Fayose and his mediocre tantrums, by Segun Dipe


A wise man can play the role of a clown, but a clown cannot play the role of a wise man –Malcolm X

I thought I had seen and said all when almost a year ago, I did a psycho-analysis of Governor Peter Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State and came up with an article titled “Understanding Fayose’s Hubris.” I wrote in the article that Fayose was an enemy of decent living and development. I went further to describe him as “obnoxious, loud, rude, with limited vocabularies, uses foul language, and has no respect for anyone within a three-foot radius.” My conclusion then was that Fayose had courted enough controversies to last for decades.

But how wrong was I? I had actually not seen anything yet by then. Suddenly, I am now eating my words. This enfant terrible called Fayose is not ready yet to peak in his reckless adventure.  He has opted to trudge on endlessly in his journey to perdition. Today, I am searching for much worse adjectives to describe a man I thought I had said all, nay the worst, about. Words are failing me as he keeps breaking records upon records. He has raced from bad to worse at a neck-breaking speed. He has broken his own record and has erased my assumptions that there could ever be some modicum of sanity in him.

As usual, I am not going to start wailing here about what Fayose is doing wrong in my state or how it is affecting me as a bonafide Ekiti son. To take that path will be travelling the general route. Rather, I will take the pain to again “justify” why I think he is doing what he is doing the way he is doing it and why I think he could not have been doing otherwise.

I recall in 2014 when Fayose was wooing his people for votes. He swore to high heavens that he had repented from his evil ways and was now a changed person (perhaps latching on the change mantra of the All Progressives Congress, APC, then). I wondered how my people would want to hold a scorpion in their palm and expect it not to sting for too long or straddle a snake to their waist and expect it never to bite. And I told them so. “Would a leopard change its spots?” I wondered aloud. But I could not prevail on my people who had already fallen for Fayose’s antics for the second time within 10 years! Albeit, not only did the one-week-one-trouble governor not change a jot, he has even graduated to a one-day-one-trouble albatross.

The three major terms in the 5-word title of this article are “Fayose,” “Mediocre” and “Tantrums.” The “and” and “his” in between them are merely a conjoining article and a reflexive pronoun, respectively. I am going to attempt the definitions or these terms as a way to drive home my points on the persona of Fayose. And I am going to do it in the reverse order, believing that by defining the terms, I would be revealing so much about Fayose again.

Tantrum or hissy fit is an emotional outburst, usually associated with not only children, but also those in emotional distress. It is typically characterised by stubbornness, crying, screaming, defiance, anger ranting, a resistance to attempts at pacification and, in some cases, hitting. Physical control may be lost; the person may be unable to remain still; and even if the “goal” of the person is met, he or she may not be calmed. A tantrum may be expressed in a tirade: a protracted, angry, or violent speech. The medics would describe it as a fit of bad temper. While its existence is traceable to early 18th century, its origin is unknown. Tantrums are one of the most common forms of problematic behaviour in young children, but tend to decrease in frequency and intensity as the child grows older. For the toddler, tantrums can be considered as normal, even as gauges of a developing strength of character.

While tantrums are sometimes seen as a predictor of future anti-social behaviour, in another sense they are simply an age-appropriate sign of excessive frustration, and will diminish over time given a calm and consistent handling. Parental containment where a child cannot contain itself, rather than what the child is ostensibly demanding, may be what is really required. Some people who have neurological disorders such as autism or intellectual disability could be more prone to tantrums than others. When it happens, they throw themselves on the floor, crying, screaming and kicking as a means of getting across that things are “not right”, although anyone experiencing brain damage (temporary or permanent) can suffer from tantrums. Anyone may be prone to tantrums once in a while, regardless of gender or age.

Mediocre is something that is just average, or not good enough. “Mediocre” is adjective while “mediocrity” is noun and refers to someone who does not have much skill or ability at anything; a person of second-rate ability or value.

Belying the very meaning of the word, the adjective mediocre or the noun mediocrity has a remarkable and unexpected etymology. Mediocre ultimately comes from Latin mediocris, which meant “middling, ordinary, unremarkable.” The Latin word in turn is a compound based on a rather concrete metaphor—we often find that abstract words are rooted in vivid comparisons when we trace the history of words back till we hit bedrock. Something that is mediocre is only midway up a mountain or rises up to only half a mountain’s height, and, as it were, the thing goes just halfway to the highest point of excellence. The condition of being mediocre is thus having only an average degree of quality, skills and not aspiring to better one’s standard.

In his book titled Catch-22, Joseph Heller, American satirical novelist, short story writer, and playwrights observed that “some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. Fayose falls to all.

Born 15 November 1960, Peter Ayodele Fayose is the current governor of Ekiti State. He was also governor from 29 May 2003 to 16 October 2006. While Fayose has told several lies about his academic qualifications, Wikipedia could only remember that Fayose, who grew up in Ibadan, Oyo State attended Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo.

On 20 June 2014, Captain Sagir Koli from the 32nd Artillery Brigade stationed in Ekiti State, accompanied his Commanding Officer, Brigadier General Aliyu Momoh to a meeting at the Spotless Hotel in Ado-Ekiti. The meeting was attended by Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti, Senator Iyiola Omisore; a man identified as a member of the National Assembly Abdulkareem; the former Minister for Police Affairs Caleb Olubolade, the then Minister of Police Affairs Jelili Adesiyan and Senator Musiliu Obanikoro who was the Minister of State for Defence. Captain Sagir Koli made an audio recording of that meeting, which was then made public by the online news website Sahara Reporters, on 5 February 2015.

Recently on the social media, Nigerians make mockery of Fayose’s attempt to deceive them and lampooned him over pictures of his supposedly addressing Chinese businessmen, which was made public. The pictures showed the Ekiti State governor at a podium in China delivering a lecture to investors. However, a close inspection of the supposed lecture hall indicated that it was a train terminal and a silly attempt to fool Nigerians.

Fayose is the most trending Nigerian governor today. While some describe his foolery at criticizing President Muhammadu Buhari without any justification for it as comical, others suggest that he is taking things too far. He lies, rationalises and spins for no apparent reason, other than simply being a Fayose.

Certainly, Fayose is an anathema.

  • Dipe, a journalist and public affairs commentator, writes from Ado Ekiti