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‘Fayose is no longer popular in Ekiti’

By Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head South West Bureau Ado Ekiti)
18 June 2016   |   3:20 am
This is a very disappointing situation. Governor Ayodele Fayose must own up that he has failed with the way he handled the labour unrest. I have been following the event very closely....
Dr. Olusegun Osinkolu

Dr. Olusegun Osinkolu

Dr. Olusegun Osinkolu is a prominent member of All Progressive Congress (APC) in Ekiti State.  In this interview, he spoke on the labour crisis in the State, government of Governor Ayodele Fayose and the reason for its dwindling popularity among the populace.

Ekiti has been in crisis for some weeks because of government’s inability to pay five-months salaries and entitlement of workers. What is your reaction?
This is a very disappointing situation. Governor Ayodele Fayose must own up that he has failed with the way he handled the labour unrest. I have been following the event very closely and I have realised  that the governor is not ready for peace or dialogue. Governor Fayose must be conscious of the fact that there is no excuse in governance. Whether the amount accruing to the State was enough to pay salaries or not, he should find a way to pay the workers their salaries.

There are no two ways about it. We were in Ekiti when he was blackmailing former governor Ayodele Fayemi for building N2 Billion Governor’s Lodge, whereas today he is building N5.7billion flyover, N2.5 billion Erekesan Market. And if not because of the court order, may be he would have continued with the airport project when five-months workers’ salaries are outstanding. By June ending, it will be six months.

I heard Fayose saying that he cannot sell his family to pay workers. This is not fair. Over 56,000 Ekiti persons are in the civil service and whatever affects them will affect everybody. Today, the artisans, market men and women, okada riders and business owners are complaining bitterly because nothing is moving. Ekiti is a civil service State. Everything including economy, politics revolve around them.

Governor Fayose must listen to wise counsel. He must pay workers and allow them to live good lives. I read about how many of them were being chased out of their rented buildings because of their inability to pay. I even learnt some went to the market to steal 2kgs of Semovita and our governor is grandstanding. I don’t think this is fair and it must be addressed.

How do you expect the State to get out of this gridlock with the dwindling allocation from the federation account?
Fayose did not tell Ekiti people that he would rely only on Abuja to run the government. He told them he is a veteran in running the economy of a State like Ekiti, but we have not seen any ingenuity from him on how to make the state less dependent on federal allocation. The only way out is by looking inwards and fashion out ways to improve the Internally Generated Revenue  (IGR).

Though, there were discrepancies in what the labour presented and what the governor disclosed. The labour alleged that the Accountant General had been disclosing between N200m and N268m monthly, while the governor after pressure said the State makes about N350 million. I think there was deception somewhere. The governor must be transparent. He should stop acting as if he wants to corner the State’s commonwealth. Let him tell Ekiti what he pays as wage bill. The N2.6 billion he has been emphasising on is unacceptable. Let him tell the people what he gets as IGR and with all this put together, Fayose will be able to pay salary of workers and entitlements of pensioners.

Do you support the agitations that President Muhammadu Buhari should back down on his anti-corruption war?
Those saying that are not sincere to this country and they must be saying it out of ignorance. Let us go to the foundation of our problems; Nigeria’s problem has always been that of corruption and nothing more. Nigeria’s economic problem and sectoral challenges came to fore just because of corruption tendencies of some few and now that we have somebody who can fight it and has been doing that, I believe we should all support it. President Buhari disclosed recently that a sum of N3.7 trillion was realised in one year from the seizures by EFCC and confiscation of looters’ properties.  This was a rare feat. I want to ask, do they expect President Buhari to drop charges against people like Sambo Dasuki, who allegedly diverted  $2.3 billion meant for arms procurement to fight Boko Haram? Do they expect people like Patrick Akpobolokemi, who awarded over N760 million phantom contracts in NIMASA to be spared?Do they expect the former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh and other army chiefs alleged to have looted several billions of naira belonging to Nigerians to be let off the hook?

I want to believe that the current agitation was politically-motivated and no sane President and lover of this country would help in amplifying or supporting that. Go to the grassroots and see how Nigerians are suffering. Some cannot even afford two square meals a day and someone is here saying that charges should be withdrawn, against who? If Nigeria has been a sane clime, those making the agitation should have been tried in court. Nobody has the right to make case for alleged criminals. Whoever thinks he is innocent should go to court.

The Federal Government has commenced the process of employing 500,000 teachers. What criteria do you expect to be deployed to get the right people?
The education sector is very key and pivotal to our success as a nation. Once there is problem in education sector, the entire sectors will collapse just like we are witnessing in Nigeria today.

Our academic standard is very weak and gradually being derecognized globally. I want to praise President Buhari for moving to strengthen the education sector with more personnel. But they should not just recruit people based on political patronage. They should bring in those that can turn around the already decadent system. They should recruit those with good academic qualifications, commitment and brilliance. This is because we know the manners through which certificates are procured in Nigeria. They should make those that will be employed to pass through the rigour of interview to ascertain their commitment and competence.