Ayo Fayose: The Star of PDP
The one thing that I have learnt in recent times as a Nigerian living in Nigeria during this election period is to be suspicious. I’m suspicious of every newspaper article, tweet, Facebook post or even blackberry broadcast relating to politics. I’m suspicious of people who state that their retweets aren’t endorsements. I’m overtly suspicious when PHCN restores power – which is not very often – to be honest. I’m even suspicious when the roads are free! I suspect that every move has an inherent motive. These days, I have found that I am also suspicious of Noise and Silence.
Let us first concentrate on the Noise which has been a consistent refrain in this election season. We’ve heard noise about Presidential Candidates; we’ve heard noise about card reader machines, we’ve heard noise about electoral fraud; we have even heard the ones about certificates, proclamations of death and cluelessness. So far, the loudest noisemaker on both sides, and by far, has been the Governor of Ekiti State – Ayodele Fayose who is a greater PDP supporter than even the President himself.
You see, unlike most people, I am not too quick to rubbish Fayose and his noise, after all it has been said that there is some method in madness. However, to discover that method, you need to technically watch the display of the person regarded as mad. As such, in recent times, I take the pains to listen to everything Ayo Fayose has to say about the forthcoming elections. it is unfortunate that most times, everything he has to say revolves around General Buhari, the Presidential Candidate for the APC.
When I heard yesterday that PDP Governors were in Lagos for their Governor’s Forum, I knew we were in for some quality entertainment. So, in my usual fashion, once I ascertained that Fayose was in that gathering, I began to scrounge for his ‘pearls of wisdom’. I have watched available clips relating to Ayo Fayose and the said event and to be fair the most notable thing he said was directed at our pressmen and women whom he charged not to make reports based on brown envelopes collected. You see, this brown envelope journalism has begun to catch everyone’s attention, recall that only recently, there was that article on BBC News on the same issue. Abi una don forget ni? (read here).
The major part of his speech was directed at the reasons why the APC should not field GMB as their Presidential Candidate. I kept wondering why the insistence at the removal of Buhari? Why would Ayo not just face his own party, the PDP? Would they have been less worried if the APC had presented someone else? Are some people worried that if GMB wins, they are in for a hard time? Could there be some truth in what Senator Zwingina said last month? Is Fayose concerned about possible retribution or is he worried that Nigerians would be put through the same experience as when Yar’adua died? These and many more questions zipped through my mind at breakneck speed as I watched the clip.
A major reason why Fayose does not want Buhari as Presidential Candidate is due to his age. Ayo thinks Buhari at 73, is too old to rule. As he thrilled his crowd with his ‘interesting’ reasons, the men and women in the audience cheered him on with their laughter and applause and all I could think of was a Yoruba Proverb which says ‘Were dun wo l’oja, ko se bi l’omo’ which loosely translated could mean that ‘although the antics of a mad man are amusing to watch, nobody would like to be his father’. I find that this proverb is very accurate because Fayose carried his politicking to levels never before seen or heard of by bringing his own mother into the fray. He described her frailty and basically said she’s not agile enough to rule and so, Buhari should not rule too. People laughed, but one wonders if his family and his 74 year old mother would laugh as hard.
That being said, I was tickled that as Fayose continued to highlight reasons the aged Buhari was not fit to rule, the Channels Television camera man swung his Camera at Governor Jonah Jang who himself is 71 years old (watch here). For me, this was the real hilarious moment. I have actually spent many minutes wondering what that camera man must have been thinking and if it were left to me, the man deserves an award. Also, I wonder how all the aged people in the room felt when Ayo ran his tirade against older people running for political office. Recall that Awolowo and Azikiwe had contested for Presidency at 74 and 79 respectively so, Buhari won’t be the first. Permit me to quickly digress, where are all the credible young people in this country sef?
Now, back to this Channels TV clip, I am yet to hear the part where Ayo said his mother wears diapers. Perhaps I am hard of hearing or the tape has been edited. It could also be that the APC supporters needed a quick rejoinder to distract people from Fayose’s continued bashing of GMB. Whatever the reasons are, it worked. It was a fantastic strategy which has cast Fayose in a more negative light than ever before. To be fair though, this does not require a lot of hard work because it is unlikely that anyone would vouch for Ayo Fayose or his ‘Buhari inspired utterances’ these days.
I am amazed that anyone from the ‘issues based’ APC made the effort to respond or strike back. APCs silence has been resounding. It is this silence in itself that I am suspicious of. Why have they been so quiet? Have they run out of steam? Is their candidate truly ill? Are they are making plans for a huge comeback? Or is it because they have run out of money? Whatever the reasons are, it is in no way reassuring that the APC Presidential candidate has barely been seen since his return from London. Recall that he was also conspicuously absent from the hugely successful One million March held in Lagos last Saturday. I earnestly hope he would make a huge appearance at the Party’s next outing in Kaduna.
I have often wondered why the APC and its supporters are lax on ensuring that nobody makes putty of their Party. It is for this reason that I make bold to say that for good or for ill, if I were running for candidacy, I would appreciate a supporter with the temerity of Fayose who would stick his neck out for me over and over again.
That said, Ayo needs to chill and focus on the job he has been elected to do – although that election is still in contest – which is to run the affairs of Ekiti State and its people. The simple fact is this: that the noise and silence of this election season has drawn attention away from a lot of things. I therefore suspect that there is an underlying reason for all the noise being made – and for the silence too. We have bigger issues to contend with, such as corruption, the ever crashing forex rates, the obvious lack of electricity and most importantly, the possibility that whoever swings into office in May is in for a tough time.
Shall we continued to be distracted by the noise and silence or focus on the job at hand which is to clinically evaluate the candidates up for election and unsentimentally make a choice. In 17 days, you would have to vote for continuity or change and I wonder if Ayo and his antics would help you make that choice.
Permit me to ask, if you were running for candidacy, would you want an ‘Ayo’ in your camp? Do you think he has done the PDP any favours and most importantly would you want to be related to him right now?
Over to you, the verdict is yours….