• Says crisis with Makinde, Olujimi not personal
Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
A former Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has said he would not join political enemies of the former Lagos State Governor, Senator Bola Tinubu to shoot him down politically, describing him as one of the greatest builders of men in Yoruba land and Nigeria at large.
Fayose said this in Afao Ekiti yesterday while speaking with journalists as part of events commemorating his 60th birthday.
He said though he was not holding brief for Tinubu, who is the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, but added that people should learn how to appreciate those who had done creditably well despite political differences.
On his seeming frosty relationship with the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde and Senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District, Biodun Olujimi, Fayose said there was no leadership tussle among them.
He added that there was nothing personal and that the issues would be resolved in the interest of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Fayose spoke on the recent defection of the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi to the APC, saying he would never jump ship like those politicians that were bereft of political ideology, describing those indulging in such acts as political robbers.
Fayose said: “I am not championing the course of Tinubu, am not in the position to do that, but there is no denying the fact that Tinubu is a prominent Yoruba leader, whether in APC or in PDP.
“There is no gainsaying that fact. Fayose is a prominent son of Yoruba nation. Governors Nyesom Wike, Ifeanyi Okowa, Okezie Ikpeazu, are prominent sons of southern Nigeria.
“What am I trying to say is that, we can’t hid their identities and goodwill for political reasons. We can’t deny their contributions. Other leaders from the North like Ahmadu Bello Sardauna, they made different impacts not necessarily like Awolowo. So, Tinubu has paid his dues. I have paid my dues, Okowa has paid his dues, Wike has paid his dues, we need to acknowledge them.
“The late Balarabe Musa, who was a leader of note and repute, cannot be forgotten in history. For me, Tinubu has paid his dues. I stand by that. I have not seen Tinubu after the Ekiti election by any means; we have not even met at a function or saw him passed.
“President Muhammadu Buhari condoled with me on the death of my sister, does it mean we are on the same page politically? No. I will not sit down in any corner to shoot down Tinubu. I am not a member of APC and I will never be. But I supported Governor Fayemi to be governor by Tinubu’s influence at a time”.
He said that in spite of the crises in the PDP, He would not jump ship like some leaders of the party had done, saying: “if we are fighting in PDP, let us fight it inside PDP. People who have been jumping ship are armed robbers. They are being driven by greed and inordinate ambition.
“These are indications of the type of leaders we have in our country who are without ideology. They go for only what they feel would benefit them.
“Our politics is sick. Everything in Nigeria is currently sick and is a function of the leadership that we have. Governor Umahi’s joining APC after benefiting several positions in PDP was unprincipled. We do not accept the excuses given by the governor.
“I am not satisfied with some things in PDP, but leaving the party does not equally solve the problems.”
He said that the entire raging crisis between him and other leaders of the party in Ekiti and the region would be resolved in the interest of the PDP.
“There is nothing to worry about. If Governor Makinde and I have issues, Nigerians should not worry themselves about that, it is not personal and more so, there is no power in the region. There is no regional government. Every power lies in the state. Structures in Ekiti are different from structures in Oyo, structures in Oyo are different from structures in Lagos.
“I was the one who went to flag off Governor Makinde’s campaign in Ogbomoso. Whether he is backing Senator Olujimi or not, the fact remains that the struggle for the control of party’s structures in Ekiti has come and gone, so why do we have to fight over spilled milk?
“We won the congresses, but they are in court, if the court says it’s Olujimi that is right, we would follow her and if the court says she has no case, they should join us so that we can move the party forward. Let us pursue our interest legitimately in the manner that will create peace in the region”.