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2011: I’ve not yet decided - Gov Oni
Governor Segun Oni of Ekiti State recently spoke with some journalists, including Stephen Gbadamosi, on political developments in the state and the entire country. Excerpts:
W hat would you say about the recent court pronouncement on case about your tenure ending?
That was a Federal High Court. It was a judgment and like every other judgment, we will have to go to a higher court to test its strength. And I want to say that this case will go its full length; it will go to the Court of Appeal and whoever wins there, no matter what, will still be dragged to the Supreme Court. But let me say that it is not my case. It is a constitutional issue. Here, lawyers will have an opportunity to examine what tenure matter is and so on. I also know that it’s about setting precedence that everybody will see is clear enough.
But do you have a conviction that it is a just cause for you?
I cracked a joke and said I was a layman and that I didn’t know anything about law. But I said that if a man lived to the age of 50 and died and shortly after, the same day or a little while, he had a child and you called the child’s name Babatunde. That Babatunde will not start his age at 51; he will have to begin afresh like any other child. And so, this particular Babatunde in our own case that wants to inherit the two years before him will have to be subjected to the scrutiny of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court before we can allow the Babatunde to jump age.
Before the finality of the case, will you be seeking for a second term?
If the case is in court, I will not. We all saw the Peter Obi thing and we should not forget in a hurry. If the case is in court, I will not. But after the court case, we will know what will follow.
In the meantime, what do we expect between now and 2011?
We will continue development. I don’t know whether you have found so many circumstances where there are so many projects already executed in the history of governance in this country. I am not sure. We have seen our roads; we have seen the sheer number and their quality. We have seen our schools; their quality and their number. We have seen our hospitals; the blue hospitals and the general hospitals and so on. I am excited because I came here to engender development and it is happening everywhere.
It was discovered that you have not been given any chieftaincy title, either in Ekiti or elsewhere in the country. What is responsible for that?
It’s a matter of style; let us put it that way. I have collected a lot, but considering my celebration after I would have been out of office. You will notice that I have said the knighthood of my church be kept in abeyance. So also, the fellowship of my professional body has been kept in abeyance. It’s a matter of time.
What is your take on the Ikere-Ekiti college debacle?
Some of you have called to ask for my reaction about Ikere and I said they should wait. Let me seize this opportunity to enlighten you. My reaction is very clear.
When you sit down to take a decision, it takes a lot of things to move you away from it. Every position I take, I always seek advice and think deeply before taking them. My position is that precisely what we wanted to do in Ikere was to phase out NCE gradually and then, put in a university and it stays; it is what the Federal Government proclaims it is doing in Ondo State now.
And I haven’t heard that there are people on the streets in Ondo; people are happy. That is what they are doing in four other colleges of education that are being upgraded now in Nigeria. I haven’t heard a single word of protest. I think if there had been any words at all, they are words of commendation, happiness and joy. That precisely is what we said we were doing.
Is there anything different from those in what you are doing in Ekiti?
It is not different. So, you should recognise bad politics wherever you see one. I believe that the people of Ikere deserve to be appraised by the people who are bringing in this bad politicking that something like what they rejected or what they are supposed to have rejected is happening in four other places in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in addition to the fact that it had happened before in Ogun State and there was no condemnation.
What now is the way out of the logjam?
We still believe that if we can meet the deadline set by the Nigeria Universities Commission (NUC), we will get the university to continue, but the deadline depends on Ikere-Ekiti this time, and not on the government.