The name John Kayode Fayemi is not new to the Nigerian political arena. He is the incumbent governor of Ekiti state, in the south-western region of Nigeria. He previously occupied the same office between 2010 and 2014.
Heroes, they say are not born but made. This can be true in the case of Fayemi who possess a never giving up spirit, a good trait that energized him during the dictatorship era of Sani Abacha’s military government. During this period, he was popularly known for his roles in a guerrilla radio station after June 12 Annulment.
- Nationality: Nigerian
- Birth Place: Ibadan, Oyo State
- Home State: Ekiti State
- Date of Birth: 9th of February 1965
- Partner: Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi (m. 1989)
- Career: Politician
- Party: All Progressives Congress (APC)
- Education: King’s College London, Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Lagos
His parents hail from Isan-Ekiti in Oye Local Government of Ekiti State. In addition, his parents ensure he received western education which was a thing of prestige at that time especially in the southwest region of Nigeria.
The residents of this region consider sending their children to receive formal education achievement and today it is the most literate region in Nigeria.
Fayemi’s educational journey began when he attended the ICC Primary School, Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo State between 1970-1975. From 1975 to 1980, he attended Christ’s School Ado Ekiti for his secondary school education.
The young man was also raised a catholic, he became an altar boy where he diligently assisted the priests in their ecclesiastical Eucharist and other pastoral duties.
He furthered his educational pursuit by attending the University of Lagos and the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) graduating with degrees in History, Politics and International Relations respectively.
His undergraduate training prepared him for the task ahead as he was radically involved in student unionism and student activist.
He was part of the student-journalist that publishes “The Watch Magazine” known to unveil the management mischievous behaviour of the management, especially towards the students.
A man consumed with zeal to see that humanity is free from oppression and tyrant leadership, he was a member of the Senate of the Students’ Union playing an integral role in the political calculus of the students’ union politics. He was on fire as an activist and never let fear or threat deter him from ensuring that the right of students is not trampled upon.
After his graduation, it was glaring that the unionist will someday go into politics. That’s not all; he possesses a Doctorate in War Studies from King’s College London, specializing in civil-military relations.
His educational line is born from his passion to tackle oppression of any kind. Who knew he would end up being instrumental in some of the historical events that took place in Nigeria
Fayemi Life after College
Fayemi completed his degree programme and proceeded to embark on the mandatory National Youth Service Corps from 1985 to 1986.
He served at the Nigeria-Police Training College in Sokoto as a lecturer.
Getting a job back in the days after completing the NYSC programme is not as difficult as it is presently.
After the successful completion of the youth service programme, Fayemi got a job with the Development & Management Consultants in Ikeja where he worked for 3 years as a Research Officer.
He later moved to the United Kingdom to pursue his doctorate programme, during this period he picked up a job with the African Research and Information Bureau in London working as a Research Officer.
His stay in the UK was very resourceful as he engaged in several high profiled jobs through which he gathered a wealth of experience.
Even so, Fayemi served as a journalist with the Guardian and City Tempo; as well as the Editor of Nigeria-Now, a nonoperational political monthly magazine.
Finally, the political activist and unionist returned to Nigeria ready to make a change, he wasted no time establishing a research and training institution known as the Centre for Democracy and Development Centre for Democracy & Development.
The centre is dedicated to the study and promotion of democratic development, peace-building and human security in Africa. He was the first Director of the centre from 1997 to 2006.
It is not surprising that Fayemi ventured into politics because he was a unionist and student activist as well as his role during the June 12 1993 election annulment among several other activities that have helped him gain a wealth of leadership experience.
He is the incumbent governor of Ekiti state and this is his second time to rule the state. He also served as a Minister of Solid Minerals from 2015 to 2018 during the first tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Fayemi first became the governor of Ekiti State in 2010 ruling up until 2014. He vied for the second tenure, but he was defeated by an opposition candidate Ayo Fayose of the People’s Democratic Party in the state’s gubernatorial elections of June 21, 2014. Fayose was also the former governor of the state.
He however served as the Minister of Solid Minerals from 2015 to 2018. He then recontested the second time for the Ekiti state governorship election in 2018. This time he won the election and was sworn into office in October of the same year.
Controversy is not farfetched from people of influence especially politicians. He has also experienced his fair share of controversial event over the years.
Fayemi first tenure as the ruling governor of Ekiti state was between 2010 to 2014. After the end of his tenure, he was at a point in 2016 investigated by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) for alleged embezzlement of public funds estimated to be over N25 billion infrastructure bond.
As if that was not enough, in mid-2020, again he was accused of “financial impropriety” relating to the Ajaokuta Steel Mill during his term as Minister of Solid Minerals from 2015 to 2018.
These accusations were investigated thoroughly but were eventually dropped. This made Nigerians mock the government who believed the government were just playing their political game.
The charges were perceived to be dropped and the accused was found innocent. The reason is said to be because of his relationship with the president and other heavyweight politicians within the ruling party.
Fayemi’s Roles in Kudirat Radio after June 12 Annulment
Fayemi’s quest to see that justice prevail is enticing and he proved his relentless service to humanity during the Babangida administration when the popular June 12 election of 1993 was annulled.
Fayemi perceived the injustice done to the south-western region because of the cancellation of the June 12, 1993 election won by the late MKO Abiola.
Nigerians were not happy about the situation which led to a nationwide demonstration. During this period, several activists rose to protest the odious decision.
Gradually, protesters began to withdraw returning to their safe havens leaving the westerners to fight their battle. Among the heroes from the southwest that stood their ground was Fayemi who fought tooth and neck for the actualization of the June 12 election.
He liaised with the pro-democracy forces in London putting together media events, networking with other like-minds leaving no stone unturned to revalidate the annulled June 12 election.
Alas! The victory was achieved as the military yielded, although it came with a cost as Abiola died in questionable circumstances.
Nonetheless, power shifted to the south and the presidential race was left solely to two Yoruba contestants which Obasanjo eventually won.
Most importantly, it was amid this political brouhaha that Radio Kudirat was created by Mr Lemi Olalemi which was initially known as Freedom Radio in 1995. Fayemi joined hands with Olalemi that the Abacha regime didn’t even know where it was coming from.
Fayemi was relentless during this turbulent time and as a sniper shooter worked with NADECO Abroad known to be the pillar of the June 12 struggle, and the brain behind the creation of Radio Kudirat. The audio media served to broadcast the current happenings in the country, denouncing the military authoritarian and at the same time sensitizing the outside world also.
The illustrious politician is happily married to Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi in 1989. The couple is blessed with an only child, Folajimi Amandla.
Politicians are believed to be rich either by crook or legit. It can be true that most Nigerian politicians are massively wealthy than even the richest man in Africa but because of fear of being caught are unwilling to unveil their assets and wealth.
Fayemi has his fair share of massive wealth considering how he worked in several parastatals in Nigeria and abroad before becoming a full-time politician.
However, we are unsure of his true net worth
Publication and Writings
Fayemi is a man that is well-read and vast in knowledge. He has written on diverse topics including governance and democratization, civil-military relations and security sector issues in Africa.
Among the several writings authored by John Kayode Fayemi include:
- Deepening the Culture of Constitutionalism: The Role of Regional Institutions in Constitutional Development in Africa (CDD, 2003)
- Security Sector Governance in Africa: A Handbook (edited with Nicole Ball, CDD, 2004)
- Out of the Shadows: Exile and the Struggle for Freedom and Democracy in Nigeria (CDD, 2005).
Kayode Fayemi Presidential Ambition
Since 2021, there have been speculations that Fayemi might come out to declare interest in succeeding Muhammadu Buhari.
But when the question came up when he appeared on Arise Television in September 2021, he smartly said only God knows his future, stating that he had a job to do in his home state.
“I have a job to do; I want to finish well as a governor of Ekiti State, I want to do more to put Ekiti on the pedestal of growth and development in the period that is left for me in office.
The speculation gained more prominence when his presidential campaign posters surfaced in 202 in some state capitals including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
But recent happening following the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu that he would be contesting the primaries of the All Progressive Congress (APC) at a date yet to be announced.
It’s also gathered that Fayemi had met Tinubu (the landlord of Southwest politics) over Ekiti State governorship election scheduled to hold on June 18, 2022, claiming that his meeting with Tinubu has nothing to do with the 2023 elections, thisdaylive reported.
The question some followers of southwest politics are asking is: Would Fayemi join Tinubu to contest the party’s primaries under the same party? It’s unlikely considering the role Jagaban played in his emergence as Ekiti governor.
- Featured Image by The Guardian NG
- Ojoye, Taiwo (May 29, 2016). “I told no one, even my wife, about Radio Freedom — Olalemi”. punchng.com. Retrieved January 20, 2022