Former governor of Ekiti State and National Vice Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, Chief Segun Oni, spoke with Abuja Bureau Chief OLUMIDE BAJULAIYE on the recent election and the crisis currently rocking the state’s House of Assembly…
How did you feel when you heard of the results of the presidential poll?
I felt very, very good first as a member of APC, second as a Nigerian but I will say more importantly as Nigerians we have all been waiting for this moment. All of us, Nigerians across party lines, we have all been waiting for this moment when we would have hope, that our country will now be put on the right pedestal for development. I believe that this is the hour. We have come short of expectation in the last six years no doubt. It is not about partisan politics, which people sing about, it is about development expectations. Now we have a new pilot coming unto the saddle; that is what democracy is about. If one party does it and they are not doing well enough change them. It is a challenge for us coming in now that we have to know that if we come short of expectation of the people, the people will also do this to us. My prayer is that we will perform so excellently well and that Nigerians will continue to trust us for a long time to come.
How would you have felt if you were still in PDP?
I will not have felt good, let me tell you, I wouldn’t have felt good being in a party people generally dislike because you can see the intense hatred even in the eyes of average Nigerians on the streets. The average Nigerian has turned against the PDP. It was no longer in fashion. A few people at the top may not know, because they don’t go on the streets. The average Nigerian has already turned away from them and I wouldn’t have felt very good if I found myself in that way. I would have been asking myself, why ‘am I making myself the enemy of the people. So I thank God that I am not there. I believe that I am lucky; I am one person that is lucky to be on this side because I wouldn’t have found it funny. And especially again some of the funny names you keep seeing, coming up at the top there, I wouldn’t have loved to associate with them.
There was insinuation that PDP was planning to tamper with the election result… (cuts in)
You see whatever happens, whatever rumours let us not even discuss them, they are not important anymore. What is important is that Nigeria is going to take off again on the part of sustainable development. And we have a captain in the saddle that we trust and we believe will do the right thing. That’s the most important thing.
As an ex-governor of Ekiti State, what is your view about the affairs in the state?
What is going on in Ekiti State, well I don’t know, we have a governor there who is governing the state by his own rules, not by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And I keep saying that any part of this country that is being governed under a separate constitution, that exercise amounts to treason. You have seven people making laws in the House of Assembly in an assembly that must not sit if there is no quorum of nine members minimum. So no matter what happens, no matter the pressure, seven people under the constitution of this country cannot go into the assembly and make laws for the people. It is treason. They are encouraged by the governor to do it, so they are co-participants in the exercise of treason. And it is very unfortunate that the rest of Nigerians are also standing by and looking. Why would they allow any part of Nigeria to be governed by a law strange to the rest of us? It is very, very important that all of us as Nigerians must stand up and prevent anybody from messing up the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. No matter how highly placed, no matter the situation. That is why I believe what is going on should have been resisted by everybody, every Nigerian, either from the South, from the East or from the North, because it’s a flagrant rape on the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is treason.
Now that APC will be in power, will you press that the Ekiti issue be looked into?
Yeah! Ekiti must be cleaned up. It must be cleaned up, what is going on there now is not acceptable. It will not stand. And I am surprised that people of goodwill are standing bye and watching. There is no way it can stand, seven people making laws, confirming commissioners, passing budgets. They are too short of quorum. Therefore, they are using their own constitution, not that of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And I expected the Attorney-General of the Federation to have made moves against Ekiti State government long ago. I think it is the height of dereliction of duty and lack of professionalism for the Attorney-General to keep silent and allow people to use other laws to govern us rather than the constitution to govern any sub-national government. The Attorney- General should have done something. He is the person who should have advised the President to see what is going on in Ekiti as a danger for everybody. He turned everything to partisan politics. If they are committing any crime, once they have people backing them up they think they are all in all, I hope the President will wake up from his slumber and spend the rest of his time to defend the constitution and do what is right, because there is no election that anybody will want to blackmail him with any longer. He should wake up. And the Attorney-General should also wake up. The Ekiti issue should become a very important assignment for them in the next few days. Seven people cannot make laws in an assembly of 26 members, no way. The Attorney- General must make a statement; he must stand up to defend the constitution.
The President must stand up to defend the constitution. Whatever needs to be done there, they have to do it. This is not a partisan issue.