By Monday Japhet Em
Drunkards are adepts at the esoteric science of political star gazing. The predictions though not made public but widely circulated around beer parlours and other places the elixir of life are consumed was that the people of Ekiti state will show their sophistry in the selection of the man most suited to lead the state reputed to be blessed with some of the best brains in the vestiges of educational accomplishments in Nigeria.
Drunkards Without Borders maintained a studied silence to enforce our avowed mantra of non-partisanship, we therefore watched as the campaigns heated up to fever pitch frenzy among supporter of the three dominant political parties in this space of the terra firma. We saw a few things that were an indication of where the votes would go.
Ekiti people were weary of a governor that would not listen to the yearning and aspirations of the people of the state but will first seek consent from far away Bourdillon in Ikoyi-Lagos on any economic policy or political issue affecting the state. To put it more bluntly, they did not want the meddlesomeness of a larger than life godfather in their state. They looked at the flagship state, the model state of the APC and they saw astronomical increase in school fees in tertiary institutions, they saw heavy handedness in dealing with striking doctors, they saw markets being closed down for “sanitary” reasons and hefty fines levied on hapless traders, they saw outright ban on the registration of tokunbo (fairly used) cars for taxis and the introduction of expensive brand new cars as the only accepted taxi cab in Lagos. Ekiti people saw how street traders are chased, harassed and bundled into black Maria by a paramilitary detachment ominously named “KAI”, they saw multiple taxes on small businesses, they saw markets demolished, rebuilt but priced out of reach of the former occupants. They saw many things space will not allow us elucidate.
We at the DWB have smiled sadly at the uninformed comments credited to some people, alluding to sharing of “satchets of rice” as the game changer and we have seen such commentaries as they are- puerile. To digress a bit, it was like the opening match for Nigeria at the world cup, Nigerians without taking time off to find out a thing or two about the Iranian side went ahead to predict high scores and make bold to declare that Argentina was beatable because of the side’s poor showing in their victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina, alas when Nigeria played a barren draw against Iran, the pundits went haywire, blaming coach Keshi for dropping some gifted players, Mikel Obi for not playing for Nigeria with all and on and on went the complaints but no Nigerian gave Iran credit for holding off our attack and keeping the ball exactly where they wanted it. It was after that match Nigerians realized Iran is ranked above Nigeria by FIFA.
While the incumbent, Governor John Kayode Fayemi was reeling out his achievements in office and what he would transform Ekiti into if given another four years, his opponent, a seasoned grass root politician was telling the people what they wanted to hear “food”. We scoff at the ignorance of the social media “activists” who derided Fayose for bringing back stomach infrastructure with chutzpah and kept telling Ekiti people to vote their conscience not food. The American Media guru hired by the APC to launder the beleaguered image of an opposition that looks exactly like the ruling party must have given them tidbits on “issues” related politics forgetting that in Nigeria just like Ekiti, the issues are basically primordial, religion, sex and infrastructure. This is the main reason we celebrate kilometres of asphalt roads, six class room blocks, primary health centres, narrow bridges, bore holes and rickety ambulances taken to ridiculous heights in some states by introducing tricycles as ambulances, they are celebrated any way!
Stomach infrastructure is the latest entrant into our political lexicon but it has been with us for as long as Nigeria has tried to practice our own brand of democracy . Even the man seen as martyr of our democracy- M.K.O Abiola dashed sachet milk gleefully referred to as “Abiola” milk in the heat of the campaign for presidential election that he won on all accounts.
Alluding the victory of Fayose to stomach infrastructure is an insult to the people of Ekiti by the political class and commentators alike. If stomach infrastructure is not key why do politicians share and fight over lucrative portfolios or they think we do not know stomach is a major consideration for most of their actions?In the opinion of DWB, sharing of rice and milk is not worse than doling out various sums of monies to bloggers and Facebook activists to sell the position of a party in dire need of acceptance, what else is stomach infrastructure? The decision of Ekiti should be respected, let all parties wait and see how Governor-Elect Ayo Fayose will handle the administration of this intellectually gifted state.