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Dr. Kayode Fayemi, former governor of Ekiti State, declared on Tuesday that he would no longer allow elder statesman, Chief Afe Babalola, to control the narrative concerning his tenure in office.

The former chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) asserted that Babalola’s consistent criticisms appeared deliberate, and he intended to address them accordingly.

In an exclusive conversation with THISDAY, Fayemi expressed concern that while he might attribute Babalola’s criticisms to a lapse in memory, he was troubled by the possibility that Babalola might be afflicted with a narcissistic personality disorder, hindering his ability to recognize the positive aspects in others.

Reacting to a recent news report, where Babalola was quoted as saying all former Ekiti State governors did nothing to develop the state, Fayemi said he was the target, as that was not the first time the elder statesman would be going all out against him.

Fayemi stated regarding Babalola, “If you have followed events in the state very closely, you’d know that this is not the first time he has done it. But I’ve restrained myself for a long time. First, he is an elder whose first child is older than me and I’m quite friendly with his children.

“Second, my wife has begged me not to respond in the last one and a half years that he has been on the attack. Even now, she will not be happy with me, but Chief Babalola has been relentless in his attack. I’m sorry, I won’t allow him control the narrative about my time in office.

“It is important for people to know this is malicious and not a dispassionate and objective assessment. The only thing I brought to public service is my name and I won’t let people take my silence as consent as far as Chief Babalola’s opinion is concerned.”

The former governor, who said he had never earned Babalola’s support, stated, “He never supported me, he supported Segun Oni in the 2007 election. But that’s fine. He has a right to support anyone. I don’t begrudge him for that.

“Even when I challenged the stolen mandate in 2007, he was Segun Oni’s lawyer in court. So, as far as he was concerned, this little David defeated the giant Goliath of Ekiti. In spite of that, I embraced him as governor and asked him to chair the Airport Viability Committee, which he was keen on during my first term in office.

“If you ask him, he will give you a cock and bull story about how President Jonathan wanted to build an airport in Ekiti and I stopped him, which is an untruth. The truth is that Tunde Omotoba, an Ekiti man, was aviation minister under President Yar’Adua.

“He seized that opportunity to put in the aviation ministry budget about N300 million for exploratory work on Ekiti airport. That money was in the budget but it was never released. Do I control federal budget? How unfair can a person be?

“In spite of the fact that the federal government did not do anything, no government before mine took any concrete step on the airport, apart from acquiring the land. No compensation was even paid for the land until my government paid those land owners. In spite of our limited resources, we went on to build the airport.”

Fayemi alleged, “His main problem with me was because he offered to construct a terminal building for the Ekiti airport, and I explained to him that the funding we had for the airport included the construction of a terminal building and we had to fulfil the obligation of the bond.

“I then appealed to him to take on other items in the airport since an airport has many components to it. He was very unhappy about that and there is nobody he has not reported me to for this. We finished the runway, taxiway, apron, all the internal roads and the terminal building and had a test flight before I left office.

“He now returned to my original suggestion of supporting another project at the airport and helped with the procurement of navigational aids and the construction of the car park for the airport. I’m glad he did, but it is so difficult for him to appreciate the good in others.

“He wants to give the credit of the airport to Oni, who did not put up a single brick at the airport and take every opportunity to demonise Fayemi, who, according to him, did not do anything for his university and the state. Well, that’s for posterity to judge, not for him to say with an air of finality.”

Arguing that Babalola’s hatred for him was entrenched, Fayemi stated, “He carried his hatred to the point where he even approached King’s College London if, indeed, it’s true that they made me a Visiting Professor. Haba!

“How can an old man behave this way? And my counsel to him has always been that he should see himself as the father of all and refrain from partisanship when it comes to issues of governance and development in Ekiti.

“Age is supposed to imbue one with a level of circumspection in what one says, but not this old man who believes he owns Ekiti and any governor who chooses not to grovel before him and shower him with sycophantic adulation of the Almighty Afe Babalola must be brought down. Unfortunately, I will not grovel before any human being. Only God is Almighty in my books.

“Chief Afe Babalola has always been unfair to me personally, and to Governors Adebayo and Fayose equally. I can say categorically without any fear of equivocation that every governor that has occupied the exalted seat in Ekiti performed well in the circumstance they operated in.

“They all handed the baton to their successors who took the state further than they met it. Chief Babalola’s prejudiced view can never be the final word on their times in office, certainly not on my time in office because I know and the record is crystal clear that I improved the state on every developmental indices than I met the state.”

Fayemi also said, “I find it amusing that he compared his time as a councillor in the local government system in the 60s with the tenure of governors and gave himself excellent for performance. Quite apart from the fact that this is comparing apples to oranges, independent reviews of that era has been out for long and it is not as glowing as the picture painted.

“But then, Chief Afe Babalola is an old man and as well brought up Omoluabi, one should grant him the indulgence of failing memory that comes with age. I’m, however, glad that he recognised the good in Governor Oyebanji.

“The only point to add is that if Ekiti people whose mandate brought me to office in preference to the candidates he supported were not happy with my performance in office, they would not have returned my party to Government House and made it possible for Governor Oyebanji to be performing the wonders he’s now so enamoured of, even though everyone in Ekiti knew his preference in that election.

“We will continue to applaud his contribution to Ekiti State but I hope Baba is not suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder that prevents him from seeing the good in others even as he relishes his exaggerated sense of self.”

3 thoughts on “Fayemi Reacts To Afe Babalola’s Attacks On Former Ekiti Governors”
  1. Thank God Fayemi knows he did nothing in Ekiti. Afe Baalola is only heard because of his personality. Everyone in Ekiti is aware of his recklessness in office and how he did not contribute to any development in the state. All he is concerned about is grammar and personal ego to control his party members

    1. Would Ekiti people have voted Oyebanji if Fayemi did not do well?

      It’s a very simple logic for people with discerning minds to figure out.

  2. Human is always a human,I will not talk in terms of politics, even the bible warns us not to be focused on others” bad side, rather than to be looking at the good side of everyone, which l strongly believe that to an average Ekiti people, each of these governors including Dr.Fayemi and the present serving govnr.Oyebanji score above average in their credibility assessment test book of Ekiti people, though,Baba remain Our able baba,yet he doesn’t alone make ekiti, so we should be allowing peace to reign in all we are doing either we are eating, drinking or talking. Thank you Sir.09134036846.

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