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Fayoseís bombshell: AC won Ekiti!

Posted by By Sun News Publishing on 2007/12/09 | Views: 648 |

Fayoseís bombshell: AC won Ekiti!

Locating the venue of this interview Thursday was like a scene from PRISON BREAK where Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows screened someone they wanted to pass a sensitive message through.

Locating the venue of this interview Thursday was like a scene from PRISON BREAK where Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows screened someone they wanted to pass a sensitive message through.

Mr Ayodele Fayose, immediate past governor of Ekiti state, thoroughly ensured that this reporter wasnít being trailed.
Dramatically, he had surfaced in Ado-Ekiti Tuesday after fourteen months in hiding to a tumultuous reception staged by his supporters.

Only he knew the venue of the interview and he gave instructions every 10 minutes on the direction this reporter should move. The interview eventually held in his car in a filling station in broad daylight. It is his first since he came back from self exile of 14 months. He spoke to our Editor-At-Large, Funke Egbemode.

Q: A lot of people believe that you never left Nigeria all this whileÖ
A: Yes, I was in Nigeria. I just laid low because of the situation at that time. I realized that there was a mindset, a grand plan to get rid of me at all costs. So I just had to drop out of sight for all of 13 months to stay alive.

Q: How did you achieve that without anybody squealing on you for such a long time?
A: My trust was in God. I was careful to stay away from those who were after my life. Now that the atmosphere is conducive, I have come out.

Q: Were you in Ekiti?
A: No, I was not in Ekiti. I never went back to Ekiti since I left on October 16, 2006.

Q: As you were leaving the Government House that day, how did you feel. What were your thoughts?
A: When information got to me that the Presidency had made up its mind to remove me at all costs even after the Chief Justice of the Federation had declared the removal of the Ekiti CJ by the House of Assembly illegal, they still sent about 11 lorry loads of mobile policemen to Ekiti. I knew they were ready to do it under undue process and against the rule of law. You know he who runs away lives to fight another day. I also learnt that they planned to shoot me and claim that I was struggling with policemen. At first, I didnít want to leave but my wife prevailed on me that it was wiser to stay alive and fight on another day than struggle with desperate people who had all it takes to get rid of me. So I heeded the advice of my wife.

Q: What did you spend 14 months doing outside the political terrain?
A: I was playing politics where I was. I cannot leave the game. I am a politician. I know who to talk to. Remember when I wrote the teachers in Ekiti, they were all running helter skelter, the administrator and his men were all afraid. They know my strength and reach. They knew that if they didnít remove me from office, incarcerate my supporters, they would not win any election. And even then, they still didnít win any election.

The people of Ekiti didnít vote for the Governor there now. The man they voted for will soon be sworn in. The tribunal will do justice. We all have seen the judgment of the tribunals and we must commend the judiciary. You saw the crowd when I went to Ekiti.The size of the crowd is an indication of the man who owns the yard, the "Babasale" (generalissimo) of the game. Iím not contesting now but I am the "Babasale" of the game and my game plan is simple: anybody who is with me, I am with him. When you recognize me as a leader, I will give you all the support and put my people behind you but if you say we are not important, we will equally tell you you are a nobody.

Q: Perhaps that is why you are now a security risk in Ekiti? Have you put your people behind the current administration in Ekiti?
A: My people cannot support an illegal administration, an administration that does not know that politics is a game of number. My people cannot follow a man who does not know that I was in that office before him and that when he leaves, another man will be there tomorrow. I am waiting for the day he will be removed by the tribunal and he will go into hiding permanently. He would never be able to return to Ekiti. I am sure Segun Oni will not celebrate his first anniversary in the Government House. The reason is simple.

Segun Oni should learn from me. In spite of all my achievements in Ekiti, I was betrayed. How much less him who has spent six months in office without putting one stone on another. Segun Oniís government is like, according to former President Obasanjo, putting something on nothing. The people of Ekiti voted for Fayemi and justice will come. When Oni is leaving the Government House, he will now see Ekiti people in their true colours. The respect he enjoys now is for the seat, not his person. As for me and my supporters, we are not for Segun Oniís government. I am telling my supporters to "siddon look" . See how he is taking on everybody- Adebayo, Fayemi, Fayose- how far can he go? He does not have the support base for what heís doing. Did he win his primaries?

Q: You talked about betrayal. Who would you say betrayed you?
A: Letís leave that for now. Even if I mention names, it wonít change anything. The deed has been done and I still need them to continue my political career. That is politics. Those who supported Segun Oni thought that he is the right choice but now he is showing them. What they failed to realize is that they were once with me, so Segun Oni cannot trust them. That is why he is sending them away. We are all supposed to come together and map out a way forward. We must forget the past and rebuild our house. Those who betrayed me yesterday may not betray me tomorrow. It is all politics. I am still going to work with all of them. We all must have learnt one lesson or the other from yesterdayís mistakes.

Q: What are the lessons you have learnt from this experience?
A: My sister, when you are in the wilderness of life, you are on your own. It is the seat that people respect. Because of what they will eat , they can curse their fathers and mothers and swear by heaven.They forget that material things are transient. Part of the things I learnt is that life is not the same for a man who has risen to that level and is brought down one way or the other. He is on his own, all alone. Another thing I want everybody to know is that whatever a man sows he shall reap because that is what has happened to all those who have betrayed me in one way or the other. Now is the time for all of us to work together for ourselves and our state. We cannot all be governors. I have been governor for three and a half years. I cannot be pushed aside in Ekiti politics. Anybody who wants to be anything in Ekiti politics must reckon with us. They must look after me. Iím their leader. I am an issue in Ekiti. I performed creditably well irrespective of political blackmail.

Q: Itís safe to conclude that you would be running for office soon?
A: That is not in view at all. Not now. I want to clear my name and I want the whole world to know the truth.

Q: You sound like you are rooting for Fayemi and AC?
A: No, I am not supporting AC or Fayemi. Iím supporting the truth because it could happen to anybody tomorrow. The unborn children of Ekiti who would need a voice to speak up for them are the ones Iím supporting. I'm a leader. Any party that will bring prosperity to Ekiti, continue the good works that we left behind is the one we should all support. When I got to Ekiti, I was very sad. The place is in shambles. I want God to raise a man who will lead our people aright. The people there now are unfit.

Q: Based on your experience and recent happenings in the country, how would you describe politics in Nigeria, especially for your generation?
A: Politics here now is rather unfortunate but it will get better as we move on. It is our home-grown democracy. The kind of problems that we have had in the recent past were brought on by disregard for the constitution and the rule of law. No matter how well a leader is doing, the moment he starts trampling with the rule of law, a uniting factor among Nigerians, his achievements will start diminishing. The moment a leader adopts the stance of 'I'll do what we want, let them go to court', he will hurt democratic tenets and principles. Democracy is about empowering the people. Every suspect is innocent until proven guilty. The way things were did not favour the common man, justice. Even if they will kill me today, God forbid, I will continue to say the truth. Things were bad in the past. The country was run without a human face.

Q: Looking back now at your tenure as Governor, what would you have done differently if you could do it all over again?
A: Nothing.I did all I could do. My major problem was that I refused to surrender to certain dictates. My removal was just a power game to serve certain interest. Thatís all. The common man in Ekiti who didnít have access to the press loves me. It was demonstrated when I went to Ekiti.They didnít know I was coming, and they trooped out.

Q: You didnít rent that crowd?
A: Let those who said I rented the crowd also rent their own crowd. The people who are saying that have the machinery of government at their disposal, ask them if people cheer them when they drive through the streets.When they hold rallies, they donít command the kind of crowd I do. When Fayose moves, Ekiti moves with him.I am not going to join issues with them because politically Iím their master.

Q: In other words you have no regrets?
A: I have no regrets. I did all that was humanly possible. Nobody is perfect in this world. They gave the dog a bad name to hang it. I met Ekiti in debt. I left N5.4bn in the state coffers. I met Ekiti in debt. I paid N1.4bn to pay through Wema Bank to Oodua Investments for Ekiti shares. I was expecting a reimbursement of about N11bn from the Federal Government for roads that we rehabilitated. There was also the N800m for the stateís shares in Omega Bank. My performance is there for everybody to see.

No regrets at all. I thank God for his support while it lasted but I bear no grudges against anybody because if God did not allow them, they would not have succeeded in removing me. I still love all of them. If you are talking about people like Chief Afe Babalola, we cannot erase his name from the history of Ekiti. Heís doing his best.Yesterdayís enemies can become best of friends tomorrow.

Q: Donít you think if you had this disposition while in office, you would not have been removed? A lot of people think you were removed because you had no regard for the elites, the professors Ö.
A: That is not true. If I didnít carry people along, how come I received such a rousing welcome? The truth is that you canít be a friend of the commoner and also that of the elite. Ekiti Is a peculiar state in Nigeria? Have they enjoyed peace since I left? Fayose was said to be the problem. All the things that happened after I had left was still blamed on me. The rigging in April 14 was my fault? It was also Fayose behind all the illegalities in Ekiti? The issues are more fundamental than Fayose. We should remember that we have no place we can call out own. I have made my marks. The history of Ekiti is not complete without me.

Q: You said you would soon show up at the EFCC, arenít you afraid of being detained?
A: It is human beings EFCC detains. Iím not bothered about such things. My other colleagues have all been there. They were detained. Even late Chief Obafemi Awolowo had his trying moments but even in death, he remains a leader you cannot ignore in our history. The truth will prevail one day. Nigerians have heard people who conspired against me making confessions. But all that is part of politics.

Q: Why did it take you 13 months to come out to clear your name?
A: In the Bible, when Pharaoh was in power, they hid Moses. When Herod was on the throne, they took Jesus away. It was not wise to come out when the government in power wanted me dead at all cost. It takes a wise man to take a wise decision. My disappearing was a life-saving step. If I had not left, perhaps I would not be alive today or at worse be

rotting away somewhere. However what does not kill you will make you strong. I am today a stronger person. One had to wait until the time was right and there was a government who would what is right is in place. That is gradually happening now.

Q: That sounds like a good rating for the YaríAdua government?
A: The president is doing his best. Any administration that promotes due process, the rule of law as against the go-and-carry-him-and-lock-him-up, move-against-him practice of the past is a better alternative. So far so good. We have to commend this government for protecting our constitution which guaratees that you are innocent until you are proven guilty.

Q: How would you assess the PDP today?
A: I can only talk about the PDP in Ekiti. The party is in disarray. The moment the governor and the government are sick, the party would be sick. Most of the founding members of the party have been alienated. They are all complaining and waiting for them to share whatever they want to share before reacting. But I, Ayo Fayose, will not leave PDP. I laboured to build that party in Ekiti and I remain a member. We will stay in there and sort ourselves out. My structure is still in Ekiti and with time, we will take what belongs to us in Ekiti.

Q: Whatís next now?
A: I am going to live in my village, Afao-Ekiti, whether they like it or not. We no longer have a guerilla situation in Nigeria and you cannot intimidate me.

Q: Have you reconciled with the royal fathers who turned their backs against you while in office?
A: No royal father turned his back against me. Anyway we are in a reconciliation process. Currently, I am no longer the governor and it is the man with the ball that players run after.

Q: Top on the list of the questions EFCC is expected to ask you is the propriety or otherwise of the Ekiti poultry project. Whatís your defense?
A: I cannot disclose my defense on the pages of newspaper. I have my documentary evidence and I will state my side of the case. I donít have any fear. The man who is afraid will die and the one who is not will die too. There is nothing to be afraid of. I will go there and tell them the truth and if they find me wanting and charges me to court, then so be it. The courts will decide.

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