I don’t see any aspirant as threat to Oyebanji’s second term – Ex-lawmaker

Philanthropist and former member, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon Segun Erinle, in this chat addressed national and state issues and as well advised politicians and Nigerians generally to change the attitude of pulling down people who are doing well. Excerpts:

What do you think has changed in the eight months under Tinubu as president?

A lot has changed but the nature of our country, the changes may not be visible yet, but at least we are on the right track.

But the economy has continued to be in the decline. Are you not worried that it’s almost N1400 to a dollar?

That’s part of the changes I am talking about, the Naira needs to find its value first before stabilizing. Yes its affecting our people, but before now some people are making nearly N500 on a dollar because of the difference in the official rate and the black market rate. We need to stabilize things and move forward.

Do you really see the President getting things right?

All l can say for now is Mr President is on the right track, but we all need to support and pray for him.

What are your thoughts on the issue of restructuring?

We all know our challenges as a country. Firstly look at our constitution, a lot of lacuna are in the constitution, again look at the set up in the country, we need to restructure the country, is it proper for the Federal Government to be earning more than the states and the local governments.
States should be allowed to manage its resources and what accrued to each state.
The Federal Government should have no business in a lot of things in the states.
We need state police to curb the excessive of armed robbers, kidnappers and some security challenges.
Why should Federal Government be distributing palliatives, this should be the prerogative of the local government and the states. In essence we have loads of challenges that must be addressed.

But do you think the present cordiality between the executive and National Assembly is good for our democracy?

Smile, should they be fighting? I think for the country to grow, the Executives and Legislators should have a good working relationship, each has a role to play, but it should not stop the legislators from performing its oversight functions on the Executives.

Recently a minister was alleged to have committed some financial infractions and suspended from office. Do you see this as a right step?

Yes its normal for the President to have acted swiftly and suspended the minister while calling on the anti-graft agency to fully investigate all the issues involved.

But many believe that the other minister allegedly fingered in the matter ought to have been suspended as well. What are your thoughts?

Who was mentioned? The Minister of Interior who was mentioned cleared himself that he has resigned from the said company mentioned since 2019. He showed documents for the entire world to see.
So, l think mentioning him is a smear because the man is doing a great job in the Interior Ministry, securing Nigerian passport within a month which many think is impossible is now possible courtesy of the Minister. Our problem in this country is to pull people who are doing a marvelous jobs down. If it is later proven that he’s involved, he should be punished appropriately. Let me say something here l don’t know the Minister of Interior, l have never seen him or met him, but l am happy with the job he’s doing in the Ministry of Interior.

Ekiti State Governor is just over a year in office and everybody is endorsing him for a second term including members of the opposition…

Yes, the governor is doing a good job in the state, but its too early for the second term endorsements. You endorse a governor halfway in the government not after a year. I am so happy he stopped it. Yes nothing should stop him from getting a second term because he is doing a great job in the state. But all these shouts of endorsement and endorsement should stop. We should allow him to do more because to me by endorsing him so early he may think he has done more than expected. Yes by October 2024, we may start the endorsement, that’s halfway in the First Term.

There are insinuations that the present minister from Ekiti State is interested in the governorship come 2026…

You have just spoken of endorsement by prominent people in the state, don’t you think the Minister hears all the endorsements? Well, there is nothing bad in being ambitious, but l doubt if the minister will want to challenge the current Governor. Both of them are from the same Senatorial District in Ekiti and l think the current governor still has a large followership among party faithful which may be difficult to upstage in less than three years time.

How will you assess Governor Oyebanji by way of comparing him with his predecessor in office?

Compare in what sense?

In terms of attitudes to people and governance!

I have said on several occasions that both Dr Kayode Fayemi and Oyebanji’s governments are offshoots of Otunba Niyi Adebayo’s government. I can’t compare them, Governor Oyebanji took some of Otunba’s and Dr Fayemi’s policies and attitudes towards governance and working on them. As l speak to you, the government is working on the policies and plans formulated during the last Fayemi’s government, so l cannot come here and be comparing governments with similar policies and ideas. When we talk of attitudes we all have our different approaches to issues. So in terms of attitude, they must differ. Governor Oyebanji was referred to in Ekiti as a son (tiwantiwa) of the soil, while they refer to Governor Fayemi as Tokunbo just like they always call me too.

Opinions are divided on why you are not serving in the present government…

I will tell you that it is not as a result of lack of trust or incompetence. Other people too must be given opportunity to serve in the state.

But it’s being rumoured that you were not reappointed as a result of your undiluted loyalty to Governor Fayemi?

Laughter? Does Governor Oyebanji not have undiluted loyalty to Former Governor Fayemi? Well you said rumour. Our society is corrupted with rumour and lies hence the political arena is corrupted with lies on a daily basis. I have had the opportunity to serve and the feedback from my constituency has been encouraging since leaving elective office in 2015.

What advice will you give to the President Tinubu and Governor Oyebanji?

Mr President should remain focussed on his Renewed Hope Agenda for the country, ensure restructuring of the country is put in place and do his very best to improve the economy.
To my governor, he has started very well, he should remain focussed, avoid sycophants who trade in lies because of what to eat. He should focus more on agriculture and encourage investors to invest more in the country.

Since you have been out of government, what have you been doing?

At present, I am concentrating more on my PhD programme and l teach our young children after school for free in my town. I am committed to seeing improvement in the standard of education, hence l take it upon myself to assist these children who are leaders of tomorrow to ensure l improve their standard of education.

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