John Kayode Fayemi is a Nigerian politician who has served as Ekiti State Governor since October 16, 2018. He was previously in office from 2010 to 2014, when he was defeated in re-election by Ayodele Fayose. He was the Minister of Solid Minerals Development in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet from 11 November 2015 to 30 May 2018, when he resigned to run for Governor of Ekiti State a second time.
Early Life & Education
Kayode Fayemi was born in Ibadan, Oyo State, on February 9, 1965, as a Yoruba native of Isan-Ekiti in Ekiti State’s Oye Local Government. Between 1970 to 1975, Fayemi attended the ICC Primary School in Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo State. From 1975 until 1980, Fayemi attended Christ’s School in Ado Ekiti. Later, he acquired degrees in history, politics, and international relations from the Universities of Lagos and Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University). He studied for a doctorate in War Studies at King’s College London from 1989 to 1992, specializing on civil-military relations.
Fayemi worked as a lecturer at the Nigeria-Police Training College in Sokoto from 1985 to 1986. He worked as a research officer with Development & Management Consultants in Ikeja from 1987 to 1989. He worked as a research officer at the African Research and Information Bureau in London from 1991 to 1993. He was a Tutorial Fellow in the War Studies Department at Kings College, London, in 1992.
From 1993 to 1995, Fayemi served as a Strategy Development Adviser for Deptford City Challenge in London. He was also Secretary-General of the Media Empowerment for Africa, popularly known as “The Radio Foundation” in London, from 1995 to 1997. He worked as a journalist for The Guardian and City Tempo, and he was also the Editor of Nigeria-Now, a now-defunct political monthly publication.
Fayemi returned to Nigeria in 1997 to found the Centre for Democracy and Development, a research and training institution committed to the study and promotion of African democratic development, peace-building, and human security, where he served as Director from 1997 to 2006.
Fayemi has given speeches and presentations all around the world, including Africa, Europe, the United States, and Asia. He has also advised several governments, multilateral organizations, and development agencies on themes ranging from transitional justice to regional integration, constitutionalism, security sector reform, and civil-military relations.
He was a member of the Presidential Implementation Committees on Security Sector Reform, NEPAD, and the Millennium Development Goals, as well as the Nigerian Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission (Oputa Panel), which investigated past violations. He worked on governance issues as a technical expert on small arms and light weapons for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
He’s also worked as a security sector reform consultant for the OECD and chaired the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative’s Committee of Experts on formulating guiding principles and methods for constitution-making in Commonwealth Africa.
Fayemi first entered politics in 2006, and in 2007 he ran for Governor of Ekiti State. After three and a half years of legal wrangling, the appeal court in Kwara State ruled on October 15, 2010, that Fayemi was the legitimately elected Governor of Ekiti State, effectively ending Olusegun Oni’s term as governor.
Ekiti State Governor
On June 21, 2014, Fayemi was endorsed by the All Progressives Congress as the party’s governorship candidate in the state’s gubernatorial elections. Fayemi’s ascension was preceded by a congress held before the governor, who faced no opposition in the governorship elections, was endorsed as the state’s flag bearer. Ayodele Fayose, the ex-governor, defeated Kayode Fayemi at the polls on June 21, 2014.
After resigning as Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Fayemi ran for re-election as governor of Ekiti State on the platform of the All Progressive Congress on July 14, 2018. On July 15, 2018, the Independent National Electoral Commission declared him the winner of the Ekiti state governorship election. He defeated Kolapo Olusola Eleka of the People’s Democratic Party by a margin of 19,345 votes.
The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) investigated Fayemi’s tenure as Governor of Ekiti State from 2010 to 2014 in 2016 for suspected theft of over N25 billion in infrastructure bonds by his government. In July 2020, he was charged with “financial misconduct” in connection with the Ajaokuta Steel Mill while serving as Minister of Solid Minerals from 2015 to 2018. During his first term as Governor, however, multiple petitions were filed against him before the EFCC on various corruption charges ranging from misappropriation of public funds to blatantly elevated corruption. All charges against him were eventually dropped, and he was found not guilty.
Chairman Governors’ Forum
Fayemi was sworn in as governor of Ekiti State for the second time in October 2018. The Nigeria Governors’ Forum elected Fayemi as its Chairman. Abdulaziz Yari, the immediate past chairman, made the announcement on Wednesday evening. The governors unanimously picked Fayemi to lead the forum until 2021, he said.
Kayode Fayemi got married to Olabisi Fayemi in 1989. The marriage is blessed with a son, Folajimi Fayemi.
Fayemi was charged with bribery and electoral fraud in the January 2022 Ekiti APC gubernatorial primary. Allegations that Fayemi paid the APC primary committee and INEC officials in the days before the primary forced the withdrawal of all candidates except Abiodun Oyebanji, who is backed by Fayemi. Oyebanji won the primary with nearly 97 percent of the vote and a victory margin of more than 100,000 votes. Such extraordinary efforts have been linked to Fayemi’s intention to appoint an ally as his successor in order to promote his upcoming presidential campaign in 2022.
Academic Credits and Excellence
- Kayode Fayemi is a Fellow of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Ibadan.
- Adjunct Professor of Security Studies at the African Centre for Strategic Studies, National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., USA.
- He was also a Visiting Professor in the African Studies Programme at Northwestern University, Evanston, USA in 2004.
- Dr. Fayemi serves on numerous Boards including the Governing Board of the Open Society Justice Institute, Baobab for Women’s Human Rights, African Security Sector Network, and on the Advisory Board of the Global Facilitation Network on Security Sector Reform, and on the Management Culture Board of the ECOWAS Secretariat.
- Member, Africa Policy Advisory Panel of the British Government.
- Fayemi has written on governance and democratization, civil-military relations, and security sector issues in Africa. Among his recent books are: 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), and Out of the Shadows: Exile and the Struggle for Freedom and Democracy in Nigeria (CDD, 2005).
Fayemi is one of Nigeria’s richest politicians. Fayemi’s net worth is estimated to be around $1.5 million, according to various web sources.