To the two “strange” characters, surprise is the game, in fact, the ultimate. And they are capable of springing one without stress.
They are no strangers to surprise, they are not like “five and six,” far from it. They are rather foes and/or friends, depending on the prevailing circumstances.
Right now, one is being heavily vilified, harassed, embarrassed and humiliated. Just like a wonder, the other is stoutly rising to his defence, unsolicited! They are both endowed with elements of surprise.
We must not pretend the newfound love does not exist. It is in the air, everywhere. The mastermind is no less than Ayodele Fayose, the game master himself. He holds sway in Ekiti State as the undisputed governor.
He is worthy of a serious study at times like this. His friends and supporters admire him. And his foes cannot afford to ignore him. He is many things to many people depending from which side you are accessing and assessing him.
But give it to him. Whatever he dares to do, he does it with passion. He is both serious and erratic; he is amazing and amusing at the same time. Awkward?
He made an honest confession in response to a question recently: “I am street-wise. When we start the game, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), that is trying to manipulate elections will know there is a street boy in Ekiti State.” That is vintage Fayose, the lone ranger. He dabbles into virtually everything. You may choose to call him governor without borders, you are not far from it. To a very large extent, he cares less whose ox is gored.
He is hyper-active, that is why he fights dirty and messy. From his Ekiti base, he has his eyes all over. There is no issue Fayose would not have an opinion. And he would refuse to keep it to himself. He shouts it to high heavens.
He acts his talks. He backs and bites. He is short in words, long in action. Nobody else behaves like him. Not even one out of his governors-colleague. Most of the time, he acts for them, consciously and unconsciously.
Fayose has both friends and foes almost at equal large numbers. In his weird strength and capacity, he treats them nearly the same. They say controversy is his other “cherished” name.
The very reason he could doggedly rise to the defence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The ex-governor Lagos State is the National Leader of the rulling All Progressives Congress (APC). Politically, it is unwise, but Fayose did the unexpected. He bells the cat and heavens did not fall.
Dauntless and brave, he ventures into the lions’ den and comes out unhurt. He sees the vilification of Tinubu from a different perspective. He removes the political tag aside and puts on a nationalist toga.
That is a deft move. It caught everyone, especially his foes unawares. They could not believe their eyes and ears. He roars: “Humiliation of Tinubu is as good as humiliation of the Yoruba race.”
Stranger than fiction! That is why everything about Fayose triggers reactions, negatively and positively. Clearly, this character cannot be ignored. He is the relevant issue:
“Even though I am not a member of APC and I will never be, I have elected to stand in defence of the Yoruba nation by saying, no to the continuous dishonoured treatment being meted to Tinubu.”
Fayose sees beyond Tinubu. He is a student of history: “If Tinubu is allowed to be embarrassed and disgraced just the way our past leaders were humiliated by those same elements the Yoruba nation would have been made to suffer for uprightness.”
Fayose is sad that the Yoruba have not picked useful lessons from the past. The greatest lesson the race has learnt is that it refused to learn from its turbulent history. It is disheartening. He lamented: “When other tribes protect their own, it is becoming historically common among Yoruba to allow themselves to be used against their leaders just for momentary political gains at the expense of the collective interests of he Yoruba nation.” Sampler: “It should be noted that Chief Obafemi Awolowo was sent to jai by the conspiracy and collaboration of some Yoruba with the external aggressors.”
He took a vow: “It is my position that irrespective of political affiliation, no leader of the Yoruba nation must be vilified, especially by the same people who humiliated our past leaders like Awolowo, Adekunle Ajasin, Bola Ige, Bisi Onabanjo and others”
His resolve: “Tinubu should not be seen just as an APC leader, but acknowledged as a major stakeholder in Yoruba nation that we must all protect beyond politics.”
Fayose is not alone, he has a legion of perfect allies. And the list is growing. Even foremost Awoist and elder statesman, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, shared his thoughts. Though a victim of Tinubu’s political game, he speaks wisdom expected of an elder at this trying time:
“People are expecting me to mock Tinubu and say God has dealt with him over the manner he treated me and other Yoruba leaders. But I won’t do that because what is after six is more than seven.”
He reasoned: “Attack on Tinubu is not directly at him, but attack on Yoruba- land. I am not short-sighted. They want to break us up and cause division so that they can take over.”
Like Fayose, Pa Adebanjo strongly believes “that the gang-up against him (Tinubu) is a ploy to divide Yorubaland so that these northerners can take over.”
Now, you see why Fayose should be examined meticulously? We cannot risk throwing away the bathwater with the baby. It is suicidal, particularly at these perilous times.
Undoubtedly, Fayose has his own failings. Every human does, only God does not. But on the matter at hand, he is not given to frivolity. He did similar things in times past. A quick reminder from him: “You will recall when (Dr. Kayode) Fayemi (former governor, Ekiti State) was to be appointed a minister, I directed all the senators from my state to support him because he needed the endorsement of two senators (from the state).
“I did not do it for politics. I did it for the overall interest and development of Ekiti. Most of those things I talked about, they (APC) cannot do (any of) them. They cannot celebrate you for one day. Even when you do something good, they will call it bad.”
Indeed, this is one governor without borders. And he does not bother either!