Mr. Ayodele Fayose’s letter to the Chinese Government, asking them not to grant President Muhammadu Buhari’s request of $2 billion loan has been trailed by endless reactions from different quarters in Nigeria. The Governor of Ekiti State has seen several criticisms following his letter.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Lagos State Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, and other lawyers on Sunday, expressed complete disapproval of Fayose’s letter to China describing it as mere irritation and of no importance.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari last week visited the People’s Republic of China in the company of some state governors, the Governor of Central Bank, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and some ministers, and in the course of the visit, the president finalised negotiations for the loan and a currency swap deal with the government of China as part of efforts to bring the economy of Nigeria back to life in the face of current decline in oil revenues.
The Ekiti State Governor who traveled to China on April 12, while President Buhari was there, was armed with a duplicate of the letter which according to reports, he was to personally deliver to the President of China, Xi Jinping as part of his ongoing official trip to the country.
As written in Fayose’s Letter To China, “all Nigerians, irrespective of their political and religious affiliations were against any applications for new foreign loans.” This, according to him was based on the fact that servicing current debt was already burdensome to the country as it gulps over 25 per cent of the nation’s yearly budget.
Acting in response to Mr. Fayose’s letter to China, a former Chairman of Ikeja Branch of NBA, Onyekachi Ubani, described the letter as inconsequential, since negotiations had already been signed and sealed and also urged Nigerians to strongly oppose any any act that has the potential of breaching the smooth running of the government. He said:
“The letter by Fayose is similar to a situation of bringing a motion for a court injunction for a completed act. This letter is a mere irritation especially coming from a sitting governor; I will urge Nigerians and especially journalists to regard his letter as nothing, but a mere irritation.
“Negotiations are already concluded and the Chinese government are willing to release funds to Nigeria. Although, it is very disheartening that such a letter is coming from one of our governors, but I think it serves no purpose”.
Also, the Ikeja Branch Chairman of NBA, Yinka Farobi, said Fayose’s letter to China was a clear example of “over stepping of one’s boundaries”, adding that Fayose only elected to be the governor of his state and not the president of Nigeria. He said:
“His letter is clearly out of the purview of his powers and I seriously condemn it”.
Mr. Farobi also pleaded earnestly with Nigerians to support moves targeted at steering the nation towards growth.
In the same vein, Mr. Dotun Adetunji, the Ikorodu NBA Branch Chairman, urged Nigerians to show support for the incumbent government in a bid to promote development, describing the letter as a show of rascality and noting that even though “there is a provision for immunity for a sitting governor, there must also be a limit on the activities of a leader.” Hear him:
“There are 36 states in the federation and out of these states, only one governor has courage to write to a foreign authority, urging it to refuse funds to its federal government.
“To my mind, such action is really reprehensible and should be discouraged. There is no problem with being an opposition, but If you want to be an opposition, you conduct such opposition in a reasonable manner. We must be careful as Nigerians for whatever we do today will be recorded as our history tomorrow.”
Another lawyer who commented on the issue, Spurgeon Ataene, said there was no need of making trouble as long as the loan being sought by the Federal Government was for the purpose of revamping the battered economy, he added:
“The only thing we should demand from the government is that the loan should be used for the purpose for which it is obtained in the first place. To that extent, all Nigerians must be watchdogs and at all times demand that the benefit of the 2 billion dollar loan must trickle down to the masses.”
Ola Ogunbiyi, another lawyer, said Mr. Fayose’s letter to China was an action below the status of his high office. As a result, he said Fayose was a ‘security risk’ working against the interest of the nation, “I think he has too much freedom and should be cautioned all because we are in a democratic rule. Mr. Ogunbiyi further stated that:
“What he said was wrong, we all know the loan is for our economic growth, for him to have written a letter to another country is wrong.
“The picture he tried to paint is that there is no unity, we have no united front by going to counter the action of the president.
“We all know the President is trying to pave way for the citizenry to have a good business relationship with other countries, but we can see Fayose blackmailing not only the government but the nation as a whole.”