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Islamic Nation: Issues As Fayose Stirs The Hornet’s Nest

Posted: Feb 29, 2016 at 11:40 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Temidayo Akinsuyi

Lagos

At a time Nigeria is facing a serious economic challenge, not a few Nigerians have raised alarm over the incessant foreign trips of President  Muhammadu  Buhari, the number of aides embarking on such trips with him and the humongous amount needed to maintain the  presidential fleets.

In a statement released early February by  Ayo Fayose, governor of Ekiti state, he claimed that with the rate the president embarks on his foreign trips, he may end up spending 20% of the Federal Government budget.

Fayose, who claimed that each foreign trip of the President gulps about $1 million, which take a strain on the economy every time said “Conservatively, about $1 million goes into every of the foreign trips and the way the President is going, foreign trips alone might gulp 20 percent of the Federal Government budget and that will be disastrous for the dwindling economy of the country” .

The governor,  who has been nicknamed the ‘unofficial spokesperson of the  opposition Peoples Democratic  Party’, at the weekend  stirred the hornet’s nest  when he accused President Muhammadu Buhari of mapping ways towards making Nigeria an Islamic nation. According to him, the president’s recent trips to Saudi Arabia and  Qatar is a calculated attempt by the presidency was to formalise ways of Islamising the country.

Speaking at the weekend during the thanksgiving and Supreme Court victory celebration of Governor Nyesom Wike that was organised by the Rivers State Chapter of the PDP at the Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt, he described Nigeria as a free society and that would not be taken as an Islamic nation.

“I want to reveal one secret here; they have started subtle moves to make Nigeria an Islamic nation. But God will not allow it. This was done in 1984, but it failed. I cannot run away; I am Ayo Fayose. If you hit me, you hit trouble, if I hit you, you will be in trouble. Nigeria is a free nation and this nation will not be taken for an Islamic nation. Today, I decree the return of a PDP government in 2019. They (APC) are here by chance, they will go by chance,” Fayose said.

The governor’s statement has however generated widespread criticisms and condemnation from Nigerians.  While some said Fayose is trying to cause religious tension in the country through his unguarded utterances others accuse him of playing bitter politics since the mission of the president to the Arab countries were clearly stated before leaving the shores of the country.

According to a group, Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC,  Fayose has lost all sense of objectivity.

In a statement by the group’s head, Prof Ishaq Akintola, the group said the Ekiti State Governor was suffering from “diarrhea of the mouth.”

“By making such a wild and untenable statement, Fayose has just emerged as the most idle executive governor Nigeria ever had. Even a ten-year old Nigerian child knows the reason for Buhari’s visit to Saudi Arabia. Turbulence in the price of oil has greatly impoverished Nigeria and Buhari is employing diplomacy to turn round our oil fortune”.

“Playing pranks with Buhari’s visit to Saudi Arabia simply shows that Fayose has lost all sense of objectivity. Like a comedian governor and a court jester primus inter pares, Fayose prefers to cast a wicked joke with the fate of the Nigerian economy.

“But his attempt to whip up religious sentiment has failed woefully because Nigerians know that Fayose is a pathological liar, an unstable politician and an unreliable judge of men.”

Also condemning Fayose’s statement , the immediate past Minister of National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Sulaiman, described it as an unguarded utterance. According to him,  Fayose’s comment does not represent the opinion of most PDP members and may further dent the already battered image of the PDP.

“The statement credited to Governor Ayo Fayose on Saturday 27th of February that the trip by President Muhammad Buhari and Five Governors to Saudi Arabia is an attempt to transform Nigeria into an Islamic Nation should be seen as a misguided utterance and not a true reflection of the perceptions of most members of our party” .

“Not only is it capable of heighten the centrifugal tendencies in our country, such statement could be counter-productive to the reform agenda been driven by some patriotic elements in our party.

“The mere visit by the President and some government functionaries is not enough to suggest an attempt to islamise the nation. Any divisive statement from any leaders  of our party is condemnable and not in the best interest of Nigeria” he said.

In his remarks, Prof. Itse  Sagay (SAN),  a foremost lawyer and  Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption described as unreasonable those criticising the foreign trips of President Buhari saying they are very shallow in their thinking.

An enraged Sagay in a chat with Independent said those faulting the trips should concern themselves with the motives behind the trips and not whether it is frequent or not.

“I think some Nigerians are very shallow. They don’t think deeply before they speak.  They said the president’s foreign trips are too frequent. That should not be the question they should be asking.  They should ask ‘These trips are frequent, but are they useful?’  ‘Why did the president embark on such trips?’  Are they things that will benefit the country’?”

  He travelled to Saudi Arabia to consult on how to increase our quota and stabilize the price of oil. Is that not good for Nigeria? With the increase, we will earn more and be able to do a whole lot of things. So, I don’t know why adults should be saying the president’s trip is too much. Is he their father?   For the women, is he their husband? Must they see him in the house everyday?”.

“ He was elected for the welfare and security of this country and he has been touring the world trying to establish that.  I think he should be left home.  I heard lady saying he was collecting estacodes for the trips . Is he supposed to spend his money on behalf of Nigeria? Some Nigerians are very unreasonable and very difficult people to look after”.

While calling on critics of the president to leave him alone so as to focus on the job he is elected to do, he said most of the trips embarked upon by the president is aimed at liberating Nigerians from the bondage imposed by the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

“He is trying to revive this country from being comatose and redeeming us from the bankrupt state that the Jonathan administration has created for us.  Do they think the president doesn’t want to stay home and sleep on his bed?  Do they think it is easy for him travelling every now and then despite his age?  I think people should just leave him alone for the sake of the country” he said.