Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has derided the nationwide anti-corruption protests by organized labour, describing it as a jamboree.
According to him, political office holders who steal from public coffers are ably aided by civil servants.
Mr. Fayose made the comments on Thursday when he received the leadership of the nation’s trade unions in his office.
The Chairmen of the state chapters of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Raymond Ade-Adesanmi and Trade Union Congress, Ayodeji Ladeji, paid a visit on behalf of the labour unions to the governor’s office in furtherance of their ‘campaign for Good Governance.’
Mr. Fayose told the labour leaders, who were predominantly civil servants, to purge themselves of corruption before pointing accusing fingers at politicians.
“No governor, minister or top political office holders can steal a penny from the treasury without the cooperation of the civil servants. We don’t write papers as politicians, but we only approve whatever the civil servants came up with,” he said.
“I consider the anti-corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari as mere propaganda. If you want to fight corruption, you have to do it by example. President Buhari must start from his party men. He should probe how his campaign was funded because he told Nigerians that he is a poor man.”
The governor also averred that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which is the foremost anti corruption agency in the country was riddled with corruption.
“The commission (EFCC) has been evading the payment of N10 million it ought
to pay to me over appeal court judgement when I sued EFCC for harassing my wife. Is this not corruption?” he asked.
Mr. Fayose also said his comments on Mr. Buhari should not be mistaken for hatred, noting that the President should desist from fighting corruption with a political face.
“I differed seriously on his anti-corruption war because he has been protecting other former heads of State, except President Goodluck Jonathan, who contested against him,” Mr. Fayose said.
“What is happening to Halliburton’s scandal and other corruption cases perpetrated before Jonathan’s government? This is what I expected the labour to do . They should ask questions, rather than mere protests.”
Mr. Fayose assured the labour leaders that he would continue to run the state with utmost transparency and decency, pointing out that he had nothing to hide and that that had been his strength in confronting anybody on any national issue.
“Corrected me if I am wrong, I am the only governor who calls the labour leaders to JAAC and FAAC to decide how the state allocation should be spent. This is to tell you that I have nothing to hide and nothing to fear,” Mr. Fayose said.
Mr. Ade-Adesanmi, however told journalists after presenting their letter to the governor on behalf of NLC and TUC, that the protest was designed to sensitize members of
the public about the injuries caused by corruption to societal values and wellbeing.
“Corruption has affected all the sectors- education, civil service, banks , markets, transport , power , manufacturing and other private and public institutions. It has led to the closure of factories and engendered poverty in the system,” he said.
“It breeds all kinds of crimes like robbery , vandalism , kidnapping, youth restiveness and insecurity.
“We promise that the trade unions will continue to support the current leadership in its fight against corruption.”
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