opinionBy Afis A. Oladosu
“O (Fayemi)! Surely we have made you a viceroy in the land; so judge among the people with justice and do not follow your vain desires, lest it should lead you astray from the path of Justice (and equity)… ” (Quran, 38:26)
Dear compatriots, whenever I am buffeted by life’s innumerable contradictions, whenever I come face to face with aspects of our life which call to question our role as representatives of the Almighty in the cosmos, I quickly take solace in the knowledge that the Engineer, the Architect who brought this whole conundrum into reality has perfect knowledge of why sense sometimes appears to be nonsense and why foul sometimes outshines fair in our fairs. I equally always find consolation in the other fact which is that truth will always be truth no matter the efforts we make to cover it; truth will always be truth regardless of lack of understanding. You would agree with me that truth will always be truth even if our denial of same is based on ignorance, prejudice or both.
I have since realized that most readers of Friday sermon are lovers of truth. These are Christians who, like the honey bee, appreciate beauty wherever such is found; these are Muslims who know that truth, in line with Uthman bn Fodio, is an open wound- only truth would and could heal it. Some of our readers, as usual, have taken time to express their perspectives on the Sermon of last week. I received lots of beautiful text messages; messages which call to question my intellectual gravitas. Let me thank, among many others. Captain Z and others who wrote to express their disagreement with the message contained in that sermon. They are all wrote to declaim my request that His Excellency, Dr Kayode Fayemi should administer the affairs of Ekiti with equity. A compatriot of mine and reader of Friday Sermon asked me albeit rhetorically- ‘where were you when GMB was appointing his people to positions… ?’ Another reader wrote to me saying: “… why do we always portray or bring sentiments and double standards into our polity? Are any of the persons so appointed unqualified? Is it not the prerogative of the governor to appoint those he feels he could work with just like our president is known for? Has religion become a consideration for appointment into offices?
Then came Captain Z’s intervention. His message read: “Sir, good day. I belong to no faith but I read Friday Worship every week. Just read today’s topic and I confess disappointment. I am a fanatical supporter of GMB. When there was a huge cry about his lopsided appointments in favour of his tribe and religion I cannot recall any comments from you. Please go to equity with clean hand’
I confess my appreciations of these and other interventions that I cannot accommodate in this sermon today. This is good for us all as a people. It is evident of the consensus that we have all reached that nepotism is not good for the development of this nation; that we are all prepared to speak truth to power.
But I must make a note of this- since Islam abhors injustice, it remains abhorrent at all times and climes. But my message to Dr Fayemi last Friday was premised on two arguments. One, I wrote to him as an intellectual who desired to address an intellectual; I wrote that sermon to fulfil my duty as a critic who must speak truth to power. I wrote that sermon in the full consciousness of what Dr Fayemi stands for before he got into power- an intellectual who abhors glitz and glim; a scholar who runs away from scum and spume. When a philosopher becomes a king, I contended, there must be substantial difference in his style of governance from that of a retired soldier and one who never postured or pretended to be an intellectual or a philosopher. I wrote that piece in truth and like I have done elsewhere when I had cause to engage President Buhari. I wrote that piece to call attention that presently Ekiti under Dr Fayemi has thrown up a worse scenario than recent history of the state furnishes.
In other words, recent history of Ekiti state- itself a mirror-image of the situation in this country- shows that in addition to other factors, religion has always played an important role in governance and administration. Or how else could the point be made that religious equity informed the decision of the PDP to pick a Muslim as the running mate to Professor Eleka in the election that brought in Dr Fayemi? How else could the argument be canvassed that Dr Fayemi equally recognized that Muslims in Ekiti constitute nothing less than 40 percent of the population when he appointed one of them (Mr Ogunshakin) as Secretary to the state government during his first tenure as governor of that state. Are these arguments based on sentiments? May be. Are they hinged on logic? Probably yes.
Dear honourable compatriots and others, the above brings me to the second reason for that sermon and which hacks back to the comparatist method in your messages. In other words, while PMB has been pilloried for lack of complete equity in his appointments, a careful analyses of his political appointment however shows that he has actually put together a team that is a fair representation of all ethnic and religious segments of the Nigerian population. He has a federal cabinet that features Christians and Muslims, until recently, a Christian as Secretary to Federal Government (Mr Babachir) and a Christian as Head of service of the federation.
It is interesting to note that the Chief of Defence Staff – General Abayomi Olonisakin – a Christian is incidentally from Ekiti State. I recall all of these without prejudice that his appointment is not fully representative of our desires and aspirations as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation; I also recall all of that in the full knowledge that when compared to his predecessor, GMB appears to have done better in this direction.
This is the truth, the naked truth around which we congregate on this platform every Friday. And what an irony that is- why should the naked truth be beautiful at a time the nudity of falsehood stares us all in the face even as it is cloaked in a thousand and one feeble garment?