I’ll rid Ondo State of Poverty~ Adeyeye, APC Guber Aspirant

Michael Olaoluwa AdeyeyeThe Akure, Ondo State born Michael Olaoluwa Adeyeye is a United Kingdom (UK) trained Corporate Commercial Lawyer turned Politician.
Just like an intrepid soldier fighting a war of attrition, at age 40, Adeyeye has fought and triumphed against many tangles of life. He recently joined the fast approaching governorship election in Ondo state?

In this interview with Maxwell Adeyemi Adeyeye, Adeyeye bares his mind on the current state of governance in Ondo State and highlighted suggestions on how the quagmires currently rumbling the state could be effectively managed.

Excerpts

Why are you interested in governing Ondo State?

I am interested because I realized there’s need for us as a people in Ondo State to do things differently in order to get the kind of results that we desire and deserve.  My ambition is premised on a strong desire to solve problems and thereby make a difference and represent ‘real change’ for our people. I am interested because there’s need for a shift from the current ancient style of governance to a revolutionary cutting edge approach especially as we are in the 21st century. I am focused on making a difference.

Can you in a clearer terms, define the kind of change you want to offer the good people of Ondo State?

We will create an enabling environment for everyone to thrive especially the private sector.  The role of government is largely to create an ambience where industries, agriculture, education, health and indeed every sector thrives. Ondo State is blessed with ‘milk and honey’ in every sense, our people thread on gold and have little to eat.  With careful planning and engagement, we will ramp up the tonnage of our agricultural output with a careful balance of short, medium and long term products in view. For instance, Ondo State has one of the largest deposits of bitumen in sub-saharan Africa and this has not been tapped into.  Beyond the efforts that have been made to date, our Palm Kernel volume should easily be 10 times its current size. If elected, I will bring in innovations to grow the economy of the state from within,  our people will be engaged directly to provide services to MDAs, we will where necessary partner with industry leaders to optimize output and growth. Let me give you the example of Okomu Palm oil in Edo State which was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1976 and with little to write home about for many years thereafter until the mid – 90s when an industry leading investor came into that venture and turned it around.  The FGN is smiling all the way to the bank with approx. 48% stake in the business as opposed to 100% that was making next to nothing.  At its peak, Okomu Palm Oil makes almost N11bn in profits a year !. I strongly believe that if we make the right choices, we will double the IGR of the state within 2 years and triple it by the end of our term in office.  When we achieve such a feat, total reliance on Federal Allocations will become history and we can then build a Sovereign Fund that will be our buffer for the future.. Considering the abundant resources we have, Ondo State should have the second largest economy in the South – West after Lagos but what we have today is a quagmire.

There are Arigidi Tomato Paste factory, Ifon Ceramic, Bolorunduro Timbres, Okitipupa Oil Palm Mill, Oluwa Glass at Igbokoda, Okeluse Cement factory, Olokola Free Trade Zone and many other moribund companies in Ondo State. Do you have it in your plans to resuscitate these firms?

By virtue of the nature of my professional exposure as a lawyer specialised in Project Finance and investment, I have been a part of many Projects from their formation and to becoming fully operational. With this experience, I will ensure that those moribund companies are guided back to life as quickly as possible. Their resuscitation will create employment for our people and revenue will derive to the coffers of the state.  We will implement policies that will attract investors into Ondo State; we will identify the challenges of industry on a case by case basis and address those challenges in the most efficient manner.  For instance where power supply is the problem, we will strive to put an IPP in place that will address that deficiency as well as provide power for a captive area of residents around the location so that the investor can go home with a return that makes the investment worth their while. We will deploy strategic infrastructure strategically.  Our government will not be about cosmetic enhancement, what is worth doing is worth doing well. I am well prepared for this assignment. I am even prepared for an empty treasury.

You want to run against the candidate of an incumbent who prides himself as the Iroko of Ondo State politics. As a new entrant in politics, how prepared are you to confront this hegemony?

I am a candidate speaking and taking a stand for a generation.  At 40, I am the youngest candidate in the race across all political parties.  We were told for many years that we were the leaders of tomorrow and I am crystal sure that ‘tomorrow’ is here and now!  I am coming out to liberate the poverty ridden youths of Ondo State from an oppressive hegemony that has been intimidating us in many ways especially exclusion from leadership  . It is time for the Youth of Ondo State to choose between slavery and freedom. I represent freedom, truthfulness and all-inclusiveness. I grew up in Akure and I know the state very well as I have tentacles all the way from the south to the North of the state in pretty much every local government of the state hence I can speak for my people. I say explicitly that it is time to put the politics of gerontocracy behind us and catch up with the rest of the world. I am in touch with the realities the of 21stcentury, its challenges and many opportunities alike. This fact stands me out as the most suited panacea for a better Ondo State. I am better suited for my party candidature than others, as I am squarely positioned as a bridge between the older generation and the generation coming behind me.  Other Candidates may be more experienced than me politically because they once held office(s), but I am a well rounded candidate having been exposed to leadership from a very young age and making a success of it at every turn.  I have no Political baggage and my candidature appeals across board regardless of party affiliation or location in the state. I represent true change. I represent a better tomorrow.

You are running to govern a state that has been grounded financially to a level that the government currently owes five months salaries. How will you cope if you win?

I will run a no – frills government and fiscal discipline will be the order of the day from the get go.  I will prioritize worker’s salaries as the adage goes, a hungry man is an angry man. We cant be buying official cars and building an ‘event center’ when salaries have not been paid.  We will focus on solving long standing problems in a creative manner.  For instance, despite the fact that Ondo State sits squarely on the Atlantic Ocean and has many a body of water running through it, there is no pipe-borne water. I am committed to address this without employing the white elephant approach. I want to use this opportunity to give credit to former Governor Olusegun Agagu, may his soul rest in peace. Most of the roads you are seeing in town today were constructed by him. Agagu did a wonderful job in the area of road infrastructure especially in the Southern Senatorial District. We are going to do more; infrastructure development is the major tool we will employ to open up the state for agriculture and industries. I sympathize with the workers of Ondo State. A vote for me is a vote for their liberation. Ondo did not prepare for the rainy day and that’s why we are suffering. Anambra State has been preparing for this kind of period by saving for the raining days since 1999, when we get there, we will implement a strict budget adherence budget performance measuring system. We won’t spend on luxuries. We won’tborrow loan to fund extravagancies. We shall be transparent. We shall be accountable to our people. The Owena Multipurpose Dam shall be reformed by bringing in investors that would turn it around for the good of our people.

What is your view about the style of governance of Governor Mimiko?

The government of Governor Mimiko came in gloriously. And with all due respect, he is an amazing politician. I have a great respect for him personally. But today, I can say he has derailed. The Mother and Child hospital project has been adjudged successful but underneath that glorythe entire health sector is in comatose. Our State Specialist Hospital, General Hospitals, Basic Health Centers and Maternity Centres are in a poor state. I am not talking about painting everywhere orange and white here, the question is what is inside the building? I see a few mega schools Mimiko built but if you look inward, the traditional primary schools in Ondo are nothing to write home about. There is an alarming shortage of Teachers and the ones we have have not been invested in to update their teaching skills and exposure.  No wonder our performance as a state in WAEC/NECO has been on a decline. Governor Mimiko has raised billions from the Capital Market  and Banks without any real justification. You don’t take Bonds that will be injurious to the financial future of a state. He has plunged Ondo State into hug debts. A state can indeed borrow but such decisions should be made with a great sense of responsibility and for a purpose that will self – finance in terms of revenue therefrom.  A State can use bonds to finance projects that are lucrative. I will run a Transparent government by carrying the people along on the state of the finances of the state.  I will publish an Annual Budget performance review and provide quarterly updates via several engagement channels with the electorate on the state of the finances of the state.   If I get there, I won’t own salaries. Mimiko has refused to align Ondo with the developmental agenda of the south west. Ondo is bleeding. It is heartbreaking to even mention the golden oppourtunity we lost with the Dangote Refinery that was going to be located in Olokonla FTZ.  We will revisit that opportunity.

Do you believe in a generation shift?

This is the key to the success of any party in the coming election. Look at what a then 36 - year old Donald Duke did in Cross Rivers state from 1999 to 2007. Duke revolutionized the Tourism sector of that state and til date, that sector employs 25% of the work force of the state. Today, Cross – River is among the best 10 states in Nigeria in terms of GDP. Only an audacious forward thinking youth could do what Duke did. The Tinapa Resort that he initiated today continues to stand tall and is an envy of many states. Also, look at the recently enthroned Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Oguwusi. He has injected enviable grace and an informed vision to traditional rulership. Only a youth could do what he has been doing. At 40, I am a pacesetter. My background has prepared me for this job. I urge the youths of Ondo state to shun gerontocracy. The developed countries are being governed by the youths. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron won his election at age 43. Canada recently elected a 43 year Old Prime Minister.  Look at Kogi State also.  It is time for our generation to take charge and repair the the damage that has been done by our fathers.  We must not go backward. Ondo State needs a leader that understands the language of 21st century. We should vote a leader that is rooted and grounded in technology. The sun shall shine again in Ondo State if a true philosopher king is granted the insignia of power of our state. I humbly present myself to the people of Ondo State as a Candidate that is ready in every true sense to serve them and lead the state to its rightful place in the nation.

 

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