own. If you don’t buy my T-shirt, you would look like a leper. My hand band which has the inscription of my name is N100, my baseball cap is N200. I am as golden as that. There is a membership of the PDP that is general, but the membership of Ayo Fayose group costs N500. I have at least over 90,000 registered members; they beg to register. With all due respect to my supporters, I love them. I go to the remotest part of Ekiti, wherever you are. If you are having a naming ceremony, you will find me there. It doesn’t matter how poor you are. If I cannot give you a cow, I give you a ram. If you are drinking Agbo jedi (herbal concoction), I would join you. Women selling boli (roasted plantain) know me and I know them and I phone them from time to time. This is not a question of money. How many of our governors can go to roadside eateries and eat there? They said I am a jankara governor and I have used this to beat them. Every Sunday, I go to eat ‘iyan kolobe’ (pounded yam without soup) and I’d be there for one hour, but during the election period, my opponents started doing the same thing. They started buying maggi that costs N1000 for N5000, so the people knew that they wanted their votes.

How do you react to the belief that President Jonathan wants to ride on your victory to penetrate the South-West in a desperate attempt to win the 2015 election?

There is nothing like desperation. What you don’t have, you have to work to have it. My election is now a reference point in Nigeria that big names don’t win election. Your coat and babaringa don’t win elections. Go and cultivate the people. They are in shock because just for one day, we changed the tide. The tides are changing, the only thing that is constant is change and like I told you, in another two, three elections, it would be difficult to rig. Before, there was this belief that anybody could go to government and take money, but you can’t do it again because things are changing. These leaders should change with realities. Even in the PDP, in the South-West, no leader will disparage the party. We would suspend you. It doesn’t matter whether you are a former president or former governor, if you disparage the party again, we will take you out. I am telling you expressly. By no small means, posterity has put me in this position, if anybody wants to join the APC, let him go there. If former President Olusegun Obasanjo wants to join the APC, let him go to APC. Segun Oni has gone, we don’t beg for membership. We want loyal members of our party. Obasanjo should stop making uncomplimentary statements about the party, if he continues, we will suspend him; nobody is bigger than this party. When I fought the PDP, I wrote a letter of resignation and I left. You cannot be in a glass house and throw stones; so whosoever, no matter how big you are, you must be careful. You see, they said Segun Oni left, did he win his polling booth? Segun Oni was imposed, his allegiance was to the people that imposed him. We are not bothered about that, but some people have names, they have no ground supporters. Those who hired people like Segun Oni and gave him deputy chairman, South-West, they have hired what Yoruba call korofo, empty carton.

After you won the election, the EFCC said you still have a case to answer. What’s your reaction?

EFCC did not say that. There is an ongoing case with the EFCC. It is an ongoing case since 2007 and so there is no issue. I am not the only one going through it and I remain an innocent man until otherwise proven. So with all the EFCC case and the blackmail, I still won an election. They should borrow a leaf from there; there is something fundamental about me. They would all be living in this country when I would be at the top. They will be criticising me as I go to the top; that is their way. I am still going higher.

You mean you want to contest for the Presidency?

Well, maybe one day, after Jonathan. I will give Jonathan unalloyed loyalty and support. After Jonathan, if anybody wants to use me for anything higher, I will be glad to do it; it’s service.

What gives you the assurance that PDP’s victory in Ekiti will be replicated in Osun?

The PDP will win everywhere. What do you want me to say? You want me to tell you the PDP would not win? We will win everywhere, it’s normal because we have bruised their ego. We have taken the meat away from them. We have shown the whole world practical demonstration, if you are not on the ground, you can’t win this election. The APC will time out after Osun election.

What is the basis of your conviction?

I just said it to you. In the papers, they put all the hype, they put Governor Fayemi’s photo, they showed rallies. I’m a realist. I am on the ground. I am in the PDP. But I have a lot of respect for Aregbesola, anybody who is a governor should be respected because it’s a respectable office, but that does not take away the fact that I am a PDP man and I will work in the overall interest of the party.

There are fears that you may dismantle Fayemi’s programmes and policies…

I will rather consolidate on his achievements. He has done his bit, he has tried his best; nobody can finish governance, so why would I dismantle his programmes? Even if there are mistakes by his administration, I will draw his attention to them, we will talk about them. I want former governors to be like the military. They still respect one another. Like I told you, there is no reason to fight anybody. No fight, what I am interested in is to do my own bit. Four years is a short time. I just want to do my own bit and go. Unborn children of Ekiti will still be governors after me, so why would I fight Fayemi? I will equally draw Governor Fayemi to myself, draw Adebayo, draw Oni. I have defeated the three of them put together, but that doesn’t matter. That is politics.

The APC has said it will contest your electoral victory in court. Are you worried?

Good luck to them. I will meet them there. Are they the owners of the court? They always think they can buy people.

What specific programmes do you have for Ekiti people?

I have done it before. I did something in the past that made them appreciate me and brought me back. I will do more than that. If I enumerate my agenda, we would be here forever. But in infrastructure, my priority is to tar all the untarred roads in the state capital within 18 months. I am going to construct a fly-over in two strategic places in Ado-Ekiti to ease traffic. There are lots of things I will do to enhance the welfare of my people. If I were Governor Fayemi, I would not have built that governor’s house. I will build roads and other infrastructure that can impact the life of the common man. Things that can add value to the lives of the people are more important than things that would add value to the governor.

Some people have argued that your own kind of development programme is about stomachstructure and not infrastructure, how do you react to this?

Are we saying that people should remain in hunger perpetually because we are providing infrastructure?

An hungry man is an angry man. For four years people did not feel the direct impact of government, is that governance? The truth of the matter is every contract in Ekiti was a payback time for some people. Well, the consequence of not doing stomachstructure is for them to go back home.

You once said that your wife predicted your return to government house. Is she a prophetess?

It is a gift. A lot of people have the gift of God. She is a woman after God’s heart, I keep saying that. People say I should not put her in public domain, I should not talk about her. The fact remains that the hand of God is with her and remains upon her. When my wife said Fayose would come back, Fayemi’s wife kicked, she said what did he forget in Government House? Now, they know and they know better.

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