THE LOGIC OF STOMACH INFRASTRUCTURE
I have read several articles for or against the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, since he won the state gubernatorial election for the second time last year. The most recent I read was written under the title, STILL ON STOMACH INFRASTRUCTURE by my old schoolmate Olalekan Adigun.
Before I proceed, I must make some important points to insulate me from been misunderstood. First, I know Adigun, the author of the said article back then as a student at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He was studying Political Science while I was admitted to the Accountancy Department. From my interactions with him, I fully understand his bias against Fayose, and his admiration and respect for the person of the former Governor, Kayode Fayemi. I could then only conclude that his love for JKF, as Fayemi's admirers are called, steams from the fact that like him, Fayemi is a political scientist. Also, as honest as the Adigun I know to be, he has some faults: it is difficult for him to make up his on any issue as he takes his time before deciding; once he takes his stand, heaven will rather fall for him to change his opinion. This much I know about him since we both served in the University Students' Union, which is often our point of disagreement.
Secondly, I am not a politician; neither am I one of those Adigun once called “Fayoseites” in one of his articles. I am an accountant by profession and I love what I do. I seek no political office neither do I flirt with politicians for appointments or favours. I kissed politics goodbye (hence my present disdain for it) in 2011 when the University Students' Union was proscribed, and the intrigues that followed, in the same administration Adigun also served!
Given this background, I come back to the story of stomach infrastructure. In the said article, the author pointed out by doing his usual best to discredit the scheme, stomach infrastructure, as a sham. His main thrust in the article is that the scheme has no developmental value for the people. Though, I have reservations myself about the scheme, but to thoroughly label a wonderful package like that as a sham is quite uncharitable and lacking in decency, to say the least.
First, the scheme presupposes that the most basic, or one of the basic, human needs, hunger, must be conquered. If our people must live to fulfil their God-given potentials, they have to eat to live. Only the living can declare God's glory. While we admit to the prevalence of poverty, which is in no way peculiar to Ekiti, we must neutralise its painful effects by overcoming hunger. This is exactly where the scheme comes in!
Also, we need not forget that no nation, to the best of my knowledge, has successfully eliminated poverty, but the western nations have left us centuries behind in overcoming hunger using several Welfare schemes which can fairly be compared to the scheme.
Secondly, the Adigun has issues with making the scheme an “official” policy in the state obviously. The contradictions in Adigun's own arguments are in fact confounding even to the intelligent. He said at some point in the same article that “scheme is the unofficial political programme adopted by different Nigerian politicians with varying degrees” in the same article he condemned the scheme in its entirety. This punch is far below the belt!
It is possible, like some if its critics, that Adigun have issues with the combination of “Stomach” and “Infrastructure”, what is wrong in calling a spade by its proper name? The scheme could as well be the same with the Rauf Aregbesola's APC-led Government's O MEALS in Osun State. Did this obvious fact elude Adigun's memory that apart from O MEALS Aregbesola has no other achievements or landmark in Osun State? Does he have qualms with the fact that the scheme alone cost a whopping sum of N13 billion tax payers' money annually? Even at that the recent controversies over the sustainability of the O MEALS lay credence to the fact that it is not well thought-out. That also reminds us, when last have public servants in Osun State gotten their monthly emoluments or remunerations? If we find or see nothing wrong in O MEALS then we have no moral justification(s) find fault(s) in the more elaborate stomach infrastructure!
If Adigun is looking clearly, he will discover that he is just been overshadowed by his blind affection for JKF or the All Progressives Congress(APC). What he is failing to realise is that Fayemi as academic as he is, has mastered all the dead and decaying Aristotlean, Platonic, Socratic philosophies and theories which makes sense only to people like Adigun and not to the man in his farm in Oye, who only thinks about how his needs will be met. It is Fayemi's fault that he made his government elitist. His physical infrastructure is only appreciated by the upper echelons in the society. This explains why Professor Akin Oyebode, Femi Falana, Wole Soyinka and so on (all of whom rarely visit Ekiti) and perhaps a few others are the only ones commending him, never the masses. With the introduction of Fayose's stomach infrastructure into the equation, the language of the masses is spoken and well understood. Not only did they return him to power with their votes, they stood by him in power. This is what you get by standing with the masses. This is the logic behind stomach infrastructure that people like JKF and Adigun must learn!
Written by Bade Adebolu, an Accountant based in Ado-Ekiti.