WHERE IS AYOKA ADEBAYO?
The Court of Appeal, sitting in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, had ordered that a supplementary election be held in 10 disputed local government areas. And days to the repeat poll, scheduled for April 25, 2009, it seemed as if all hell was about to be unleashed on the state. In sync with its do-or-die philosophy, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had descended on the place like a rampaging army, intimidating opponents as well as innocent citizens on end. Solidly backed by the fullest force Aso Rock could muster, the PDP jackals had gone on rampage, especially in the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN-controlled areas, in a scheme to scare people away from polling booths. Like demons recently released from the hottest part of hell, they unleashed terror. They ambushed innocent citizens at Oye Local Government Area. They shot. They maimed. They killed.
Despite that, the vote held. And it was clear even to the blind where the pendulum of victory was swinging. Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the ACN candidate, was coasting home to victory. The handwriting was too clear on the wall for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to ignore. REC Adebayo was determined to make history. She seemed ready to convince Nigerians, albeit the world, that INEC, under the much-vilified Professor Maurice Iwu, was capable of conducting an election that would be respected by all. She seemed determined to announce the authentic winner. The people of Ekiti State were resolute in their resolve to frustrate the vote thieves and ensure that their votes count.
Abuja reacted. They set the machinery in motion for what the legendary Fela would call 'Government Magic'. Overnight, Fayemi's victory was swapped with Segun Oni's monumental loss. That was too hot for Madam Adebayo, a church elder, to handle. She was so devastated by the raw horror and magnitude of the malfeasance perpetrated by the Peoples Democratic Party's jackals that she fell ill. Then, on Tuesday, April 28, 2009, she resigned her appointment as Ekiti REC, and became incommunicado.
She said in her resignation letter: 'In accordance with the rule of law, the ongoing election in Ekiti State was suppose (sic) to be the election that will enhance the image of INEC, electoral process in our dear country, Nigeria and the whole (of) Black race. 'Unfortunately, the circumstances changed in the middle of the process; therefore, my conscience as a Christian cannot allow me to further participate in this process.'
The Federal Government would have none of that. Abuja, through Professor Dora Akunyili, the incumbent Minister of Information, accused Madam Adebayo of an attempt to 'undermine and discredit the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.' Mike Okiro, the then Inspector General of Police, promptly declared the old woman wanted. The woman resurfaced and was promptly whisked to Abuja. She went to Aso Rock. And like the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade did after visiting Aso Rock during the agitation triggered by the cancellation of the June 12, 1993 vote, she, too, saw 'reason'. She succumbed to the spirit of Aso Rock. I don't know if it is a spirit driven by the gun, guts or bucks, or a combination of the three. But the madam went back to Ekiti, and announced the result scripted in Aso Rock, declaring Oni winner, again. The victor became the vanquished. The rest, as the say, is history.
But thank God for the judiciary. Fayemi, through the Court of Appeal, retrieved his stolen mandate, upper Friday, and was sworn in as governor the following day. As the ceremony got under way in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, amid pomp and Ã©lan, and witnessed by a tumultuous crowd, one question kept recurring in my mind: Where is Madam Olusola Ayoka Adebayo now?
Had she sustained her initial momentum, had she dared the gods in Aso Rock, Madam Olusola Ayoka Adebayo would have stood tall and booked for herself a copious chapter in Nigeria's history books since Friday, October 15, 2010. Even if it was the last thing she would have done on earth, she should have done it and be martyred. She should have stoically held the shield of her conviction in defence of what she knew to be the authentic result. But she got scared, and chickened out. She missed out when it mattered most.
Like everyone who stands for nothing, and who would fall for everything, crashing all the time like humpty-dumpty, Madam Ayoka Adebayo fell disastrously from her initial glorious pedestal, and got muddled up in the complexities of the unusual amalgam called Nigeria. Now, I'm not sure if history would be kind to her. Neither do I think that history would be kind to those jackals in the PDP, INEC and government who wilfully inflicted the underserved curse of an army of usurpers for three years and five months, on Ekiti State. That is why we must get the new Electoral Act working to punish all those who would attempt to aid and abet political corruption in our land in future.
Amos Adamu's £.5m bribery scandal
For Nigeria, it never rains, it pours. At a time, the country is engrossed in fighting desperately to shore up its credibility rating on Transparency International's corruption perception index, another one has burst on our face like a sudden storm. I'm talking about the allegation by the Sunday Times of London that Nigeria's Amos Adamu offered to sell his vote ahead of the December 2, 2010 voting to determine hosts of the 2018 and 2022 editions of the World Cup respectively.
The newspaper backed up its claim with footage of a video recording of the 'negotiation' by its undercover reporter, showing Adamu requesting the money for a 'private project'. The same report also exposed another deal by Leynald Temarrii of Tahiiti.
While it is might be subjudice to take a position on the matter in view of the ongoing probe by FIFA, we must condemn some faceless individuals now prowling around, doing credibility whitewash for the suspended FIFA board member. I have just one advice for such persons: keep quiet for now and let the probe run its full course.
I gave that unsolicited advice because at the end of the day, the enquiry might throw up more jobs for both authorized and unauthorized Adamu's publicists than they could ever imagine. I'm also positive that this incident, unsavoury as it is, might give relevant Nigerian authorities the golden opportunity to see and exhume the putrefying rots that a cabal had sweeping under the carpet all these years, bringing our sports, not only soccer, to the current dire strait they are.