By Segun Dipe
“Do not answer a fool according to his folly or you yourself will be just like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.” -Proverbs 26:4-5.
When we saw the criticism desperately, frustratingly, but wrongly unleashed on the public regarding the Ekiti State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja, FCT, and the construction work going on there, the initial thought was to let it pass as the ranting of an inconsequential ant.
On a second thought, we considered the mindset of both the propagandists and their gullible audience, who know next to nothing about good governance and decided to give them the biblical treatment as recommended above, especially with the press quoting Diran Odeyemi from Osun State as the inordinate signee of the statement. Odeyemi knows next to nothing about Ekiti government business and, at best, he is a meddlesome interloper.
How desperate and frustrated can an opposition be to show it is still licking the wounds it sustained when it lost grip on an ill-attained power two years ago. No doubt the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ekiti State is still in denial of the fact that its leadership style of Bamubamu ni mo yo… is no longer in vogue and is now resorting to the strategy of “Kaka k’eku ma je sese, a fi se awadanu.”
The PDP propagandist might have mindlessly criticized to no end every positive step taken by the administration of Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, whose watchword is good governance and due process. But this time around, he has sunk way too low and too ill-informed.
Where good governance and due process are involved, bad governance and gangsterism have no place. Two bad tools employed by the untamed critic in carrying out his unpatriotic activity are nitpicking and afghanistanism. Nitpicking is the fussy and pedantic faultfinding, while afghanistanism is the railing and shaking of fist at an unseen foe who is quite unaware of your existence, much less your fury.
In the misinformed criticism, the nitpicker who claimed to be representing the opposition PDP in Ekiti said he had credible evidence that the property, sitting on 2000sqm on T. Y. Danjuma, Asokoro, Abuja had been sold, and there was “no sign post, stating the owner of the new structure.” He has yet to show the evidence.
In another vein, the self-acclaimed PDP critic said he assumed “but did not concede that the new structure with like 15-feet bunker was being built by the state government,” and queried the justification for pulling down the old structure and building a new one at this time. He asked further, but ignorantly: “At what time did the former structure become dilapidated to warrant total demolition to pave way for a new one?”
The bellyaching did not stop there. The nitpicker issued a query to the governor, demanding that “Governor Fayemi must explain to Ekiti people what happened to the multi-billion naira edifice in Abuja.” Well, since he who alleges should be the one to prove; we challenge the same PDP critic to provide evidence of the sale of the property to the whole world.
Perhaps, such afghanistanistic display would not have been necessary in the first place, if the faultfinder, with no known qualification in any profession, had endeavoured to clear his ill-informed criticism with Engr. Segun Oni and Mr. Ayo Fayose, two erstwhile PDP governors of the state who were actively involved in the purchase and abandonment of the property. The two are back in the same opposition party and should not have allowed desperation and frustration to take the better part of their boy.
In the day-to-day exercise of administrative powers, circumspection is required. This is what separates the current administration of Dr. Fayemi from that of its PDP predecessor. It is actually not for the pained PDP to dictate what the priority of an All Progressives Congress, APC, administration should be, rather it is the business of the administration of Dr. Fayemi to prioritise projects, in so far as it is properly communicated to the people. The Fayemi administration has kept faith with workers in the way the PDP could not. If reconstruction of the dilapidated lodge in Abuja is deemed a priority, and for as long as it does not interfere with the meeting of other necessary obligations, then, it should be left for the government to decide.
Lest the critic might have forgotten, his party, the PDP, spent four years in building a bridge to nowhere, while owing huge backlog of salaries due to workers. Fayemi is not like Fayose who shrewdly rented his personal apartment, located in the same Asokoro axis, to the state for his own use in Abuja, at a cost of N30 million (plus N3 million agency fee) per year, which amounted to N120 million (plus N12 million agency fees) in four years!
The same Fayose illegally disposed of the official land acquired by the first civilian governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, for the building of the State Lodge. Up till now, the lodge procured has remained in private hands and the Fayemi administration is the one trying to take possession of the land in the name of Ekiti State.
Again, lest the critic should know, Governor Fayemi, as the current chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, has more reasons to visit Abuja than any past governor. There was hardly any week he didn’t do so before the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, unlike Fayose, he would rather stay in his private residence at no cost to the state. If Fayemi were a Fayose, he would have rented his personal house to the state and collected huge rent or better still, lodge in presidential suites in hotels. He has refused to do any of these.
Due process is not just about how humans are legally treated, but also how resources are judiciously deployed. When a leader makes due process his watchword like Fayemi has done, both his dealings with humans and utilisation of resources would be self-moderated and such leader would have nothing to fear.
May we therefore enlighten the ill-informed propagandist to exercise his power as provided for in Freedom of Information law of the state to investigate these facts, instead of embarking on a wild goose chase? Yet, if for any reason he cannot afford to do this, we can help clear his warped mind as follows: the same property was purchased during the Segun Oni era from a co-PDP governor of Osun State at the time, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola. It was not so good for habitation since the roof was leaking. This made Fayose to totally abandon it and thus make it become much worse.
Now, Fayemi, due to his twin style of good governance and due process, had to order the demolition of the building because it was found to be structurally weak and dangerous for habitation after it was criminally abandoned for four years by the Fayose administration, hence the decision by the Fayemi administration to demolish and rebuild.
This was adequately provided for in both the 2019 and 2020 budgets and this is available on the internet for anyone’s perusal. It was well advertised, bidded for and duly awarded.
However, if the opposition PDP is still agonising as to whether due process has been followed or not, they are free to approach the court. It is their democratic right, after all. As for Ekiti, the state can only be better for it.
*Dipe is Senior Special Assistant to the Ekiti State Governor on Public Communications.