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Ayodele Fayose, former Ekiti State governor is 48 years old today. It was an opportunity to speak with Bolaji Tunji on his major passion-politics in his state, Ekiti.
Ayodele Fayose, former Ekiti State governor is 48 years old today. It was an opportunity to speak with Bolaji Tunji on his major passion-politics in his state, Ekiti. Apart from this, Fayose also spoke on the Local Government Election scheduled to hold in Ekiti and why he would not support any candidate, the PDP's reconciliation committee in the South West which he described as insincere.
You have been very quiet lately, whatís been happening?
Well, sometimes your strength lies in your reservation and for sometime, I have been specific and I have said all I need to say about issues as it affects Ekiti State governor and the affairs of Ekiti. So it is now time for me to watch events and that is why I am keeping my fingers crossed. The tribunal said Oni won the election, I am not in position to say the court is wrong or right neither am I a lawyer nor a judge, so since the tribunal is the final arbiter, I have to accept what they have said.
Because you have been quiet, one was wondering whether you have had a kind of rapprochement with the present government in Ekiti. One has not heard you speaking or making reference to them in the past few weeks is there a kind of rapprochement?
Well, there is no rapprochement and everything is not about criticism or coming to compromise on issues. One thing I want you to know is that in the politics of Ekiti, I cannot be bought and nobody has approached me to say that there are issues to be sorted out that I have shirked from. But the fact remains that I have responsibility to myself and the people of Ekiti and I want you to know that I have rejected the composition of the peace or the elders committee set up by the PDP in the South-West. I am not part of it and I will never be part of it, because I have said it earlier that it is an insincere arrangement. It is an arrangement where the referee is partial. The approach they have adopted is insincere and I donít want to be part of what I know not what. If you watch very well, the South-West has not been sincere, in the states, they claimed to have worked. They are only trying to give an impression that they are up to reconciliation. For me, there is no reconciliation without addressing the problem on ground. If you set up a committee or panel to reconcile and recommendations are made on how to share party positions and you refused to implement them. What then is the way forward in that kind of arrangement? I donít see the way forward in that. I will rather watch them to continue with whatever agenda they have. I mean, politics does not end with the present government there, it is a continuous thing. We are professionals in this game and we will continue it again and at the appropriate time, if there is a need for people to appreciate us, for people to know our level of relevance, we donít need to worry ourselves, the issues will sort itself out in time.
Is there anything the present administration in Ekiti is doing that it is not doing right?
The party is not run well, you donít tell us that the whole founding members of the party are no longer relevant, to tell us that we are nobody, you understand me? You canít leave in a house without a foundation. And now that the governor and the government there are saying we are not important, they prefer to campaign against us, we will keep our fingers crossed. There are issues on ground like I said, but it is a matter of time. We said that there was no congress, we also made it clear that the councillors and the political office holders who served in the last administration must be given their entitlements, we complained about the sharing of political appointments, none of these issues were addressed. So to me, the party is not being run like a party. It is still being run by a clique who believes that all other people can go to blazes. But I believe that the PDP leaders and those who held the party together should not be treated anyhow. So, I will rather keep watching and see how things will turn out.
You always refer to yourself as the architect of modern Ekiti Ö
Thatís true, itís a glaring fact, and even my political enemies and those who are close to me politically cannot fault my level of performance in Ekiti. I have done, I have laid, and I have put Ekiti on the map. I have done landmark projects that you cannot forget in Ekiti. When I became the governor, nobody can deny that most of the roads in Ekiti were motor able, particularly; there were no dual carriage ways in the metropolis or the state as a whole. Today, I left the state a modern state, a state that is visible. I am saying that the governorís office that I built is one of the best in Nigeria. Is it about the interconnectivity of the roads that you want to talk about? Or the way we left education and many others. It is there for the people to see. I was able to connect with the common man, they believe in me, they know that I live like an ordinary citizen. Forget about the propagandas of the past, forget about the blackmail, the facts are there, the modern hotel that I built is there, the state house complex. In spite of these good works I have done,they still abuse me . But thatís politics, so I am telling you that I transformed Ekiti, itís a known fact even to my detractors. They canít deny that.
Still talking about reconciliation, there seems to be so many problems in the PDP, what can you say is responsible for all these crises, most of the time ?
I must be sincere with you; the party has a lot of problems, I can only limit myself principally to my state and possibly the South-West but the party has a lot of problems. And these problems were there but not as bad after the regime of Obasanjo. Obasanjo compounded the problems in most of the states in Nigeria, thatís the truth. Whether rightly or wrongly, there is no way we talk about politics and Nigeria democracy without talking about Obasanjo, he caused most of the problems in Nigeria , particularly the South-West. The problems in the South-West were caused because the president himself was desperate to cover his tracks and itís very unfortunate. Part of the problem in Edo was majorly caused by Obasanjo himself, now that Oshiomhole has taken over, Oshiomole would want to have his own four years. Obasanjo had all the opportunities; he was well positioned as the leader of the most populous black nation in the world, to hand down a very stable democracy like (Jerry) Rawlings did in Ghana, to make sure that people vote for people they want as their leaders, as their governors, not people imposed on them. Obasanjo, I am sorry, caused all our problems, he would go to a particular state and tell them, ĎEFCC, go and catch him because he is not in our campí. Obasanjo did a lot of havoc, I must confess to you. He could have been one of the most respected Nigerians because of the opportunity God gave him, but he messed up, that is the truth. Itís unfortunate and sad and not until we go back to where we missed this thing and allow democracy to thrive, the problem will persist. We must stop doing this thing called consensus or agreeable candidate. Even if he is an agreeable candidate, let us put these things to vote where Nigerians can appreciate what is called democracy. Democracy is a government of the people for the people and by the people and not government of the minority upon the people for the people at all cost, no. So that is the problem we have. It is the problem that exists almost everywhere if you look at South west now, we are in crisis. If you are going to Ibadan now from Lagos, you will spend three- four hours; if you are going from Lagos to Benin, you spend six hours, a lot of things are wrong; Obasanjo did a lot of havoc. I donít want to talk about Obasanjo most of the time, but there is no way you can talk about the head without talking about the body, itís unfortunate, so, the partyís problem has to be resolved and they must make sure that all that has been damaged by the former president are corrected .
On Obasanjo, I thought there was a reconciliation between the two of you at a time and that he even apologised to you when you visited him in Ota?
My brother, even if it was a statement of fact that I visited Obasanjo, does it take away the realities on ground? You cannot take away certain things. Obasanjo was president of this country. My visit to Obasanjo does not take away the fact that Nigeria is still Nigeria . Are we saying that Obasanjo did well, are we saying that he was fair, are we saying that democracy was allowed to thrive during Obasanjoís tenure, are we saying that Obasanjo did not abuse the democratic tenets and principles of our country, are we going to say that? Are we going to say it was right for Obasanjo to go to Ondo State and say Mimiko, ĎEFCC o!í. These are embarrassing things he did. Did you see Bush campaigning for Obama, did you see Bush come out and say please support Obama. It is because he knows that is the people that will chose Obama not him. So, what we are saying in effect is that Obasanjo should have allowed the principles and the guidelines of democracy to operate, thatís all. Look at YaríAdua now, he doesnít dabble into anything a governor is doing. So, all I am saying is that this does not have anything to do with whether we settled or we did not settle.
The cases in court, how far have they gone?
Me, I donít like to talk about cases in court. When the matters are before the courts, we leave the courts to address them. The only thing is, you see, my own is that everybody after this world should remember that he will still be judged even if you are a judge, even if anybody is telling you to do evil to an innocent person, the truth will prevail. By the grace of God Oshiomole was declared winner in Edo State. If the Judiciary had done anything to the contrary, they would have destroyed the judiciary immediately. God will help a lot of our Judges not to compromise for the good of this country. We should emulate the people in this profession who have distinguished themselves, after this world, we will still be judged by God, you understand. So what they did in Edo was not about Oshiomhole, it was about the image of Nigeria, image of the judiciary, image of democracy and the future of Nigeria.
Still on Ekiti State, recently there was this issue of juju -in-food which caused disruption in the state, teachers were molested and parents declined to have their wards partake in the schoolís feeding programme, whatís your take on it ,sir?
Well, let me say to you like I said earlier and I want to say it again, "I am going to be quiet on issues of Ekiti for now.The truth has a way of bringing forth itself, anybody that believes in the power of juju will reap the benefit and anybody who believes in the power of God and trust God absolutely, let him continue. I donít want to get myself involved in this issue of juju here, juju there or juju in the House of Assembly. I donít want to involve myself, I want to leave everybody. If Oni is going to be there till 2011, 2011 is around the corner, so it is good for me to hands off and watch, I donít want to get myself involved in the matter anymore, you understand. So, if anything like that happened, it is their local problem. Me, like I said, am still a young man. Let me continue to endear myself to the people. If they still want me, let them say yes, if they donít want me again, I will still be a leader in the state.
So you still consider yourself as a major factor in Ekiti politics?
Major, very major, I will like anybody to deny that but anytime we have a major election, we will see. For instance, this local government election, I am not going to be part of it and I have told those participating not to use my name, not to attach my name to their strategies, I am not interested.
It is a local election. If you put my name, they will wake up one day and say Fayose was supporting this side, after all we have won, even if the result was written in the governorís bedroom. As a former governor, I have done local government election before , the fact remains that it is a local election and we know how it is done. So, if you look at Nigeria local government election, every governor takes everything and when they take everything, they will come back and say that we are popular, will you say that they are not popular?. So I donít want to involve myself in that local government election, I am not going to campaign for anybody, I am not going to support anybody financially, I am going to stay neutral, you understand, because the major election is the federal election, the general election and that is what I know and that is what I will involve myself in. And I know that 2011 will be different from 2007, the ingredients of 2007 will not have a place in 2011.Maybe this Obamaís victory will also change this orientation and my advise to the present governor of Edo State now, is that he himself must live by example. Transparency of democratic tenets must be in his life because he is an activist. He has canvassed and campaigned for justice in the electoral process, he should allow justice, due electoral process to take place in his state, free hands for the judiciary.
People have been seeing vehicles with the inscription, Fayose 2011, what are your plans, what is the purpose behind this. Also, when you look at these vehicles, no partyís inscription is on them, that is strange, one would have thought that as a PDP member, the vehicles would carry your partyís logoÖ
Well you saw our vehicles with Fayose 2011 written, it speaks for itself. I have intention to contest in 2011, itís my right as a citizen of Ekiti State. If I want to contest the election, I can contest. So, it is Fayose 2011 and it is Fayose 2011 and I mean 2011 and I am working towards that and by the grace of God, I am hopeful. There are two things I want you to know, I have a powerful political bloc and group. Some people will say, ha, wonít they all come and be working against me. What I tell them is, let them work against me, a lot of people worked against Obama, a lot of people worked against Oshiomhole. It was the same thing with Jacob Zuma. He encountered so many problems, court casesÖ, he was accused of being a killer, a rapist, corruption charges, everything but , Zuma was destined to get to his destiny, nobody could stop Zuma. For 2011, I am looking forward to Godís intervention and I know am going to be the governor of Ekiti State. Look at Segun Mimiko, he came from a simple strength of the fact that ĎI know that the people of Ondo State wants meí and he came out, irrespective of the party, so, like I told you, am still a staunch member of the PDP, I love the party because I labored for it, I suffered for it, but presently there is no justice and I know that as a party, we cannot go far with injustice. So we will keep our fingers crossed, we are watching to see how fast things will turn out to be. But in the meantime, like the Bible says, donít wait for the sun or the rain, but continue to plough. So, we are ploughing.
People will wonder that Ayo Fayose was a former governor of Ekiti State, why would he want to go back again?
Because I didnít complete my assignment, Obasanjo forced me out of office. I didnít complete my assignment. I am still a young man, I have potentials, the people loves me. I still have a lot of things I want to do for Ekiti and the people want me back. Whatever anybody says, you understand, I am not somebody who quits easily, winners never quit, and quitters never win. I am a determined young man, I am not afraid of events, I trust God and I face the challenges. So, the essence is that, allow the people to determine who governs them, thatís all. If they say they donít want me, I will go back to my house, I will continue to play my politics, everybody knows that I love Ekiti , I see Ekiti as my own Nigeria, thatís why I donít fight for federal politics. I see myself more as an Ekiti man, thatís politically, because every politics is local, you must have relevance at home before you can go and participate at the federal level.
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