You contested the governorship elections three consecutive times without winning. How do you feel?
I am definitely not satisfied because I have set some targets for myself, which I intend to actualize if given the opportunity to serve. I am not pleased with the results. However, I take solace in the fact that the race of life is a marathon in which all manners of surprises do happen. In any case, we have done our best and I thank God for giving me the opportunity to run such a tough race in three consecutive times.
Would you contest again in 2023?
I am not thinking about that now, though I still remain in politics and I am convinced I will still serve my people in one capacity or the other. We leave the rest till 2023. That will be determined by the circumstance of the time. I am not going to let any aspiration drive me as to what I can contribute to the society and to humanity. They are my main drivers. In the meantime, I have a business that I am running and a profession that I am practicing. What will happen in 2023, we leave that to God.
You hail from Ogun West Senatorial District that has never produced governor since the state was created over 40 years ago? What do you think is responsible?
So many things are responsible. Ogun West is more multicultural and multi bilingual than the other sections of the state. Hence, it’s a lot more challenging to foster unity. We have the Yewas and the Aworis and within the Yewas are different dialects and culture. These offer some advantages in some instances, but also have lots of issues to contend with. Added to this is that the other zones had a advantage of having produced eminent public office holders like President, Ministers, ambassadors and of course governors, which give them major head start.
This is not to say the other zones do not have their challenges and issues and having contested three times at the gubernatorial level, I can confirm they all do have their challenges and Ogun West is finding solutions to these poor internal cohesions albeit slowly.
There are also issues of resources and more often than not, this has been used as a bait to further divide the West by external forces
A school of thought argues that power should rotate between Egba and Ijebu provinces. What is your take on this?
What I know and which the Nigerian constitution says is that we have three senatorial districts and I also know that no senatorial district lacks quality men and women to govern the state. I do not always want to get involved in those provincial arguments because we can as well trace it back to when Mungo Park discovered Nigeria or River Niger.
What is of main concern to me is that Ogun State, like other states in Nigeria, needs a government that would fairly and equitably promote good government, reduce poverty level and enhance quality of living. I want history to remember me that I did everything to promote this towards a better society. A society will have the kind of government they deserve. In democracy, it’s one man, one vote. It’s the majority that decides the winner.
As an indigene of Ogun State, I have qualities to be governor. I offered myself to serve as governor of the state. I got relative support from the two senatorial zones outside Ogun West where I come from. Within the constraint and challenges in our political system, I did the little I can and I leave the rest for the future events and ultimately for posterity.
If you eventually become governor, what will you do differently in Ogun State?
My emphasis will be on human capital development. It is the people that drive development. The quality of life they live, their wellbeing will enhance economic development. I will give priority to qualitative education. As people of Southwest, we had a head start in education but we are no longer leading in that sector due to misplacement of priority.
I will strive and make remarkable impact in the education sector which is crucial to human capital development required to transform our state. It is very sad where Ogun State is currently placed in education but thank God the current administration is rising up to that. It doesn’t justify the investment and vision of our forebears. We need to build confidence and encourage the teachers. There is need for a special and efficient unit to manage the schools. Then we will also look at the curriculum with a view to making it relevant to today’s world of entrepreneurship where people want to be able to come out and be able to do something on their own.
In the health sector, a lot of facilities have been locked up. Not many of them are functional, many are operating below capacity. We will ensure that these facilities optimally provide their services to better the lot of our people.
How would you advice Governor Dapo Abiodun for him to succeed in office?
We are close. I served in the Economic Committee of his transition programme. I am happy that his administration is putting in place systems and thinking that are more enduring. I like the idea of establishing Public Works Department to fix the roads in the state. The roads in rural areas are deplorable. Free movement of goods and services will boost the economy of the state. The governor had started well and I hope he will keep the momentum.
My advice to the governor is that we should regain our lead in Education. We should create a conducive learning environment for the children and the teachers that will impart knowledge on them. We should explore a lot more of the opportunities in the four corners of our State in conjunction with the private sector. And time is not on our side, the population is rising, the opportunities are shrinking and the people are on the edge thus our value system is breaking down. The governor has to continue on the path of instituting enduring and progressive systems and institution that benefit the entire State.
Culled from The Nation
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