Pa Atewolara stared intensely at his son. It was a penetrating, ominously pregnant stare. Tewogbogun felt evidently uneasy. He had reasons to. He had known his father quite too well to know that all was not well. Tewogbogun was a lone child of Atewolara, and the son of his old age, his only hope and source of joy. But, in all fairness, he was not a pampered brat. His father had carefully, unsparingly guided him through all traditional and formal rites to manhood. And on his part too, Tewogbogun was also never a lazy man…he was masculine, multi talented, hard working and resourceful. Even restless! But at 25 his father could not tell accurately what the future held for his beloved son.
‘I am afraid for your future’. Father finally threw the bombshell.
Even so, am I afraid for the future of Ekiti. Ekiti, our beloved Ekiti.
Ekiti people are an indispensably important part of the Yoruba race. It has been so from time immemorial, literally since the beginning of humanity. We predated amalgamation. We fought for and retained our identity through wars, the most phenomenal one being ‘Kiriji’. The widely celebrated Kiriji Wars. After that welding together (that is, the 1914 amalgamation by Lord Lugard), Ekiti significance didn’t diminish. Indeed, our relevance soared up to high peaks. After independence till the early coups and military rules in Nigeria, Ekiti surprised the entire world. We thank GOD for the laurels obtained for us by Lt. Col. Adekunle Fajuyi and Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo through their exemplary demonstration of the Ekiti core values. We were and are still people of rare distinctions…tough, determined, rugged, rustic, honest, stoic, unwavering or obstinate (if you like), loyal, intelligent, resourceful, respectful. Among others. Once Ekiti people are fully persuaded about an issue and take a stand, it’s always like turning black to white trying to get them off their conviction. Hence, “Ekiti alagidi!” Stubborn Ekiti. Tai Solarin’s words concerning his fixed principles can apply to Ekiti. He said:
“I have chosen a path to follow. I do not veer off; I don’t look back to see whether anybody is following me or not”.
That’s one strong definition of conviction certainly.
But we have a problem. In most circumstances, we are either being taken for granted by those whom Providence grouped us together with or deliberately being underrated or cheated. That’s how it was from Western Region to Ondo State, we were never adequately rewarded for our contributions to the development and growth of the Collective. We always cheerfully put much to grudgingly get a little. By all logics, it wasn’t really a sensible thing to continue with such unions. So the struggles for autonomy naturally began. I can’t describe in details what it took our warriors to obtain victory.
BUT ON OCTOBER I, 1996, EKITI ATTAINED THE MUCH DESIRED STATEHOOD.
There are thirty six states in Nigeria today. Ekiti State is one of them. There are about five hundred distinct ethnic groups in Nigeria. Ekiti is the only state which is completely homogeneous. That’s a no mean distinction Unique you would say!
Let’s attempt to highlight the import of our attainment of statehood.
1. Distinct legal identity
2. A State Capital
3. Ekiti Governor
4. Ekiti Deputy Governor
5. Ekiti Speaker & Deputy Speaker
6. 3 Senators & Federal Reps, Minister etc(like Lagos & Kano states)
7. Ekiti Head of Service; SSG; Chief of Staff; all Commissioners;
8. Chairmen and members of Boards
9. Federal University, FMC, CBN, and many more.
The list appears endless. Suffice to say that whatever rights other states have, Ekiti State has them… all to be occupied/accessed by Ekiti indigenes
These are the automatic dividends of Ekiti status as a state. The result of the labour of our tireless, visionary fathers, who committed all their resources to win Ekiti State, not for themselves really, but for us their children, our children and our children’s children. Oh the beauty and the good life they might envisioned!
I recommend the following books for deeper insights on Ekiti generally and how she gained her statehood particularly:
1. Ekiti State: the epic struggle of a people(Pa Deji Faseun)
2. Ekiti State: the story of a determined people (Akin Oyebode et al)
3. Impossibility Made Possible (Afe Babalola… autobiography) 4. The History of the Yoruba (Rev Johnson)
5. Ekiti State Historical and Royal Compendium(Authorized by Ekiti State Traditional Council. Published by Jasgol…)
Now, when our revered warriors took it upon themselves to fight for the creation of Ekiti State, they had on their minds the picture of a state that would be a model, a pride not only to Nigeria but to Africa as a whole. Without doubt, some of our neighbours knew Ekiti would overtake other states in a jiffy. In a twinkling of an eye, so to say. We have both the human and natural resources needed to excel exponentially. We’re well read and hard working. We had developed other states, why wouldn’t we do much more for ours. Surely, Ekiti State was going to be the 8th or 9th wonder of the world!
But alas the story is different today, twenty five years after attaining statehood. Of course, evidently, we had left Egypt since, we are still far away from the envisaged promised land. Again, we all know some individuals have prospered through it; they have accumulated wealth and reached high fame and popularity, Ekiti State as a Collective is painfully far below the expectation of our founding fathers!
I AM DEFINITE ABOUT THIS!
I was already a University graduate when Ekiti State was created. I can still tell the feelings, the expectations, the hopes. Assuming these expectations could actually be hyperbolic, practically unrealistic, due to circumstances and other different factors, the fact still remains that, all things carefully considered, we could have done better. Far much better than what we have on ground.
However, it won’t be proper to start apportioning blames, but, we are all vicariously liable and unless we frankly and honestly find out how and where we went wrong, there’s no hope of corrections. And if we do not correct past mistakes, we will surely repeat them and, in fact, commit greater blunders with far graver consequences than we are seeing today. So even if only for the sake of our children, we must determine to get it right now!
It is us. We are the ones that erred. We are the ones to humble ourselves, accept responsibility for our deeds, retrace our steps and be ready to make necessary adjustments and sacrifice now.
‘The gods are not to blame’ is title of Ola Rotimi’s play. Cassius tells Brutus in Shakespeare’s play Julius Ceaser.
“The fault… is not in our stars; but in us that are underneath them…” In banking, you accept it when it happens. No excuses. That’s why everyone is on their guard at all times. We should apply these principles to governance. Running a State is a serious responsibility. Millions of destinies are at stake!
There is no better time than now to call on all critical stakeholders in the Ekiti Project to please rise up and live up to their responsibilities. You cannot continue to look elsewhere when it is time to determine the destinies of millions of our people. People of the Fountain, proud indigenes of the “Ule uyi, ule eye”. Leadership is everything, especially at this crucial period! If we can get it right in our leadership recruitment process and choice of our leader, we will surely fulfil our full potentials and realise the Ekiti of our dream.
Great men and women, the period of an unprepared, accidental governor should be over in Ekiti State. We must reject outrightly impulsive adventurists, those who have personal or hidden agenda, or who need the governorship position to settle personal issues; or those who, one way or the other, may not be able to implement the Ekiti Vision– the greedy, the arrogant, the disrespectful, the lazy, the ignorant, the weak-minded (lilly livered, fidgeting), the selfishly ambitious, the heartless and not God-fearing. Any deficiency at all is bad enough to reject any aspirant/candidate. Only the very best and the most suitable is good for us now. Political parties in Ekiti owe us this!
But can the process to get such an individual be safely left to political parties alone? This is what I meant when I said we’re all vicariously liable. We act as if we are not affected by whoever leads us. But we are affected. We all know this.
We need to redesign our future; and construct reliable path to get there. (Somebody says, A future designed is a destiny foretold.). The elders, Ekiti State founding fathers, noticeable employers& major taxpayers, obas & chiefs, lecturers/professional bodies/labour/students/trade unions etc…as much as practicable… should be proactively involved in the process. Aspirants should be made to submit their vision/mission statements and programmes for Ekiti, their competencies and backgrounds should be well scrutinised.
Efforts should be made to investigate their past and claims. Eventual party candidates must be made to commit to implement the Ekiti Development Agenda collectively designed by representative stakeholders.
Unless we are decisive, deliberate; unless we set measurable goals with time allocation, unless we are all involved and hold whosoever holds any position of trust accountable; unless we make our representatives know that position means responsibility and service; and unless we start now… the future is to be afraid of.
Past and present leaders have done and are still doing their best, but the problem is that there is no definite and concerted direction. There’s no coordination. There should be long time Development plan, a Blueprint and a design which successive governments should be building on until Ekiti achieves her desired heights.
Unless this is done, Oloun ma je ki oro wa l’Ekiti dabi ti alagbara ma l’ero, Baba ole.
God bless Ekiti!!
I am Kayode Adaramodu, PDP aspirant, Ekiti 2022 governorship election
A product of the Grace of God, Kayode has successfully built an enviable career that has taken him from Nigeria to other parts of the World, rising to a top level with invaluable links and interfaces, and reputation built on character, passion and integrity.