Ekiti state Governor and PDP Governors’ Forum chairman, Ayo Fayose has said those in power waiting to deal with him after his tenure in 2018, would be greatly disappointed.
This is even as he said that Obasanjo’s call for Igbo presidency in 2019 cannot be relied upon.
How do you see your recent election as PDP governors’ Forum chairman?
You appreciate the need for leadership to be in place and a leader does not make himself, a leader is made and he is made by events and situations. And I want to believe that events, situations and time have caused my emergence as the Chairman of PDP governors’ forum.
I believe it is in God’s plan, and God’s will that I would be given the rare opportunity to be chairman of the Forum. More importantly, it is not the title of the office but the service behind it. In the wisdom of my colleagues, they believe I have something to offer. They believe I can take the bull by the horn, they believe I have the capacity, that I’m forthright. They can attest to the fact that I’m courageous and fearless, based on truth. When fear is not based on truth, it will consume you, but when fear is based on truth, challenges will come, but you will overcome them.
In Nigeria today, many of the things I have said before and after elections, people are realizing that they are the truth. Initially, when I started, everybody was saying Fayose has come again o. He is saying this, he is saying that. But a larger number of Nigerians have come to appreciate what I have been saying over time. Because I don’t just talk but say what many others would see and shy away from. In a state where leaders, men of virtue and substance, fail to address pressing issues headlong, the nation will go into rot, they would be taken over by dictators. At the end of the day, they would be consumed one after the other.
So, this position just attested to the fact that I’m doing the right thing and I am not shying away from the truth. I have been defending the ordinary Nigerians; the average man on the streets who have no voice. When you have a strong opposition, Nigerians would get value for their votes.
You are already making some moves by reaching out to party stalwarts across the nation, canvassing for unity and reconciliation, how has this been and how hopeful are you?
You see, I have always been a man of the people in terms of the grassroots and the leaders alike. Most of the people I have reached out to in this short time that I have been given the job, show that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But I am doing it, not because I have been made the chairman, it is just because it has been a way of life for me. Most of our colleagues, before now, I use to send them text messages, I use to call them and visit them. So also I have been doing to our party leaders. So, it is just an additional responsibility in line with what I believe in and been doing. I have been able to reach out to some of our leaders in the South-West; and the northern parts of the country just to charge everybody and to encourage them that there would be new dawn for our party. So, as a governor, sitting as chairman of other governors, it is a high responsibility which one must be seen to be shouldering. There is nothing that is right, being done in life that would not yield a positive result. It is my duty as the chairman of the forum to leave the PDP as their chairman better than I met it. Everything that has a beginning would have an end. One day, my time would be up, but within a short time, people would remember that Fayose was active when I held that position. My job is to make a difference, in every assignment, every opportunity, I must be seeing to active.
How do you see the emerging trend in the South-East, where political heavyweights are defecting to the APC?
I will describe it like this; men of honour and integrity don’t run away from challenges. Running from APC to PDP or PDP to APC, and particularly from PDP to APC because APC is in power, shows that most people don’t have principles. Some might come out and tell you that it is because our party has issues, have you seen a party without issues? So, the bottom line is that our democracy is still not based on ideology. Most of the people who have criticized the APC’s mismanagement, misrule would now go and dine with them again and protect what you don’t believe in because you just want to be relevant at all cost. Certainly, I can’t be party to that. But good luck to them, in life, they say time is of the essence and time will catch up with everybody. But you see, if you are patient in life, you would discover that what goes round comes round. It is a matter of time and when the table turns where would they then run to? Will they run back? I remember when a lady senator who had a re-run and was supposed to wait for her re-run in PDP, left her own platform and went to the APC. The APC played her into coming and denied her of that ticket. You see, when you are too desperate and you are looking for manna at all cost, looking for snail in the heat of January and February in a Sahara desert. If you are not careful you meet snakes on the way.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has mooted the idea of an Igbo presidency in 2019 and that has generated some controversy, what is your take?
Do you ever take Obasanjo seriously? I don’t take him seriously. By his nature, Obasanjo wants relevance at all times. We have worked with him and used to be his foot soldiers. I know him more than anybody in this country. He just talks, so that he would remain relevant. Do you see any other former President in the country running his mouth like his? If it is not the fact that he has a voice as a former head of state, where is Obasanjo’s constituency? Who are his followers? How many votes can Obasanjo win in his ward? We must say the truth and we must face the truth. Let’s give it to him, as a leader in this country, whoever has governed this country before would remain our leader, but he must equally recall and admit that he is becoming more fairly negative than working towards national building.
It is now clear that Senator Buruji Kashamu is dragging the control of the PDP in Ekiti with you; some have alleged this may have to do with some unresolved personal issues between you and the Senator, what is your take?
I don’t like to comment on Buruji. I have said it severally. Commenting on him as whom? When you say we are contesting for the control of the PDP in Ekiti, as who? Is he from Ekiti?
Some believe that he is sponsoring an anti-Fayose faction in the state.
Well let him sponsor anything he wants to sponsor. It is the right of anybody to throw some money around. I don’t have any issue with Buruji. Buruji is my friend. If he is fighting, I am not fighting.
There are fears that he may be used as a fifth columnist against you in 2018, the same way Jimoh Ibrahim did in Ondo state against Mimiko?
(Cuts in) Let him be used as a sixth columnist. He shouldn’t even be fifth but even 10th columnist; let me tell you something, you cannot just be enjoying doing evil and not expect evil to catch up with you one day. If he is taking pleasure in being the fifth or tenth columnist; good luck to him. And good luck, to people behaving in like manner. But in my own case, the Bible says, the person I have chosen, I have chosen, he that the Lord has lifted up, he has lifted. Have you ever seen me lost any battle? I’m always ahead of my enemies, I would overcome such. In fact, when your motive is malicious, with people like me you can’t go far. For greater is He that is in me than in my enemies and my pursuers.
What is your take on the South-West regionalism campaign?
I have always said this, what comes first is the Yoruba nation, and what comes first is Nigeria depending on the area we are coming from and we are talking about. I’m first an Ekiti man, by extension a Yoruba man, I will do my best and leave the rest. If I pray for the peace of Jerusalem, I will have peace; I want the peace of Ekiti, I want the peace of Yoruba land and that of Nigeria. So, anything I can contribute, collaborate, as long as my motive is genuine and is seeking the good of Yoruba man, God will help us, whether we are in APC or PDP, it does not matter: what is important is my role, which is to collaborate with my colleagues. Anything I can do to facilitate an average poor person in Yoruba nation to become meaningful in the society, I will do it. That is why I have always said this clearly that anything that would make me see Tinubu being rubbished or Bode George being rubbished or seeing Tinubu being rubbished because he is in APC, I cannot do it because these men are our leaders in Yoruba land. If we continue to play along party lines, we will destroy so many things. That is why it was easy for somebody to get to power today and say let me destroy those on the ground. That is not the spirit, which is not what God expects of us. Part of the hallmark of leadership is tolerance, forgiveness and love; you cannot have all the same characters in a family. Fayose is a different character. I don’t pretend about it. Trump is a different character too; he is a very good character; that is who Trump is. How many American Presidents can Nigeria vote for? None! Americans voted for Trump, they voted for the person they want and we would be here criticizing him. What is our own business with that? We are only clingers. America belongs to Americans, Ekiti belong to Ekitians.
You have so many projects you are doing in the state, in the face of the daunting economic recession, how hopeful are you, of completing them?
What I know is that I would do my best within the available resources. Whatever I have laid my hands on; God will help me to finish them. I have counted the cost before starting. It is God that gives increase, it is God that sustains. He has promised me to help me complete my projects. And I’m sure that he would help me.
Justice Onnoghen’s name has been sent by the acting President, to the senate for confirmation, what is your impression about this development?
We are not clear yet whether they want to reconsider him as part time or full time CJN. But let me condemn the Federal Government for meddling in the affairs of the judiciary. You see, they want to gag the judiciary so that they can use them for dirty jobs. Whoever is in this country that is supporting them is unfortunate because judiciary, which is the last hope of the common man, has now been cornered by the APC led federal government.
There appear to be fresh trouble for Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki as FG has filed fresh charges against him, this negates one of your prophecies for 2017, what do you say about that?
My prophecies on Saraki would come to pass. If you look at the first prophecy, I said there would be attempt made to put him in trouble. This year, I said he would not be removed and that those trumped up charges against him would disappear. Let us wait. Let’s see the drama. There is a lot of undercurrents and drama o. There is a lot of horse-trading going on. So let’s leave it like that for another day.
Finally, the FG has set up a Task force on food prices, what is your take on it?
Can you control what you don’t manufacture? They should get down and do the right thing and stop fooling themselves. They are just going from one lie to another, one failed strategy to another. How do you control somebody selling okro or yam from my village? They are just running their mouth and giving an impression that they don’t know what they are doing. To my Ekiti people, I’m here for them, I’m their person. But I want to say to Nigerians, the struggle continues till these Pharaohs of this time get out of power. They are too wicked. The Bible says when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice, but when the wicked are there, people cry, people are crying now, people are hungry, and they are saying this to the government of the day.
Don’t you see that this government is afraid of rallies against them?
It is because they are an oppressive government, who has no conscience. People are crying, the Bible is right about them but they would go. By the grace of God, they would go.