Former Deputy Governor of Ekiti state, Professor Olusola Eleka broke his silence on the crisis that has rocked his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, and criticized those who have always called him a puppet of Governor Ayo Fayose.
Eleka spoke to our Correspondent at his Ikere residence during the weekend
Prof Eleka who declared that Fayose remains his political mentor and leader admonished that he cannot be the ex-governor’s stooge as a stooge is: “…. a weak or unimportant person who is compromisingly controlled by a powerful person or organization.”
He said he remains a political mentee of Fayose for several reasons, adding that: ” Democracy thrives on the oxygen of competitive and healthy opposition among the existing political parties in any society. Unfortunately, the nature of politics being played by the actors can be malicious and derogatory most times. So you should not be suprised if someone is tagged a stooge because of his personal decision to be uncompromisingly loyal to his leader or organization.
“By my training and persuasion, I have been taught to always show gratitude to my benefactor. First, God is the Ultimate Master, the Number one Benefactor. However, He works through men. So, ex-governor Fayose was the man God used for me to attain the position of Ekiti State Deputy Governor between 2014 and 2018 and in becoming the candidate of PDP in 2018 gubernatorial election. Hence, I see no wrong in being committed, dedicated and loyal to one’s leader and benefactor. Becoming a Deputy Governor brought me into the office of a steward under a master who is the The Governor. I already had an instruction from God the Ultimate Master to be faithful. So why not? As a faithful steward, I’m bound to stay connected to my leader in season and out of season as long as the First Master permits.”
Speaking about his meteoric rise from a lecturer to a deputy governor, the University don said: ” It is true God’s purposes for each of us are distinctive and these divine purposes can never elude us as children of God.
“I was born in Ikere, Ekiti State, into the family of Pa Joshua Olusola Ojo Eleka and Deaconess Eunice Olusola Ojo Eleka, under whom I grew up learning the rope of politics; but I must admit that my emergence on the political scene in Ekiti State prior the 2014 governorship election was principally birthed by divine grace. God worked through the good mind of my leader, Dr. Peter Ayodele Fayose to bring me on board.
” Before I became the Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, I was a lecturer in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, where I was involved in twenty four (24) years of active teaching and research in Building structures and Construction Materials and Technology, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I started my career as a graduate assistant in the Department of Building, Faculty of Environmental Design and Management. I rose through the ranks from 3rd October, 1990 to become a Professor on 1st October, 2012. I had successfully served as External Examiner to many higher institutions of learning and supervised five PhD Students and thirteen M.Sc./M.Phil students in the field of Building Structures. My research efforts were geared towards development and use of alternative materials of construction for housing and improvement of the performance of the building process. By the time I was called to serve my people in Ekiti State, I was the most senior academic in the field of Building Structures in my department. My sojourn in the academic world was actually a memorable one.
In addition to my academic services, I was actively involved in leadership capacities in the church, as an ordained Pastor and in my service to my professional body, The Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), as a Registered Builder. I am not in the University system fully now. I am currently a visiting Professor at Covenant University, Ota. I am not yet prepared to go into full teaching because of my ambition of becoming the next governor of Ekiti State.”
Eleka who dispelled the rumours in some quarters that his relationship with Fayose may have nosedived with time and that the former governor might have abandoned him for other candidate, he said : “Malicious and derogatory practices in politics are what we experience daily. Nothing between us has nose dived.
That assertion is part of the malicious practice within the political space I earlier referred to. My leader, Dr. Fayose and I are not having any issues and nothing between us has nosedived. For the records, I have no issue with any leader in Ekiti state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Of course, there could be disagreements within a political party and this is not peculiar to the PDP. Other political parties also have their own share of the peculiar crises. Interestingly, the reason for this cannot be far from the struggle of power and interest. In Ekiti PDP, ex-governor Fayose is our leader and we give him all due respect and honour. Personally, I’m eternally grateful to him for giving me opportunity to serve under him as Deputy Governor. He remains my leader.”
Prof Eleka further said he hasn’t been a novice in politics as many have misconstrued. He added that: “My daddy had been the chairman of Ikere Local Government area for three times. I was born into politics. I had also been actively involved in the activities of my professional body, The Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB). The organization has branches in all the 36 states in the country and I once contested and won elections into the positions of Chairman, Osun State Chapter of NIOB. I became the body’s Registrar and later The Research and Development Secretary. I had also been a card-carrying member of PDP long before I became the Deputy Governor.
Revealing his intention to run for governor in 2022, Eleka boasted that he remains the most popular among other prospective candidates: “I have informed our leaders of my intention to contest when the window of opportunity opens again. However, in all these, may God’s will be done.”
He also spoke about his government performance in office and scored very low he performance of Govenor Kayode Fayemi: “Across all sectors in Ekiti State, ex-governor Fayose’s legacy projects speak for themselves-the long elevated roadway, popularly called overhead bridge, the Oja Oba Market that was more than 90% completed and sections of which were already allocated to traders before our exit, the Justice Ajakaye High Court Building, Adunni Olayinka Women Centre, The new Governor’s office, the transformed Government Technical College, Ado Ekiti, Gifted Academy, Afao Ekiti, Renovation of palaces and many road projects including dualisation of Ikere-Ado road, among others were all delivered.
Noteworthy is the performance of Ekiti State in the Secondary School education sector where I was assigned to superintend. Very simple but focused and target-driven solutions were put in place to address the poor performance of our children in the external WAEC and NECO-conducted Senior School Certificate Examinations. These include introduction of intervention lectures in English and Mathematics, procurement and free distribution of a compendium of six-years past questions to all SS3 students in public and private schools, continuous training of science, arts and commercial subject teachers and a vigorous campaign against examination malpractices. Hard work and excellence were rewarded among teachers as a way of motivation. Best primary and secondary school teachers were given new cars. Best head teachers and best-performing schools were recognized and rewarded. These proactive measures resulted in history-making and record-breaking performance of Ekiti State candidates in these external examinations. Worthy of mentioning is Ekiti State coming first in NECO SSCE all over the country in 2016 (96.48%), 2017 (85%) and 2018 (90.61%). The performance in WAEC SSCE moved from the undesirable 29% in 2014 to as high as 71.83% in 2017. These are records that no one can deny.
In addition, Ekiti State took the first position in the national YONSPA – Young Nigerian Scientist Presidential Award (Best Science Student), JETS Quiz competition, STAN Science Quiz competition, all in 2016.
Unfortunately, some of these good measures were jettisoned by the present administration in Ekiti State. My recent findings show that Ekiti State has lost its leading position in NECO SSCE by 2019 just a year after all our measures were abandoned by the Fayemi administration, and the State is just struggling to remain within the first 10 positions. This is a clear evidence of retrogression. Let me live Ekiti people to judge the other areas. I have just spoken on the education sector.”
Eleka promised Ekiti people eldorado if voted in office as governor in 2022: Ekiti should keep hope alive and continue to have trust and faith in the leadership of our party. Assuredly, we shall reclaim our mandate. The broken walls shall be rebuilt. My vision for Ekiti transformation still revolves around my agenda-setting programme and blueprint which is carved in the SHIELD acronym. The contents include Security, Sustainable human capital development, Social empowerment; Health; Infrastructure; Education and Economic development; Leadership; Development of agriculture and Tourism. The thrust of this blueprint is to build on the existing development plans and explore other new ideas that can assist Ekiti State towards becoming an economically and industrially viable state in Nigeria.”