Governor Ayodele Fayose
. He doesn’t want a repeat of the past – Aide
. We’ve lost our freedom in Ekiti State – Sen Adetunmbi
. ‘The Governor’s fate is tied to Jonathan’s presidency’
His invective and acid sarcasms targeted at the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) General Muhammadu Buhari may have left some Nigerians in consternation nay, bewilderment but to many others the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, is merely treading his familiar terrain of controversy. What political analysts and pundits are seeking answers to, however, is the question as to why the ‘rampaging’ governor appeared to have developed a pathological phobia for the APC presidential ticket bearer.
What seemed the most unkind salvo from Governor Fayose and carefully targeted at Buhari came in the form of newspaper adverts which graced the front page of The Punch and Daily Sun newspapers on January 19. The bizarre adverts, which had the pictures of some northern Nigerian leaders that died in office, suggested that the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), retired General Muhammadu Buhari, could also die in office, if elected president.
“Nigerians be warned! Nigeria…I have set before thee life and death. Therefore, choose life that both thee and thy seed may live,” the advert read, suggesting that Buhari represents death while his rival, President Goodluck Jonathan represents life.
The adverts, which put a huge question mark over the picture of Buhari which was placed beside the pictures of the late leaders, asked the poser: “Will you allow history to repeat itself? Enough of State burials.” In that same advert Fayose spurred ethnic controversy that is one of the divisive issues in the run-up to the election when he declared that: “Northern presidency should wait till 2019.”
In spite of the barrage of condemnations that had trailed the ill-motivated adverts, an unrepentant Fayose stood his ground in defence of his action, insisting that the said adverts contained facts. In yet another full page advert, which appeared in the January 21 edition of The Punch, Fayose raised the issue of Buhari’s age, insisting that the latter was too old to preside over Nigeria. The advert said: “Nigeria does not need a 72-year-old President.
Following the attack on President Jonathan’s campaign convoy in some parts of the north, Governor Fayose launched another counterblast at General Buhari warning that the PDP would “no longer tolerate any orchestrated attack on President Jonathan and supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) anywhere in the country.”
Fayose’s attacks at Buhari assumed another dimension on Thursday February 26 when he issued another statement through his Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi insisting that he would not stop attacking the APC presidential candidate. According to Fayose, former President Obasanjo forced the late Yar’adua on the nation and that led to the on-going crisis.
Perhaps, it was against this backdrop that the former President Obasanjo reacted angrily to Fayose’s attack adverts, describing him as a senseless and incorrigible governor. In a post on his twitter handle Obasanjo had said: “My sincere condolences go to the people of Ekiti because they are being led by a senseless and incorrigible governor. #ForwardNigeria is what they are preaching but they are mocking our heroes PAST! This is so uncalled-for. I’ll rather succumb to change”, Obasanjo’s tweet read.
Not even the constant criticisms that had trailed his constant attacks on Buhari were able to prevent Governor Fayose from releasing more attacks. For instance, when Buhari recently travelled to London, Fayose went to town claiming that Buhari had embarked on medical vacation. He said: “If the APC people are saying otherwise let them publish the picture of Buhari boarding the plane and granting an interview to aviation correspondents at the Abuja airport. While I am happy that the APC people that are packaging Buhari finally hearkened to my plea that they should allow him (Buhari) to seek medicare abroad, I must say that it was evil for the APC to have lied that Buhari travelled on a working visit.” He further faulted pictures from the event.
Even when it became apparent that Buhari was in London and was billed to deliver an address at the popular Chatham House, Governor Fayose reportedly said: “The Chatham House one-hour event scheduled for Thursday was paid for by the APC with the hope that Buhari will be well enough to appear in public briefly by Thursday.”
‘Stop embarrassing Ekiti people’: The APC in one of its criticisms against Fayose’s outburst on Buhari had tongue-lashed the governor for spending money he should have used to better the lots of the people of the state on death wish adverts. The party, through its state Publicity Secretary Taiwo Olatubosun had advised the governor to channel such money to productive activities for the benefit of Ekiti people.
The party warned the governor against wasting Ekiti money on anti-Buhari campaign, including hiring agents to trail Buhari around the world, saying that it is criminal to be spending the state’s resources in furtherance of personal ambition and safety.
The party reasoned that the governor was using such adverts to divert the attention from his alleged fraudulent victory as revealed in the audio tape leak. The APC said the revelations in the tape would not be swept under the carpet by such anti-Buhari campaign.
The party berated the governor for lack of focus on development issues, stressing that for the past four months, he had busied himself with debts profile of the state, while not forthcoming on the balances and refunds made to the state by the Federal Government since assumption of office.
Similarly, a former member of the Senate, Mr Ayo Arise, disagreed with Fayose over his consistent ‘death-wish’ adverts against Buhari.
Arise, who disagreed with Fayose over series of adverts against Buhari, said the governor was entitled to his opinion.
He said “Our party has come out strongly to say that Fayose is not speaking for the party. So, I won’t say he is not entitled to his opinion at this level.
“But left to me as an individual, I disagree with him on this. I believe we don’t need such in the PDP. All we need is to work and campaign for Mr President to win the election fair and square”.
Worried by the constant outpouring of the invectives on General Buhari, a member of House of Representatives, Opeyemi Bamidele, recently warned Gov Fayose to stop embarrassing the state by his persistent attack against Buhari. In a statement reportedly issued in Ado Ekiti, Bamidele said Fayose, by his constant attacks on elders like former president, Olusegun Obasanjo and Buhari, was rude and casting Ekiti in bad light.
“The statements credited to Fayose constituted a rude invasion of Buhari’s privacy and a roughneck tactic. Even if, according to Gov Fayose, Gen Buhari had visited a hospital during his foreign trip, the reasonable question to ask, I would think, is whether or not Gen Buhari deserves rest or even a medical checkup after a full-fledged and most rigorous (over 30 days) campaign during which he did not miss a single rally,” Bamidele said.
‘I must talk’: But why is Gov Fayose, more than any other PDP governor is, so particular about Buhari’s presidency, one may ask? The governor advanced two reasons for his action. “I am a member of the central executive of the PDP Campaign Organisation. The second reason is that I’m exercising this role as a very loyal member and leader of my party. This role being played by me is expected of every leader and PDP governor to campaign for re-election of President Jonathan.”
The governor, who spoke to Sunday Trust, through Adelusi, also said that newspaper adverts published in major national newspapers, which many considered as ‘death wish’ adverts and which had also attracted condemnation across the country, especially from the opposition APC, are in order. According to him, “it contained the truth and nothing but the truth.”
He asked rhetorically, “Can you point out anything in the adverts that is incorrect? It is only in this part of the world that people are always afraid to say the truth, or try to suppress the truth or crucify those who stick out their necks to tell the truth. The advert is in order; it does not represent opinion of the campaign organisation but that of Ayo Fayose as a citizen of this country.”
Responding on why he insisted that Buhari is not in a sound state of health, the governor maintained that the APC presidential candidate is too old to face the rigours of governance of a complex country like Nigeria. Fayose said Nigerians needed an energetic leader and challenged the retired general to publish his health status to convince Nigerians of his readiness to govern without any health challenges.
“We have alleged that he is sick, too old to govern a complex nation like Nigeria. He owes it a duty to disprove me and others having the same notion.” He argued that in other climes presidential candidates are made to publish their health status, adding that “this is the mistake we made when Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was put forward by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. We did not demand for publication of his health status. We were cajoled by Obasanjo.”
He denied an APC claim that Fayose trailed Buhari to London, saying he had no reason to do that.
The governor maintained that an alleged fraud in the election that produced him as governor only appeared in the imagination of the leaders of the APC. “You only talk of fraud in the imagination of APC. Any election not won by APC was rigged, but if it is won by APC, it is the best in the world. The elections in Edo and Osun were perfect because they were won by the APC, while that of Ondo, Ekiti and Anambra were rigged because APC did not win. The interactions between Justice Ayo Salami and APC leading to purchase of judgements for Kayode Fayemi and others are in order. In the lexicon of the APC, it is proper.”
He said no fraud is associated with his election, especially when his position had been affirmed by the election petition tribunal and the Appeal Court.
He challenged anyone having evidence that Fayose used soldiers to rig the election to go to court for redress. He advised the APC not to dissipate much energy in writing any petition to the Federal Government, but rather should bring whatever it has as evidence to the court, including the soldiers who perhaps thumb printed ballot papers or snatched ballot boxes for him. He added, “The local and international observers were on ground to monitor the election and they adjudged the election to be the best in Nigeria’s history.”
Fayose also dismissed claims that he had abandoned governance to pursue Jonathan’s ambition.
He added “I have not abandoned my constitutional responsibility to Ekiti people. Work is going on, people are already feeling the impact of our administration notwithstanding the N76 billion debt foisted on Ekiti by the Fayemi administration. Governance is about collective effort, not a one-man show.
The Governor and his campaign promises: The governor, on assumption of office, said improved welfare of civil servants and generality of the people of the state would be the priority of his administration. He also said he would embark on infrastructural development of the state.
Since he assumed office on October 16 last year, the governor has been paying salaries of civil servants, though he claimed to have inherited a huge sum of debt from the Fayemi administration. The governor, however, painted a gloomy picture recently when he told civil servants at a meeting that the government might not be able to pay salaries as at when due as from March this year due to the poor financial situation of the state and the dwindling federal allocation to the state. He said his government had been able to pay salaries to date because of the six months moratorium he had from banks to which the state is indebted to.
Another unresolved issue in the state is the crisis at the state House of Assembly whereby the Speaker, Dr. Adewale Omirin and the Deputy Speaker, Hon Adetunji Orisalade were impeached by seven PDP lawmakers. Since then, the 19 APC lawmakers have boycotted the Assembly and taken the governor and the present leadership of the assembly to court. On infrastructure, road rehabilitation and construction would appear to be going on at different locations in the state as part of the efforts to ease transportation in the state. But the opposition party, especially the APC said the governor has done nothing compared to what Fayemi did the first 100 days in office.
We’ve lost our freedom in Ekiti – Senator Adetunmbi: The APC senator representing Ekiti North, Olubunmi Adetunmbi has decried the situation in Ekiti under Governor Fayose, saying the traditional political space had been shrunken.
Sen Adetunmbi, who claimed that there was no freedom of movement or expression in Ekiti state, added that the campaign posters and political billboards of opposition politicians were being vandalized, while Gov Fayose had barred state-owned radio and television stations from taking advertisements from the opposition.
“The traditional political space has been shrunken. There is no freedom of movement or expression in Ekiti state. Campaign posters and political billboards of opposition politicians are being vandalized. On the last count, the governor of the state in his imperial majesty has ordered that no radio or television station owned by the state government can take advertisements from the opposition. So, we are now using federal radio stations in Ekiti, the NTA plus privately owned stations with broadcast airwaves in the state in order to get across to the public. We are living in a police state.
“Ekiti, presently, is not a democratic state where people are allowed to express themselves and choose what they want or not. We have now had to move from the conventional means of political engagement to going to town hall meetings, village square, house-to-house, door-to-door campaigns and word of mouth to propagate our message.
“One thing I can assure you is that those of us on this side of the political divide see this as a struggle for freedom and we are not going to give up. Campaign we will. We will do it in a peaceful manner despite all the provocations. We will conduct ourselves in a peaceful manner. But we will not allow any aberration in office by whatever name it is called to take away our future and right because posterity is there to judge very poorly if we do so.”
‘Nemesis will catch up with Fayose’: In his reaction, Mr. Ayo Afolabi, the South West Publicity Secretary of the APC stated that “Fayose has been doing all he’s doing because he knows clearly in his own mind that he is not deserving of the position he is presently occupying”.
According to the APC zonal spokesperson, “Fayose knows he was rigged into the office, and that with his earlier impeachment from office eight years ago, he is not qualified to contest for the office of Governor.”
Afolabi spoke further: “But because of the impunity that the government of the day exercised, Fayose has been imposed on the people of Ekiti State for parochial interests. So, he (Fayose) has to cry to give the erroneous belief that he is capable of delivering Ekiti people for the PDP. He does not have the qualifications he claimed to have.
“This is Fayose who should be behind bars by now in a decent clime. For him not to be in the prison is for him to bring out all sorts of innuendoes against the opposition. He knows that if by tomorrow a government that believes in rule of law emerges, he will be in jail.
“Furthermore, Fayose knows he has cases in court hanging on his neck. One of these cases is his abuse of the Judiciary. Hence, he wants to frustrate very means of ensuring the rule of law in the society.
“But nemesis will sooner than later catch up on Fayose.
“Judiciary is like the proverbial ‘Iroko’ tree; When a small boy insults the ‘Iroko’ and decides to run away, looking back intermittently, he thinks it is that very day that the big tree takes its own pound of flesh.”
Commenting on Fayose’s numerous attacks on Gen Buhari, the Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (COACOL), Mr. Debo Adeniran said Fayose is just engaging in showmanship, ‘notice me’ syndrome . “Remember, Fayose was on trial before he became the governor and the trial was only suspended till when he leaves office. What drove Fayose into those sponsored adverts and the statements he is making on Buhari is first, he wanted to impress his master (the President), that he was out to defend him and even create anarchy so that the polity may be heated up to the extent that there may be a postponement of elections yet again. Maybe this time for six months so that they would be able to say that the country is ungovernable.”
Comrade Adeniran maintained that it was unwarranted for Fayose to be talking to Buhari with a view to convincing the populace that Buhari is not healthy enough to become the president of this country. He stated that what Fayose and his co-travellers are doing is anti-democratic. “It is like leaving the substance and start chasing shadows. It is not a sin that somebody falls sick. Even if Buhari were to be ill and had to be treated abroad. Despite the proof and evidences that everybody could see, Fayose and Femi Fani-Kayode still went on. The reason they don’t want Buhari to become the president is because of the corruption baggage that many of those in the ruling class are carrying and they are about to be exposed. It is the fear of investigation and trial that is driving them to want to pull Buhari down at all cost”, he said.
He added that many of them are still under one prosecution or the other by the EFCC or ICPC and other anti-graft agencies. “They wanted to continue in government that will withdraw the corruption cases against them. For those of them that have been convicted they wanted to retain a government that will forgive them and appoint them to juicy offices. Remember also that there are several corruption cases that have not been allowed to be investigated.”
The issue of the N31 trillion that Soludo accused the Finance Minister of not accounting for, the $20 billion that the former CBN governor accused the Ministry of Petroleum Resources of not accounting for and the N10 billion that the Minister of Petroleum Resources used to maintain her personal jet. They don’t want all these to come to the foreground,” the COACOL chairman said.
SOURCE: Nigerian News