Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, has reiterated his position to continue to tell he truth to the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), noting that ”The President is not God, but only leader of our country for a period of time.”
Speaking with journalists on Friday, after the Ekiti State House of Assembly declared him the ‘leader’ of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Fayose affirmed that as a member of the opposition, he was not expected to be celebrating the government in power.
“For what?” he exclaimed, adding, ”I will tell them the truth. Opposition helps government of the day, helps Nigerians, to keep them on track. Opposition helps to check dictatorship, opposition helps to check oppression. My being here as governor, my voice today will remain by the grace of God.
“I’m not like somebody going underground for reasons of harassment; it is only shameful that the government of the day is after shadows. You want to be in power, you are in power; you have charged virtually all PDP governors to court, are we saying no APC governor is corrupt in this country? But for me, I’m not going into that; I’m not going to descend into that arena.”
”For everything I say, I say it in good conscience. When I was criticising the President before he became President of Nigeria, they thought I will be quiet after. Tomorrow, if I find him wanting, I will tell him. The President is not God, he’s only leader of our country for a period of time,” said Fayose.
Asked if his declaration by the state House of Assembly as leader of the opposition was in preparation for a bigger position, Fayose said: “I am not interested in anything. Even this one that I am serving as governor, it is the will of God for me. There is nothing to vie for.
“By morals, it can’t be the turn of Yoruba, if truly we are into rotation and for me, I’m not vying for anything. I’m not equally going to the Senate. Senate is what most governors will rush to; I’m not going. I won’t contest for Senate. So anybody expressing anything for me is wasting his time because I’m not going to beg for any office.
“I have gotten to this position because God wants me there and I’m not going to be part of any promotion to position me. No, I still have three years ahead of me. Who knows what will happen in three years time; who knows what will happen in two years time; who knows where Nigeria itself would be. So, we should all strive for the survival of this country first and forget about positioning yourself.
“Great leaders don’t talk about their political placement, they talk about the country’s placement, where the country would be at the appropriate time. But on the issue of what I stand for and what I say, I have no apologies and with all due respect, I have been like this from time immemorial and I have no apologies because this country belongs to all of us.
“This weekend, I will be 55; a lot of people died when they were 10 years old. Some died when they were 20, some when they were 30 or 40 but I’m 55. If I die today, my children will still entertain guests at my burial, you understand. They will equally leverage on my achievements for consolation. Gowon was president of this country at 28 or 29, Obasanjo was president of Nigeria at 37. Today, I’m still battling with the office of a governor and those people we are talking about are still talking in the public after being 80 or 90 years of age.”
Still on Obasanjo, with whom he has been on war path with over the years, Fayose said: “The likes of Obasanjo were looming larger than life at that time, where are they now? They are at Ota; they are begging for relevance now. They go to the villa everyday to beg for ministerial nominees. I was watching him in the papers, whether he was prostrating for Buhari or he was exchanging compliments, I don’t know. I can’t explain it. At certain times, you must know when to switch off; you must know when to turn off and you must know when to go to bed.
“For me, whether they call me leader of opposition or not, whether they call me Ayo Fayose, I’m not even chairman of PDP governors’ forum and I’m not desperate for anything, but you can’t take away my voice. You can throw away my word but you can’t throw me away.
“I remain resolute, I stand by the common man of this country. Tomorrow, Nigerians will appreciate me. It is in turbulent times that we know the strength of character of a man – in turbulent times like this – and it is shame on PDP leaders decamping because of relevance. They should keep their relevance; whatever we do – good or bad – will live after us.”