‘I will not support Sheriff’s presidential ambition’
Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State spoke to journalists in Lagos on the state of the nation and his alleged vice presidential ambition. SEYE OLUMIDE reports.
Notion that you have abandoned governance
Let me say like Buhari too will say, that I inherited an economy not too buoyant and that cannot stand the test of time because of the debt profile of our state. Between 2011 and 2014, before I took over, my predecessor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi got N46.7 billion in terms of excess crude it is a public knowledge. The former Minister of Finance published what each state got when they were saying that they stole excess crude. Before now, there was a boom in allocation. Even Ekiti that gets second to the last received about N4.5bn consistently.
Apart from this, they took bond of about N25bn, commercial loan of about N30bn, which I am battling with today. I said it severally that when I was leaving in 2006, despite the paucity of funds, I left N10.4billion in the coffers of government. Segun Oni confirmed that he got N3.5billion handed over to him by General Tunji Olurin, who was a child of circumstance. Somebody must have put that surplus there. I want to tell you that the management of an economy goes beyond cash. You must be able to manage both human and material resources of that state. As at today, I’ve started work on the first ever flyover in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital and work is in progress in the sum of N5.7 billion and I have invited the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to be part of the project because I know I am a target, so I go out of my way to do the needful in terms of due process.
2019 ambition alongside Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff
It interests me so much when people give me this kind of projection, it shows you are relevant. If anybody is pushing you for anything Presidency, it shows you are doing well.
But let me make it clear to Nigerians, this is only an act to discredit my stance on the current state of governance and policies in Nigeria. The opportunity given to me in Ekiti for a second term is still on. Anybody flying the kite of Senator Sheriff and Fayose is in a deceit of the highest order. Again, even Senate, I am not contesting because nobody contests the office of the vice president. You can only become the vice president of Nigeria, if God wants you to be.
Possibility of supporting Sheriff as the PDP candidate in 2019
May I make it expressly clear that even if Sherrif wants to contest the office of the president, I will not support him I am a man known for my words of honour. You can’t be struggling to be party chairman and now change the goal post in the course of the game that is not possible. We must have principle.
Why did your name pop up?
It is a cheap blackmail and it was orchestrated to give people impression that I have ambition and that’s why I am doing all this. No, it’s beyond that.
Call for Buhari’s second term
Those promoting Buhari for 2019 should stop. I have said it before to Nigerians, Buhari does not have capacity. If he doesn’t have capacity now, what capacity will he display in seven years time? Nigerians will not vote for old octogenarians any more. When a president governs a nation, he must have ability and what it takes to lead. Currently as it stands, with all due respect to Mr. President, he is challenged by age, exposure and ability to coordinate Nigeria because of his age and it’s not his fault.
INEC performances in recent elections
Whatever you say of immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the man conducted an election that consumed him. I can tell you that Jonathan is not a typical President in the context of Nigeria and Africa. He is like a man who gave up the ghost for others to live. For that singular act, I think President Buhari should change his attitude.
The moment the umpire has agenda; you will continue to have inconclusive elections. Any football match that you see rowdiness, it is the referee that you should blame because he is there in the game to check the excesses of everybody. Even if the PDP did it wrongly, must you do the same thing? You told us that we will see change but nothing has changed. There has not been one election that has been concluded. We are now doing rerun inside rerun. Imagine if this present INEC is doing elections in 30 states of the federation. I was the first to criticise the appointment of the current INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. This is a paddy-paddy chairman, he is Buhari’s friend, and Nigeria does not need that kind of a thing anymore. Even if you want to put your friend, put the one that people cannot link with you. The country is larger and bigger than all of us. Our seat as governors and President of this country is momentary. The president must change his attitude.
Views on Tinubu
I was glad when the president was praising Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State because he took him for granted before. I know Tinubu would have dealt with him (Buhari). Thank God people like us are speaking and he knows the consequence that is why he quickly started praising Tinubu. Ddi he just knew that Tinubu is the hero of democracy? When they are flying him from one state to another, when he came to Lagos with a mammoth crowd, he didn’t realise that again. That is not how to live. The wrong people are governing Nigeria. You that have to know everything as a leader but you must have the right men around you; God gave a helper even to Moses in the Bible. The likes of Tinubu, who are supposed to be helpers of Buhari have been jettisoned by the president. Today, Tinubu, a warrior, gave a signal with his statement on the NNPC and that is pregnant with meaning.
Is Kachikwu the minister of petroleum? No. Buhari is the minister and we should know what that means, he is being indicted. So, Kachikwu cannot act beyond the president. Everything that is happening today in terms of fuel scarcity, the president must be blamed for it. If this is happening in the petroleum sector, which is the engine room of this nation and headed by the president himself, you can imagine the decay in the whole system. Forget about party, Tinubu is a leader in Yoruba land and Nigeria; you can’t take that away from him. Call it any name you like, I don’t play my politics like that. Even if I abuse him, I abuse him because it is politics; there is no strategy to take his name out of the annals of history. If such a person now wrote officially, you will know that there is danger ahead.
Controversies surrounding the 2016 budget
Nigeria’s budget has not been signed because the President is not sure of the source of funding. They are going to China to go and beg for that money because 25 per cent of that money is for debt servicing. They are to borrow 50 per cent for the budget to fly. So, it is buying time for the president to say that I am waiting for details of the budget from the National Assembly. They are now going for eight days to solicit for funds because they are cash strapped. You have a budget of N6.06 trillion; you want to borrow N3.6 trillion. If you borrow that amount in 2016, how much will you borrow in 2017? There is a problem. Most people that took Buhari there can no longer say this to the public anymore. That was why Tinubu had to write for the records.