By Sunday A. Aniyi
The deputy governor of Ekiti state and proxy candidate of the maverick Ayo Fayose in the forth coming Ekiti governorship election, Prof. Olusola Kolapo Eleka was on Channels Television’s ‘Sunday Politics’ on May 17, 2018 in what seemed like his first ever national media exposure. Before then, he had been a recluse and an anonymous deputy governor with no notability. He had been forbidden from granting press interviews and quarantined to some menial domestic errandry below the chores of a personal assistant. He has been under the radar since becoming the deputy to the lousy governor of Ekiti, Mr Ayo Fayose. Generally known to be staid, tentative, timid, colourless and drab, Prof Eleka, after several days of preps, still let no one in doubt that that he was like a man in a rented oversize robe as he laboured relentlessly and incoherently to impress his listeners.
After wasting a rare opportunity to stamp an impressive endorsement of himself through incisive, insightful and intelligent answers, he became abusive, arrogant, boastful and belligerent in his ridiculous effort to present an outlook of a poised personality. Throughout the staid thirty minutes encounter, Prof. Eleka could not articulate any policy position of the administration he has been part of, neither could he advance any idea of governance that he espouses. His responses were jaded, uninspiring, lackluster, inept and mostly inapt. This is largely because the administration has no policy or vision beyond some melodramatic and juvenile deviltry that has defined its abhorrent existence.
After exhausting his in fantile boasts, Seun Okinbaloye asked to know if the empty professor was not intimidated by his major rival to the exalted office of Ekiti governor. The deputy governor, like a motor tout rabble rouser and in the unconscionable political dialect of his enabler, retorted in the most disrespectful manner that: WHO IS FAYEMI? He probably had been taught to ‘hit hard’ on Fayemi; a duty he did with damning outlandish amateurism. It is strange that a supposed professor who should embody some of the finest culture of public engagement, could dismissively say of a former governor and current minister as nobody?
What exact impression did the bland Professor want to make? Besides being a lapdog to Mr Fayose, what exactly recommends the timid professor for the post he currently occupies and the one he aspires to? He had not been known to be stellar, distinguished or impactful. He is not known to have contributed to any public-spirited struggles; as an academic, he is not known to have benefited Ikere-Ekiti, the state and the nation in any social crusades that could bring about improvement. Within the rank of academic union, he is a man without a stand. He has always been in the crowd. As a deputy governor in charge of education ministry, he hasn’t added any enduring legacy to the ministry. He has not impacted any known policy or programme in the sector. He has only been the chief coordinator for a fraudulent regime of questionable examination excellence.
After asking the redundant question of who is Fayemi, he answered himself, when he said ‘Fayemi that sacked teachers, Fayemi that demoted teachers, Fayemi that was harassing local government workers…’ blablabla. But he lied rather shamefully!
It is on record that Fayemi never sacked any teacher, he rather employed about a thousand teachers. His government had a misunderstanding with the teachers on the TNDA. The issue was long resolved, in spite of the fact that the intention was to enhanced capacity development. Fayemi did not demote any teacher either, what happened was a national policy that put an end to the partitioning of junior and secondary schools to autonomous entities. The National Council on Education decided to end the practice because of the inherent detriments. The implication of this was that, whereas there were 183 secondary schools, there were 366 principals and 732 vice principals. With re-articulation, it would mean there will be no autonomous junior secondary schools again and the reduction of the number of principals from 366 to 183 and the VPs from 732 to 366. This policy was indeed controversial as many saw it as a demotion. But the reality was that though their titles changed, their levels and salaries were never affected. It is interesting that the PDP which promised to redress same had failed to do so four years later. One should therefore ask Prof. Eleka why he has failed the so-called demoted teachers if he really believed they were demoted.
Similarly, the government of Fayemi saw that there was an acute shortage of teachers in the primary schools while there were many qualified NCE holders working in the LGAs. Many of them were largely underutilized in the offices; meanwhile, the primary schools are owned by the LGAs, so it was decided that those with the required NCE qualification be redeployed to the classroom. The policy was generally resisted and frown on, but today, most of them are happy because instead of the grade level 6 which was their entry point in LGAs, their new entry point is level 7 and instead of retiring on level 14 if they remained in the LGAs, they are now to retire on level 15. They work from 8am-2pm and enjoy about three months of yearly holiday. Their transfer is intra-LGA as against inter-LGAs as council staff. They earn more with TSS allowance than their counterparts at same level. It is unfortunate that even though Mr Ayo Fayose promised to revert them back to the councils during the 2014 campaigns, he has failed to do so. Incidentally, there is hardly anyone of them who wants to go back now. They have seen the benefits in what seemed an unfavourable policy then. That is what Prof. Eleka called harassment. If he saw this as harassment, why has his administration not redressed same almost four years later?
In spite of the obvious partisanship of the labour leaders, Fayemi never sacked or harass any of them. In fact, when NULGE officials made a public statement which Dr Fayemi believed to have defamed him, he went to court to sue for defamation. The NULGE officials later apologized and that was the end of the matter. He never even issued them a query not to talk of dismissing them. On the contrary, in 2016, the government of Ayo Fayose sacked the former chairman of Trade Union Congress, Mr. Kola Olaiya for asking that the governor should pay the workers from the N9.6b bailout provided by the federal government. Today, the workers know whom their real friends are.
If Prof Eleka does know whom Fayemi is, I offer to cure his ignorance:
Kayode Fayemi was born into a noble parentage of an illustrious civil servant father and an enterprising mother. He was a distinguished student activist in Obafemi Awolowo during his first degree days. He holds a master and doctorate in War Studies from one of the most iconic universities in the world. Fayemi has worked as researcher in the UK and served as visiting fellow in many reputable universities in the UK, the USA and Nigeria. He was one of the young turks who laid their lives on the line to liberate Nigeria from the military rule. Fayemi was the intellectual and operational brain behind the Radio Kudirat which was instrumental to the fight against the military. When a Prof Eleka was still clueless about life, a Fayemi, in his twenties, was already holding strategic meetings with MKO Abiola, the president-elect. He was already working with global icons like Prof. Wole Soyinka to liaise with those that matter in the global diplomatic circles.
Fayemi has consulted for ECOWAS, AU and the Nigerian government on security sector reform, he is a highly sought global brand in security matter. He has served on many strategic committees at national and global levels. Currently, he is the reformative minister of mines and steel development whose Midas’ touch has made an otherwise backward ministry to be a frontline contributor to the national vault. The ministry which used to be seen as not ‘juicy’ has now become the envy of all, many thanks to the innovative and creative resourcefulness which Dr Kayode has brought to bear on the ministry.
As governor, Dr Fayemi brought dignity, honour and development to Ekiti. He brought progressive reforms that endeared the state to development partners. His government rehabilitated all secondary and primary schools, he paid for WAEC, NECO and JAMB exams. He equipped schools with books and instructional materials, he increased teacher’s salaries, he introduced rural allowance for teachers, he introduced core subject allowance for them, and he supplied all the schools, furniture for students and staff. In addition, he introduced a laptop-to-a-child and got the teachers to own laptops. During his tenure, Ekiti teachers won the laurels as the first and third best in Nigeria, he liberally granted leave for teachers and staff to go on further studies with pay.
I challenge Prof. Eleka to show his credentials and dossier as a person and as a government. For the most in Ekiti, he is the clueless and figurehead commissioner of education that does not know how SUBEB, TESCOM and other agencies under him, are run. He should desist from using Dr. John Kayode Fayemi attack as a therapy for his inferiority complex.
A ju ra wa lo, ti ajakadi ko.