In 2015, the party that is currently at the centre promised change – in attitude, process and results of governance. They promised to make Nigeria the toast of every nation, the pride of the black man and the home every Nigerian dreams of. They polished and garnished these ideas very well to ensure it’s very attractive and too good not to buy into.
In 2018, the Nigerian state is still wallowing in untold hardship and a decline in everything like it has not been seen before. This is a complete departure from what the team of the then General Muhammadu Buhari promised Nigerians.
For many analysts, this is not strange as the process that produced Buhari was not different from the usual political system everyone runs in Nigeria.
It is a known fact that politics and elections in Nigeria are not truly based on perceptions and convictions of the electorates. It is induced by offerings; offerings that ridicule humans and it has come to stay as the norm.
During the 2016 election in Ondo State, it was reported that a supporter of Rotimi Akeredolu shared loaves of bread to members of his community in order to sway their support for his principal who later emerged as governor. Also, in 2012, the ACN in Ondo State, with Aketi as candidate, also shared kerosene, slippers and buckets during the campaign. To the average voter in a community in Nigeria, this is the expected dividend of democracy. It is sacrosanct that the aspirant not only part with his or her money, he or she must worship them and promise heaven on earth. Else, he will not be seen as a politician.
The case of Ondo State people is not exclusive, it happens everywhere, as long as it is Nigeria.
At the heat of the 2014 gubernatorial election in Ekiti State, the incumbent, Fayemi, accused Mr Ayodele Fayose of sharing rice at his popular hotel with certain amounts of money. I recall vividly that the APC also condemned the act. Interestingly, few weeks to the election, Fayemi’s agents stormed communities with truck load of food items and forcing them into people’s hands. I believe the handlers of the incumbent governor must have read the Nigerian political manual that they have to do that.
The gory image of how the Nigerian electorate is reduced to a beggar has continued to rear its ugly head in Ekiti State. In Ekiti, the current governor rode to power on the fast moving train of building stomach infrastructure, yet the people of Ekiti have not risen from the poverty Fayemi serially called endemic.
As July 14 draws near, the people of Ekiti have returned to the path where their dignity would be trampled upon by callous politicians who wants nothing but to plunder and share the state resources with their political investors and allies.
With many aspirants going about with what they now refer to as promissory notes where you write down your personal demands in exchange for support, I fear that the people might plunge themselves in an abyss no one will be able to save them from.
I am still lost at how people do not realise that whoever shares smartphones, TVs, rice, kerosene or even a paltry amount of money will do everything possible to reclaim his money from the coffers of the state if elected. I do not understand how our people easily forget the pain we have endured in the past years for taking routes similar to the ones we’re taking at the moment. After all, Albert Einstein described doing the same thing over with the expectation of a different result as insanity. In the land of honour, we are sane, sound, educated and open minded.
Albeit, a true star is shining through as events continue to unfold. I have closely followed political happenings in my dear state for the last years and I believe that something is changing about the process, along a line of honour and dignity. I have summed happenings and conclude that this could be the driver that would truly make Ekiti State an Ule Uyi, Ule Eye that it changed to from the Fountain of Knowledge.
To truly save Ekiti from the ruins of the past years and save her from the hands of those bent on milking her dry, the political ordering and process must be tweaked and Tope Adebayo has taken that bold step. He has consciously moved away from money politics and sharing of food items or any item, for that matter. His campaign has been issue based and he has sincerely focused on meeting the people of Ekiti directly to share his plans with them.
The current rise in the level of acceptance of his candidacy is not only surprising but a glimpse of hope that the mind of the people can be disabused from the usual route.
It is now clear, beyond doubt, that Tope Adebayo is not just a chip off the block but the disrupter that will redeem Ekiti and reawaken Nigerians.
H. O Olasunkanmi writes from Ido Ekiti.