Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State was in Lagos recently Lagos where he spoke with journalists on his presidential ambition, restructuring and other issues. TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI brings the excerpts:
Some members of your party the PDP seem not to be favourably disposed to your quest to jettison the party’s agreement that the presidency should go to the North in 2019. What’s your take on this?
Issues and event will consume them; I mean those you are referring to as not favourably disposed to my ambition. I have gone through a lot in this country. I have been well groomed, I am matured and firebrand enough to face challenges of tomorrow. Things don’t happen by accident. At a time the party (PDP) almost fell apart. How many of them did we see at the time? How many of them spoke at the time?. If they zone it to the North, so because I am not a northerner, then I don’t have a constitutional right for me to contest. Forget that.
What are you saying? Have you not seen n this country where a zone has two key offices. We know where the Speaker is from. There was something before then even. During Tambuwal speakership, the post was zoned to the south west but because we lost it, a zone got the two top appointments in the land. Forget about that (zoning arrangement). It is the Presidency that orders things. When I become President in 2019, I will reorder those things. Nothing can stop me from contesting. Even if they pick the party’s chairman from my family; even if they pick my son as party chairman, I will contest.
What is your view on restructuring?
Yes those agitations for restructuring are good for the system. We are in a marriage and the marriage is having issues. We still have to sit down to talk about that marriage going forward. The Igbo are the most marginalised region in the country and they are saying re-order things but people are playing politics with the issue. If anybody say I am wrong about the treatment being meted out to the Igbo, let him come out and challenge me.
Things are not moving well in this country. There is too much ethnicity and nepotism. Look at a situation where a junior minister comes from one part of the country and a senior minister comes from another part and the junior minister said he could not take instructions from the senior minister. What kind of country are we running? So, events have transformed so many things. See the way I have transformed education. A man that is not a professor, who is not a medical doctor, but has been able to transform education. I met education at number 34, but today Ekiti is number one. This year again we sustained it which shows we are doing something differently and rightly. People are not interested in your certificate, but your experience.
You want to get a job abroad they will not ask for your certificate. They will ask for the experience you have. So, it is not the noise, it is who you are. Some will say Fayose in talking because of his immunity but I ask ‘do the others not have immunity’? The issue is that when you want to deal with issues in this country you deal with them in objectivity as a leader. When a leader is not doing the right thing you must be courageous enough to tell him. Of the 36 governors in this country, only one governor is talking. Part of governance and part of readership is to keep the people in power on their toes. Why must be people be afraid to tell you if you are not doing the right thing. Once I cannot talk again, then I rather leave politics and go back home to meet my family. Why should I be afraid to tell the truth? You say I am leader, so why should you talk badly at me. If you talk badly about me, I will give it back to you straight off. I am not a pretender of any sort and I am not going to come and beg for a favour that I don’t need. I am closer to 60 now, so what do I want? But for those of them that are clinging, goodluck to them.
What would you say specifically your motivation to do all the things that you are doing?
Let me tell you, my motivation is God and the people; the suffering masses in my state and the country at large. I am passionate about them. I am concerned about their plight as ordinary people. That is why I always disagree with some of my governor colleagues when they do not say the right thing or when I feel they are not doing enough for
their people.We are all elected to serve our people; provide for their basic needs but we are not seeing that in many places. That is the truth. Many believe in clinging to Aso Rock and boot-licking them there. I am not cut for that. For instance, I have not gone out of this country in two years. You hear some people say they are going to London to go and bring investors. I ask how many investors have come into the country since people have been going there?.
When you get to London now you begin to roam the streets looking at buildings, going to malls and shopping. If I go to my hometown now a lot of people will come and see me and play with me. That alone makes them happy. If I go to London now how many people will come and see me inside cold? We (governors/leaders) tell Nigerians we are going abroad to draw investors, but we are only fooling them.I have been to America only twice in my life. Since I became governor,I have not been anywhere except maybe once or twice. The issues are very clear. You will go to America and tell the people that you want to go and bring investors, but the truth is that you are going there on your personal note. I don’t condemn anybody from traveling, but there must be a reasonable justification from going out for one nor two months as some people used to do. Your assignment is your people.
Stay with them and not go form months looking for investors. Investors that you can get on the internet and do all your talking with them on the internet. Why do you have to go and stay there for weeks and leaving your people behind? For me, it is Ekiti first before anything else. You hear many people go overseas to go draw foreign investors and when you get those states you don’t see anything there and that is why I have enemies because they know they cannot take the state from me. They know it is impossible. Most of them have no relationship with their people; they want their votes, but they cannot touch them. They are too far from the people that has the power to elect or remove them. They only go to their people when time for election is approaching. That is not governance.