Ekiti 2018: ‘Adoption of Olusola’s of no consequence’


Governor Fayose said the emergence of Prof. Olusola as his candidate for Ekiti 2018 was a divine choice…

I hope he has not put himself under a serious curse for using the name of the Lord in vain. Be that as it may, we called a meeting today to reassure members of the Prince Adebayo Adeyeye Movement (PAAM) and to put the records straight; we asked them to send only representatives, few members from each of the 16 local governments. But they decided to storm this place, because everybody wanted to come. I had to personally speak with many of the leaders to restrain a lot of people from coming. They all came on their own volition. Igbo people came, Hausa people came, Urhobos came and all these people have spoken here today; major of the ethnic groups living in Ekiti were here today. We also have artisans, tailors, barbers; many PDP members, young and old, were here. They all wanted to hear from me. We were expecting few representatives of the people, so that we can disseminate information about my position on what the true situations of things are. That was the whole purpose of calling this meeting; it was not a formal declaration. When we are going to make a formal declaration, the whole country will hear it.

When are you planning that for?

Why can’t you wait? Our declaration will come sooner than later in the light of this development. What happened last week Wednesday (September 6) was a huge joke. If somebody decides to stage the alawada (comedy) theatre, who are we to ask him not to stage it? So, what was staged at the Government House was a joke to entertain the people. It’s of no consequence; it’s neither in conformity with the party constitution, nor the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Code.

Maybe, it is an agenda to ruin the party. What I am saying is that I called my people here to assure them that there will be a primary in this party and the rules and regulations will be followed, the constitution of the party will be followed and they should just keep on spreading the gospel.

How were you able to resolve the leadership crisis which almost consumed your party?

Some people wanted to claim the glory for the resolution of the crisis.  I thought all these things should be behind us and that was what brought the problems of Ali Modu Sheriff on us and it became an albatross on those who imposed him on the party. Impunity, imposition and the likes almost brought the party to its knees. Don’t forget that it was an attempt to impose that led us into the crisis from which we did not wriggle out until July 12. The only solution to avoid problem in our party is for people to return to the path of constitutionality, justice and equity.

Would the lives of the delegates not be in jeopardy, since the governor is insisting on his deputy?

I want to assure that they have nothing to fear about our primary. If anybody commits any act of violence, he will be arrested and be made to face the wrath of the law. No one can violate the laws of the land and not be made to pay for it. Anybody trying to perpetrate violence shall be resisted and be put in his place and it will not be in his own interest.

Would you advise aggrieved aspirants to take legal action to fight the alleged imposition?

I will not want any of the aspirants to take any legal action. If an act is a nullity and is of no consequence, just laugh it off and continue with your work. We‘ve not had our primary; it is still six months away and anybody has the right to stage a theatre over it. Anybody has a right to stage a theatre in his house or can you stop somebody from staging a theatre in is house? Anybody who is aggrieved can explore the party’s internal conflict resolution mechanism. I am not favour of the idea of going to court every time. There is no need for it, because this matter, we are going to resolve it.

You may be accused of being ungrateful to Governor Fayose for the role he played in making you a Minister and Chairman of Governing Council of Ekiti State University?

How am I ungrateful? I started by telling you that in 2014, it was very glaring and every record shows that I could have won at least 70 per cent of the ballot (at PDP primary). I was on ground and our structures were all over the place and that was why when they did their abracadabra; over 14 aspirants were in contention, it was me that they called for negotiation. The former President, the former Senate President, our former National Chairman were involved in the deliberation and the position of minister was used to appease me; that is the truth. Jonathan made me minister and he made me minister based on what happened in Ekiti. In that case, if I had asked my PAAM members who were sitting on the fence not to participate in that election, you knew what would have happened.

At what point did you and the governor fall apart?

We have been accommodating and tolerating each other, as leaders of the party. We are of different characters in the party, because we came from different backgrounds. We try to tolerate people, we try to manage people and we have managed ourselves so far. But, if it gets to a point where the situation becomes unmanageable, then what do we do?

Prof. Olusola’s adopted as the sole candidate does not preclude those who are still interested from contesting the primary…

I don’t want to insult them; the person who brought them together is talking of sole candidacy and at the same time still talking of a primary. Is that not a contradiction? That is a contraction; maybe they have intellectual deficiency, because the two cannot go together. That is why I call the action a charade; it’s a huge joke; it is meaningless and should be disregarded.

As a PDP member, are you proud of what Governor Fayose has been able to achieve so far?

I don’t want to talk about that now. In my opinion, he has done well, but we can do better. By the time I become governor, God willing, we will do better. We have not done well in the employment of youths, low productivity, and even in education for which we are noted; we are lagging behind other states in the Southwest. Look, Ogun State has 14 universities, Osun State has 10, Oyo maybe seven or eight, Ondo has about seven and Ekiti has only two. What are we proud of? I developed a programme as far back as 2005, it is in my manifesto that we could make Ekiti the hub of higher education in Nigeria, by establishing more universities. See the impact of the Afe Babalola University in this state, the economic activities around that place and the multiplier effect on the economy of Ekiti State. Imagine you have four or five of that in the state, people are not looking into those areas, they are looking at ephemeral things as if that is what we need. If you want to develop people, you need to get people to work; I was one of the people — including Segun Oni — that persuaded him to establish that university here. I am happy Chief Afe Babalola used to say it. I believe so much that becoming governor, the private sector will come in and Ekiti will become the hub of higher education in Nigeria. A lot of Nigerians go to Ghana to attend mushroom universities, because people are really searching for education. Which rice do I eat? I eat Ebonyi rice in my house. Ebonyi rice is better and nutritious than any other brand of rice in America or Malaysia. If we have the vision and foresight, we can do it in Ekiti here. I had developed a blueprint as far back as 2005, it is in my manifesto which I will give to you in few days time and you will put about 50,000 people to work and package it for export. We had an industry in 1965, 1967, textile mills, but today we have none and nobody cares about it. We are looking at ephemeral issues. We need to put our people to work. A lot of our people are idle these days; most of them are riding okada. These are the things that worry me personally. It is not by building one billion bridges that we can develop; how many overhead bridges do we have in London? Is that we what we need? Look, I don’t want to talk about the achievements of the government, just leave that one out. But the truth is that Ekiti is in urgent need of development and the time is running out. It is not good when we depend solely on federal allocation. Take Kebbi State for example, Lagos State government gave them a contract of N10 billion for them to supply rice to Lagos. My brothers, if N10 billion enters Ekiti State today, don’t you know the implication?

We are just here, everybody waiting for allocations. About seven or eight months arrears of salaries are being owed. For the past 10 years, I have been appealing to politicians in Ekiti, for us to join hands and establish a (private) radio station. Ekiti is the only state that does not have a private station. I ask myself, why can’t I do it? And because of my passion for the development of this state, I have to go out of my way to establish a radio station (Voice 89.9 FM) here. When I was getting the licence, somebody wondered why I should site it in Ekiti and not Abuja or Lagos? I said no, I want it established in Ekiti, I don’t mind.