Why I’m sure of a sec­ond term - Fayemi Gover­nor John Kay­ode Fayemi i of Ek­iti State, re­cently spoke with news­men ws­men on why he seeks a sec­ond term erm de­spite the im­pres­sion that he has ex­hausted all his pro­grammes in the cur­rent ten­ure. Ex­cerpts:

I’m not go­ing to stop my fo­cus on ed­u­ca­tion but it is go­ing to be nar­rowed into the cre­ation of knowl­edge econ­omy. We have a lot of fo­cus on tech­no­log­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion, on vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion, on ICT and the knowl­edge park that we are con­struct­ing. We hav

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - By Andrew Agbese Gov John Kay­ode Fayemi Con­tin­ued on page 19

There were re­ports that APC gov­er­nors shunned a re­cent se­cu­rity meet­ing called by the Pres­i­dent on grounds that they were not prop­erly in­vited...

(Cuts in) We didn’t say we were not prop­erly in­vited. My brother, Gover­nor Ak­pabio was the one who said we were not in­vited. I don’t know what he was talk­ing about. In any case, we have asked the chair­man of APC gov­er­nors to is­sue a state­ment. We were in­vited by the Pres­i­dent. The usual text mes­sage was sent and sig­nals also came as they nor­mally do for such meet­ings. Four­teen APC gov­er­nors were in Abuja on Tues­day night for our meet­ing and when we were in Imo State Gover­nor’s Lodge for the meet­ing at about 10pm, we got in­for­ma­tion that the se­cu­rity coun­cil meet­ing had been stepped down. So, it wasn’t that we were not in­vited. We were in­vited and then no­ti­fied of a post­pone­ment. It was a sur­prise to us that the meet­ing later held. We were in the hos­pi­tals to see vic­tims of the Nyanya bomb­ings; we were in Asokoro, we were also at the Na­tional Hospi­tal be­fore we all de­parted from Abuja since the meet­ing had been called off. So I don’t know what Gover­nor Ak­pabio meant by his state­ment that we were not in­vited. In any case, if this was a meet­ing about se­cu­rity, APC states have been the most af­fected in the North East and our in­ter­est should nec­es­sar­ily be keener than those of non-APC states.

The state of emer­gency de­clared in three APC states is due for a re­view. Should the Federal Govern­ment con­sider an ex­ten­sion?

Well, the at­ti­tude of APC to the cur­rent state of emer­gency is that it has not pro­duced the re­sult that we would have loved to see. I don’t want to pre-judge what might hap­pen. In any case, there is a process for re­newal of emer­gency rule in the Nige­rian Con­sti­tu­tion. I’m sure the Pres­i­dent would ad­here strictly to the pro­vi­sions of the law as far as this mat­ter is con­cerned.

You said some­where that the Ek­iti elec­tion is a ref­er­en­dum on your per­for­mance, can we know what do you mean by that and do you think you will be re-elected?

An elec­tion is nec­es­sar­ily a ref­er­en­dum of what an in­cum­bent has done or failed to do in the judg­ment of the elec­torate. Some­body run­ning for the first time can only make prom­ises and hope that the people will be­lieve him. As an in­cum­bent, I am run­ning on the record of the pub­lic goods that I’ve de­liv­ered in ev­ery com­mu­nity and con­stituency. I have been on the cam­paign trail for over three weeks now and in ev­ery place I get to, the people are the ones who reel out what we have done in their com­mu­ni­ties. It is a much taller or­der for me in the sense that I must present tan­gi­ble, pal­pa­ble, ver­i­fi­able ev­i­dence of what I have done. That is what I have to sell. So, it is a ref­er­en­dum on my per­for­mance. It may not be a ref­er­en­dum on the per­for­mance of my com­peti­tors, ex­cept one who was in of­fice in the state and would have to show what he did. Even if he chooses not to talk about that, oth­ers would talk about his record in of­fice.

To your sec­ond ques­tion, ‘have I done enough to earn a sec­ond term?’ I ran in 2007 on a plat­form pop­u­larly known as ‘Roadmap to Ek­iti Re­cov­ery – My 8 Point Agenda.’ At the time, I was very spe­cific about what I was go­ing to do in of­fice. As far back as 2006, when you talk about so­cial se­cu­rity, if you read my in­au­gu­ral speech, you will find so­cial se­cu­rity ben­e­fit to the el­derly there. You will see lap­top per child there. There is noth­ing that we have done in this state that we have not picked up from the 8-point agenda. And ev­ery­one who is ob­jec­tive can at­test to the ful­fil­ment of what we promised Ek­iti State people. In the var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties we go to meet people, they speak on that. So I think the an­swer to your ques­tion is yes. My per­for­mance has earned me a rea­son to be­lieve that I would be re-elected. To­day a re­sult of one of the polls that we con­ducted in some com­mu­ni­ties came to me – one woman they spoke to ba­si­cally just said: “We like Fayemi. He has done very well. He has ful­filled all his prom­ises. He has not done any­thing that we don’t like but the is­sue is that since he has al­ready done ev­ery­thing he promised, he should al­low an­other per­son come in”. I found that very in­ter­est­ing. But the thing is that we have not ac­tu­ally done ev­ery­thing. There are ar­eas where I would score my­self 70 per cent or even 60 per cent. There are still some things to be done.

Se­ri­ously speak­ing, I think we have done rea­son­ably well. Don’t for­get that this state is No. 35 on the rev­enue lad­der of the coun­try, people of­ten for­get that. And this is a state that gets N3bn a month against N23bn in Bayelsa with a smaller pop­u­la­tion. So I think it is im­por­tant to put this in proper per­spec­tive. We run a so­cial demo­cratic agenda and it is a pro­gres­sive govern­ment. You will see that in many of the poli­cies that we put in place, we con­cen­trate on how to pull up the weak and the vul­ner­a­ble in our state. Ad­di­tion­ally, we have run a rea­son­ably clean govern­ment. So, I think we have done enough to earn a sec­ond term. But we are also not un­aware that per­for­mance it­self is not the only fac­tor in an elec­tion but it is the most crit­i­cal suc­cess fac­tor for an in­cum­bent.

With

the

dis­par­ity

in the money you get from the fed­er­a­tion ac­count, would you say you are com­fort­able with the federal sys­tem prac­tised in Nigeria?

We don’t op­er­ate a federal sys­tem in Nigeria, or at best we op­er­ate a dis­torted pseud­ofed­eral sys­tem which does not op­er­ate co­or­di­nate pow­ers among the fed­er­at­ing units but a hi­er­ar­chi­cal, sub­or­di­nate pow­ers in­her­ited from our mil­i­tary past. If we op­er­ate a federal sys­tem, then you will not have things like UBEC and TETFUND which gives people the im­pres­sion that states are be­holden to the Federal govern­ment, whereas it is the funds jointly owned in the Fed­er­a­tion Ac­count that is be­ing shared. If we run a proper Federal struc­ture, you will not have us here spend­ing our mea­gre re­sources in sus­tain­ing the po­lice, whilst we have no author­ity over its ac­tiv­i­ties in the state un­less our views co­in­cide with or re­in­force the in­struc­tions from Abuja. It’s sim­ply a dis­tor­tion of federal sys­tem.

As for the dis­par­i­ties in earn­ings be­tween Bayelsa, or Rivers and Ek­iti, I do not have any prob­lem with it. I’m an ad­vo­cate of fis­cal fed­er­al­ism. So, I do not nec­es­sar­ily have a prob­lem with Rivers State, for in­stance, earn­ing what comes from its soil. How­ever, in or­der for us not to un­der­mine the na­tion, for any federal sys­tem to work well, we of­ten need equi­li­brat­ing mech­a­nisms so that one side is not over­whelm­ingly rich and other sides of the fed­er­a­tion so de­spi­ca­bly poor. We have to find a mech­a­nism to bal­ance this and if you look at the Aus­tralian and the Cana­dian Con­sti­tu­tions, even in the Amer­i­can Con­sti­tu­tion, you have these mech­a­nisms there. We have them in ours as well but they are ex­er­cised in breach rather than in con­sis­tency with the law. So, I hope those who are work­ing on this in the na­tional con­fer­ence will be able to come up with a fed­er­al­ism that is more co­op­er­a­tive than com­bat­ive be­cause states are be­ing forced into a com­bat­ive model. We once heard a Pres­i­dent say “if you are not for me then you will be pun­ished. Your purse would be de­pleted and that is what is hap­pen­ing. You have states like Ek­iti where we have done sev­eral federal roads but are be­ing owed bil­lions. You also have other states that are be­ing owed and have col­lected all they are be­ing owed. So, you would ask yourself why that hap­pens if there is jus­tice, eq­uity and fair­ness in our federal sys­tem.

One of your pro­grammes that the op­po­si­tion has not crit­i­cised is the dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion of in­come, what is it all about?

You are talk­ing about the In­te­grated Pay­roll Bio­met­ric Sys­tem. I don’t know if the op­po­si­tion has not crit­i­cized it. When we started it, they called us all man­ners of names – that the agenda was to get rid of the civil ser­vants but even­tu­ally, you are right, they couldn’t crit­i­cise it be­cause the civil ser­vants and the teach­ers be­came cham­pi­ons of the elec­tronic pay­ment sys­tem and it has saved us a lot of money spent on ghost work­ers. We are now even try­ing to use the same sys­tem for our Cit­i­zen Iden­tity Man­age­ment Sys­tem and our so­cial se­cu­rity pay­ment, which is still man­ual pay­ment and there is still a level of in­ef­fi­ciency and waste that we have de­tected in the so­cial se­cu­rity pay­ment. But clearly, bio­met­rics is the way to go. If you want to run an ef­fi­cient govern­ment, tech­nol­ogy has to play a ma­jor role. And that is how we have been able to re­duce fraud in the sys­tem. We now save an aver­age of N200 mil­lion.

Are you likely to pick an­other run­ning mate or you’ll con­tinue with the cur­rent deputy gover­nor?

You know what they say, ‘if it

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