Peter Claver Oparah, a foremost writer, journalist and columnist has so much demonstrated his love for his works and country. He loves the Nigerian projects and the progressives driving them, he likes to write about them as well. He loves to describe them as the hope and future of a down nation. For example, in one of his piece on Dr. Kayode Fayemi entitled: “Fayemi: Second Coming of a Long Distance Runner,” he described him as one of the new generational leaders that would restore the lost hope and glory of our land. He put it succinctly that the foundation laid by President Muhammadu Buhari today would be built upon tomorrow by the likes of Fayemi.
Oparah noted that when Fayemi was crudely rigged out as Governor of Ekiti State four years ago, the perpetrators of that dastardly electoral fraud smartly concluded that Dr. Kayode Fayemi was finished in Nigerian politics. They have many reasons to think so. Oparah in his opinion wrote: “Those that hastily wrote the political obituary of Fayemi based on the putrid outcome of the Ekiti farce of 2014 never took time to study his political history. If they did, they would have known that they were dealing with a veteran long-distance runner who has the energy to last the whole distance they took the electoral system to.”
Even with the overt display of chicanery with which the PDP stole Ekiti from him in 2014, Fayemi never gave up, He accepted the outcome of the mangled election, congratulated Fayose and handed over the affairs of the state to him in one of the most acceptable manner. This is a rear singular feat that Governor Ayo Fayose and his godson and adopted political lynchpin, Professor Olusola Eleka, have refused to do since Fayemi won the July 14, 2018 elections. And thus, from his actions in 2014, Fayemi made history and earned accolades from many people who already knew him as one of the most decent personalities ever seen in Nigeria’s political history. Even his hardest political enemies attest to his political maturity and suavity.
Dr. Fayemi moved on with his life and never looked back. He became one of the intellectual backbones and strategists of the APC in 2015. He was the chairman of the highly successful national convention that was conducted to pick the presidential candidate of the party. He performed to the admiration of all and that won him a lot of respect from the President who has since made him one of the critical brains that can be relied upon to undertake critical assignments. Only a few understood his games and strategies, and so only a few could endure the interregnum as many erstwhile loyalists changed camps
In between, he emerged President Buhari’s Minister of Mines and Steel Development. His critics mocked his appointment as not juicy, as the ministry had remained one of the less prestigious ministries (less juicy ministry as our media like to corruptly identify ministries according to quantum of money votes available to be stolen) to which many did not like to be posted. As at then, the ministry was considered a moribund ministry but in the agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari for the diversification of the economy from a mono-economic one, solid mineral development and agriculture was at the center of the diversification program. The president said he wanted someone with the Midas’ touch to turn what seemed like a desert into an oasis of vegetation. The challenge was herculean but Dr Kayode Fayemi took the challenge with studious commitment and turned around the fortunes of the ministry to that which grew the most within two budget cycles. The ministry was adjudged one of the contributors to the 2017 exit of Nigeria from the economic recession that the nation slipped into in early 2016.
Fayemi, as evident testifies, did that job so well that, as a manner of speaking, he literally brought back a dead bone to life and the ministry has emerged one of the country’s major revenue earners, today. Presently, the nation’s exportable mineral resources have quadrupled and new vistas for expansion of the country’s mineral exports are being charted every day; thanks to the innovative and creative input Fayemi brought to that sector.
Also, the ministry’s export value has so increased that it rivals the agriculture sector as the largest new export sectors of the economy, outside crude oil.
Fayemi also worked so hard and assiduously to bring back to life the nation’s expensive but abandoned steel companies. Today, many of the abandoned steel companies have either been concessioned, revived or put on the paths of revival. Some steel companies, like the Delta Steel Company Aladja, have stared production while the Ajaokuta Steel Company, the nation’s largest steel company that has been left to rot for several decades is at the concluding stages of pre-concession transactions and will soon be concessioned and switched to life. And thus, the President himself said of him: “It will be very hard to find a replacement for Fayemi as a Minister of Mines and Steel Development.”
With his stellar showing as Minister, today, Fayemi has once again emerged as the Governor -elect of Ekiti State. There is no argument that his pedigree in public office bears suggestions that Fayemi, as a governor, will perform well again in critical areas that will assure the state make real progress. He will be expected to make great impact in infrastructure, human capital development, job creation, poverty alleviation, rural development etc.
One is glad that governance in Ekiti can now resume seriousness that it deserves. There is a palpable excitement that the era of inclusive governance, critical development and implementation of government policies is returning to Ekiti. It is a crowning day for a long distance runner who has shown that the race of life is not a short put. There is no argument that his return is the beginning of the Ekiti’s restoration era.