VENO NEWS:FABONATION: POLITICS, INTRIGUES AND EVOLUTION OF AN ENIGMATIC PERSONALITY.* *A TOAST @ 60 Date: 13-08-22
In life we are like stream, we flow in the direction of fate, the plants growing at the bank are our beneficiaries, as stream will always find its way, such is our fate, it will always find its way and mostly in life either consciously or unconsciously we toe the path of fate, such is the life of Hon. Engr. Clement Olasehinde Faboyede who recently became a sexagenarian. He is a man who deciphered his calling early in life and pursued same relentlessly, even though like a toddler, he crawled, stumbled, staggered and has walked briskly in his chosen career.
He rose from the bottom of the ladder and started chatting a path for himself. His father was not lettered and neither was he a politician, but he was witty and highly endowed with native intelligence, it will be right to posit that he had no pedigree in a calling and path he chose to tread. The only way of liberation in our community (Igbara-Oke) as it is generally believed is formal education, so he studied Agricultural Engineering in the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University of Ile Ife, Nigeria.
He had good political romance and followership with staunch politicians in his community since his undergraduate days. It was therefore not difficult for him to key properly into the political hegemony of the notable progressive in his community. In 1997, under Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN), he contested for the Chairmanship of Ifedore Local Government Area in the Local Government Elections held on 15 March, 1997, during General Abacha Military junta era, but lost in a controversial manner to another young man, Engr. Dele Osakuade of blessed memory, of United Nigeria People's Convention (UNPC) from Ilara-Mokin, who maned the affairs of the Local Government for a year and six months.
When Democracy was on the verge of returning in 1998, he was with the Alliance for Democracy (AD). The leaders of the party in the local government who understood the sensitive nature of political posts and peculiarities of the local government were effectively at the elms of affairs. The leaders, without any hard feelings agreed on zoning of the political posts to engender viable growth and even development in the local government.
It is trite that Ifedore Local Government Area, unlike some other local governments in Ondo State has its own peculiarities. It comprises of three major towns and several smaller towns under them which has been categorized into three major zones namely Igbara-Oke Zone where the headquarters of the local government is situated, Ilara Zone and Ijare Zone. And there are three major posts, two elective and one non -elective (The Chairman of the Local Government, House of Assembly and Commissionership Appointment).
In the build up to the third republic, Alliance for Democracy (the dominant party in the South West) leaders in Ifedore Local Government Area, zoned Chairmanship of the Local Government to Igbara-Oke, House of Assembly to Ilara-Mokin and Commissioner to Ijare. That was the golden and sanest era in the politics of the local government till date. Hon. Engr. Clement Olasehinde Faboyede as the winner of the Local Government Elections conducted on 5 December, 1998 became the Chairman of the Local Government, while Honourable Ayo Agbonmuserin from Ilara-Mokin won House of Assembly and eventually became the Speaker of the State and Dr. Akerele Adu from Ijare, patiently waited to become the Commissioner of Agriculture of the State.
During the era of Hon. Engr. Clement Olasehinde Faboyede as the Ifedore Local Chairman, he employed a good number of people who till today are grateful to him for that gesture, embarked on infrastructural development, paid students bursary and gave grant to Ifedore Students who were on admission to Nigerian Law School. In actual fact he remained the only Chairman of the Local Government, that awarded students’ bursary and gave grant to Law School Students from Ifedore Local Government Area irrespective of their town of origin in the local goverment.
After his tenure was over as the Chairman of Ifedore Local Government Area, like I have said that he is a man who discovered his calling early in life. He kept pushing on in partisan politics. In the year 2003, he was appointed member of Credit and Thrift Agency in the state, during the administration of His Excellency Dr. Olusegun Agagu as the governor of Ondo State and while a member of the agency, he was one of the vocal members of the agency.
If a man keeps pressing on the upward way in his calling, definitely against all odds, he will be gaining new heights every day. When in 2007 His Excellency Dr. Olusegun Mimiko defected to Labour Party, he moved with him and he tactically became the party’s straight arrow with sharp head that can pierce the dust in Ifedore political space.
The Labour Party then with Dr. Olusegun Mimiko who had been Commissioner for Health in the State, Secretary to the State Government in Dr. Olusegun Agagu’s administration before he was appointed as Minister for Lands and Housing by President Olusegun Obasanjo. As the gubernatorial aspirant became a clear and formidable opposition party to the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State. The election was held in 14 April, 2007; however, the winner of the election was announced to be His Excellency Dr. Olusegun Agagu, though in a controversial manner that led to massive protest in Ondo State particularly in Akure the state capital, against the result of the election.
It was during the inglorious era of Professor Maurice Iwu as the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission. When the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ondo State stated that they were still collating the results of the election, as opposed to the provision of electoral act that the result of governorship election shall be announced by the Resident Electoral Commissioner of respective states before it is forwarded to the national headquarters, Professor Maurice Iwu suo motu proclaimed the incumbent governor as the winner of the governorship election without recourse to the Resident Commissioner.
Dr. Olusegun Mimiko proceeded to election tribunal to challenge the result of the election, the tribunal upturned the result of the election, Dr. Olusegun Agagu appealed against the decision in Court of Appeal Benin, the state capital of Edo State. After a protracted litigation that lasted for about three years, the court of appeal which was the final arbiter of governorship election matter then delivered the judgement that eventually ousted His Excellency Dr. Olusegun Agagu as the governor of Ondo State and upheld the decision of the tribunal by declaring Dr. Olusegun Mimiko as the winner of the gubernatorial election conducted in Ondo State in 14 April, 2007 and he was sworn in as the executive governor of the state. In all these he was with Dr. Olusegun Mimiko as his political leader through thick and thin in reclaiming his mandate through legal and legitimate means.
A man who is diligent in his pursuit will definitely wine and dine with noblemen of no little means, there is no gain saying that Faboo as he is fondly called has made his pursuit of partisan politics his vocation. Politics is authoritative allocation of values, it is about power, control and distribution of available resources. After election, it is incumbent on the winning political party to form the government and run the affairs of the state with the available resources.
In a democratic system, dividends of democracy begin with allocation of value by way of appointment to the formidable individuals who worked earnestly for the success of the party during the election. When it was time for allocation of value, providentially he was appointed by Governor Olusegun Mimiko as the Commissioner for Community and Co-operative Development , He became the first person to be so appointed from our town in a democratically elected government. Before him, some politicians from our community had vainly pursued the ambition of becoming a commissioner.
He was a commissioner for six years or so. Power is transient, position of authority is like a dew on the grass and walking through the grass in the morning can drench ones’ trousers, but in the afternoon dew must have dried up, such is the fate of position of authority anywhere; it doesn’t last forever, what actually last forever is the impact of the position on those who we allow to benefit from our position, the praise song in the mouth of grateful beneficiaries is always gratifying and will definitely outlive us. As a Commissioner, his ministry was able to achieve a lot in development of rural areas with infrastructural development ranging from construction and renovation of schools, provision of water where there are need for such. Construction of Hospitals in rural areas, supplying of necessary equipments to hospitals to provision of electricity and installation of transformers where necessary.
Generosity is a virtue, mostly innate, though can be learnt, when it is innate it naturally become the nature of that particular individual. One can say without fear of contradiction that Faboo is notably generous. This assertion is drawn from the avalanche of testimonies from the beneficiaries of his generosity. I have listened to a good number of individuals stating that what they considered unachievable was achieved by them with his assistance when he was a commissioner. One man once declared before my very eyes and into my hearing that it was him who made it possible for him to build his house. I probed this person to know how, he simply told me that he facilitated a contract of a huge some of amount for him and instructed him to take care of some people which he did and that after the contract was fully executed he had enough to build his moderate house.
It is a known fact that those who while in position of authority used same to touch various lives tremendously, are often appreciated in diverse ways and one of the way is being coffered with honourary chieftancy title and his is not an exception, as he is Otunba of Igbara-Odo Ekiti, Aare Atayese of Ibulesoro, Fiwagboye of Ikun Akoko among others. He also bagged a lot of awards too numerous to be mentioned in this article.
It is not uncommon to have obituary of people written in their career while they are still alive, particularly in political arena, which means that their active days have come to an end, this naturally is applicable to all professions. In political arena, some people have made it their career, they have ascribed to themselves the roles of oracle and or deity as they often proclaim the demise of political career of any politician, they are called obituary writers. But it is rear for people to write their own epitaph in politics. I have had the privilege of listening to some people in my presence, to my chagrin and astonishment though, declaring their own epitaph thus: “ _Ijo kan lemi ati Faboo a ku loselu”_ (Faboo and myself will die politically the same day), such is the kind of followership and loyalty he had built overtime in his political career.
Faboo, regardless of his status appreciates every good gesture no matter how minute, little wonder his beneficiaries are all about singing his praises, he himself is an orchestral leader of others’ good gesture to him. I have personal experience in that regard. During his troubled time with Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, that led to his arraignment in Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos and his detention. I got the wind of the fact that he was to be detained in the facility of Nigerian Prison at Ikoyi on a Friday evening. As a practicing lawyer in Lagos I have some personal friends who are superior officers in that place. I put a call through to one of them that my brother is with them; I gave his name and made some humble requests on his behalf, on Saturday I put a call through to Tunde Olanrewaju, (Purga) as we both reside in Lagos and I informed him the need for us to visit Faboo there on Sunday and he agreed.
On Sunday we both neglected our individual church services because of the distance and went to visit him. As we were leaving there my friend who I had called informed me of some basic items that he will need that their organization should ordinarily provide but they can’t provide same for them as there is no money allocated to do such, he thereby casually told me that since he is my brother, I should help him get those things in my next visit. I therefore informed my friend that I have a matter at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi on Wednesday, that week if that day is not late, he replied me, that the time is still okay. I made it a point of duty to get those items before that day and called at Ikoyi Correctional Center after my matter at Federal High Court as agreed with my friend.
The most astonishing thing here is the fact that by the weekend of the week I was bombarded with various phone calls from Igbara-Oke with people thanking me for the gesture. Personally, aside from Tunde Olanrewaju that we went together on Sunday, I did not inform anybody of the visit, even the second visit I went alone and I had not detailed Tunde of what transpired. I therefore concluded that Faboo himself must have been the one who let the cat out of the bag in appreciating the insignificant gesture. Insignificant to me as I had done much more for clients who are not in any way related to me and that can’t even afford my fee but they needed somebody to stand for them.
It is trite that you can’t play Macbeth without Macduff, Thane of Fife. You cannot discuss Faboo without delving into his political sagacity. Doing so is like saying river doesn’t flow, that in itself is obvious denial of a crystal clear fact. After he ceased to be a Commissioner, he immediately became the State Chairman of his party, People’s Democratic Party in Ondo State. During his tenure he maintained decorum in the party. He led the party to 2019 General election, where in the State his party as opposition party, won the Presidential Election in the State, Two out of three Senatorial Seats in the State and three House of Representatives out of nine. Ondo State was the only state in the South-West where Atiku/ PDP recorded such electoral success. This is not a mean feat, irrespective of the political barometer with which it is gauged.
Also, his political voyage in the recent time, in his attempt to clinch Ondo Central Senatorial ticket of his party cannot be overemphasized. The incumbent Senator, Senator Patrick Ayo Akinyelure, regardless of his abundant resources led him with just one vote, even though they both lost the ticket to another aspirant, Chief Ifedayo Adams Adedipe SAN, One can say without fear of contradiction that his outing was gallant one, when the result of the primary election came out, Igbara-Oke was tactical thrown into mourning mood and it was in the cause of the struggle for the Senatorial seat that he was conceptualized as Fabonation.
His conceptualization as Fabonation is really worthy of being dissected. The wordsmith that coined the word surely deserve a medal for such fabrication. Etymologically, the coinage of the word Fabonation is a combination of two words, the first one is the first two syllables derived from his surname of four syllables. While the second word is Nation. Nation is defined as a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular territory. Therefore, Fabonation, can be defined as historically constituted, stable group of people formed on the basis of their affiliation with Faboo, with common socio-political life and psychological make-up manifested in their political culture. Fabonation to my mind means nothing than his teaming followers and they are scattered all over the place. Again, I can personally testify to this, with at least one example out of many.
Few years ago, a man engaged my services to handle a transaction for him as a practicing lawyer in Lagos. His wife has been using the property as school for years, he is the one tactically in charge. The land was on short lease which they have renewed over time, they have tremendously improved the property. The landlady who they feared so much decided to sell off the property and she gave them the first offer of refusal. They have negotiated and agreed on the price, but they feared this woman so much that somebody advised them to engage a lawyer to handle the transaction for them, as a result of that, somebody recommended me for the couple.
I prepared all the necessary documents and informed the man that there is need for the woman to read them before final printing in the event that she may object any of the clauses in the title documents. The woman was called, she only told them that their lawyer should do whatever he desires to do. The couple insisted that I must be there in person on the day of execution of the documents, we agreed on a date and the man called the woman who insisted that the venue must be an hotel within a stone throw to her house.
On the appointed day, we got there, truly some women can be exceptionally tough. In the literary world, they are called _"she-man"_ . In Yoruba they are called " _Obirin bi Okunrin"_ . The woman is of that category. I maintained my calmness as the were handed over to her by myself to peruse. She careful read the documents. When she was done reading same, she turned to me and asked Ondo or Ekiti?
I told her Ondo State. She then asked me which town in Ondo State, I emphatically replied, Igbara-Oke. She beamed instantly, (The couple later informed me that they have never seen her with such broad smile) and said _“ Ilu Oga mi niyen, Faboo, oga daa gann ni oo. ibi ti oga ba tin lo ni emi nlo oo”_ .The woman is neither from Ondo nor Ekiti, but my further probing revealed that she married a man from Akoko in her second marriage and the man was late as at the time.
I have handled quite a number of things with people in Lagos where I practice. During introduction, once I mentioned that I am from Igbara-Oke. The next thing some of them will say is "That's Faboo's town", and they will speak highly of him. Some of them many a times are not from Ondo State, but they know him personally and once they discover he is my kinsman, they have further trust in me. Such is the magnifying and electrifying effect of his personality.
Wine with age, taste better and finer. Hon. (Engr.) Clement Olasehide Faboyede having clocked sixty years on the surface of earth. I wish him good health, abundant blessing in all his endeavors, that he will continue to bask in the glory of Almighty God. It is crystal clear that over the years, he has evolved to become a political enigma in the state and beyond. This fact may even be hard for his adversaries to controvert. May our sunshine never grow dim at noon.
High Chief Oyebanji Abuloye
(The Ejemu of Igbara-Oke Kingdom)
Legal Practitioner & Community Leader