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BusinessDay 11 Apr 2018

20 BUSINESS DAY

20 BUSINESS DAY C002D5556 Wednesday 11 April 2018 Politics & Policy Ekiti guber: APC will fail badly if it gives ticket to Fayemi, Ojudu or Oni – Olowo A governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the July election in Ekiti, in this Interview with INNO- CENT ODOH, Ajayi Olowo, a lawyer of many years practice assures that he is out to provide fresh hands and fresh ideas for the service of the people of Ekiti. He also sounds confident he will win the APC primaries. Excerpts: What new ideas can you bring to the table as you vie for the governorship position under the APC? My ideas are encapsulated in my ten-point agenda, we have agriculture in a modernise form that can provide employment for the youth and the elderly. Ekiti is an agrarian state; we have enough land that can encompass agriculture such that we will be better off. We have programmes for qualitative education that will be supported by government. We are not planning free education, but qualitative education that will be subsidized by government because free education is a mirage. It worked in those days but is no longer necessary. We are looking at transport infrastructural programme. We can even have light rail between Ekiti and neigbouring states. If we win the election we will have a sort of homogeneity in the development of the South West. There is nothing wrong in the Oodua group having rail connectivity in all the states in the South West. Then we are looking at sanitation and water resources because they are intertwined. We have three dams in Ekiti and one of them, the Egbe Dam alone according to World Bank sources can serve Ekiti state and Ondo states perennially without changing the water yet our people are drilling boreholes. When we were growing up in the earlier 60s we met pipe born water, why is it now that our politicians are drilling boreholes? How many boreholes will you drill to solve the problem of the people? One of the reports of the World Bank about three years ago said that Ekiti is the most openly defecated area, where people openly defecate anywhere. We have traveled to civilized environments why can’t we build public toilets across board? That will even provide employment. All these we are talking about we will do them through Public Private Participation (PPP) such that they will provide jobs and reduce communicable diseases and that will provide utmost sanitation for the populace. So we are looking at the situation where we can make the society better. We are not just going to ask people to come to us; we will be holding town hall meetings regularly to interact with the people. It is not a situation where when you go to government House you become overlords. Some of these lofty ideas you have are capital intensive. Ekiti State is barley an agrarian state, can it generate enough funds to run this infrastructure or do you have an intension going borrowing? No, all we need to do is Public Private Participation; we know we are not an oil producing state. When Ekiti is receiving about N3 billion from the federation account some states like Delta will be receiving about 12 or 26 billion. But we will do development through PPP such that Private investors will invest. We will do what is called “build, operate and transfer.” People can have concession for over 30 years and then return the same to government. The essence of governance is to make life better for the people not to Olowo play overlord over them. If it is about getting perquisites of office, I don’t think I am one of those attracted by the perquisite of office. In my many years as a professional accountant, Industrial relations expert and very successful litigation lawyer in Abuja, I think I can feed my family. I go over sea on holiday with my family and three of my children are graduates. So I don’t want public office for personal aggrandizement. APC is opposition party in your state and you have a very fiery governor, Ayo Fayose, who is battling to ensure that APC does not see the light of the day in Ekiti. We understand that the governor has endorsed is deputy to succeed him. How do you intend to tackle this challenge? That is not a threat because even in the rank of PDP, the ambition of Fayose has decapitated the PDP in Ekiti state to the extent that a lot of big wigs in the party are moving away from the PDP to join the Third Force and the SDP. Fayose’s deputy Prof Olusola Elekan is from my town, Ikere Ekiti Municipal local government and where Elekan comes from, he does not have the popularity that matches mine. You mean Fayose cannot use his incumbency power? Apart from Fayose having immunity, he does not have any incumbency power. Is it incumbency power that his security aides can be withdrawn just by a stroke? So he does not have incumbency power that can be used over any body. What they used when Jonathan was in government that incumbency power at the center is not available to Fayose at the moment. Even the current President Muhammadu Buhari is not as prependalistic as the former president. But all the same I don’t see Fayose able to use the security agents to manipulate the election against people like us. By virtue of section 214 of the 1999 constitution as amended, Fayose does not have control over the commissioner of police so he cannot manipulate anything. You sound so confident about your ambition in the APC but right now the party at the national level and some states are in crisis. If the crisis at the national level is being replicated in some of the states, what chance do think that party has in wrestling power from the PDP in Ekiti state? I don’t know about crisis at the national level neither do I know of crisis in Ekiti state, maybe I am naïve. I think in Ekiti we are cohesive. In my interaction with delegates who will vote in the primaries on the May 5 so far, APC is one family and we remain cohesive. I don’t see this primary election serving as a divisive mechanism among us that is my own view. One of the cardinal points of my programme is to ensure that the party is strong, stronger than the government because if we have a party stronger than the government then you have the will of the people happening all the time, not the will of any minority in power. So whatever division you see at the federal level I don’t see it affecting what will happen in Ekiti State You have about 36 aspirants to the APC governorship position in the state including former Governor Kayode Fayemi, Senator Femi Ojudu, Segun Oni and others. It is going to be a very fierce contest. Do you think that the permutations in Ekiti State are kind to your candidature? Yes, when you look at those big names you mentioned it depends on a lot of factors. A lot of people looking at Ekiti from outside probably don’t understand the nitty-gritty of the politics on ground in Ekiti state. There are three senatorial districts, Segun Oni, Fayemi, are from the north senatorial districts. Ojudu is from the centre. The centre had three slots, Niyi Adebayo (1999-2003) Fayose, who is the present governor has served two terms. In the north senatorial district, Fayemi has had a term, Segun Oni has had a term but the southern senatorial district, where I come from they have not had a term. That is why there is a group that is agitating for Southern Agenda. That a southern candidate should emerge otherwise they will do a protest vote. But I don’t predicate my candidature on southern agenda, but they are clamouring for fairness. I so much trust APC should consider southern aspirants because what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Out of the 36 aspirants, there are 17 from the Southern zone which means they battle will be fiercer and the votes could be more divided which means that any of us that wants to emerge we have to push for votes from the centre and the north. I don’t see Fayemi defeating me in the APC primaries I am telling you authoritatively but if the party makes a mistake and a proper primary is not done and if the flag is given to Fayemi the APC will lose badly in Ekiti State. Ojudu cannot win the election neither will Oni win the election that is why we need fresh hands people like us who have not stepped on toes, or alluded to one crime or the order, people who can come clean. APC, Buhari sinking, now desperate - PDP Continued from page 17 ridiculed as the world watched religious bodies and groups in the country disowning the procured band. “The fact that this disgraceful drama came barely a week after our nation suffered an international show of shame over President Buhari’s presentation with a procured award fraudulently linked to Martin Luther King Jr., speaks volumes of this administration’s proclivity for falsehood, lies and deception. “Having failed to gain any endorsements from reputable international figures, such as Bill Gates and the Martin Luther Kings Jr. group, the APC and the Presidency have now shamelessly resorted to cheaper ways and means, particularly, along the unregulated and porous religious and sectional lines. “It is now overtly manifest that the Buhari administration is ready to even stage anything, no matter how ignoble, including fake rescue missions, to deceive Nigerians. “It would be recalled that the PDP had earlier alerted Nigerians of plots by the Federal Government to engage in orchestrated endorsements as well as issuing of false performance indices. “These disgraceful endorsements are being coordinated by three presidential aides, a cabinet minister from the southsouth and certain officials of the APC, a project for which billions of naira have been earmarked. “This cabal is also responsible for the renting of crowds, who are usually conveyed in buses, trucks and trailers, to fill the space during President Buhari’s visits to various states of the federation, as witnessed in Benue during the last visit of Mr. President. “That President Buhari could be begging for endorsements only points to the fact that he and his cabal have lost the support of Nigerians whom his administration has subjected to horrible economic hardships, traumatic bloodletting and a bleak future. If President Buhari and his dysfunctional APC had performed to the least expectations of Nigerians, even by implementing the littlest of their numerous fake campaign promises, they would have no need for mundane gimmicks of procuring awards from well- known street quacks ahead of the elections. “We charge all credible groups in the country to be at alert and resist any attempt by the Presidency and APC to induce them to compromise their integrity, as well as guide against plots to use money to infiltrate and divide their ranks. “The APC and Buhari Presidency must admit that their time is up as Nigerians are now rallying with the repositioned PDP in the national quest to rescue our dear nation from the incompetent, failed and deceptive administration of the APC, come 2019,” the g statement said.

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