What is your assessment of the Buhari-led administration?
The President has set goals to the taste of Nigerians and my take is that the President is bent on recovering the stolen funds that belong to the country. Everybody knows we can give him a pass mark on that. On security too, what we can see now is pretty better than what we could see in the time past. Two major things here are security and economy. In changing a decayed society, we needed trusted hands and so, the President is trying to entrust things into the hands of people he could trust.
There is the fight against corruption and corruption is fight back. What does that portend for our democracy?
It is expected that when you fight corruption, it would fight back. We are used to people stealing money in government and corruption fighting back does not mean we should stop. The President is a 73-year old man. You ask how many years does he have left on earth, compared to the one he has spent? The best he can do is to make sure he cleanses the system before he leaves. Those fighting back are those that have benefited from corrupt system in this country. For me, I would want to join in the crusade to say that we need to fight on. The crash in dollar is something that would have happened with the last government. We need the political will to drive the system and this won’t happen in a day. We need economy drivers and before we start to criticise, let us wait for another two years before we start to say he has not performed up to expectation.
Do you support the call the on former President Jonathan to speak up on the armsgate?
Nobody is above the law. If by any means, the former president has been found wanting, he should be brought to book. Dasuki could not have collected monies on his own without the collaboration of the Minister of Finance, Okonjo-Iweala, and the former president. I am a person that believes in the rule of law. Thousands of lives have been lost in the northern part of Nigeria.
Do you agree with the opinion that APC is dead in Ekiti State?
I don’t know what you mean by that. The APC is not dead in the state. You can be sure that many would argue that with you, probably because the governor is always heard and seen, and he seems to be very popular among the people.
Our party is in the opposition and should be a check on the ruling government and that is what our spokesman does almost on a daily basis. He addresses wrong policies of the state government.
What else do you want us to do? Jump on the streets and start fighting? Even when the governor is behaving irrationally, that doesn’t means we as a party should join him in doing so. I am a chieftain of the party and I have been going round the 16 local governments in the state sensitising, energising and re-engineering the party. Grandstanding and making a noise doesn’t mean we are there. The party will sure take over the helms of affairs in the state, come 2018.
But, is that possible, giving the popularity of the governor in the state?
Yes, he is getting closer to the people but there are some of us who know the game better, in a more civil and civilised manner. I won’t get on the streets and start eating boli (roast plantain) or drinking paraga (local gin) in the name of doing politics because I am a more civil person. I can tell you that the people are no longer with Fayose. The moment people see that you have derailed, they would abandon you.
The introduction of stomach infrastructure is, probably, what has fetched him so much popularity. Don’t you think so?
It is even an insult to talk of stomach infrastructure in a state like Ekiti, the Fountain of Knowledge. How do you define that and what is the basis for that? Fayose has injected into the system what we call the ‘clownish’ way of life and that is why you see him appearing in the House of Assembly improperly dressed. The governor went to present the budget in the House of Assembly in T-shirt and jeans. For you to enter the hallow chamber where I served as the Speaker of the House, you must be formally dressed. Fayose went into the House with his own gavel. The budget of the state was passed in a space of 25 minutes and it didn’t take another 48 hours before it was signed into law. He has made a mockery of the whole system. For me, he is just a political jester. I want to assure you, without any iota of doubt, that in 2018, I will be in the helm of affairs and Fayose would be kicked out.
That won’t be easy to do, if you must be sincere with yourself…
I have started creating awareness and I have been on the street working. I have been in government and as an opposition, I know what it takes to be in government. Fayose has not done so well the way you people think. It is just propaganda on the pages of newspapers. He could call the world press conference in a day and tell the world anything.
Are you worried about the federal allocation and the low Internally Generated Revenue?
Yes, we are one of the lowest in allocation, but coming to government, you must have a blueprints or a game plan. It is not the centre that should be feeding the state. it is the state that should feed the centre and that is true federalism. You should be able to use your IGR to augment.
When former Governor Tinubu had an issue with former President Obasanjo, it was never like that. On IGR alone, Lagos is getting over N30b. That doesn’t mean we should over-tax our people. We can go back to agriculture and even industrialise our state. As a party, we decided not to go into the local government elections because it would have been a waste of time. Whether you like it or not, Ayo (Fayose) would write the results out by himself. He has done it before. I can tell you that the chairman of the state INEC is from my place and coincidentally, we bear the same surname. He is a card carrying member of the PDP.
An INEC official to be a card-carrying member of a political party. Why didn’t you blow it out?
The case went to court but it was thrown out. It is the governor that selects whoever he wants. Anybody that had gone into that election would have been wasting money, time and efforts. I am not a green horn in politics. Anybody who underestimates me does it at his own peril.
Is it not too early to start campaigning for the governorship, when the election is still two years away?
That is not over-ambition. It is the process of preparation. To win an election, you need to work hard. Changing the psyche of the people to vote the APC is not something that can be done in one day. We are only preparing to win an election and that is why you see us going from ward to ward already.
What is your assessment of Governor Ayo Fayose?
The governor will always tell you that the economy is bad and that his subvention is so low, when we have had other people coming to serve as governors. I make bold to say that the only structure that is on ground now is a building in form of a library in the name of the late former Deputy Governor, Funmilayo Olayinka. The only thing else that you get is that on Christmas Day, he gives people a fowl and N200, or a little portion of rice. Is that what you define as stomach infrastructure? That is the highest point of deceit that we are experiencing in the state.
What would you do differently, if elected?
We want to improve on our state by ensuring that the youth are empowered. We want to ensure that the influx of people out of the state is addressed. I am not interested in new projects but to embark on the completion of all uncompleted ones.
What is your plan for education in the state?
I engaged a professor recently and he said the same thing. Ekiti has been known for her educational excellence but that drive is no longer there. We must have the best hands now and bring back our highly intellectual sons and daughters that are far away.(TheNation)
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