Fayemi: Dancing On The Grave Of Ekiti Ancestors

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By Lere Olayinka

Last week Thursday, I was at the popular Oja-Oba in Ado-Ekiti to do
some buying when a locust beans (iru) seller, whom I latter identified
to be Madam Febisara said “a doju tini omo ni Fayemi i o” (This Fayemi
is putting us to shame). She was talking to her colleague, who had
complained of low sales.
It was then that I remembered that by October 16, Dr. Kayode Fayemi
would be one year as governor of Ekiti State. My mind also went to how
Ekiti was on October 15, 2010 that the judgment of man, which removed
Chief Segun Oni as the State governor was delivered by Justice Isa Ayo
Salami. My mind went round the towns in Ekiti State, especially
Ado-Ekiti, the State capital and all that I could see was demolition
of houses and shops. Then I realised how desperate Fayemi must be to
convince Ekiti people, especially the likes of Madam Febisara that the
liberation of Ekiti (as if Ekiti was in bondage before) and the
eldorado that he promised had not been killed by the spoils of office
and lack of initiatives about governance.
As I paid for the N200 locust beans that I bought and made to go,
Madam Febisara again sarcastically asked her colleague “Su waa ko ja
re, ka ya a gba tiketi ka ya a mu o Kiriji l’Adetiloye?” (Won’t you
pack your goods and let’s go and get tickets to be able to see Kiriji
War play at Adetiloye?). Then I asked the woman; “Who is showing
Kiriji War at Adetiloye?”
“Ogun Kiriji ko, Ogun Agbaye ni” (Not only Kiriji, it is world war),
the woman hissed, answered and faced her business.
For the better part of that Thursday, my mind was preoccupied with
what Madam Febisara, a mere locust beans seller said about Fayemi. I
asked myself several times; who is going to tell Fayemi to his face
that he is now being called a doju tini omo by a locust beans seller?
Who would tell the judiciary imposed governor that his Kiriji War
stage play does not mean anything to the people whose sources of
livelihood had been destroyed?
Then came Monday, September 26, when I read the reaction of the State
chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the Kiriji War play.
I could not agree less with the party position that the stage play
amounted to “dancing naked on the grave of Ekiti ancestors.”
One of such ancestors was Fabunmi Ishola, the one popularly called
Fabunmi Oraralada (the one with magical sword). The whole story of
Ekitiparapo Liberation War, which culminated into wars like Jalumi,
Fejeboju and Kiriji was centred around Fabunmi, a prince from
Okemesi-Ekiti. He (Fabunmi) commanded the Ekiti army for years before
Ogedengbe Agbogungboro from Ilesha joined the army and Fabunmi
relinquished the mantle of leadership to him.
Does it therefore not amount to dancing on the grave of Ekiti
ancestors for a play on Kiriji War to be sponsored by Ekiti State
government and no representative of the family of Fabunmi was present?
The Owa Ooye of Okemesi, Oba Gbadebo Adedeji, who could not stomach
this brazen anomaly complained openly at Adetiloye Hall, venue of the
stage play.
While the family of Fabunmi was missing, those of Ogedengbe from
Ilesha and Aare Latoosa from Ibadan were duly recognised when the play
was staged at Adetiloye Hall, Ado-Ekiti on that Friday. And the only
explanation Fayemi’s government could give for this glaring insult on
such a great son of Ekiti, who with others staked everything,
including their lives to free Ekitiland, was that “representatives of
the major actors in the war were invited. While the representatives of
Ogedengbe, Latoosa and Ogboriefon were present, that of Fabunmi could
not make it to the Premiere because his vehicle broke down and he
apologised the following day when he joined Ogboriefon, Ogedengbe and
Latoosa to have breakfast with the Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.”
Even from this excuse, what can be seen is arrogance on the part of
Fayemi and his government. Representative of Fabunmi, around whom the
play was built was invited, he could not make it to Adetiloye Hall on
the day of the premiere because his vehicle broke down, and he was
still the one who had to apologise to the almighty Governor Fayemi?
Perhaps, because Fabunmi’s representative was the one who caused the
vehicle breakdown so that he could miss the premiere and later had the
rare opportunity of apologising to Fayemi?
If representative of the family of Fabunmi, the main actor in the war
was not at the premiere, “because his vehicle broke down,” I just
wonder whether vehicles of representatives of Oore Okinbaloye of Otun,
Ajero Oyinyosoye of Ijero, Aduloju (Ado), Talabose (Ikole), Olomofe
Oriti (Ijero), Faboro (Ido), Olugbosun (Oye), Fajembola (Ilupeju),
Ologundudu and Anigilaje (Ipao), Agada (Efon), Apapalaso (Ekan),
Okeoro (Ire) and several other great Ekiti warriors, who played
prominent roles in the war also broke down on their way to Adetiloye
Hall last Friday, as they too were not were not present at the venue
To further add salt and pepper to the affronts, notable Ekiti born
artists were not involved in the play. Even though I do not have
anything against the artistes that were brought from Ibadan and Lagos
to act in the play, but the poser those who packaged the play must
answer is whether there is any sense in a Fabunmi Okemesi, Ogedengbe
Ilesha, Aduloju Ado, Oore Okinbaloye of Otun, Ajero Oyinyosoye of
Ijero, Talabose Ikole among others speaking Oyo or Ibadan dialect!
Could there have been any semblance of originality in a historical
play where characters that are Ekitis and Ijeshas speak Oyo or Ibadan
dialect? Definitely, if those who played the role of Ekiti and Ijesha
warriors did not speak Ekiti or Ijesha dialect, then what Fayemi
brought to Ekiti must have been his own version of Kiriji War that is
capable of distorting facts and making mockery of history.
Then of what benefit was even the play, on which N10 million was
allegedly taken out of Ekiti State treasury to the people of the
State, many of whose sources of livelihood had been destroyed via
demolition of houses and shops to pave way for Fayemi’s flower
planting project? Of what benefit is Kiriji War stage play to the over
5,000 local government workers, Local Council Directors of
Administration and Treasurers, permanent secretaries, teachers and
other public servants that have been sacked by the Fayemi-led
government?
Or of what benefit was the play to the families of those people whose
lives have been cut short either directly or indirectly by the
Fayemi-led government?
Today in Ekiti, health workers and magistrates are on strike, and
Fayemi has not deemed it necessary to address their grievances. Even
the State Civil Servants that called off their strike last Friday did
so without getting any commitment from the governor as to the
implementation of the N18, 000 minimum wage. Roads are bad; water that
was flowing on the taps before Fayemi came to power has become a
luxury, tuition fees in boarding schools have been increased from
N10,500 to N15,500, free laptops that were given to students of
boarding schools have been withdrawn, no more scholarships for
students, traders now groan under low patronage; and most importantly,
the fate of the State owned university, Ekiti State University (EKSU)
hangs in the balance with the National University Commission (NUC) yet
to approve the change of name from University of Ado-Ekiti (UNAD) to
EKSU, yet Fayemi’s way of celebrating his one year in office was
Kiriji War!
Could the play have done nothing other than to remind the victims of
Fayemi’s anti-peoples’ policies that Ekiti is now being held captive
once again by Fayemi, who was born and raised in Ibadan? Well, that
might be a way for Fayemi to celebrate his PhD in War Studies.
Most importantly too, as posited by a commentator, isn’t it a pity
that the same Fayemi, who is among the proponent of unity, peace and
integration in the South-west is the one fanning the embers of discord
among the sons of Oduduwa by remembering generation which was not born
then of the heinous deeds of their fore fathers against each others?
One imagines how the families of Aare Latosa will feel when reminded
through a play sponsored by the Ekiti State Government the role the
Ekitis played in the circumstances that led to the death of Latosa?
What would be going on in the minds of the descendants of Momodu
Jogunomi from Ibadan, who died on his way from the war front if they
were seated at Adetiloye Hall last Friday? Or could the people of
Okemesi that suffered great human and material loses during the war
only to be betrayed by their fellow Ekitis, who reneged on the
covenant made before the war, be happy being reminded of this sad
experience?
Whichever way one chooses to look at it, Fayemi’s sponsorship of
Kiriji War stage play at this time amount to nothing other than
dancing naked on the grave of Ekiti ancestors just to put some
millions of naira in the pockets of his cronies.

Olayinka, a journalist writes from Okemesi-Ekiti


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