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EKITI: BETWEEN MEN AND GOD

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One of the greatest sins that man can commit against God is to give glory that belongs to Him to mortals. King Herod had made a speech to the men of Tyre and Sidon, concluding with an assurance that he would pass by their offence and receive them into his favour again. He had power to keep alive and put to death. The people that had a dependence upon him, and had benefit by his favour, applauded him. They gave a shout; saying; “It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.”

King Herod took these praises to himself, pleased himself with them, and prided himself in them; and this was his sin against God for which angel of the Lord smote him and he was eaten of worms above ground, and gave up the ghost instantly!

Today, in Ekiti and indeed among some politicians in the Southwest of Nigeria, a replica of the story of King Herod is being witnessed.

Erected at Fajuyi area of Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital is a billboard that gives glory to one man for the emergence of Dr. Kayode Fayemi of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) as governor of the State. “Thank you Tinubu,” is the message displayed on the billboard. And who will blame a people for showing gratitude to one man, who is solely responsible for the judicial victory that brought Fayemi to power? After all, those who got the Ilorin victory are not oblivious of where the victory came from and cannot possibly be thanking God, whom they knew had no hands in it.

Apparently because the victory did not come from God too, its beneficiaries appear to be confused as to what to do with it. First it was the announcement of free education in Ekiti, a state where government had made public schools not only free but even more attractive than private schools. This was immediately followed by the reversal of appointments of Permanent Secretaries and removal of portrait of former governor, Engr Segun Oni from the Governor’s Office.

To put the records straight, as at Friday, October 15, 2010 that Engr. Segun Oni’s government was terminated via that men-induced judicial victory, only students of boarding schools in Ekiti State were paying N10.500 for feeding (per term) while no fee was paid in other schools (both primary and secondary). Apart from non-payment of tuition fees, free textbooks were provided while WAEC and NECO fees were paid by the government. Free VSAT connected laptops were distributed to students of boarding schools while pupils of primary schools in Ekiti State have been enjoying free egg and cocoa drink twice in a week, under the School Feeding Programme.

Furthermore, Ekiti State had been taken away from the comity of States where students of public schools receive lectures under the tree, inside dilapidated classrooms or carry chairs and desks to the school. This problem was solved with the construction of thousands of classrooms, including storey buildings in the schools and provision of school furniture adjudged as the best in Nigeria.

As at the time Fayemi was assuming office, education was not only free in Ekiti State but functional as parents were already withdrawing their wards from private schools and bringing them to public schools. It thus amounts to playing to the gallery for the people to be promised free education that they already have.

Removal of Engr. Oni’s portrait and Fayemi’s statement that he (Oni) was never governor is another issue that has taken center-stage in the last few days. In the opinion of Fayemi, who is apparently still basking in the euphoria of the Tinubu-induced judicial-electoral victory, Ekiti State had no governor for the three and half years Engr. Oni spent in office.

Whether giving order that all the portraits of Engr. Oni be removed should be the first assignment on the priority list of Fayemi’s government is not an issue I want to belabour myself with. Rather, I am amused with the glee with which common sense is being allowed to be eroded by the liquid of vendetta.

As posited by one Oluwagbenga Ogunbe, a USA based Oye-Ekiti indigene, who posted his comment on Isokan Ekiti, a Yahoo Group; the portrait of Engr. Oni may have been removed, but what about the bigger pictures? What about the many bills that were signed into law in which such laws have started to take effect? What about appropriation spending and supplementary budgets that was approved by the House of Assembly? What about the over 3,000 students who benefitted from scholarship schemes? Will these students be asked for a refund or will those who have already been pencilled down for awards have these awards forfeited?

Appointments and promotion of civil servants, including Permanent secretaries were approved by Engr. Oni, are these to be reversed? Are the 4,000 civil servants recruited by the Oni-led government to be asked to return to the labour market? Should those prisoners that Engr. Oni granted amnesty be asked to return to prison?

Most importantly, it was Engr. Oni that inaugurated the State House of Assembly and if Fayemi is saying that there was no governor in Ekiti between May 29, 2007 and October 15, 2010, it then goes to say that there was no House of Assembly in Ekiti State as at today. It will then be necessary that Fayemi should inaugurate the House of Assembly with the implication that tenure of the members would begin from the date of inauguration.

Again, the Head Of Service (HOS), Mr. Femi Adewunmi who announced the appointments so far made by Fayemi was appointed by Engr. Oni, meaning that those appointments and subsequent ones to be made by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) cannot be anything but a nullity if the person, who appointed the HOS was never governor.

Honestly, I think Fayemi ought to have gone beyond removal of Engr. Oni’s portrait. He should have taken a step further by returning all the over 500 kilometres of roads constructed by the Oni’s government to the state that they were before 2007.

Furthermore, all the Obas that were enthroned by the Oni’s government can also be dethroned so that he can embark on fresh selection process.

May be too, all the over 3,000 blocks of classrooms, Government House Guest Chalets, Secretariat buildings and other buildings built by the Engr. Oni’s government should be demolished. The over N1.5 billion equipment being installed at the State owned radio and television stations can also be removed so that the broadcast station can return to the state that it was in 2007.

In just one week that the judgment of men was foisted on Ekiti, policy summersault, removal of portraits and illegal freezing of local governments accounts, attack on innocent Ekiti indigenes perceived as members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), invasion of Ekiti by Lagosians have been the lot of the State.

In Ekiti, the reality is that men have passed their own judgment, which implies that all that is needed to win an election through the judiciary is for a loser to destroy electoral materials by whatever means, including setting INEC office ablaze. The beneficiaries of the judgment have not stopped giving glory to the man, who made it possible. But there is yet one other judgment that will come soon, which is that of God. When it does, no one, except Himself will take the glory.

Olayinka, a journalist writes from Ado-Ekiti.

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