By Bayo Adeyinka
It has been variously described as dour and boring with certain online commentators taking potshots at the event. But the rally I watched live on TV today was far from those uncharitable comments.
For one, I don’t watch those live rallies. I consider them a waste of my precious time especially when various political pretenders give long and windy speeches with nothing of significance worth remembering. Nigerians by now are used to seeing young people and old folks in hurriedly sewn party uniforms carrying various inscriptions and banners and mouthing political platitudes. But when a colleague of mine called me and asked me to tune to a certain channel to watch the Ekiti rally which held today at Kayode Oluyemi Stadium, I knew there must be drama of all sorts. My colleague knew I had written on the forthcoming election under the title ‘Fayemi, Beware Of Fayose’.
Going by what I saw on screen, the crowd was mammoth to say the least. If that was an ‘arranged’ crowd, then Peter Ayodele Fayose is a fantastic arranger.
For the first time in a very long time, I saw President Goodluck Jonathan grinning from ear to ear. He appeared very relaxed and satisfied. Looking resplendent in white ‘agbada’ with ‘abeti-aja’ cap to match, he waxed lyrical when he gave his short speech. That must be one of the best extempore speeches I’ve heard him give. He introduced Ayo Fayose by calling him by his moniker ‘Oshokomole’. When he called him that, the crowd went into a frenzy. Ayo Fayose was shown many times asking the crowd to ‘coolu temper’.
As expected, Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio was there. When he took the microphone, he introduced Fayose as ‘Governor-in-waiting’. He kept on shouting ‘Ekiti Kete’ in a very funny and peculiar manner. Adamu Muazu, the Chairman of PDP presented the flag of PDP to Ayo Fayose and his Deputy.
The highlight of the fascinating event was when Ayo Fayose was introduced and he took the microphone. Like an evangelist acting as if on cue, he burst out into a song, ‘Mo le, mo ba, mo tun gba a pada, ire gbogbo to ta gba lowo mi’ translated as ‘ I pursued, I caught up with it and I took back all my blessings that the enemy took from me’. His intro couldn’t have been better. The choice of song was apt and spoke volumes as the crowd sang with him. If you were in doubt of Fayose’s ability to whip up the crowd into a frenzy, this opportunity was one that put doubters to shame.
With a pentecostal fervour, Fayose recounted his achievements when he was in office. As he mentioned the Fountain Hotel, Abiodun Adetiloye Hall, Kayode Oluyemi Stadium and others, he gradually increased the tempo of his speech. He whipped up sentiments when he spoke about how he improved education in the State to the extent that Ekiti rose from number 34 to number 5 before he left office and how the State is back to number 34. He reminisced on how he left over N10b in the coffers of the Government. When he told the crowd that if elected Governor, he will employ the jobless youths because the current Government failed to employ them, the camera showed the crowd jubilating. He promised them what he called ‘local content’.
Like a master conductor in charge of a mass choir, he suddenly stopped and asked the crowd, ‘Show me your voter’s card’. As if well rehearsed and to my amazement, several hands were up in the air with people lifting up cards. It was a well choreographed move. Whether they were actual voter’s cards or not, I know not. But I saw the President nod his head in surprised affirmation.
Whoever wrote the script saved the best for the last as Fayose brought out a red card for the APC Government. For me, that was the height as playing on an imagery of red card during an upcoming election that will hold in a period when the greatest football event will be holding is nothing short of a masterpiece.
As he thanked everyone and handed over the mic, someone spoke into his ears and he came back to the mic. He now introduced his wife and with a clincher said, ‘You all know my wife that she is a prayer warrior. Please let her be praying while I am working’. To say I thoroughly enjoyed the rally was an understatement.
As the rally came to an end, ‘No be mistake’ by 9ice was blaring from the speakers. Will it be a mistake if Ayo Fayose upsets the incumbent? I could only shake my head as I wondered what huge difference it would have made if APC had had Ayo Fayose in her fold.
Is Ekiti going….going…..gone?