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In the next few weeks, I shall be serving you with widespread persuasive views and the rationalisation behind the clamour for a Fayemi presidency come 2023.

Fayemi, a Bridge Between the Old and the New Political Order

Dr Kayode Fayemi is seen by many Nigerians as a bridge between the old and the new breed politicians. The dichotomy between the old and new political forces has generated heated arguments and debates over the decades. There is an unwritten agreement that accentuates the position that it is the right time that the new breed steps up and take the driver’s seat of leadership in Nigeria, if we are to catch up with the rest of the world.

Today as always, one of the banes of Nigerian politics is that the scene is replete with an avalanche of old actors and players who are never ready to engage the younger generation. In that way, they do not allow the system to refresh. The political space is filled with old politicians who have been part of the process right from independence, clinging and hanging to power, thereby preventing the system to refresh. In this situation, the new breed has been stifled and alienated from active participation. This scenario has fuelled the long agitation for the emergence of a new generation of leaders to replace the old, who have been recycled over and over again since 1960.

The long process of youth agitation which began in the late 1980s, especially during the military era, has produced quite a few new-breed politicians with the right quality and attitude that we can rely on for the transition from the old to the new political order. Undoubtedly, Fayemi is one of the new generation of leaders the Nigerian political system has produced. His emergence and role in the Nigerian political stage cannot be undermined. Since 2006 when he indicated his interest to contest the Ekiti State governorship, through his three-and-a-half-year struggle to actualise his election mandate, it has been one stride after the other. His reputation has soared so much with a dignified character, personality and goodwill. Today Fayemi has become a thought leader with huge responsibilities across different spectrums and political landscape.

At the age of 56 years, Fayemi sits in the middle of the divides. He is loved and revered by both the young and the old, because of his intellectual capabilities and leadership acumen. Fayemi has honed his skills all round. He was a student activist and pro-democracy crusader. For a long time, he was on the urban sidewalks where he was touched and affected by what happens in the society during the dark era of the military.

He is a bridge-builder who has risen from obscurity to the limelight. Fayemi is one of the new-breed leaders who know what it takes to rise from grass to grace, from nothing to what he has become today, an attribute that ranks first in the checklist for successful leaders in Africa. Fayemi has become deep, mature, knowledgeable and trustworthy \in the handling of national issues. Examples abound of his exemplary conducts in resolving key national issues. These include the crisis between Moslem and Christians in Rivers State, his role in rebuilding the All Progressives Congress (APC) to what it has become. As the youngest Chairman of the National Governor’s Forum (NGF), Fayemi’s tenure has been the most peaceful as his leadership has steered the forum away from internal wranglings and crises. He is respected and has continued to use his vantage position to foster peace and the growth of democracy in spite of the huge challenges the Nigerian society faced at this auspicious time.

Fayemi is truthful, bold and courageous. He speaks truth to power. Being calm, cool and calculative in nature, attributes that his critics considered as weakness. But Fayemi is a strong character, who is determined, focused and would never waiver once he believes in a course that would advance the course of the common man.

Fayemi is a great patriot and believes in the goodness and progress of the people. He is a lover of people, regardless of political affiliation. Love radiates in him, in his deeds and actions. Fayemi does not discriminate or segregate on the basis of creed, sex, religion, ethnicity, colour or race. The humanity in him has been attributed to his worldview and the product of his exposure, education and wide engagement at the global level.

Being a young man confers him an advantage over other contenders. Ruling and running Nigeria is not a piece of cake. The job requires a man with good health, vigour, the strength of character and energy.

We have seen Fayemi exhibit uncommon energy, zeal and tenacity all the time. This shows his level of stability and wellness. Good energy fuelled by good health is a major requirement to run a country like Nigeria. Fayemi has shown over the years that apart from the raw energy that is required, he also has tremendous vigour, vision and all the qualities of a good leader. He has a sound and sharp mind, a huge brain and connects with the diverse network of stakeholders that hold the fabrics of Nigeria together- North, South, East and West. Fayemi is cool-headed, cerebral and above all, he is an extremely good listener; a key attribute of a good and effective leader.

As a young administrator, Fayemi has acquired over the past years huge experience in managing people in difficult and complex situations. He is a master of resources and money management. He has a huge knowledge of both the micro and macroeconomic principles, garnered over the years. So experience cannot be lacking in his resume. Among all the key contenders for the post of President, none has the public service resume that can match Fayemi’s. We can safely say that only two former Nigerian Presidents can be adjudged to possess a better experience than Fayemi in understanding the complexity of the Nigerian debacle. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo ranks No 1 and the current occupant of the seat, President Muhammadu Buhari is the other. By 2022, Governor Fayemi would have had a cumulative 12 years of public-service experience; two-term governor of Ekiti State and almost four years as a Federal Minister and a key member of the Federal Executive Council. Fayemi has grown from being a learner to a master of the game of politics. His politics is laced with value-essence, rooted in deep ideologies that always foster social democracy and people-oriented programmes.

Interestingly, none of Fayemi detractors has come out to question his competence, character and sense of judgment. No single finger has been raised against JKF in terms of his leadership acumen as a young man. None, absolutely none! That simply shows that those who are paranoid about Fayemi’s ascendance to the Presidency. realise that their chances and opportunity to continue to be relevant in the political space may not be guaranteed. They are aware that Fayemi, being a new-breed leader, would probably raise and empower a new generation of leaders in business, politics and governance in the country.

I have good news for most of them, for those who are genuinely committed to joining hands to salvage Nigeria, those who have sincerity of purpose. Fayemi is not hateful. JKF has been tested severally by those who keep a watch on him. He only judges people by their present, not by their past deeds and mistakes. I am aware that most of the writers of the negative scripts about Fayemi do not even know him and many of them have never met him in close quarters.

With time, they would come to understand that Fayemi means well for Nigeria. They will come to know that JKF is the best man for the job at this particular juncture.

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