A leading All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant in Oyo state, Engineer Oyedele Hakeem Alao, in a chat with newsmen speaks on his ambition and mission for Oyo state. BAYO AGBOOLA was there
Can we know why you rejoined the All Progressives Congress (APC)?
I have joined APC to vie for the governor of Oyo state. I have obtained nomination form to the tune of N50 million . I heard when Senator Rasheed Adewolu Ladoja said they were encouraging corruption because of the price of the form. Yes, to some extent, they are but I believe the leadership of the party wants to know who is serious. I have the utmost believe that after the whole exercise has been completed, the President will return half of the money back because he did similar thing after the party’s national convention. If it is lesser, we wouldn’t know those that are serious. As at the time I went to obtain the nomination form, I am the number one on the list from Oyo state. I have second address and I have legitimate work that I am doing. I am spending from my sweat. Most of the aspirants don’t have private practice. So, where did they get the money? If we don’t go back to the drawing board, this state will continue to be the way it is. People are really suffering in the state.
You are eyeing the 2023 governorship in Oyo state, how deep are you in politics?
I started in 2017, under the platform of AD. We did our best, infact 2017, 2018 and 2019 political activities were herculean task. I started with a party that practically had nothing. It was like a dead person that was being brought back to life. 2011, 2015, AD before changing to ACN and then APC, there was nothing again. The 3 major people that were there only used the party to negotiate when elections were approaching.
When I joined in 2017, there were no structures across the 33 Local Governments. I traveled to almost the 351 wards in the state. I touched all the Local Governments. I invested so much in the party to bring it back to limelight. The resurrection of the dead party cut across Ogun and Osun. There were a lot of court cases that time, although they had nothing to do with me. They had to to with the national leadership of the party which snowballed to the states. Unfortunately, all my efforts to resolve the crisis in order to settle out of court were all to no avail.
To no avail?
The party crisis affected my performance as the gubernatorial candidate of the party during election time. Since then, my constituency office still remains and I have not been silent since after the election. I have been airing my voice about the current government of Oyo state. I have been an effective opposition as I have been faulting Makinde-led administration, and proffering lasting solutions because it’s one Oyo state.
Currently, there is problem in the state. There is insecurity as security of lives and property of the citizens are not guaranteed. Also, there is corruption in the state. I have been the only vibrant opposition in Oyo state. I joined Alliance for Democracy (AD) to ensure that I have a platform for people to know me. If I had contested under PDP or APC in 2019, I wouldn’t have been known. It was a strategic decision.
Now that you are in the APC, how has it being?
Since I rejoined APC in 2021, I have been working tirelessly for the party. I have also been engaging people in the state to know the challenges they are facing. I have a blueprint to transform Oyo state.
How do you see the sitting governor in the state, Engineer Seyi Makinde?
We have got a governor who has not constructed a single industry. The only industry he has constructed so far is bus terminals. How many of the residents would love to send their children to garage school? You know the cost of each of these garages.
On the issue of the N5billion stadium repair, how much is new stadium going to cost? All the companies in Oyo state are dead and moribund. Companies in the state need subvention for resuscitation. This is for the betterment of the society. We have got a government that has not been doing much for the state. The current government promised free education, where is the free education? Salary payment is not an achievement. Makinde-led government has acquired over N160billion worth of loan with nothing to showcase.
Nothing to showcase?
Nobody to challenge Seyi Makinde. All the aspirants that are contesting with me are competent, I am not better than all of them but I have gathered so much experience to transform this state. I have visions for a better Oyo state. If I become the Governor of Oyo state, I’ll make things to work. My first target is free primary education. There is thrive and confusion currently within the party, but we will resolve it. More so, where we have issue is at the top level. Over the last three months, there have been a lot of reconciliation meetings, and I have also appealed to the stakeholders for resolution. I believe that within short period of time everything will be resolved and we are going to unseat the current government. With what I did in 2018 and 2019, I know that if I am able to work twice that period, I am sure I’ll be able to convince the society, stakeholders and members of APC to agree and approve my candidature.
How prepared are you for the 2023 general election?
I have been going from one place to another to know the challenges the people are facing in order to be able to address them when I emerge.The street lights is a bad project because of the running cost. I am highly disappointed in the current government. The same project was initiated by James Ibori of Delta state in year 2000. It got to a point they couldn’t sustain it again because of diesel price. Oyo state has already took a lot of loans, and Nigeria economy is based on oil. If oil crashes, there will be problem. Why our economy is not growing is because we don’t patronize indigenous products, we depend so much on foreign goods. We have not invested so much in agriculture, and that’s why we have high cost of foodstuffs. If I become the governor, there will be prioritization of needs, investment in agriculture, increment in IGR without increasing taxes, control free health to mention few. I’ll turn the economy of Oyo state around and generate more funds. I will create employment opportunities for the youths in order for them to be engaged and reduce crimes rate. I’ll pay back loans owed by the state, and if we are going to take loans they will be to develop industries because my target is to create business hub in Oyo state. With my experiences, I believe nothing is impossible. I’ll do sustainable projects that will outlive me and run a transparent government. My ambition is not a do or die even with the expenses I have incurred. My agenda are free education for primary and secondary schools pupils, scholarship or bursary award to tertiary institution students, health insurance scheme, agriculture and industries, youth and women empowerment etc.