KAYODE FAYEMI: The Deliberate Interventionist

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Kayode Fayemi

Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi’s timely and strategic interventions in some of the rifts between certain prominent individuals cannot be overemphasised. Olawale Olaleye writes

The school that reckoned “failure as an opportunity to begin again even more intelligently” cannot be more correct. Although it is not every time that an individual’s disappointment translates into open doors, Ekiti State Governor and Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, however, appears one person, whose “stop-gap failure” has translated into massive good for.

His inability to secure his re-election in 2014, which many thought had marked the demise of his political career is turning out the greatest good to his political calling. Needless to say he was not completely out of job as he had to superintend the ministry of Mines and Steel Development, but the period afforded him the time to reflect, review and re-strategise.

Today, he is back in office, not just as the governor of Ekiti State, but as a major player in the current dispensation with a very powerful platform as the chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), an office he has continued to leverage for the overall good, albeit with tact, strategy and wisdom.
He was one of the first to intervene in the now festering crisis of trust between the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor and National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole.

But after his many moves to make sure the two come to a table and reason in collective interest failed, he was quick to step back, arguing that once ‘preventive diplomacy’ fails in such a situation, the feud could only be resolved by the contending parties, because only they knew what really was the bone of the contention and which they might be unwilling to share.

Not long after this, the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje and the Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi II, started their own ego battle. The governor was determined to humiliate the Emir and cut him to size. This, he soon put to test, when he created four new Emirates by way of reducing his influence.
It was this same Fayemi, being a common friend to both sides, that moved in and started the process of reconciliation alongside Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, more so as an illustrious son of Kano.

The initial move failed, considering other factors that later came into play, but Fayemi did not give up. He pressed on till he brought the president, Muhammadu Buhari into the matter. For obvious reasons, the president did not want to openly intervene but gave his consent and also wanted the matter resolved.
With the level the matter has already been escalated, even though it had become a subject of litigation, it is certainly going to be resolved with neither of the parties leaving with any sense of loss. At least, with Fayemi’s idea of bringing in a former head of state, Abdusalami Abubakar and other prominent northern elders, the deal is as good as done.

However, the most instructive of these deliberate interventions, was his involvement in the release of the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, after spending almost four months in detention by the Department of State Services especially, after his dramatic re-arrest right in court early last December.

Fayemi was at the Oxford University, the United Kingdom, where he had gone to deliver a speech on the nation’s 20 years of democracy, when he was miffed by the reports of Sowore’s re-arrest by the DSS in court, especially the slant embraced by the international media.

He immediately started to make calls with a view to properly analysing the ugly implications of the desecration of the court and the bad image it had earned the Buhari government. His fears were later confirmed that the president might not be in the know of what had happened, after allegedly contacting a senior official in the presidency, who also was disappointed and unhappy about the development.

Upon his return to the country, he still didn’t give up on tnhe Sowore matter. He only woke one morning and sought an appointment with the president in his capacity, which was granted immediately.

At the meeting, he laid it bare to the president. He allegedly told the president he was not sure the security agents were properly briefing him on the true situation of things, adding that Sowore’s continued detention had begun to give the country and government a sorely perception.

Apart from the fact that Sowore was one of his staunch supporters in 2015 as president against Peoples Democratic Party’s Goodluck Jonathan, he further told the president that a man, who did poorly at polls even in his village, could not have posed any threats, the revolution protest regardless. He was unhappy that the security mismanagement of Sowore had inadvertently lionised him.

The president, now seeing things differently for the first time, promised to run a check with the security agents, ask if they had any serious evidence against Sowore other than his proposed revolution, and revert. He did and was shocked to learn that there was actually nothing serious found on Sowore, just as Fayemi had claimed.

Impressed with the governor of governors, he gave the order and the next day, Sowore was released alongside former NSA, Sambo Dasuki, who benefitted from the magnanimity. Although if this had been further broken down into how the courts had been decimated in the process, not many would acknowledge the effect of Fayemi’s alternative solution, which proved effective at the end of the day.

The point being made here is that though only a few people had such unrestrained access to the president, how many of them were sincere enough to have properly analysed the situation with such conviction that could stoke the president into action especially, those with activist orientation? They just allowed Sowore to be lionised for nothing. He recorded incredible and in fact, international mileage from his manhandling, no doubt.

Ordinarily, the biggest concern of patriots should have been predicated on how such humongous power that even disparaged the court was exercised without the approval of the president? This is because it gave the impression of a divided or uncoordinated house and most probably, the presence of fifth columnists in the government and right in the presidency.

That said, Fayemi has come a long way and proven to be different from the lot. With education, experience, exposure and capacity to network, he is very much leveraging a rather sensitive but powerful office as the NGF chairman.

His politics is also providing relief that it is not all tales of woes after all, much as he’s made a more instructive statement that with power in the hand of a younger generation like him, all hope is not lost for the country.

It was no surprise, therefore, that THISDAY found Fayemi worthy as one of the major personalities that would help shape and influence Nigeria’s politics and policies in the New Year, 2020. And that, without doubt, cannot be truer!