By Segun Dipe

Our modus operandi will be the establishment of numerous platforms for widespread participation, interaction, and inclusiveness of all stakeholders. We intend to ensure robust dialogue and uncensored expression and consultations across the length and breadth of the state, thereby ensuring the interest and participation of all in the welfare of Ekiti Kete.

We assure the people that we will hear you and truly see you. Our outlook is a government of the people, for the people, by the people through active involvement. On this platform I hereby pledge my accessibility to you all. -Gov. Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji, BAO, 16 October 2022.

The above pledge made by the Ekiti State Gov. Biodun Oyebanji in the course of delivering his inaugural speech might not have resonated enough across the length and breadth of the Ekitikete Pavilion venue of his inauguration, or might have been surpressed by the day’s euphoria, it is however gradually spreading across the state that the person who uttered it did not do so just for the fun of it.

Granted, it is yet the honeymoon period between Oyebanji and his people. The morning, they say, shows the day and thus far, BAO’s actions are matching his words and, at the same time, they are congruent with his values. BAO is neither flamboyant nor restrained, he is simply his usual self, yet he is a phenomenon in Ekiti, nay Nigerian politics today. Not a few can reasonably stake a bet that he won’t ever dump his people-centred nature midway to become cocky and arrogant.

The question that often comes to mind in Nigeria is whether the politicians, genuinely and pragmatically are addressing the poor’s plight. Or they are simply using their plight to showboat and score cheap political points.

Politicians, the people say, are only interested in the plight of the downtrodden when it is election time. They will use them and their votes to climb the political ladder and afterwards dump them on the streets without the politicians using their clout to address their basic needs.

Oyebanji is not known to be the showy type, yet he manifests qualities of a good leader across classes. He possesses self-awareness, garners credibility, focuses on relationship-building, has a bias for action, exhibits humility, empowers others, stays authentic and presents himself as constant and consistent. His fan base keeps growing by the day, and I dare say he’s not sponsoring any cheerleader to sing his praises, be it on the streets or among the elites.

Showboating is a deceptive behaviour that is intended to make people notice and admire you. It refers to ostentatious behaviour which is apparently designed to attract attention and admiration. This type of behaviour typically originates from confidence in one’s abilities which is then exaggerated to emphasize superiority over others.

The term, showboating, comes from a type of riverboat that travelled throughout the southern United States in the nineteenth century. Showboats were gaudy floating theatres, heavily adorned and over-embellished, with the purpose of bringing entertainment in the form of plays or music to people that lived along the waterfront.

The garish appearance of the showboats inspired a word to describe people who conduct themselves with similar flamboyance. Putting it variously, it means to show off, typically with playful or boisterous behavior, grandstanding, posturing, impressing, skylarking, strutting, swaggering, flaunting, swanking or attracting attention, acting up, playing to the crowd, playing to the gallery, putting on airs, drawing attention to oneself, advertising oneself, playing to the cheap seats, making a spectacle of, attitudinizing, striking or copping an attitude.

Again, I dare say that not a few will stake that Gov. Oyebanji does not display any of these “values” and there is no assurance that he will do so later.

Oyebanji is simple, yet firm. He is too conscious of the tasks before him and conscientious to carry them out. He won’t dare to work against the pledge he has made to the entire world. For starters, he is so far impeccable with his words and his integrity is attached to them.

Oyebanji doesn’t look like someone who will be given to excuses. He is wired to find ways of solving problems and even anticipate and overcome new challenges. Passion fuels him for everything he does. Yes, he is a dreamer, but he also has the doing mentality. All along, he knew where he was heading and why.

Funnily, he was not only prepared for the job as his resume has spoken, the job also seems to have been prepared for him. He views his role as manifesting his vision for the future, reason it appears he’s got one foot in the present and the other foot in the future.

If you see Oyebanji appearing unperturbed by the enormity of the task before him, he is not faking it. It has to do with the abundant confidence he is imbued with, without being arrogant. He is self-secured and self-assured that he is believed by all as meaning well. This does not mean that he is a Mr. Know-it-all or that he already has all the solutions needed to confront all the challenges ahead.

He is willing to accept what he’s not good at, and you will see him surrounding himself with people whose strengths will compliment his own. He is also willing to accept that not all the problems are surmountable by him. Rather, he will cast all the burdens unto his God, who he diligently serves.

For free, you can have it that Oyebanji is truly servant-hearted. He genuinely cares and has that transparent desire to serve. He has said it in a clear language that he sees it as a high honour and responsibility to serve and sees it as once-in-lifetime privilege to lead, this he will not take for granted.

Oyebanji strives to be an excellent communicator through his words and actions. He is responsive and reliable and ever willing to deliver on his commitments. After all, he has said it time and time again that his people should always call him back on track, if they think he is about to derail. He is a good listener, sincere and consistent in what he communicates and how he communicates them.

However, for every right there is a duty. As partners in progress, we must endeavour to meet this friend-of-all governor halfway by not deliberately setting him up for failure. Let us not deliberately throw Oyebanji under the bus by placing seemingly impossible demands before him in the name of playing politics or showing him that he’s not as impeccable as he’s making the people to feel.

There may not be enough for everyone’s greed, but there will surely be sufficient enough to pull together for our collective needs if we patiently ride the crest of mutual trust and understanding. Let us see Oyebanji’s success as the success of all. Let us then all rally round him to ensure that he achieves success, so it will be our collective success and no one will have any reason to grandstand about it.