Fayemi, Fayose unfair to Ekiti south, says Adeyeye
Senator Dayo Adeyeye, the National Chairman of South West Agenda for Bola Tinubu for President (SWAGA) and a governorship aspirant of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State spoke to journalists on his preference for direct primary and agitation by Ekiti south to produce next governor of the state. AYODELE AFOLABI was there.
The primary election of All Progressives Congress (APC) is around the corner, what feelers are you getting from the field?
If the declaration we did on Tuesday is anything to go by and if they allow all party members to be involved in the process, we are very confident that we will win it hands down. But then the party has three options in selecting candidate – direct, indirect and consensus. The popular one is the direct primary, which involves every member of the party to have opportunity to join in decision-making. But where you are using indirect primary that means you are using a select number of people who are not even popularly chosen. So, that is not democratic and it is not the best. By now, we ought to have outgrown that to a system that will allow every member to participate in the process. So if it is by direct primary, we are absolutely sure of wining it.
Nevertheless, we are working for all options, but we are more comfortable with direct primary. I keep on saying those 23 years that we started this democracy, we should have grown to such an extent that full democratic principles would have been instituted in the parties. We say we are copying American democratic system, but have we copied the way their candidates are being selected. In American presidential system of government, every party member is allowed to participate in the process of choosing the presidential flag bearer. That is the system I believe we should be practising now in Nigeria. Because if the candidate does not emerge through popular democratic process, there is no way you can have good governance in Nigeria. Where somebody sits down in his closest and say he has anointed a candidate and uses government machinery to support him. Candidates that emerge through this process do come through democratic choice and that is why you keep on having bad governance.
The moment you begin the process do of democratising the choice of candidate, that is the day you put an end to godfatherism.
If at the end, your party settles for indirect primary and your group is still challenging the congresses in court, what will happen?
Point of correction, I did not take the party nor anybody to court. But I am aware that some people who are not satisfied with the outcome of the congresses are in court. But the name Adeyeye was not among them. I did not participate in the process and I was not a candidate at ward level for the congress. So I could not have had a locus on that basis to challenge anybody in court.
However, where this process is being challenged in court, we need to play safe because if for any reason, your members have gone to court to challenge the legitimacy of your congresses and the products arising from those congresses, and those are the people you want to use for those congresses, you need to find a way to prevent yourself from being trapped. We have seen it happen in this country, the Zamfara case is an example in which the primaries and general election were conducted and APC won all the elections, however the elections were nullified and this brought PDP to power in that state and the same thing happened in Rivers State. To that extent, we should be wise and be careful in using indirect primary. We should rather play safe and allow every member of the party to participate in the process.
A national daily recently reported that the man you are spearheading his presidential project is backing another aspirant for Ekiti governorship ticket, what is your reaction to this?
It is not correct. It is a lie. Or may be an honest mistake because they assume that the way that aspirant has been pretending to be the candidate of Tinubu is not the best, I am saying it, and it is not the best. When I read the story it says, “who is believed to be supporting” but he is not supporting that person. That is what that person wants. That is the image he wants to project out. That is what he wants people to believe but that is not good. I don’t play that kind of politics. Even that aspirant has been claiming to be a member of SWAGA. You have never participated in any event of SWAGA, neither have you spent one Naira for the organisation and you are saying you are a member, these are the kind of things that are really deplorable in politics and these are the kinds of politics we play. These are the kind of things I have being struggling against. I am not saying we can have a perfect system but I am not happy with this kind of politics. But it is not correct.
Have you informed Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu about your governorship aspiration and what was his response?
Of course, you don’t expect me not to have informed him. Apart from him, I have made wider consultations before I came out. I have talked with leaders, colleagues and friends. Any reasonable person who wants to embark on a project like this needs to make wide consultations. As for whether he has given me go ahead, that I won’t answer. That is not for you to know.
It is an open secret that Governor Fayemi is supporting one of the aspirants, are you aware and what is your reaction?
It is not a secret and you don’t need to be hiding behind one finger. The truth is that Governor Fayemi is backing an aspirant. As a matter of fact, he is not just backing him, he brought him out to come and contest and he has put the state resources and machinery at his disposal. That is very unfair. I would have expected the governor as the leader of the party to give all aspirants a level playing field to produce a candidate that people will truly and genuinely support. Since he has done that, it is okay. We note that. We think it is not good, it is very unfair and it has its own consequences.
There are newspaper reports suggesting that the meeting held between Tinubu and Fayemi is for a win-win situation of letting go the presidency if he can have the state. Are you worried by that kind of meeting?
I am not worried at all. I am not threatened and I am not bothered about it. Actually, I was not privy to the meeting, I was not invited to the meeting and so I do not know what they discussed but I am sure they cannot trade off Ekiti for anything. The kind of person I know Asiwaju to be, he will not accept to trade off Ekiti for anything. They are free to bandy anything around and say that was what happened. If they believe that that is the way they can play their own politics and get public support, good luck to them.
What is your take in the agitation for power shift to Ekiti south senatorial district?
I am in favour of power shift to the South in the interest of equity, fairness and justice. Let me give you some historical background. In this state, prior to 2005 nobody talks about power shift. Suddenly around 2006, a group of people came together and said they were organising a conference in Ado Ekiti here on what they called, “Northern agenda” and their argument was that it was the turn of the North to produce governor on the ground that the North had been marginalised. They claimed that central has had two governors namely, Adeniyi Adebayo and Ayodele Fayose, who was then a sitting governor.
My counter argument to them then was that, why should it be a Northern agenda, what about the South? Some of them then argued that Olumilua was governor in the old Ondo State, but Ondo State was not Ekiti State. We are talking of Ekiti State. They claimed that Olumilua was governor in Ondo for 18 months and that the South had at least had something. The propaganda was very intense in both political parties. Some of the bigwig politicians in the state were behind it and they did it for a purpose, to knock some of us out because I was also contesting for governor then.
They sold this idea to our leaders outside the state who control the machinery of the parties. Those people bought it unfortunately and the primaries were manipulated in favour of people from the North, both within ACN and PDP. That was how Fayemi and Segun Oni emerged from the two parties. Now many years after, we have since had a situation in which the North and central have had 12 years each. By the time Fayemi would have completed his tenure by October16 this year, the North would have had 12 years. What of the South? Zero. So, it could have been nice if the no zoning argument is coming from the people who have not benefited from it. But Fayemi was a major beneficiary and one of those who supported that conference. He was one of the people agitating then that it was the turn of the North only. All of them, including Oni were in the forefront of the agitation. And it cannot be heard from them now to say there is no zoning in Ekiti, having benefited from it and having arrogated powers to the two zones 12 years for each since that time. So, you cannot approbate and reprobate at the same time.
You benefited from a thing and you are now saying it should not go round anymore. I think it is most unfair. I gave you this little bit of historical background to show that we are not just making an empty noise. We are saying that the idea of zoning came from the likes of Fayemi. I also had agreement with Fayemi that for my support in 2018 that power should rotate to the South because if not you will now have a situation in which the North and the Central will go for 32 years.
If this situation is not corrected, we shall soon be creating second class citizens out of the people from the South, because psychologically they will begin to think of themselves not being capable of producing a governor, whereas, we all have the same level of educational attainment. No one area is deficient of capable people. Overtime, because the governors have continued to emerge from the two zones, we now have a situation where the vast majority of political elites are now emerging from the two zones. Once a governor emerges from either the North or central, they pick their chief of staff and others from those areas and those are the people who have become the political elites in the state. If not redressed, we will have a vast majority elites from those areas with exclusion of the South. It is so annoying that Fayemi will go and pick candidate from the Central with all his promises in 2018 and also annoying that Fayose will also go to central to pick a candidate. Both of them could not find capable people even within their own governments from south and we are going to resist it.
Senior lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun blames southern politician who are always willing to play second fiddle for the perceived marginalisation?
Honestly, I support Olanipekun hundred percent. Even as we speak now, I don’t want to name names, many of them are dying to become deputy governor, even from my hometown in Ise Ekiti. So, Olanipekun is right. There are people you call political jobbers, who are short in integrity. They think that is the only way they can build their career by accepting crumbs from the table. They are struggling and jostling to become deputy governor now but they will fail by the grace of God. Look at how many deputy governors have come out of Ikere alone. Why is it that we can’t come together now and fight this battle, it is because we have opportunists among us ready to play the second fiddle.