“President Buhari is too old to rule this country and that is why there is problem in this country now”, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State said sarcastically while addressing journalists in Ibadan, Oyo state capital today.
He then went on to label Nigeria’s number one citizen is “grandfather” explaining why he has become his implacable critic.
Shedding light on his posture towards the president, Fayose who was the guest lecturer at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) World Press Freedom Day held at Press Centre, Ibadan, spoke on the topic, “Journalism and Politics : Two Sides of A Coin,” said “being my grandfather” does not mean that I will not criticise him when he goes wrong”.
He claimed that his criticism of President Buhari is healthy for Nigeria and the people of the country to achieve economic, and political stability stressing he would rather die than concealing the truth and that it would be absurd for all to watch and refuse to talk even when the ship of the nation is drifting away dangerously to perdition.
The governor noted that there are two things that people are afraid of: they are afraid to die and they are afraid to be locked away, but as far as he is concerned, he is never afraid to die or be locked away.
Citing instances of illegal arrest and detention of some Nigerians by agents of the Federal Government without evidence of any criminal charges, Governor Fayose stated that it was against the rights of any citizen to be detained for several weeks without any proof.
While insisting that his unrelenting criticism of President Buhari was not borne out of bitterness or hatred, the controversial governor said:
“I don’t abuse Buhari because he is my grandfather. But we all must not sleep and face the same direction in this country. The people voted for him because they wanted change, and I agreed with that because we really needed change. They told Nigerians that when they get into power there will be no subsidy and there will be no queues again but today fuel subsidy and queues are here. In the last 12 months, Nigerians have never had it so bad. Most generators have been exhausted. I am not here to challenge anybody but to tell Nigerians that we are in the wrong direction. Nigeria is in turmoil. When you want to deal with corruption, deal with corruption holistically. When I won election, they said it was made possible by an army general, and they sanctioned the general. But in Bayelsa, people were mercilessly killed, the general was not sanctioned. Look, when I started, I never lost any battle. I conquer consensus in my party”.
He asked Nigerian journalists to be alive to their statutory responsibility by holding leaders accountable for their action and inaction to save the country from the challenges confronting it. Fayose pointed out that some journalists are not patriotic as they are only concerned with their stomach.
“Most politicians are using journalists in Nigeria for their dirty jobs and they are supporting wicked politicians. Journalists in Nigeria always shy away from the truth because they are self-centred and are greedy. As a journalist, you need to discharge your duty without fear or favour.
”Politicians have no address and this is why it is possible for a man to decamp from PDP after 12 years into APC and is celebrated as a saint. Journalists should stop supporting and having soft spots for political parties and politicians. Our attitude as politicians is marimachop. Journalist is the hope of the common man”, Fayose said.
Stressing that Nigeria as a nation needs journalists more than politicians, he said, “Journalists need to put politicians on their toes. The career of most Journalists that dabbled into politics have been destroyed. This is an era of public governance and in the last 12 months, we have never had it so bad in this country. No fuel, no electricity and I can categorically tell you that we are in the wrong direction as Nigerians.
“President Buhari is too old to rule this country and that is why there is problem in this country now. Nigeria should not produce any President that is over 60 years. Younger people should rise and challenge older people. The stealing going on in this present administration is more than the one during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s period. We as politicians must be secondary in the books of journalist and we are only self-seekers”.
On the incessant killings by Fulani herdsmen in the country, Fayose warned them to stay off Ekiti State, vowing that his people were fully prepared to retaliate if they try to attack in any part of the state.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman of NUJ in Oyo State, Comrade Gbenga Opadotun commended Governor Fayose for appointing journalist as part of his administration.
“This day is meant to identify with the brutality and harassment faced by journalists in the world and that is why UNESCO has set aside today,”he said.