By Issa Itopa Lucky
As the silent battle and obvious cold war for the soul of a united Nigeria continues along fault lines and words of attrition, one cannot but observe the sudden retirement of Ekiti state governor, Kayode Fayemi from the stage of the heat of the national debate.
Nigerians will remember vividly the active roles Fayemi played in his capacity as chairman of the Nigeria Governors forum during the COVID-19 lockdown and the early post-lockdown moments. The active roles he played, earned him the name, “Governor-General of Nigeria”. He was constantly addressing Nigerians about the effort of the governors on various issues of national concerns.
Suddenly, at a time, the Federal Government and the Southern Governors are blowing hot at each other over open grazing issues, Fayemi, a southern governor and yet even the chairman of the Nigeria Governors forum is conspicuously silent. This cannot be ordinary but more of a tactics to play to the gallery of the king-makers in the presidency as the horse-trading for APC presidential ticket hots up.
Fayemi whose tenure as Governor of Ekiti state ends sometime in October 2022 is eminently qualified to run for Office of President in 2023. This is as he is popular in his region, Southwest Nigeria. As Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum he is popular among and familiar to, fellow Nigeria Governors across the 36 states of the federation.
Feelers have it that Fayemi has barred any APC member in Ekiti from campaigning for Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is known to be eyeing the Presidency seat ahead of 2023. The fact is, if Fayemi is not having a conflicting interest directly with Tinubu, there is no justification for ensuring the big stick is wielded at any EKiti APC member who dare identify with Tinubu’s campaign.
Fayemi is a presidential material, in as much as Southwest is concerned, considering the key role he played in the outset of the Amotekun formation at the peak of when Southwest came under attack in 2020 by marauding herdsmen and gunmen who seemed to be out to cleanse the yorubas from their lands and to terrorise them.
At such time, Fayemi standing against the comfort of the Buhari-led Federal Government, stood by his people, the people of Southwest and he was indeed a pride of theirs as such on the list of Southwest leaders which the people of Southwest can bank on any day anytime. However, Fayemi’s sudden resignation from the stage of play this year 2021 when the Federal Government is hell-bent on establishing grazing reserves in Southwest and in the South generally, is an indication that Fayemi is being tactical as he may be needing the blessings of the Buhari-led Federal Government in the build up to the 2023 presidency race.
All these and more yet to unfold, make Fayemi a dark horse in the race for the highest office in Nigeria as 2023 draws near. As it regards, Fayemi is yet to publicly declare interest to run for office of president in 2023 yet and no group is clamouring in his name yet but one can also say he is only still studying the polity even as he has thus far frowned seriously against any of his aides doing any 2023 presidency campaign for him yet.
As time goes on, Fayemi’s plans will be unveiled but by his age and leadership in the southwest struggle, he is certain of support from the southwest region for the highest office in Nigeria if he decides to vie for the office in 2023.
Fayemi as governor of Ekiti state has been doing quite well inspite of the meagre resources available to his state. The fact is if Fayemi can govern an intellectually sound state like Ekiti then he would be able to do the same for Nigeria if president of Nigeria. On the other hand, if with the little resources available to Ekiti, he is still able to rule Ekiti well, then with the much available to Nigeria he will rule Nigeria perfectly well.
Fayemi has the support of the APC governors both in the southwest region and on national front. All these factors and more ahead make him a dark horse in the 2023 presidency race.