Ekiti State governor and Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (PDP) Governors’ Forum, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo lacked the moral ground to advise leaders against practising do-or-die politics, since he actually started the unwholesome practice in the country.
In an exclusive interview with Saturday Sun, Fayose, who was reacting to Obasanjo’s charge to leaders to shun do-or-die politics said the ex-president did not represent what he claimed to be, an exemplary elder statesman who loved democracy.
The governor also alleged that the ex-president was corrupt and indeed looted Nigerian treasury while in government. He challenged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate Obasanjo’s assets before he became a civilian President and after he ruled for eight years. He queried whether all his assets were products of his salaries for eight years as President.
How would you react to Obasanjo’s call on political leaders to stop do-or-die politics in the country?
Unfortunately, Obasanjo does not appreciate the need for him to keep quiet. He does not have moral grounds to be saying all these things and that is why I come out every time to tell him that he does not represent what he claims to be.
I want to recall in 2003 and 2006, Obasanjo who removed me from office in Ekiti at all cost for reasons best known to him is the same Obasanjo who removed so many governors from office. It is the same Obasanjo who trampled on Nigeria’s constitution severally, because of his third term agenda.
Why should the same man now come out and say leaders should not engage in do- or -die politics? Where is the moral standing of Obasanjo?
You know, sometimes when people interview him and he does his grandstanding, I laugh when I watch him on the television.
We recall the status of Obasanjo when they went to fetch him from the prison.
This was a former President who would just wake up one day and say the governor of Anambra should be removed, because his boy wants to contest election in the state and he ignored an existing court order which later brought former governor Obi back to power and sacked Andy Uba after he had spent only 16 days as governor. That is do -or -die politics.
What OBJ did to Rotimi Amaechi is in the annals of history too. He would be the one to insist who should be governor of this and that state.
Recently, he was saying his generation has failed Nigeria and I say his generation did not fail Nigeria, it was him who failed Nigeria, because he has the all time opportunity to right the wrongs, but for his selfishness, he did not recognize late MKO Abiola as winner of the June 1993 presidential election. He said Abiola was not the Messiah being expected. He is the same one that would attack the Awujale of Ijebu land, and same one that would attack Prof Wole Soyinka, he never recognized Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the leader of Yoruba nation and that is why today, even despite holding federal office severally as the President of this nation, there is no one that would recognize him as a leader in the South-West.
So, it is unfortunate, those listening to him are just are doing so in vain, because he doesn’t have the stature, character and the voice.
My opinion about him is that sometimes, people should take Obasanjo’s statements with a pinch of salt and see him as a man who just likes to run his mouth. He does not deserve the honour. Look at somebody talking about corruption, when Obasanjo just returned from the prison, they should go and bring his picture and his asset, what was his worth when he was in prison and what happened after eight years when he looted the treasury.
All those assets he now has in Obasanjo library and university and all that, are they products of his salary? So when they talk in this country we want to be able to listen and evaluate what they are talking about.
Obasanjo should be behind the bars. The money that he used to bribe members of the National Assembly during his botched third term agenda, where did the money come from? Was it from his holier than thou presidency, or what?
The man who served as President for eight years out of the PDP’s 16 years in the country is now telling us the party is not good.
The Yar’Adua we are talking about today who brought him? OBJ. Jonathan himself who brought him? OBJ. So, he is just running his mouth. We would continue to have problems if we listen to Obasanjo.
Most of the other eminent Nigerians who have served as President of this country; are they behaving like Obasanjo?
We learnt that you led a team of PDP governors to visit former President Goodluck Jonathan as part of efforts to resolve the factional crisis rocking the party, how did it go?
We were there at former President Jonathan’s instance. And he was making efforts to ensure that we explore all avenues to have peace in the party. As leaders, we must engage all parties in dialogue that would ensure peace. And there is nothing that we can do that is more than anything based on the truth that we told ourselves.
What advice do you now have for leaders over this issue of do-or-die politics?
You see the military, having ruled this country since the first coup, has shaped our democracy the way it is being practised now. They have so far militarized us. Even after we entered into democracy, the military continued to rule us. Obasanjo spent eight years and Buhari is spending another four years now. So, we are not yet free from militarization.
The attitude would only change when we sit down to talk and jointly decide how we want to be governed and who would govern us. Right now, a cabal has hijacked Nigeria. People who believe that they can do whatever they feel like doing and if anybody wants to die, he can go and die. But they simply forget that it is only God that gives power. They continue to rule without reference to God.
And any nation that abandons God, God will abandon them. So, for me, do-or-die politics has been with us for a long time now.
To stop it, we must have an orientation that gives opportunity to the younger generation to determine their future.
The need to restructure Nigeria is another issue that we cannot take for granted.
We must restructure this country…and the only way forward for us now is to implement the recommendations of the last national conference.