In this interview, Mr. Festus Enegide, an activist, says if the country must move forward, there is the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to tinker with his cabinet.
By Lekan Bilesanmi
Until he travelled, there was controversy about the health of the President and whether or not he should proceed to England to take care of his health?
Why was the noise about his health? Is he not human? When you are sick, you are sick; there are no two ways to it. Health is wealth. I was of the opinion that he should proceed to the UK to take care of his health. And I am happy he finally did. There is no way, as a sick person, you can have full concentration on your work. By the time he returns, he would, hopefully, be a healthier person.
Nigerians believe that some of the current ministers ought to have been discarded long time ago, especially those that have not lived up to expectation. Where do you stand?
You are absolutely right. Many of the ministers ought to have been sacked. For example, one would have expected that the president would have done something on the sports ministry.
The labour ministry is another area the presidency needs to look into; so also the ministry of works, power and housing. It appears, to my mind, that the enormity of the three-in-one portfolio is having its toll on the minister. Perhaps, there is need to see how it can be decongested. No doubt, Babatunde Raji Fashola is one of the best ministers but if we want to bring out the best in him, I believe there would be the need to see how the three ministries can be reduced into one or two.
How about the solid minerals, education and foreign affairs ministries among others?
I think the foreign affairs ministry has performed below average. There has been lack of activities in that ministry since the coming of this government. Look at the pockets of problems Nigerians had in South Africa in the last two years, it ought not to have happened repeatedly if that ministry had been up-and-doing The news coming out of our foreign missions is not palatable. Education is another ministry that is neither here nor there. There isn’t much happening there. I have not seen visible impact of that ministry in the sector.
The solid minerals ministry, all I have been hearing is mere rhetoric; nothing more. Again, I am disappointed that two years after the 2014 governorship election in his home state of Ekiti, Dr. Kayode Fayemi is still bellyaching over his loss of that election; even after he has had his day in court up to the highest court in the land.
His tenure as governor, he didn’t seem to have achieved much. Even the Women Centre to immortalise his late deputy, Funmilayo Adunni Olayinka, which he proposed, was started and completed by his successor, Ayo Fayose.
Since the second coming of Fayose, a lot has been going on in terms of infrastructural development.
The flyover along Fajuyi Road, the first of its kind in the old Ondo State; the new High Court Complex, the first since the creation of Ekiti State; the new Oja-Oba Market; the new Governor’s Office; the Odo-Ado street light project; the dualization of roads all over the state; are there for all to see, not to mention the “stomach infrastructure” projects of Fayose. At last month’s International Women’s Day celebration, Fayose set aside N500million as revolving loan to assist women entrepreneurs. I learnt Fayose inherited huge debts from Fayemi. When funds to service the debts are deducted from the allocations from the Foundation Account, Ekiti is left with very little money. This is the reason salaries and pensions are in arrears.
Like I have heard the ordinary folks say times without number, Ekiti people want a governor they can see and touch; not an elitist kind of person who operates too far from them. Fayose is a grassroots politician and the people’s governor. Though some of us may not like him, the important thing is that his people like him; his people see him; feel him; he talks to them; goes to them; and they go to him and he attends to their needs. And that is the most important thing because they would ultimately decide his political future. The Ekiti governor is the lone voice speaking up for the masses, not only in the South-West but also all over the country.
Imagine the huge support he gave to Nnamdi Kanu. For this, he is even more loved in other parts of the country than in his own Yoruba base.