A Wailing Wailer… Fayose’s Regret at 57


Apologies to Femi Adesina, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, who once described critics of his principal as wailing wailers; without a scintilla of doubt, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State falls into that obnoxious category. A rabid, unrestrained and impulsive anti-Buharist, he wears his hunger for attention by attacking Buhari’s deeds and misdeeds like a badge of honour. Even when needless, the rambunctious governor must say something to be in the news. It was his birthday days back.

And he held a thanksgiving service at Lady Jibowu Hall of the government house in celebration of his 57th birthday. His mother, wife and sons were all present. So were, predictably, all government appointees and friends. But that is not even the story. In the run up to the 2015 presidential elections, Governor Fayose attracted widespread scorn and infamy for his strident opposition to the candidacy of President Muhammadu Buhari, even going as far as taking paid newspaper pages to suggest that if elected president, Buhari would die in office. More than two years after, Buhari is still alive and kicking. Yet, Fayose has remained unwavering in his harsh, sometimes childlike criticism of the president.

Surprisingly, on his birthday, when asked what his major wish was, he said, “My wishes on my 57th birthday as Ayo Fayose are many but one of them which will interest you is that I wish President Buhari’s congratulatory call would have woken me up today as one of the governors in the country, as a father of the nation and as a leading opposition figures in the country. A fearless young man who believes that things should be done rightly, to show himself as a father of all, preaching that we must extend love to everybody not only those in his political party.” He continued, “The president would have made a difference if he had extended such gesture to others beyond his political party. Such a congratulatory message should have been conveyed through his Minister of Information.

I would have loved to either wake up receiving a congratulatory call from him or read it in the papers. But since it is not coming, it is not a big deal to me and I take no offence on it.” While saying he is not President Buhari’s enemy by any stretch of the imagination, Fayose described opposition as the strength of democracy, saying, “Those who criticise your government are not your enemies, they are catalysts to your growth as a government.” Interestingly, this wish, like everything Fayose, was met with mockery and outright reprimand. Wife of the Borno State Governor, Mrs. Nana Shettima, retweeted a news article of the story and added, “What goes around, comes around. Keep your circle positive, speak good words, think good thoughts and sow good deeds. Simple reminder.”

The life of a billionaire is oft befuddling. More often than not, they exhibit weird and wonderful characters that distinguish them from peers. But sometimes, they do things that make them look like the average man in the street. This is why the case of a billionaire construction giant, Tunji Olowolafe, blurs the line between utter incredulity and utmost curiosity.

Perhaps one of the most understated billionaires in this clime, Olowolafe was reportedly the sole individual whose construction firm was trusted enough by the Lagos State government under former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, for construction jobs. And not even the groundswell of complaints by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), civil servants, politicians and their cronies to mention a few swayed the governor. Throughout Fashola’s eight years therefore, Olowolafe allegedly commandeered the juiciest construction contracts notably the Gbagada General Hospital among many others. His tentacles spread across other Nigerian states. But it was in Lagos he made the cleanest sweep.

In spite of his billions however, Olowolafe is a proud tenant in the same city he has made tons of billions!!! Despite having the wherewithal to buy the luxury serviced maisonette he lives in Probyn Street, Ikoyi, Lagos, he prefers to pay rent. Sources close to the Spartan, self-effacing billionaire say, like his anonymous appearance, he doesn’t like to be noticed, a strategy that might have worked well for him over the years anyway. While not totally colourless, Olowolafe is just one wealthy dude who doesn’t give a damn about style or material acquisitions. Seeing him for the first time you will never believe he is the guy that had Lagos in his palms for so many years. Yet, he is reputed to be richer than his native Ekiti State!

Abimbola Ashiru’s genius is exhilarating. It has seen him through the odds of entrepreneurship, until he attained mastery of complexity and creative command of simplicity. He exudes the common core of entrepreneurial depth, tact, and other personal and social abilities which has proven to be the key ingredients of his brilliance and emotional intelligence. The news took a lot of people by surprise. Not because he is not eminently qualified but Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, a technocrat and the Ogun State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, did not give any inkling that he would one day seek to succeed his boss, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.

Well, he has thrown his hat in the ring. And during the past week, he got a major boost for his governorship ambition. He emerged the consensus candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ogun East senatorial district. Ashiru was picked at an Ijebu Ode meeting, last Wednesday, to fly the flag of the party in 2019 by the Ijebu/Remo Governorship Agenda Elders Forum. Ogun State is at the threshold of what could be its sweetest epoch of statesmanship and politics. Following Otunba Bimbo Ashiru’s endorsement, the nooks, crannies and political circuits of the state are ecstatic with joy.

There is no gainsaying Ashiru is the sweetest thing that ever happened to the state in recent times. A technocrat of note, Ashiru turned the ministry around and improved its fortunes by remarkable leaps courtesy his ingenious business strategies. Thus his emergence as governorship favorite has thrown the gateway state into euphoric fits of pleasure and expectation. Several illustrious sons of Ogun state have cast their lot with him and are openly canvassing for him.

Foremost international magnates, billionaires and politicians have congratulated him and they are ready to throw their weight behind him. Pundits ascribe this to Ashiru’s brilliance, humility and earnestness in dealings with the electorate, associates and rivals on the political turf. He will battle for the party’s ticket with other aspirants from other zones at the primary. Apart from a groundswell of support from some of Nigeria’s wealthiest businessmen who he is acquainted with and are ready to bankroll the ambition of one of their own, Otunba Ashiru is regarded as one of the closest Ijebu sons to the paramount ruler of Ijebuland, the Awujale, Oba Sikiru Adetona. Add to this, his closeness to Governor Amosun who reportedly is fond of and awed by Ashiru’s ingenuity that has shored up the IGR of the state.