By LEKE ADESERI, South West Regional Editor
Engineer Segun Oni the erstwhile governor f Ekiti State removed by the Court of Appeal last year is living a modest life in his village Ifaki Ekiti. He has petitioned the National Judicial Council alleging inappropriate relationship between some of the Judges and the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN prior to the determination of the election petition that was ruled in favour of his ACN challenger at that time, Governor Kayode Fayemi.
In an interview with Vanguard he affirms that the Judges of the Court of Appeal allegedly caught in the inappropriate relationship with the ACN should have excused themselves from the case even as he affirms that all those involved in what he alleges to be conspiracy against him will know no peace until there is a redress.
While directly disengaging himself from an assessment of the current administration in the state he asserts that the regime is not telling the truth about allegations that he fleeced the state when he was Governor. “If they have anything against me let them get the police to arrest me. I am always here in Ifaki,” he told vanguard in this interview. Excerpts:
WHAT is the thrust of your petition over the relationship between the ACN and Justice Salami?
I will illustrate with something related to this that happened in Justice Ojomo’s court sometime ago.
As he was about coming out of his car, he saw his clerk discussing with somebody. Immediately the clerk saw the boss, he ran ahead of the boss inside the office. That is the way any of us will do. And immediately the boss got into the office, he headed straight for the courtroom and behold when the first case was called, the litigant was wearing the same cloth worn by the person he saw discussing with his clerk. There was nothing striking in particular but he was wearing the same cloth.
Transfer to another judge
There was no other person wearing that cloth, so he was able to conclude clearly that he was the person he saw with his clerk.
He told himself immediately that the case had to be transferred to another court, he didn’t give any reason but he transferred the case to another judge– Justice Oguntoye who is a non Nigerian white lady married to a Nigerian and immediately Justice Oguntoye saw it she declined to hear the case because Justice Ojomo and Oguntoye’s husband were friends and she thinks that if Ojomo should decline any case she shouldn’t hear it because people will ask for the basis for Justice Ojomo’s stepping down.
So the case was eventually transferred to Ikeja. After that, Justice Ojomo called the clerk and asked him; “Do you know why we had to go through all this? It’s because I saw you and the litigant discussing. Not because you can influence me, but because of the integrity of what we are doing. If your friend happens to be the one who won this case, they may think it is because of you.”
So if judges go to that extent under common law and things haven’t changed, something has to be done.
If Mr. Justice A. is presiding over an issue and it becomes obvious that it will go in the direction of B that is not right for consistency that is what we are saying. We are trying to help the system to get back to sanity.
So, are you planning to return as governor?
For me, it is not about Segun Oni as the Governor of Ekiti State. In the next few years he (Governor Kayode Fayemi) will cease to be and he will live the rest of his life as a citizen, but in what system? In a system that has been bastardised, that is so bastardised to the extent that the common man will not have belief in the system. That is what we are saying, we are saying let us prevent the further slide in the system. Whoever has not done it properly, let him or her be told that this is not the standard. It is not a matter of desperation.
You are saying you are not anxious.
I am not. I am here, I can tell you this is one of the most enjoyable parts of my life.
Everything I do – right from when I was a kid and I owe that to an experience that I told people during the burial of my mother– everything I did I did it with every seriousness. I did not give myself any latitude of an excuse so I worked myself up 24 hours non stop just to deliver credible result. So, I worked, I worked, I worked.
So now, I don’t have to, so I am a bit more relaxed I believe if I spend the rest of my life this way, I am likely to live longer. But if I find myself in a situation where I have to work 24 hours non stop I will also do because that is the demand. Yes, I applied myself to it that is me. I am not anxious about anything, I am a fulfilled person.
Is your successor doing well, by your assessment?
I don’t want to talk about the present administration any longer. What I want to do and continue to do is to ask people in good conscience to compare. Life is about comparison, not about hype.
People should compare, if they think they are doing well, the people should award them a pass mark that is my attitude. Is what they are giving to society okay? I did my beat and am sure they are trying to do theirs.
They said I mismanaged the resources of this state and I have said it times without number, a government that wants to act in good conscience will not even talk about that before they act on it. If I know a man who has stolen Ekiti State government money and I am very, very sure, I won’t let him go.
Government does not have to report that to the people, government is a large structure. They should just, take action; bring the police here, arrest me take me to court, present the evidence and we are sure that they have no fact to do it. I have said that several times, I did not steal a kobo working for Ekiti State government. I did not steal a kobo. And I can always say that.
They talk of contracts awarded and not touched.
If they say there is a contract that was awarded and not touched, they should come and bring it. If a contractor collected money, they should go, get the contractor and when the contractor is arrested, maybe the contractor will state the circumstances under which he collected money for what was not done.
A very serious government should not allow one person to stay in freedom who has been proved to have stolen from the government. If a contractor collected money for no work done, they should go and arrest the contractor.
I want to see such contractors arrested so that they will now state whether they have collaborators or not. I want as many of such contractors. There are some contractors here under my government that I will like to arrest now. There is one that I would have arrested, but he had stroke and when you want to apply the weight of the law, you don’t want to do that senselessly. But if such a contractor is working free now and is okay, yes, he collected money and did not deliver.
About how much?
I can’t remember because I did not store the details in my head, but we had to terminate the contract. So if there is anybody and I am still saying it, that collected money in circumstances that they think is unwholesome, let them go and arrest the person. And if the person mentions me as collaborator, they should come here and arrest me. As much as possible I am here. I am very confident of myself.
I am very confident that I did not cut any corner. Because the Yorubas will say that you cannot lose out on two grounds. You see me here, I have not amassed wealth, so some other people might say that I have lost out on the grounds of wealth.
Ground of integrity
So since I have not lost out on that ground, I have not lost out on ground of integrity so my confidence now comes from the fact that as an individual, you cannot lose out on both sides. You cannot fail to make money and at the same time fail to have confidence.
Some say you are so pissed off with governance that you do not want to take any elective office again?
It will be senseless of me if I am so pissed off to the extent that I don’t want to serve my people, to see things improve, to contribute my quota, it will be very senseless of me, that is not the issue.
I am just taking my time, I believe that I have been fortunate to have given my service, that is why people are talking about me.
I believe there are so many others who are so fortunate to have such opportunities to also do something. So, I don’t see any reason why I should scramble for anything. I believe first that I deserve to give myself some rest.
Your leaving office remains controversial.
I was asked to step down by a court so I left, but I know there will be no rest for the wicked. I was very confident that something will happen. You see, there will be no rest for the wicked and since I left, there has been no rest both in and out for those that concocted lies. They will not rest. I know that was the end of a chapter but not the end of everything.
I know that God is not a God of injustice and I know there will be no rest for the wicked and we are still watching.
Government is taking a huge debt on the neck of Ekiti people.
Well, if the Ekiti people are comfortable with it let it be. If I continue to talk they will say it’s because he has left government. I ran government here and I provided basic needs beyond what is being provided now without incurring any debt.
There are other stakeholders like Ekiti Parapo who are also people of integrity. If they think something is wrong they will say it. Let other people talk about that.
You and your party, the PDP…
No, I am very visible in the party. Party politics is not by loitering. You have to put your feet on the ground. In Ekiti State for example we are on the ground. I don’t believe in politics of loitering.
Want to be a godfather one day?
I want to continue to play the politics of relevance. I don’t believe in loitering. We are here, we don’t loiter, we work and that is all. You won’t see me lobbying or loitering. That’s not my politics.
How did you move out of Government House?
I thanked God, called my workers and prayed for them and myself, gave thanks to God, moved out of the place without taking a pin. I knew that was the end of a chapter. Only those who are righteous have the confidence that their tomorrow will be better than today.
What are your daily activities like now?
I wake up when I want to wake up usually mid-day and attend to people up to 10 pm or midnight depending on what I have to do.