Oyebanji and the spirit of Ekiti Parapo By Adeola Makinwa

Two rare political developments in Ekiti State motivated the writing of this piece. The first was the unanimous endorsement of Governor Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji (BAO) for a second term in office by four former Ekiti State Governors, Niyi Adebayo, Ayo Fayose, Kayode Fayemi and Segun Oni. The other one was the flag-off of the construction of the 17.85km First Ring Road by the governor.


Before all else, that a former governor would vouch for an incumbent governor, especially when they are not from the same political party, is a fantastic achievement. It is also proof that ‘a person thats loved by many people is always seen as a faultless personality’. With just one year in office, what the endorsement has shown is that, since the governor is well-mannered, he will always be privileged with the elders.’ So, whether BAO takes it to the bank or he takes it on its face value, it also means that even the governors enemies are now at peace with him. Yes, its only the Word of God that has promised that: even your enemies will be at peace with you’. As things stand, the lines are falling for the governor in pleasant places. It is just for him to do more, and his legacy is assured.


Whichever way we look at it, good governance will always promote unity in any society. Therefore, good governance, which, from all indications, is the main focus of the Oyebanji-led government, should remain his goal throughout his stay in office. That exactly is a panacea or remedy for trouble. Once that is done, his name will be written in gold, for good governance breeds fairness, equity, justice and sustainable development, all rolled into one.


One of the things that make the state unique is that the founding fathers of the Ekiti axis saw the entire area as one before the notorious military incursion and the misfortune of Nigeria being ruled by the jackboot brought them to this sorry pass. So, the beauty of the democracy that they are currently enjoying lies in the peoples ability not to forget their ancestral origin.


Governments go and governments come! Governments also rise and governments fall! But undiscerning governments only allow themselves to be railroaded by the shouts of circumstances and situations of the marketplace; and they end up paying dearly for it. In a state like Ekiti, a man of finesse and little creativity who is not too distant from his nativity can survive any political tests. How? Government policies will reflect fairness in the distribution of benefits to the villages and hamlets, irrespective of the governors nativity. Immediately the villages are able to come to terms with the fact that theyre not neglected or abandoned in the scheme of things, the governor can go to sleep with his two eyes closed because the support for the party in power will be total. Even as tough as the late Tunde Idiagbon was, he did that! Fayose also did it! The only disadvantage of this approach is that it must remain unknown to the public; otherwise, the government will become messed up. The irony of life is that knowledge is a conscious attribute which moves only in the direction of those seeking after it. The more reason any government worth its essence must review its strategies periodically.


In Ekiti, education has become an industry. Put differently, the natural status of education in the state is an advantage to the governor. Matter-of-factly, almost all the families in the state can boast of at least a graduate. So, it is reasonable to say that Ekiti as a specific entity is spatially educated. Time it was when its sons and daughters were all focusing on becoming professors. Thank God it has now paid off, for when education and associated professions come to bear in Nigeria, Ekiti has only gone to show that learning and knowledge are never wasted ventures; they have a way of reproducing and repaying ‘for themselves, by themselves through themselves.’


The major responsibility of the national government is to provide an enabling environment for businesses to thrive while the state and the local governments have a responsibility to provide particular services to the people. Needless to repeat, Oyebanjis decision to construct the first Ring Road Project is a step in the right direction. However, it will be in the best interest of the state and the good people of Ekiti to see the project completed. The old and unprofitable practice whereby projects were initiated but abandoned midway should be a thing accursed under this dispensation.


Ekiti State is 85% agrarian; and that also speaks for the state. Remember also the timbering and lumbering business. Without doubt, what the operators rake in daily from it is humongous. The only challenge is that those who are feeding fat from it are protective of it. Tourism sector is also supposed to be a thriving business but that has been over-flogged, especially with the security challenges, which, from the look of things, are reluctant to take a flight. Thankfully, the governor has promised “more ferocious wars against criminalities in the state to bolster investment and ensure security of lives and property”.


Distinctively BAO is deep. He has shown that governance is not only about construction of roads or building of hospitals but more about making the generality of the people comfortable. What that tells us is that the stealthy movement of the leopard is not out of cowardice). But then, theres always a problem for a sitting powerful man in government, and thats about reach, access and control. It is natural for certain individuals to create access to the president, or Mr. Governor, or other powerful people in any society. The truth is: we must allow those people to be ballooned and intoxicated with fools wine. The president, governor or the powerful people, too, should not be too carried away by their antics, for they are always there! Anywhere you find the orbit of power, there will be those who will say: I have access to his ear and he listens to me. Old schoolmates, old colleagues at work, people one has lived with can be a hindrance. Thats the nature of politics, especially in this part of the world. Therefore, it is for Oyebanjis eye not to shift from the central goal of bringing the Ekitis together, for wherever – starting from different political parties the central thing is Ekiti State. What binds them together is the state.


In Ekiti, in exactly the same way as other states, power is always concentrated in the hands of few people within the ruling party. The antidote is performance. So, it will be in Oyebanjis interest to embark on projects that will open up the economy of Ekiti. Surely certainly, that will keep the public to his side as well as keep the powers-that-be in reasonable check.


Lastly, there is an advice for the Ekitis, and its to look beyond party partisanship, religious differences and ethnic colouration and appeal to the origin of ‘Ekiti Parapo’ in making a valid construct of an ethnic group. Once this is embedded in their socialization and orientation, it becomes difficult for an outsider to infiltrate them or bring about a strange orientation. On its part, the administration must find a way of making sure that the people are detribalized and set free from religious fanaticism, for anything outside the central goal of development can only amount to a mere waste of time.



*Makinwa write in from Osogbo, Osun State


Adeola Makinwa,

25, Michael Ayoola Close,

Osogbo, Osun State.

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