“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” -Abraham Lincoln
I have no problem with Dr. Kolapo Olusola Eleka as a person. He is a brilliant chap. Until he was handpicked and dragged into politics by Governor Ayodele Fayose to be his deputy governor in Ekiti State, Eleka was an accomplished teacher in the Department of Building, Obafemi Awolowo University, Professionally, He is a Registered Builder. Religious-wise, he is an ordained Pastor in Christ Apostolic Church Worldwide.
But I have serious problem with Eleka’s political personality. There is a serious limitation placed on how well he can perform. While it might be politically expedient for the People’s Democratic Party, PDP to have accepted him as their imposed candidate for the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State, speaking frankly, the decision is not a wise one at all. Eleka is nowhere, he is a rookie, a pushover, a lackey, henpecked and a browbeaten deputy to a mediocre. He is tied to the apron strings of his boss, Ayo Fayose, so much that he is without a mind of his own, while Fayose manipulates him at will. He has tolerated the high dose of mediocrity in Fayose too much, and it has increased his own mediocrity too.
Little wonder Fayose is doing everything to install Eleka as his successor, just for one reason, and one reason only –to cover his filthy tracks and escape justice.
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Certainly, Ekiti does not deserve an Eleka to govern the state at this point. Eleka can only give what Fayose has imbued in him, and Ekiti people are not foolish to want to accept such a low level, politically naïve person as their next governor. They deserve better, and they will not settle for any less. The only direction Eleka can take Ekiti is further down. If ever he has learnt anything in politics, it is the bad aspect, as taught him by his boss, Ayo Fayose, widely acclaimed political infidel.
Anything that looks too good to be true, is indeed too good to be true. Imagine Fayose keeping just one deputy for the whole four years of his reign this time around? And to trust him so much that he would now want him as his successor, is a highly suspicious move. Quite unlike him and this is a pointer to the fact that he, Eleka, is too timid to raise his head anytime Fayose talks down on him, as he often would, because he never had the liver to do otherwise. Had he a mind of his own, he wouldn’t have been licking the ass of a Fayose and the latter would certainly have thrown him out, replacing him with yet another pushover.
You can only give away what you have, says Leo Buscaglia. All that Eleka has is what Fayose has given him, and that is political impudence, nothing more. Ask him about his manifesto, and all you will hear is a re-echo of “Continuity!” Continuity of what? A state that has suffered so much heist and seriously shortchanged in the hands of Fayose in the last four years does not deserve a political apprentice to continue from where he stops. Rather, preference should go to someone schooled in the art of governance, rule of law and sustainable development.
The best of Eleka, tutored by Fayose, cannot be good enough for Ekiti now, except the state wants to remain in its Egypt, in contrast to God’s plan to return it to an era of surplus. As Fayose’s rookie-deputy, Eleka has openly confessed that the little leadership experience he has acquired so far was from Fayose. Prior to his accidental apprenticeship under Fayose, who he described as his “leader, mentor and benefactor,” political leadership was something Eleka would read about in the newspaper, or watch on the TV. And, if that is what all his claims to political attainments were, then, they are not good enough to govern Ekiti. “Oju ti la.” Erekan l’atan ni lo mu’gbo koko banii sun mo. The trick that worked for Fayose in 2014 will certainly work against Eleka in 2018.
On acquiring Eleka as his deputy, the first thing Fayose did was to hand him Robert Greene’s book, 48 Laws of Power, to study. He revealed to his newly-acquired deputy the banana peel that fell off all the deputies he had before him, which was the violation of the first law in the book, and it reads: “Never Outshine the Master. We know what that means if Eleka had sworn not to outshine Fayose as the governor of Ekiti.
That well-taken, Fayose then asked Eleka to learn by rote the 44th law of the book, which advises a leader to “Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect.” The mirror, according to the law, reflects reality, “but it is also the perfect tool for deception: When you mirror your enemies, doing exactly as they do, they cannot figure out your strategy. By holding up a mirror to their psyches, you seduce them with the illusion that you share their values; by holding up a mirror to their actions, you teach them a lesson. Few can resist the power of Mirror Effect.” This is what Fayose practices by visiting paraga joints, cutting ponmo, roasting plaintain or eating at the bukas. Of course, gullible Eleka has started the “Mirror effect” too by frying and selling kengbe akara.
During his 4 years of housemanship, Eleka, never stopped hearing from Fayose that the people of Ekiti were very gullible and they easily get carried away by mundane things. Fayose also taught Eleka that in politics, lie-telling pays more than truth-telling. It is only through the mastery of lie-telling that Fayose has been able to wrap the people in his emotional cocoon, play the servant role and cloak his self-serving agenda in the guise of a service to a noble course. Eleka too must take after him, should he want to be in the good book of the people.
Fayose also told Eleka that although he could make big promises, since that is what will whet the appetite of the people, he should however commit himself to none. “Be more boastful but less resourceful,” he said. And he has taught Eleka how to be brutal to “those stubborn Ekiti people.” Rather than being direct, he should use the boiling frog approach.
Fayose is a control freak and he has advised Eleka to be selfsame. Control seekers are often obsessive or compulsive, phobic and mood-disordered. Eleka cannot attempt to be otherwise and must learn fast, if he must govern in Fayose’s style. Those who don’t want to be controlled by Eleka, like Fayose, must be ready to pay the supreme sacrifice. But would that not compromise Eleka’s faith?
Fayose has also taught Eleka how to take advantage of a chaotic situation to despoil the state, by padding every expense. Being a practical person, he showed his deputy through practice. And since practice makes perfect, he made Eleka steal for him a sum of N1.5 billion, representing 50% of the N3 billion released for SUBEB, which was right under Eleka’s purview. He also made him watch how projects were being inflated to accommodate funding of his excesses.
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Power is never served a la carte. For Eleka to assume that Fayose would have chosen him as the most suitable for the transfer of mantle at the expense of his other followers is to have been living in the moon all the while. Does he think that devil would gift a person without expecting a payback?
One important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people. Eleka would, at this point, do himself and his political future a world of good, should he start extricating himself from the negative rep of Fayose, and start cutting a positive niche for himself. The less Alaka associates with Fayose, the more his political life will improve. He should ask those who know, if he doesn’t.
*Dipe, a journalist and political analyst, writes from Ado Ekiti