I have resisted writing this, but the urge has been persistent. I am a student of strategy, and I have been following events in Ekiti rather closely; albeit remotely. Ekiti is a State I visited severally back in the days of my youth service in neighbouring Ondo State, and I have a couple of friends from there.
On Wednesday, I saw arguably one of the most bizarre scenes on TV: a serving Governor weeping on national TV, and accusing the Police of brutalizing him – tear gas, slaps, etc. According to him, the “terror” was meted out to him and his Party Supporters, who were on a peaceful walk.
The Police has since denied that nothing of such happened. I have also seen lots on comments from online supporters of the APC, calling it karma pressure-cooked and served hot. They claim it was pay back time for what he allegedly did in 2014 leading to his election.
I don’t know what you make of this distasteful episode, but here’s my analysis of the events of Wednesday. I can’t say for sure if the Governor was slapped for real, or if he was simply doing a “Neymar”. However, it’s obvious that like the case of Neymar’s theatrical fall on the pitch, there must have been an initial “contact” or provocation.
I have seen videos of tear gassing and sounds of gunshots, with unarmed citizens scampering for safety. That unnecessary action in a democracy appear to have been the initial trigger for the rest of what happened. From a Strategy point, Governor Fayose got them to commit an early tackle in their 18-yard box, and fell; perhaps, theatrically. Expectedly, that has gotten the attention of the “Referee” (election observers, international community and match commissioner). The protests from the opposition and the Police has forced the Referee to seek counsel from the VAR (Video Assistant Referee), but I doubt if it will change his mind from reversing the penalty kick awarded.
Governor Fayose is street-smart and understands the tactics of “rofo-rofo”. By weeping on national TV, he successfully switched roles; from being a serving Governor to being an underdog. He understands the psychology of the voting public, and knows he thrives in his domain when dismissed as the underdog. The Ekiti voters I know are not bandwagon voters who simply vote in the direction of power. In fact most, from my observation, would rather vote against the establishment. You might see his weeping as mere tears, but from the point of optics, he made a battle cry; a rallying cry that will galvanize his supporters and prepare them for the battle ahead. This early cry might unsettle his opponents on D-Day.
Also, from a Strategy point, what Governor Fayose has continued to do is to take the bullets and pressure off his party’s candidate, Prof. Olusola. While Dr Fayemi is being bloodied in the frontlines, Prof Olusola is playing the good Professor. This could appeal to the undecided voters that might be the real swing votes.
Finally, Dr Fayemi’s PhD thesis was on War Strategies, and should be very familiar with the ancient Chinese military treatise, the art of War, by Sun Tsu. Let’s look at three famous quotes from that treatise:
(1) “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak”. – This is exactly what Governor Fayose is doing, by weeping on national TV.
(2) “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”. – Again, from my distant view, the chaos, whether rightly or simulated might provide an opportunity for the man at the receiving end – Gov. Fayose, and by extension his party’s candidate.
(3) “Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting”. – By that action on Friday, by the Federal “troop”, Dr Kayode’s party would be seen as having rained on the cavalry; that’s bad enough, but even worse because they did it rather too early. You don’t expose your tactics before the fight. Unfortunately for Dr Kayode, as the candidate of the “federal government”, he inherits the negative sentiments that may have ensued against the unnecessary use of force.
This duel will be interesting for students of Political Science, as it’s an opportunity to study the aesthetics of weeping as an initial psychological strategy in fighting off “federal might” in electoral contests.
May the best candidate win.