“TODAY, WHAT YOU HAVE IN NIGERIA IS SOME PEOPLE SAYING, ‘IT IS OUR TIME TO RULE!’ AND THEY ARE RULING WITH IMPUNITY”….AFENIFERE RENEWAL GROUP

 "TODAY, WHAT YOU HAVE IN NIGERIA IS SOME PEOPLE SAYING, ‘IT IS OUR TIME TO RULE!’ AND THEY ARE RULING WITH IMPUNITY"….AFENIFERE RENEWAL GROUP

Kunle Famoriyo

OAU students sad about Jonathan’s poor govt —Famoriyo

National Publicity Secretary of the Afenifere Renewal Group, Mr. Kunle Famoriyo

National Publicity Secretary of the Afenifere Renewal Group, Mr. Kunle Famoriyo

The National Publicity Secretary of the Afenifere Renewal Group, Mr. Kunle Famoriyo, in this interview with TOBI AWORINDE, justifies the recent protest by Obafemi Awolowo University students against President Goodluck Jonathan

The Goodluck Jonathan administration has scored itself high in infrastructural development, among others. Why then do you think the students of Obafemi Awolowo University were unhappy when the President visited the institution?

The students were unhappy because the economy of the country is bad. The students were unhappy because the security of the nation is bad. They are the leaders of tomorrow. They can read between the lines that the funds that come to the Federal Government are being spent ridiculously. The students can see and feel it; they have parents who cannot give them money as they should. They feel the pinch of the bad economy that is being run by the Jonathan administration. Now, you can see the naira has gone up to about 187 to the dollar. If the naira was not devalued, it would be a different story. When I was younger, I spent N45 in the university for a whole month, until we had the Structural Adjustment Programme and structures dictated by the International Monetary Fund. From that time till today, the value of our currency has kept on going down because we’re not running the type of economy that we’re supposed to run. An economy that is only dependent on oil is no economy; an economy that does not produce anything. All the industries in Ikeja, Lagos have been turned into churches.

Organisers of the President’s visit to the South West, have accused the opposition of spreading the falsehood about the OAU students’ protest.

We know that is what they will say. Anytime that anything goes wrong for them, they say it is the APC. Are they (PDP) really on the ground in the South-West? Who is talking about opposition? We, the Yoruba, are saying what they are doing is wrong. They can’t come through the backdoor to woo us. That is what we are saying. Neither the PDP nor the APC is Yoruba. When the Yoruba were asking for a sovereign national conference, were they among those who were asking for it? What we are saying, in essence, is that the majority of those that are there (in Federal Government) who claim to be Yoruba cannot be compared to those who fight for the Yoruba on a regular basis. How can they come to tell us that the Yoruba have endorsed Jonathan? What kind of trick is that? Those who are the forerunners in promoting the advancement of the Yoruba were not there. Several times, we have called several Yoruba conferences, those people never attended. They should stop distorting facts. The students that acted could not have been all Yoruba. Jonathan took their political outing to Oduduwa Hall of the university during the period the students were sitting their examinations. They had been struggling on their own, and during the most important thing in their lives, he (Jonathan) came to disrupt with all kinds of security agents. Why couldn’t they do their politics outside? Is it student union politics that they have brought into the university? Why couldn’t they restrict it to the Ooni of Ife’s palace?

President Jonathan recently said he had performed better than every president since 1960, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is of Yoruba descent. Do you agree with him?

I don’t want to speak from the point of ethnicity. We are talking about performance and I think that whichever way we look at it, Obasanjo fared better than Jonathan, from the point of view of administration and making sure that everybody was carried along in his administration. It was not ethnicity-based; people were given a chance along the national character, in terms of employment and all that was necessary. He did well along that line. He did not do it as a Yoruba person; but today, what you have in Nigeria is some people saying, ‘It is our time to rule!’ and they are ruling with impunity.

Does this alleged impunity echo the sentiment you expressed of Afenifere not having good representation at the national conference?

To a certain extent, we have managed ourselves as people and we have become friends. Whatever the differences that were there then have been managed and we formed a formidable front at the conference.

Jonathan has often said his administration is improving in the agricultural sector. Has the impact not been felt in the south-western states, where agriculture is a major source of revenue?

There are quite a number of things that are meant to be done by the states, if we really have true federalism. The Federal Government has appropriated quite a number of things to itself to the degree that everybody has to go to Abuja to collect allocations. We are not allowed to manage our economy along federalist tendencies. It is the Federal Government that has the largest chunk of money. If we have true federalism, where we don’t have too much money in the hands of the Federal Government, those things are possible. But in a situation whereby you have little funds to spend; barely enough to pay full salaries, how will the states have any money to go into any form of development? We have to give kudos to most of our governors in the South-West, who have managed to bring about development in infrastructure. Whatever they are doing in that regard with the little money they have, one should give kudos to them. They still manage to give out funds to farmers. But the main problem is that farming is capital intensive. For us to do a good job with farming, we should be left alone to earn our own money, generate our money and be able to put whatever we want to put in the right place, rather than being dictated by the Federal Government.

Copyright PUNCH.

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