Putting The Record Straight: How Fayemi Became A Politician By Karounwi Oladapo

 

Those who traffic lies about how Asiwaju Bola Tinubu recruited Dr. Kayode Fayemi into Politics and thought that the rumoured ambition of Fayemi to contest Nigeria Presidency against the rumoured Presidential ambition of Asiwaju Tinubu is akin to ingratitude and an Akintola Politics, should kindly seek for the truth so that the the truth shall make them free. (John 8:32 )

Take a look at the true account of how Dr. Kayode Fayemi, a Scholar and an Activist, entered into Politics as a member of the Alliance for Democracy, AD and got the Action Congress, AC, (an offshoot of AD) Gubernatorial ticket to contest the Gubernatorial elections in 2007 through former Governor Adeniyi Adebayo, the leader of the Party in Ekiti State.

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Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as the foremost leader of the AC Party, thereafter supported the Party Candidate, Kayode Fayemi and co-financed the Party to victory. Asiwaju Tinubu’s contributions are equally remarkable.

To start with, the writer, Karounwi Oladapo, derived his authority on this piece and the credibility of the information contains therein from the fact that he was a State officer of the Alliance for Democracy, AD, in Ekiti State at the time Dr. Kayode Fayemi became a registered member of Alliance for Democracy in Ekiti State. In addition, Karounwi was a Participant at the Ekiti State Government 2019 Retreat at the Royal Palm Hotel, Iloko-Ijesa, on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019, alongside Ekiti State Executive members and body of Ekiti Permanent Secretaries, where the story of how Fayemi was brought into Politics was told by Otunba Niyi Adebayo, in a Paper presented by him, titled “life after Government : Planning for the future”

Otunba Niyi revealed how, as far back as 2002, he had made up his mind to nominate Dr.Kayode Fayemi as his Successor after he must have completed his second term in office ( which never was at the time because he lost his re-election in 2003). He explained how Dr.Fayemi refused his invitation to join Politics and declined the offer to contest Gubernatorial elections.
*Credit for finding Fayemi was completely Adebayo* but it must also be said that Adebayo eventually enlisted Asiwaju Bola Tinubu(who had known Fayemi since his days in exile) and Chief Bisi Akande to help convince Fayemi to take up the offer.

Otunba Niyi Adebayo’s account, which was corroborated by Governor Kayode Fayemi and Erelu Bisi Fayemi, who were present at the Retreat was similar to what was contained in a book, titled ” Swimming against the tide” ( The Kayode Fayemi administration in Ekiti State 2010 – 2014.)
Page 24 to 27, under the subtled “Fayemi as Politician”

Excerpt:

“It is pertinent to mention some behind the scene of events that shaped Kayode Fayemi’s entrance into the politics of Ekiti State. The agenda to make him a governor started in year 2002 when Governor Adeniyi Adebayo hinted his aides, Abiodun Oyebanji, then Chief of Staff to Governor Adebayo (presently the SSG, Ekiti State) and Bunmi Ogunleye, then Personal Assistant to Governor Adebayo about his plan to make Fayemi his Commissioner for Special Duties and eventually hand over to him at the expiration of his second term, if secured. This plan was unknown to Fayemi himself who has been supporting the government of Adeniyi Adebayo through his network of development partnership particularly, the Department of Foreign Investment and Development, (DFID).

This plan was revealed one day in 2002 when the then Governor Adebayo, in company of his aides, Biodun Oyebanji and Bunmi Ogunleye, met Fayemi at the Lagos Airport. Adebayo and his aides were travelling to the USA while Fayemi was travelling to South Africa. Adebayo asked Oyebanji, “Biodun, do you know Dr. Fayemi? He has been of tremendous help to our administration. I plan to make him my Commissioner for Special Duties and hand over to him if I secure a second term”. The information sank and this informed Oyebanji’s subsequent moves and action. Biodun became more interested in him after googling his name and was confounded by the intimidating credentials of the internationally acclaimed scholar and social activist.

Unfortunately, Governor Adebayo did not secure a second term in 2003 as he lost to Ayodele Fayose who was later impeached in October 2006. When political activities reached a crescendo in 2005 and the choice of who would be the candidate of the party came up, the choice of Fayemi was the most attractive, even though he had not been brought to the picture. It happened that Michael Opeyemi Bamidele popularly known as MOB, then Commissioner for Youths and Sport under Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos State, approached Niyi Adebayo who had remained the leader of the party in the state despite being out of power and told him about his intention to be governor. Adebayo however told him that since the then incumbent, Governor Ayodele Fayose was from the Central Senatorial District as himself (Adebayo) it will be difficult to present Opeyemi, who is also not only from the central district like Adebayo but the same town, Iyin Ekiti. Adebayo told Opeyemi that he had the plan of picking the governorship candidate from the northern senatorial district. Though he did not mention anybody’s name, it was obvious that Fayemi who hails from Isan Ekiti in the Ekiti North Senatorial District was his preferred candidate.

Events thereafter happened in quick succession. Shortly after the encounter of Opeyemi Bamidele with Niyi Adebayo, Biodun Oyebanji embarked on a trip to Maiduguri to attend a political meeting on behalf of Adebayo. In the same bus with Oyebanji was Reverend Tunji Adebiyi (now late), who was then a Special Assistant to Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State. He was also an ex-Personal Assistant to Yoruba Leader Late Pa Abraham Adesanya. They started a discussion about likely and suitable gubernatorial candidate to fly the party’s flag in the 2007 general election in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti States. Biodun told Rev. Adebiyi that Kayode Fayemi was the best candidate to be presented in Ekiti State and the Reverend was excited and said, Yes ‘K’ lo maa se! (Yes, K – meaning Kayode, is the one that will do it) He agreed totally with Biodun. Biodun there and then in the bus, called Opeyemi Bamidele and told him they had found a suitable candidate to fly the party’s flag and Opeyemi replied that they would discuss it on his return from Maiduguri. The only obstacle to the Fayemi candidacy was Fayemi himself whether he will accept. The event that followed confirmed their fears.

When the duo of Biodun and Rev. Adebiyi returned from their trip, they immediately set machinery in motion to actualize their Maiduguri discussion about the candidacy of Dr. Fayemi. The first meeting on this agenda was held by Biodun Oyebanji, Rev. Adebiyi and Opeyemi Bamidele, who jokingly said no one even knows which part of the world Fayemi was at that time. He said he would look for him first and inform him.

Fayemi was later traced to his Maryland home in Lagos where Biodun, Opeyemi, Rev. Adebiyi and Yinka Alaka went to inform him. It was so funny that when Opeyemi saw him, he addressed him as, ‘Your Excellency’ and Fayemi, who did not know their mission jokingly told him that it was him (Opeyemi) that is more qualified to answer the title. It was obvious that Fayemi did not know their mission. *The fears of Biodun and Rev. Adebiyi were confirmed when Fayemi turned down the suggestion and rejected the offer to fly the party’s flag in the gubernatorial election*. The visitors left disappointed but vowed to work more on him to accept the offer.

Biodun was mandated to approach Niyi Adebayo while Opeyemi Bamidele was requested to approach Governor Bola Tinubu to convince him to accept. *After pressures here and there, Fayemi eventually accepted the offer but with a condition that his wife, Bisi, who had initially frowned at the offer must also accept before he could go ahead.*

*Niyi Adebayo spent another week convincing Bisi before she agreed. She however extracted a commitment from Niyi Adebayo to always support her husband in his political journey, and he consented.* That was how Kayode Fayemi accepted to fly the party’s flag and he went to contest in the gubernatorial primaries under the then Action Congress (AC) in October 2006. He eventually emerged as the candidate by defeating 13 other aspirants.”

Oladapo Karounwi, a former member of the Ekiti State House Of Assembly is Spokesman for The All Progressives Congress in the South-west 

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