By ADEBAYO OBAJEMU
The fiery Founder of Odua Peoples Congress (OPC), and human rights crusader, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, in a chat with Business Hallmark’s Adebayo Obajemu, speaks on the state of the nation, the economy and what he called ‘ vendetta anti-corruption war’ of the Buhari administration among other issues
The ‘son’ of Odua as Frederick Fasehun, the inimitable Founder of OPC, the Yoruba socio-cultural group, refers to himself is very angry with the state of the nation, and he wasted no time to mention the litany of reasons why this government was yet to put its acts together: the Chibok girls are still in Sambisa forest, the economy is down and worse off than when former president Jonathan was in the saddle, prices of foodstuff have hit the all-time high and far above what the ordinary Nigerians that voted for Buhari can afford. ”You can believe that Gari the cheapest stable for the common man is now sold at N600′, wondering what would happen if the administration refuses to do the needful.
He accused Buhari of behaving ‘to type’, saying the president is yet to shed off his dictatorial tendency. ‘In all honesty, the so-called anti-corruption war is a vendetta, it was mainly a ruse to target the opposition’, he said. He stated that if the president was sincere in his war against corruption, every Nigerian would support him. ‘I would support him if he can go the whole hog instead of the current vendetta masquerading as anti-corruption war’, adding that the president in all honesty cannot claim that everybody in All Progressives Congress is a saint.
On the change mantra of the APC-led government, he stated that there was no change that what the APC did was to unleash a gigantic propaganda on Nigerians which hoodwinked many who voted for the party, saying he and many others who were able to see through the deceit warned Nigerians to be careful with a Greek gift that they would turn out to regret.
Fasehun stressed that today Nigerians have seen the light, and that was why the Nigerian Labour Congress wanted to go on strike to protest the hike in pump price of premium motor spirit.’What has changed?, he asked rhetorically, stating that Buhari is not sincere , citing the appointments he made.
He was of the belief that those intellectuals and technocrats who understand governance, the economy and could have Buhari to kick-start a new dawn in governance and who could help turn around the economy were sidelined. He said professor Patrick Utomi wrote the economic roadmap for APC, with enormous contribution by people like Nenadi Usman, professor Chukwuma Soludo and other fine brains . ‘Where are they now?, he asked, saying Buhari missed it altogether when he decided to play politics with the destiny of the country by sidelining competence for political sentiments.
On security, the fiery OPC leader said he would score the president low, stating that in his administration kidnapping, renewed militancy and pockets of attacks here and there by Boko Haram have all mired the gains he made in preventing the Boko Haram insurgents from holding territories as they used to do before he came to power.
He blamed the Southwest for falling for deception and huge propaganda war unleashed by APC. ‘We warned the Southwest not to vote wrongly but now many have expressed regret since the change they voted for is a mirage’, he stated.
He urged well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on Buhari to come up with realistic economic policies, adding that the president was being deceived by people who surround him.
‘I don’t care where you come from, what is important to me is performance, somebody who can institute good governance is what I want’.
He affirmed that people like Soludo, Ezekwesili, Utomi and others have competence to turn things around. ‘See, these people are not Yoruba, so nobody can accuse me of tribalism, but i know they are competent.
On Fulani herdsmen, Fasehun stated that the rate at which the herdsmen attack Southern Nigeria is alarming and suspicious.
‘Where do they get AK47?, who armed them, and who are they fronting for? He stressed that the Fulani herdsmen have expansionary agenda , probably the new generation of Fulani have dusted off the file of their forefathers which was to dip the Koran into the Atlantic Ocean, he stated.
He further stressed that when they first came to Nigeria and started Jihad in 1804 when they subdued the Hausa Habe rulers, they have been nursing the ambition to extend their domination to the South.
According to him, he will not begrudge their rights to free movement but he would resist any attempt to abuse that right by destroying farmlands and laying claims to territories in Yorubaland. He said OPC was formed to do just that, saying that the organisation was ready to protect Yorubaland if the push comes to shove as far as the Fulani herdsmen matter is concerned.
He was particularly irked by the attack on Olu Falae, the former Secretary to the Federation government. He said it took warning from him that the OPC would respond if president Buhari did not make a statement on the matter within stipulated time before the president responded.
He warned the National Assembly not to pass the bill on the grazing corridors for the herdsmen, saying doing so would have dire consequences.
He was angry that it was only Governor Ayodele Fayose that is the voice of the opposition, adding that Buhari has terrorised good people from making comments on the nation, saying what he did to politicians in his first outing as Nigerian leader is still fresh in the minds of many Nigerians, and as such they are afraid to criticise him.