The main reason Kayode Fayemi and the APC lost woefully to Ayodele Fayose in the June 21, 2014 governorship elections in Ekiti State and subsequent elections in 2015, according to pundits, is that he lost touch with the grassroots. I have searched without success to decipher this expression since it gained currency among many political commentators in Ekiti State.
Few of us who still don’t agree with this theory have been called names and described in many pejorative expressions such as “failed intellectuals living in self-denial” “arrogant aides who claimed to know it all” etc. yet, I and few others still don’t agree and it is our right to stick to our belief even though it may not be popular. Not even the latest discovery that the June 21, 2014 governorship elections may not be free and fair after all when one of the candidates admitted in the now famous Ekitigate audio recording that he collected soft copies of INEC sensitive materials and printed for use during the election can make any difference to change this theory.
The advocates of the lost-touch-with-the grassroots are not ready to listen to any other argument to explain Fayemi’s loss even though they haven’t told us how Fayose connected with the grassroots other than street stunts, eating roasted corn and plantain and drinking at paraga joints. However, I am beginning to see “reason” in their argument.
Two developments informed this. The first is the latest article by one Yinka Erinfolami entitled, “Party in Denial: Ekiti APC Leadership, what Next?” In that piece, just like Bryon, he also blamed Fayemi’s loss on the same loss of touch with the grassroots even though the writer admitted that Fayose should be impeached! The second development is the payment of the Conditional Cash Transfer money to indigent and vulnerable women in the State.
This is an MDG project where vulnerable young women were paid N5, 000 monthly for one year with a mobile phone and another N100,000 as exit fund to set up their businesses. It was started during Fayemi’s administration during which the present 2,250 beneficiaries were selected in 5 local governments as a test case.
The money was paid recently, but instead of N100, 000 to be paid N90,000 was paid in three instalments. The second and third tranches were paid after APC issued a press release raising an alarm that the actual amount should be N100,000 to be paid once. My local government of Irepodun/ Ifelodun and town, Igbemo- Ekiti, was among the lucky beneficiaries as a test case. The CCT went a long way to alleviate the sufferings of the single mothers and widows.
In Igbemo alone, 92 women are beneficiaries and this made me understand in a reverse order how Fayemi lost touch with the grassroots and I cannot but agree with the theorists though in a strange way. 92 women were on N5,000 for 12 months and another N100,000 as exit fund which amounts to N14,720,000 with each woman benefitting to the tune of N160,000 each. To show that Fayemi didn’t discriminate, his administration made sure prominent PDP leaders in the town were given slots.
Fayemi by this singular act has lost touch with the grassroots in Igbemo-Ekiti. No wonder many of them refused to vote for him on June 21, 2014 while in the other elections held in March and April 2015, all his candidates, including Barrister Ayodeji Odu, who hailed from that town and APC candidate for the House of Assembly poll, were roundly defeated.
A man in the town who didn’t understand the meaning of losing touch with the grassroots, reminded them that the money they were rushing to collect was made possible by Fayemi who they didn’t vote for and by extension their own son, Odu, who facilitated their inclusion but whom they rejected at polls.
Fayemi also lost touch with Igbemo people when he made 219 elders (across party lines) beneficiaries of N5,000 monthly stipend for the social security for the elderly amounting to N1,095,000 monthly and N13,140,000 yearly and for three years which equals to N39,420,000. No wonder, many of the elderly did not vote for him because Fayose promised them he would increase the money to N10,000 naira if elected while some of them were reported to have asked, ‘Is it N5,000 that Fayemi gives his mother to feed monthly”?
I agree that he also lost touch with the grassroots here! Many of them were given N500 on election day and they forgot N180,000 each of them earned for three years under the Fayemi administration. Fayemi got it completely wrong when he also arranged with his wife through the Food Bank Programme to cook food for the weak elderly people on weekly basis in the town and give them raw foodstuff. They completely hated him for this unsolicited gesture.
He ought to have left them in their previous condition where many of them looked unto their children, who were themselves not employed before they could feed. The programme has been cancelled by Mr. Fayose but the N10, 000 monthly promised is still in the pipeline all the same, the elders love Fayose! A total of 71 youths were paid N10,000 in Igbemo under the Youth Volunteers scheme in two batches for three years. While the first batch of 29 earned N240,000 each in two years making a total of N6,960,000, a second batch of 42 earned it for a year making a total of N5,040,000.
Twenty nine of the beneficiaries in the first batch got N30,000 each as payoffs after two years of the programme. This amounts to an additional N870,000. Fayemi also lost it here because N10,000 is not enough and as one of the youths said, ‘N10,000 is not enough for us to drink beer at a sitting”.
The youth may be right considering how they now drink beer every Friday, courtesy of Mr. Fayose. While Fayemi disconnected in this aspect, Fayose connected well! The programme has been cancelled by Mr. Fayose! Five youths were beneficiaries of the Youths in Commercial Agriculture (YCAD) in Igbemo Ekiti. There was expandable credit facility of N1.4 million for each of the farmers with 10 hectares of land worth N2 million.
Fayemi also lost touch with the grassroots in doing this. Road Materials Company (ROMACO) a quarry site in Igbemo- Ekiti was moribund for years but with an investment of over N200 million naira (Two Hundred Million naira) it was put back to life by the Fayemi administration.
Presently, it is the major income generating company for the State Government owned Fountain Holdings Limited. Many Igbemo indigenes earn their living there presently. Fayemi disconnected with Igbemo people with this! Barely six months after they were appointed, Igbemo Political appointees (numbering about six as at that time and later increased to 13, including my humble self, contributed over half a million naira from our salaries to repair about five borehole water fetching points which had been out of use for years in the town and these are still working till today.
We and Fayemi disconnected with the grassroots because we ought to have left our people to keep complaining about lack of potable water. Added to this, Senator Ojudu and Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele sunk two boreholes with big reservoirs in the town. (To be concluded tomorrow)