By Ayodele Fagbohun
Chief Oluwayemisi Falae’s foray into politics by courtesy of the military president, General Ibrahim Babangida whom he served as Secretary to the Federal Military Government (SFG) and later Federal Minister of Finance.
Alas! Olu Falae’s debut into partisan politics started and ended in controversy.
This was largely in consequence of the grave untoward political expediency; the innate character and personal conduct of the dramatis personal involved in the whole scenarios now ended in fiasco.
However, Chief Falae as a political lodestar was a welcome development and great relief that in the unfolding political configuration, the pendulum of power and authority had finally oscillated to the old Ondo, Ekiti State inclusive, after a period of interregnum.
The people, indeed the political class in the area lept for joy and accorded Olu Falae with eclat and warm admiration that the dogged loyalty and sympathies exhibited by the people towards the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo brand of welfarist politics over the years had finally paid off with Chief Olu Falae ascended the highest office of the land as president in the ultimate.
Be that as it may, Chief Olu Falae, a top flight bureaucrat turned politician became the toast of the people in the south west and all eyes were on him that on the conclusion of political transition programme of Gen. Babangida’s administration power would definitely be ceded to Chief Olu Falae as president in the handover ceremonies.
Towards this end, efforts were mobilized and ensured that great many people were enlisted into Social Democratic Party (SDP) that was more populist, vigorous and enlightened than its counterpart, National Republican Convention (NRC), NRC and SDP were the two-registered political parties.
Some political pundits reserved their comments on the sincerity of purpose of IBB transition programme full of irreconcilable contradictions as Gen. Babangida was said to be an evil genius of Nigeria’s contemporary military power adventure. Whilst some took the transition with a pinch of salt and perhaps that Chief Olu Falae might eventually be president of the country by fluke.
Somehow, Chief Olu Falae and his political think tank could not be totally absolved of failing to take proactive and pragmatic approach to outwit the political stratagem of IBB and fashioned new political platform taking the country by storm.
Chief Falae, a cerebral financial expert of international prowess, a student activist of Zikism. The accolades not enough to serve him in good stead as a top flight politican. For, his long sojourn in the civil service, and as a military apologist totally eclipsed his former struggle in the nationalist days under the auspices of National Council of Nigeria’s and Camerouns (NCNC).
Olu Falae was supposed to have started all over again alongside the core progressives in the South West that know the fundamental of politics in to to.
If the Chief had taken the wise counsel to be drafted into Ondo governorship race in 1999 general elections. If Chief Falae was humble enough and put the fantasy of presidential dream behind him, and took up the challenge of becoming the executive governor of the state, sky could have been his limit in all its ramifications.
Having jettisoned and pooh-poohed the noble and private call to serve, Olu Falae had literally consigned the lot and political destiny to the waste bin as the opportunity may not come again at least for a season. It has been a long drawn struggle for people of Akure extraction to ever contemplate of becoming elected governor like other ethnic groupings not in advantageous positions.
Chief Falae as governor would have restored Ondo State nay Akure as the political nerve centre of progressive politics in the south west. That rare and unique opportunity is lost to Akure for good.
Let me quickly remind my reader the importance of Akure in the politics of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Akure, the rendezvous where Awolowo and his lieutenants occasionally met and took major decisions that were of beneficial effects to the people of Western Region
Chief Obafemi Awolowo wrote his autobiography ’Awo’ in Akure in 1960. Let me correct the ugly impression that Akure desire the office of governor to gratify the chop-I-chop avaricious appetite and pilfer government coffers with impunity. No, ….no far from it. Government is a serious and earnest business according to Sir Winston Churchill, former British Premier. It is a means to prove one’s mettle; raise the bar of growth, development and rapid progress throughout the nooks and crannies of the state or entire country as the case may be.
Which was why, all right thinking people in Ondo State preferred Chief Reuben Famuyide Fasoranti, a dugged follower of Ajasin to be the governor of the state in 1999 for his indubitable track record in probity, honesty, transparency and uncanny ability to deliver.
However, due to lack of foresight and outright political miscalculation, some Akure political elite within AD/Afenifere traded off Fasoranti’s experience and merit to excel.
Some party chieftains in the rank of senator Olorunnimbe Farukanmi, Chief Fatoyinbo, Prince Olu Adegboro, to mention just a few who could perform feats if given the chance were ignored in the AD governorship primary.
With the retirement of Chief Olu Falae from partisan politics which is still very bewildering, it is unfortunate and sad to note that it is not yet Uhuru in ondo state as a vibrant political entity owing to dearth of able and consistent and public spirited leadership to uphold ideological orientation in the best tradition of Awolowo and Ajasin political dogma.
It is an irony of history and great disservice that some Afenifere chieftains who are supposed to know better openly and without any sense of shame repudiate and calumnise their own kinsman, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of the country.
They haphazardly hobnob with the ultra conservatives, brazen power mongers and the cabal holding the country hostage.
It is bizarre that some Afenifere chieftains for their own ego and clannish interests are in some league with some tribal chanvinists and irredentists across the country and found their new friend in Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the standard bearer of PDP in next Saturday general elections, whose political party runs the best interests of Yoruba nation under.
“You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free” John 8:32.
Ayodele Fagbohun, writes from Akure