From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Chief John Olumuyiwa Filani is the chairman of Young Progressives Party (YPP) in Ekiti State. and was a former chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti before he resigned his membership to join the Young Progressives Party (YPP) last year.
In this interview, he said it was high time youths steered the wheel of various elective offices in the state and country, hence his decision to pitch his tent against the All Progressives Congress(APC).
You resigned your membership from the APC to join the YPP, how are you doing in your new party?
Fantastic! I obeyed what the constitution says, that if you want to join another party just like I did, you have to renounce your membership of the previous one otherwise, it will be an anti-party situation which I never wanted to occur; that was why I renounced my membership from APC to join Young Progressives Party.
During your resignation from the APC, you described big political parties and leaders as ‘forest of failure’, what triggered your description?
Well, of course, you don’t look up for big names, these things are very obvious and I don’t play my own politics with sentiments. Our leaders, my own generation have failed Nigerian youths, we have failed the masses, and most of the politicians that we know, the big names and big political parties have failed the nation and that is why I am saying this is the time that youths should gear up and take up leadership positions. I am not categorizing myself as youth bearing my age but I am here to coordinate the youths so that we can find out those who have leadership qualities among them and then we encourage them to take up leadership positions.
You pitched your tent against APC to join YPP, what informed your choice of party?
Because the APC has failed as a party. It has failed the nation. APC has no solution to the current situation in Nigeria. Shall we talk of insecurity, shall we talk of education, shall we talk of infrastructure, name it. What has APC done to warrant my continued support? For PDP is a no-no. So, because of all these, I said enough was enough, we could no longer continue to follow APC with our eyes closed, now is the time to encourage and support the youths for leadership positions. 2022 is around the corner, we all will see the performance of YPP at the polls.
In a publication dated January 20th, this year, you said “YPP is a third force to reckon with in Ekiti 2022 and 2023 general elections”, what did you put into consideration to have arrived at this?
Well, I have been in Ekiti State for years and I have been following the political trend in the state and
going by the feelings of the masses, majority of Ekiti people are fed up with the APC; this is the bitter truth, and most of those that are still in APC are just there because of the salaries, but deep down their minds, they are no more with the APC. The situation in APC is you see my hand but you don’t see my mind; this will be shown at the polls. As for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the masses are completely confused, look at the way the party is divided both at the state and national levels. Are we leaving APC to come back to PDP? The answer is no. When we say we don’t want APC, and PDP is bad, then a third force must come, which is YPP. The Young Progressives Party (YPP) is a ballot revolution and people will be surprised to see the performance of YPP come 2022; an average Ekiti person will be shocked at the outcome of YPP next year. YPP is the best party for the job in Ekiti 2022 and 2023 general elections. Most people are singing the praise of Governor Fayemi now because of the fear of losing their jobs. But before 2022, a House of Assembly by-election for Ekiti East is coming March 20th and YPP is fielding a candidate.
In that same publication dated January 20th, you said patriotic Nigerians will vote your party into power in 2022, 2023 general elections; are you saying past elections especially in recent times were not won based on this?
Not at all, you see vote buying, rigging and all sorts of atrocities characterizing elections. The issue of imposition is another thing. In my local government, there were no primary elections, likewise other local governments; people were handpicked in the state into elective offices, such as the Senate, House of Reps, chairmanship and others. Many people were not happy with it and had to pitch their tent against APC but again, they cannot leave APC for PDP; that is why YPP is the third force where people who are aggrieved, who are not satisfied with the leadership of APC, who are not satisfied with what PDP had done, that is where YPP comes in, and we now say it is not only a party for aggrieved, old politicians but a party for the youths, market women, artisans, those who feel that they can have a better take in governance and those who are ready to enjoy the dividends of democracy.
Ekiti South is agitating to produce the next governor, saying the Central and the North have produced governors in the state, what is your take on this?
Yes, in fairness, when you look at it, Ekiti North and Ekiti Central have produced governors and they are following the constitution of senatorial rotation, and by rotation Ekiti South should produce the next governor, that is as per APC and PDP, but as for YPP, we don’t give a damn. If you have the qualities to lead Ekiti State, whether you come from the North, Central or South, so shall it be and you find out during the previous elections, even the Ekiti South agenda, you look at them, they are already divided. They are so confused, they are not coming together as a Senatorial district to present a credible candidate and that is one of the reasons Ekiti South may not, if care is not taken, come to a concensus of presenting a credible candidate and while that is going on, that is where YPP will cash in. YPP is going to take the next governorship seat in 2022 in Ekiti State.
What is your assessment of the current administration in the state?
Governor Fayemi is doing his own best, but at times the best may not be enough, he could do better. I was here during his first term, can anyone compare what he did in his first term with what is happening now? The answer is no. Look at the state we are now, no electricity, no potable water; look at the road network( the state roads), they are completely in bad shape; look at the economic situation in the state. His first term was far better than now, I remember during his first six months in his first term, Ekiti was turned to a construction site because he handled the road network; look at what he did from Ado-to Ifaki, Ado to Ilawe and others like that during his first term, what can you say in his second term? I am talking about the state roads where local government should be involved; during his first term, I remember he had this arrangement whereby all the local governments had about 15 kilometers road network within the local government headquarters, nothing like that in this second term. I am not attacking him, he has done his best but his best is not enough. With the little that comes into the coffers of government, a good government should be able to do better than what we are getting.
What is your assessment of President Buhari-led government in the last five years?
It is a complete failure. Sentiments apart, which area can we say President Buhari has done credibly well? The primary motive of governance is security; an average Nigerian cannot close his eyes and sleep overnight; you will be scared of armed robbery, if you are not scared of armed robbery, how about kidnappers and bandits? You see all sorts of atrocities during his time; security in the country is completely a failure, a let down and we cannot continue like this; look at the high cost of living, the exchange rate, the dwindling economic situation, most Nigerians are just keeping quiet; 2022, 2023 is around the corner, we are not going violent but by ballot revolution. If A is not satisfactory enough, during the next elections vote them out and that is what YPP is going to do; we are ready to vote APC and PDP out.
How do you see the security situation in the country?
Is it in the Niger, Zamfara and now Kaduna State bandit attacks or the kidnappings, killings and other atrocities here and there? Do you know some atrocities are not known to the public? We are in a mess in this country and we will not allow the APC government to throw Nigerians into total confusion. Yes, it has happened in Niger and other states; these states never expected it. The questions are; what are our preparations for things like these? What preventive measures do we have in place? It is unfortunate that we are not proactive in things like these in this country; we don’t take the necessary steps until things happen.