When people watch a football match, a key player does not feature, questions must be asked. Dr. Kayode Fayemi, two-term Governor of Ekiti State, is a cerebral figure in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) giving the party a measure of seriousness and solidity. A good number of enlightened Nigerians feel that Fayemi ought to serve better on the federal firmament of Nigeria rather than the somewhat secluded locale of Ekiti State. The projection was that Fayemi would serve as a pivotal figure in the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu government.
Fayemi paid his dues during the struggle for democracy in Nigeria during the military regimes of General Ibrahim Babangida and General Sani Abacha. It is my view that now the issue of coups has erupted its ugly head in the African political construct Fayemi who earned a doctorate degree in War Studies from King’s College, University of London, specializing in civil-military relations, should come to the aid of the government. Who out there can lead the fight of entrenching military subordination to civil authority in a democratic setting more than Dr. Fayemi?
He has a well-earned present and past as the founding director of the Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD). It was at the prodigiously young age of 40 that Fayemi released his memoirs, Out of the Shadows: Exile and the Struggle for Freedom & Democracy in Nigeria. The 436-page book comes highly recommended with a rare foreword by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka.
The annulment of the June 12, 1993 election won by Chief MKO Abiola brought out the warrior of democracy in Fayemi as he joined up with other committed democrats to rouse the international community. With Babangida being disgraced out of office, and the lame-duck Ernest Sonekan Interim Regime being shoved aside by Abacha, Fayemi and other compatriots upped the ante in principled opposition. The forming of NADECO and the joining of forces with younger elements such as Fayemi brought military dictatorship down on its knees.
At a time like this in the history of Nigeria, Fayemi should be put in the forefront of forging a promising future for the country through reining in the barrack boys. It needs to be recalled that Fayemi played a pivotal role in the emergence of Radio Freedom Frequency to press the democratic rights of Nigerians. Soyinka who had in the First Republic used the radio to rattle the Akintola government in the Western Region found in Fayemi a dependable bulwark for the radio project aimed at the Abacha terror machine. From FM status, the radio went to short wave and became renamed Radio Kudirat after the assassination of Abiola’s wife. If this can be done even when being pursued hither and thither by a killer dictator, what can’t Fayemi achieve at the federal level in a democratic setting?
The government needs international contacts to get going, and Fayemi can readily be counted on this score. His reach on all the democratic fronts on the global scale is quite high. During NADECO’s epochal fight for democracy, for instance, Fayemi made very important contacts in the international media, NGOs, foreign governments and thus started the esteemed CDD.
In essence, having Fayemi in government for me emblematizes the crying need to rescue the country. There is a near total absence of direction in the country, and the fear is that Nigeria may be giddily grinding to a halt. Chaos looms, and there is the crying need to have Fayemi and democrats who think like him around to put in place the links between the politicians, the military and labour.
The insecurity situation in the country has never been as bad, and not a few politicians have lamented that not even in the civil war years has the nation witnessed the insecurity that is obtainable now. The Hobbesian state of nature in which life is nasty, brutish and very short has overwhelmed the country. Fayemi can help with his war studies and knowledge of civil society from the roots.
Now that the dividends of democracy are hard to come by for poor Nigerians, people like Fayemi are needed for political redirection. The argument that democracy must be sustained cannot mean much when the vast majority of Nigerians cannot afford the basic necessities of life. The squandering of the riches of Nigeria when basic food, shelter and housing are denied millions of Nigerians can only lead to a societal upheaval that may prove very difficult to contain if activist politicians such as Fayemi are not made to bring forth their nous.
Something needs to be done urgently to halt the drift that is the Nigerian forte today. It is my firm belief that a leader like Fayemi can come in for good measure to steady the ship of state. This is one patriotic service that Fayemi can offer Nigeria in this time that the country is so badly divided. Knowing him, Fayemi is well-armed to help rebuild the broken bridges.