Prince Adekunle Adebayo Ayoola, a unionist, social crusader and quiet philanthropist is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC. He speaks extensively in this interview on the state of the nation, Gov Dapo Abiodun’s administration, 2023 politics among other sundry issues.
What is your assessment of the nation Nigeria under President Buhari led government?
It’s been a bag of mixed feeling because the expectations were very high when President Buhari was coming in 2015, but six years down the line, I don’t think the President’s performance matches up with the people’s expectations. Yes, the government has recorded bit of success in the area of fighting corruption, resuscitation of railway sector and infrastructure like the almost completed Lagos-Ibadan expressway among others. However, the worsening insecurity challenges characterised by Bokoharam, banditry, kidnapping, herdsmen/farmers crises as well as the wobbling economy is really taking shine off whatever suçcess this government claimed to have recorded. I wish the government could bring in fresh hand to help him manage the economy, the government should also be more decisive in tackling the problem of insecurity in the country. No country makes any progress in the midst of chaos, senseless killings and a generally unsafe environment.
2023 is around the corner and there is already a very loud agitation by the South, especially, the Southwest to have a shot at the presidency, what is your take here? Should the presidential race be about zoning or competency?
Thank you my brother, I am strongly in support of the agitations that after President Muhammadu Buhari would have finished his tenure in May 2023, the power should automatically shift to the South in the spirit of fairness and justice. The north is currently having its shot at the presidency and after its two terms of four years each, it’s just right for the power to return to the south for another eight years come May 2023. However, the zoning to the South does not mean that just anyone should be given the ticket, competency and merit must count. There’s a lot of catching up to be done, the country needs so much help as we speak and so even in the face of zoning the presidential ticket to the South, the job must be given to the best hand. So in a way, 2023 presidential race must be about zoning and competency too after all, competent hands to manage the country abound across the country, they are not only in the north.
In the face of criticism of non-performance by the opposition, PDP against the administration of Gov Dapo Abiodun, what do you say?
Well, I don’t know how the opposition came about such unfounded conclusion about the good government of Prince Dapo Abiodun, I think they are only taking the advantage of the fact that the governor has rather remain silent working assiduously to justify the confidence the people of Ogun State reposed in him. The governor has done nothing yet he has completed the reconstruction of Abeokuta-Siun-Sagamu expressway, this is a road that was like a death trap due to lack of maintenance under the immediate past eight years government of Sen Amosun. The governor has equally completed many of the road projects hitherto abandoned by administration of Sen Amosun within Abeokuta metropolis and he had completed others too that he initiated such as Elite road, Oke Lantoro among others. Ijebu Ode-Epe dual carriage way of five lanes on both sides which will really help to decongest the Benin-Sagamu and Lagos Ibadan expressway is also almost completed. These are in addition to other feeder and rural roads being done across the state. The governor has also invested so much in agriculture with over 40,000 youths benefitting from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) backed Anchor Borrowers programme. The governor has also gone further to resuscitate the long abandoned Agro-Cargo airport at Ilisan Remo as a way of further diversifying the economy of the state and boost the agric value chain. It takes a meticulous and courageous man to pursue this type of capital intensive project in the face of dwindling resources especially as the whole world is just coming out of the cash strapped economy occasioned by Covid-19. The governor has also tackled infrastructural deficit in the education sector and has built over 1000 classrooms, these are very visible around us, the classrooms are with yellow roofs. Gov Abiodun has also recorded success in the area of housing with the completion of the first phase of Prince Court Estate at Kemta, Abeokuta. That of Kobape, via Abeokuta is completed too while that of Ijebu Ode, Sagamu, Ikenne, etc are on going. I remember that about 2000 civil servants that were hurriedly employed at the twilight of the administration of Sen Amosun were absorbed by this governor with their nine months salaries paid last year January. I also remembered that those that Otunba Gbenga Daniel employed about three or four months to the end of his administration were sent packing when Amosun came to power. The governor has equally invested in strengthening the security architecture of the state. I have not taken my time to list few of the Gov Abiodun’s achievements to say that there is still no room for improvement but he has done so much to be applauded and not be harassed unjustifiably. Just last week, the governor rewarded some teachers with cash and house and also ordered the release of letter of employment for 5000 teachers. Gov Abiodun has undoubtedly shown enough commitment to leave the state far better than he met it after his two terms in office come 2027.
What will you want the governor to do differently from henceforth and do you think he deserves another term?
I just told you that Gov Dapo Abiodun has already justified his first term in office and he is good enough for another term. He must be given the privilege to consolidate on his good work come 2023. And talking about what I want the governor to do differently, he should please remain focus and continue to work for the greatness of the state. He should please not be distracted by some noise from the market. He should also please allow the newly inaugurated local government to operate freely and complement his good works at the grassroots.
Your charity organization, Omooba Obaruwa Foundation is known for giving back to the society, supporting education, particularly, that of the disadvantage members of the society, can you please tell us more about the activities of this NGO?
Omooba Obaruwa Foundation was strictly set up to support the society within my own little resources. I am a strong believer in being your brother’s keeper, this is how we can all have a desired society. I passionately hate selfishness and this is the lesson our leaders across Africa should also emulate, if we are ready to truly support one another, things will be a lot better. This foundation has been on for over a decade and we are happy that we are touching lives in our own little way. Just recently, we supported about 50 pupils with cash to encourage them to remain dedicated to their studies.
It’s also being rumoured that the former governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel might be going to the Senate in 2023 to represent Ogun East, do you consider this as move in the right direction?
That is one of the best news I’ve heard this year because truly Otunba Gbenga Daniel is in a class of his own as a very rare leader that doesn’t joke with selfless service. Over ten years after he had served as the governor of the state, many are still talking of his good and welfarist government. I am already congratulating the people of Ogun East for the rumoured decision of Otunba Gbenga Daniel to serve them at the Senate come 2023, many of us can’t really wait to see representation at its best. The cap fits OGD well, well o.
How true is the report that you are also warming up to represent Odogbolu constituency at Ogun State House of Assembly come 2023?
I will definitely be more than happy to serve my people in any capacity at any given time. I take pleasure in giving selfless service and will surely not turn down the offer when the time. However, for now, we leave everything to God and our leaders in All Progressives Congress (APC). I actually contested for the same seat under AAC during 2019 but maybe God said it wasn’t yet time, so, for 2023, we shall allow God to lead us aright.