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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My problem with Buhari, by Gov. Fayose

He speaks like somebody who has guts. To him,
no argument can dent the rightness of his
position on the Presidency of Muhammadu
Buhari. Yet, he tells you he is not
confrontational. He claims he has prioritized
governance with a view to putting the welfare of
the people first. Perhaps, this is the reason he
was re-elected after staying out of power for
eight years. In this interview in Abuja, Mr. Ayo
Fayose, Ekiti State governor, says Buhari is not
technically equipped to better the lot of
Nigerians.
He also speaks on the retreat by the National
Economic Council (NEC).
Excerpts:
On the National Economic Council, NEC,
retreat in Abuja
It is a good idea if we do not have the same
rhetorics. We all know where the problem is,
where the problem is coming from. The reality is
that we need a change of attitude. That’s what we
need. No matter what you say, the ministers, the
governors, some are two-term governors, some
are leaders of this country before, like Chief
Audu Ogbeh, they know where the problem lies
and what they need to do to tackle it. The
attitude of everybody must change; from the
President to the last man in government and
beyond government. If you want to dispense
justice, for instance, you must dispense it
equally. If you want to fight corruption, you must
fight it equitably. If we are talking about
restructuring our economy, the economy is not
all about itself. There are other parameters. If
you oppress me, I will not be favourably
disposed to the programmes you are offering
me. But the moment the president of the
country becomes everybody’s father, his agenda
and the agenda for the nation will be pushed by
all parties and stakeholders.
So we have had a lot of these things. We have
been through such a gathering (economic
retreat) but, at the end of the day, will it not be
the same old rhetorics, same strategies? Is it not
a diversionary move to make Nigerians think
you are working on the economy? Meanwhile,
this is a government that was elected almost
one year ago, but which doesn’t know what it is
doing, doesn’t know what it wants, doesn’t know
why it got there; maybe it wanted power but
not to put Nigeria on the path of prosperity. So,
it is a good idea that we should talk about the
economy of the country, but I think the driver
should know the direction more than the
passengers. But he doesn’t know; he is just
fishing. He is fishing for ideas on how to runfayose-buhariWith due respect, people may not like the way I
am saying it right now, but they have to come to
terms with reality. You can’t grow more than
your pastor. You can’t grow more than your MD
under the same roof. He is limited by old age.
He is limited by academic competence and he is
limited by exposure. If you can’t grow more than
your pastor, what do you offer? Meanwhile,
everybody has to look up to the President. So
with his APC family, they ought to have had an
economic team, economic master plan for
Nigeria. They would have set the direction.
There are indicators of an economy. Indicators of
an economy will tell you what will happen next
year; will tell you that next year, there will be
drop in rain for farming and that we must build
irrigation. It will tell you, there are going to be
issues that could make the economy get gloomy.
That is why we have technology. That is why we
have advanced information. That is why you have
specialists. The President is the President. He is
not the Minister for Finance. He is not the
technical adviser. I was reading in the papers
where someone said that the ministers of the
President are incompetent or something like
that, but I am not condemning them. I am only
saying that the President himself had two
months before being sworn-in. Since he came,
the dollar has risen from 200 naira to almost
400 Naira.
I don’t blame him for the drop in oil price, but
the fact is that I blame him for not being
proactive to finding solution to those challenges.
Second, we should ask the President why
Nigerians are suffering under him more than
ever before. Look at electricity tariff. In most
cases, people will never get supply of electricity;
they get it maybe once a month. Yet, they get
what we call estimated bills. The people are so
disenchanted. The people are not happy. There
was this international body that said findings
showed that Nigerians are unhappy more than
ever before. Something must be causing all that.
If you look at that last six elections across the
federation, APC has not won and it shows
people are saying, ‘Have we not missed the
road?’
The fact remains that when a disease catches up
with you, you will not know until it is about
terminating your life. If you look at the violence
greeting our elections now, it will amaze you, it
will give you concern. Even the worst of (former
President|) Jonathan, abuse him, say what you
want, but he promised there will be free and fair
elections and he delivered, even against himself.
If this was the kind of violence that greeted
Buhari’s election, would he ever be President?
No! Nigerians don’t know party, they know their
stomach. They know their business. They know
their economy. Let’s look back and imagine that
so many middle class businesses are gone. Look
at me with a daughter abroad and somebody
says my daughter can’t get maintenance money
in dollars anymore. The education of my
children has come to a halt after building such a
child to year three in the university. This is an
indicator of incompetence, a clueless
administration. Sometimes, APC people might
have clues but the President doesn’t have. He
has no clue. You see these things, people are
afraid to say it.
You have been very critical of this
administration and the President. Do you
have any personal...?
Everything I have said is backed with facts and
figures. It is not about being critical of this
administration. I didn’t start today. I started
before the 2015 elections. I told Nigerians not
to vote for him (Buhari). I was a young man of
24, 25 years when Buhari was the Head of State
of this country. The Yoruba man will say, ‘If you
have taken a medicine that works for you, please
give me’. We took a medicine which kills.
Anybody that is 40 years old today that voted for
Buhari doesn’t know Buhari because, from 1984
to date, it will be 32 years. So, a guy of eight
years won’t say he knows Buhari clearly. So, add
that eight years to 32 years, that is 40 years,
they voted for a man they never knew. So, if you
remove people from the age bracket of 18 – 40
and remove the votes from Buhari’s votes, you
will know that he couldn’t have won the election.
I am not critical of anybody. When APC is talking
about me, they say whatever they want to say
but I defeated them in all elections even when
they call it militarization, even when they say
Fayose is controversial; in every battle I will win
them. Even when you have over taken, like after
my impeachment, by His grace, they were over
taken again and lambasted by the Supreme
Court. There is a difference between vendetta
and the reality on the ground. If I am
incompetent, Ekiti people will not vote for me
eight years after.
Let’s look at PDP politics. A few days ago, the
Chairman of the PDP said you were one of
those responsible for his appointment. Are
you happy with what you are seeing weeks
after?
I didn’t work for Sheriff like that. I worked for
the truth. I worked for someone I believe has
what it takes to lead our party. Party politics is
not book politics. Party politics is being realistic.
Life in itself is about being realistic. Sheriff and
myself were not close friends and we were not
enemies either. We didn’t see often. We were
not in and out with each other. We have never
been in the same political party, but everybody
that came, we engaged them one after the
other. Because of the presentation of Aliyu
Amodu Sheriff, I supported him. That is the
truth.
There was a particular question they asked him;
‘if the party needs N5 million before the
governors can be reached, would you still be
able to support it? If there is a meeting in Lagos
or somewhere else and there is no commercial
flight and you have to get there, would you have
to call the governors saying, please, borrow me
your aircraft or send me some money to get
one’. Second, they asked him, ‘This issue of Boko
Haram you are being linked with, don’t you
think it is going to be against your person in the
public domain’ and he said, how, ‘How can a man
be linked to Boko Haram and still be walking
around, never charged to any court in Nigeria?
And, above all in a way, I am an in-law to Mr.
President. He is fighting Boko Haram now. Will
he ask himself to marry a Boko Haram person or
a relative to Boko Haram?’ These are logical
things and I was convinced in my heart and I
said, ‘ I will stand by you’ and my yes is my yes
and my no is no. If I am with you I am with you
and if I have issues against you, I will go there
and tell you to your face. And the gentleman has
just been there for a few weeks; so what would
anybody have done in a party in this period? We
have to be realistic. He needs time and, even in
his three months, he can only do very little, but
it is better than a man who has no clue at all.
But why were people against him when he
was nominated?
Why were people against me when I wanted to
be governor of Ekiti State? Because they knew I
will defeat them. When you see the lion, you
run. Why are people against the lion? Why don’t
they keep lions in their houses? Because the
lion is the king. They know what you represent.
They know who you are. Remember when I
wanted to do my primary, there was this
consensus idea. About 26 aspirants said they
wanted consensus, ‘take one of us’ and I said ‘I
want to face all of you’. The Bible says the
righteous are as bold as a lion. The whole of the
kingdom at that time and all the chiefs of the
clans were against Daniel. Does it mean Daniel
was wrong? The plotting against Jesus Christ,
does it mean Jesus Christ was wrong? That is not
a measure of people being against you. When
people are against me, I get things done better.
It makes things easy for me. It showcases me
and makes the whole world know Fayose is
there. Our style can’t be the same.
On party chairmanship and presidential
candidate slot.
I don’t know the people that came. Senator
Buruji Kashamu can never, in his own capacity,
make that statement for the Yoruba people. He
is a friend? I love him so much but the fact
remains that I take exception to that statement.
First, the zoning committee is yet to be
constituted. Let me round it up by saying it his
opinion and, even if you don’t like it to come to
the South-West, there is no good Yoruba leader
that know the best of things will be coming to
your zone and you say you don’t want. Kashamu
is my friend, but I take exception to that
statement and I have told him in person and he
said he was going to do a rejoinder. So his
opinion is his opinion. It doesn’t outweigh the
opinion of the majority. I am in Ekiti, you can’t
decide for me. In Ondo, you can’t decide for
Mimiko. Other leaders are in their various
states, you can’t decide for them. The party will
do the zoning. When the party comes up with the
zoning, a decision will be taken.
On the speculation that the Chairman wants
to elongate his tenure
I don’t know what you mean by elongation. There
are constitutional provisions that say your tenure
starts from this period to that period, and there
is a body that ratifies that which is the NEC and
you can’t act outside the NEC provisions. But I
don’t want to be misquoted. As at today, except
there is a zoning, nobody can say you can’t
contest an election. As at today and until an
agreeable zoning formula has been reached, you
can’t come out and say someone can’t contest. I
don’t want to be misquoted. Quote it the way I
have said it. What Buruji said and I take
exception and I am glad he said it is his opinion?
One, there is nobody that anything good will be
coming to his zone, if truly he is a leader from
that zone, that will be opposed to such a thing.
So far, we haven’t zoned it and if we haven’t
zoned, the constitution doesn’t bar people from
contesting that office. If anybody wants to
contest, he can contest, but when the party now
meets, takes a position, ratified by NEC, it
becomes a law that we all have to obey.
What chances does PDP have in 2019?
What chances do you have to live till tomorrow?
A lot of people blabbing today, who told them
they will be alive at that time? Who is telling our
oppressors that they will be there by tomorrow;
that it won’t be me that will be there by that
time? You understand, we have seen so many
things in this country. I am the longest serving
Nigerian governor. I served in Obasanjo’s
administration. I served in Jonathan’s and I am
serving in Buhari’s administration now. You see, I
am not a small boy that anyone toys around with.
You want to try me with impeachment, they have
done it before. You want to try me with state of
emergency, they have done it before. You want
to clamp someone in prison, they have done it
before. I am an experienced man. I am fearless.
The reason is that greater is He that is in me
than he that is in them. And let me remind you,
if they have another person that they will join
with Buhari to get more forces, they will bow to
this Force here. I am telling you the truth. Power
doesn’t come from anywhere. God rules in the
affairs of men. Oppressing, bringing and cutting
people down, dropping people, taking their
blood on the ground, God is angry. God isn’t
happy. How can you be cutting people down? You
go to Rivers and kill people, you go to Akwa
Ibom and kill people, you go to Bayelsa, you kill
people, incarcerate innocent people. God is
angry with Buhari. You can’t continue to take the
blood of the innocent. Look at my predictions for
2016 for Nigeria, everything has come to pass.
This is a different ball game. He that will take
me, he that will go against me must first of all
defeat God.

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