A governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Oyo State, Engr. Raufu Aderemi Olaniyan has revealed that he is more qualified than other jostling to succeed Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
Speaking to The Nation on how he would administer the state since he has never been in politics before now, the former permanent secretary in the state civil service explained that politics is all about managing men and materials.
He added: ‘And how do you administer them, what are we doing in secretariat, what have I been doing since 1985. When I was in Directorate of Food and Rural Roads, it was all over the state, you have to work, you have to think, you have to meet the people and get to know their problems and profer solutions. In every community, we have town hall meeting, the farmers, herdsmen and all manners of people will come and you have to listen to them and solve their problems. Even, some state commissioners, law makers and appointees may not have the experience that I have in the public administration and demands of public office.
‘So, I have seen it all. I have passed through many governors, I have worked with eleven different governors, both military and civilian governors. I have gathered a lot of experiences working with many governors and working with the top echelon of those in power for many years, when you talk of experience in government, I have seen it all. There is no place in Oyo State, that I don’t know, you cannot mention any place to me that I can’t describe what the place is like and their problems. Some what to be governors, they don’t know any other place except their local government headquarters. I’m not castigating anybody, but am saying if I’m compared with anybody on their field who wants to become governor, I am better in terms of experience. It’s not about noise making, if you are focused, and you can deliver and you know what you are doing I think that is the most essential. You don’t need to shout, if you are determined, and you know what you are doing, you will know how to get things done.
‘Look at the years I have spent just compared with my experience in public service of 26 years. Being a commissioner, lawmaker, chairman local government are all public service, can you compare any of them with someone who have served continuously for 26 years in public service, working with eleven governors including military, and civilian governors. It’s not a joke. I can tell you confidently that I am the round peg in a round hole, out of the other aspirants I can say I am the only one that can hit the ground running, which direction in public service in the secretariat, will I say I don’t know. I know what is there, I know what they are doing. Luckily, Governor Ajimobi, take or leave it, has laid a solid foundation of infrastructural development. So, to continue to build on the foundation, it will not be difficult because I know what they are doing there. To start off new projects in other sectors will not be difficult for me, because I know what it entails. I know how to get the best hands to move on the ship of the state. So, I can hit the ground running.
‘Don’t let anybody deceive you by saying Olaniyan doesn’t know politics. What is politics? We are all political animals. Even, the day a man gets married, he has started another politics, you have to play politics to manage your house. If you have children, the moment they grow to level that they can say Daddy it is better to go that way, politics have stepped in. So, let nobody deceived you, Olaniyan knows politics, but Olaniyan doesn’t make noise.’
According to the Igboho, Oorelope-born politician, it is time for Oke-ogun zone of the state to produce the governor.
Hear him: ’I have a motto in those days, which says God’s time is the best. Now, I can say is God’s time. That is what people don’t take note of. Now, is God’s time. And there is also a popular saying which says, Ask, and it shall be given. In 1992, Oke-Ogun produced the deputy governor to governor Kolapo Ishola in person of Engr. Hamidu Gbadamosi. That regime was truncated. Now, when politics started again, one will expect Oke-Ogun that produced the former deputy governor should be asking for governorship, but they did not, because it was not God’s appointed time. During the period of Senator Ladoja, the same thing happened. During the period of Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, the same thing happened. During Senator Abiola Ajimobi time nobody from Oke-Ogun came forward then. But now, after Senator Ajimobi’s second term, the governor by himself, by design of his mind, by design of his intellect, said fairness is what pleases God, an Oke-Ogun should produce governor this time. And he has been saying it more that ten times now but with a caveat, that you cannot be a governor from Oke-Ogun if you don’t have the support of Ibadans, Oyos, Ogbomosos and Ibarapas. That is the caveat. So, if you look at yourself, if you have to be governorship candidate from Oke-Ogun, you need to ask, did I have what it takes for me to be acceptable by the Ibadans. If you look at my antecedents, with what I have done to issues that came to my table, can I be confident to meet Ibadan people. And my answer is yes. For Ogbomoso people, do I have the confidence to meet them , my answer is positive. Have I contributed anything to Ibarapa, the answer is positive. Oyo, the answer is yes. And back home, I am accepted. I contributed to the development of Oke-Ogun when I was in the public service, outside the public service.
And even, my NGOs did alot, even without me even knowing that I will one day aspire to be governor. Since 2004, I have established NGOs that provides health care services free of charge. So, if all these are on ground, and if governor Ajimobi in his own wisdom, through a call from God that made him to support Oke-Ogun, I don’t have anything further not to be governor. I am qualified more than any other aspirants. I have been a resident of Ibadan since 1991. I build houses in Ibadan. My businesses are in Ibadan, even after retirement, and I have my agric business in Igboho. And to the glory of God, the council of Obas in Oke-Ogun, there is no place there that I cannot walk in, the same also in Oyo, Ibarapa, and Ogbomoso. As a public servant, we are not trained to be rude, you can keep your head when others are loosing theirs, you will be the eventual winner. So, my public service has prepared me for leadership role to be able to take up the mantle of leadership as the Oyo State Governor.’
On how he what he thinks regarding the pruning down of aspirants from Oke-ogun as suggested by Ajimobi, Olaniyan noted that it is possible, adding that ‘Presently, we have six aspirants from the zone. Interestingly, let me tell you that it is not all the persons that says they want to be governor that actually want to be governor. Some are saying they want to be governor so that they can be known, some are saying they want to be governor so that they can be given something. There are some that are recalcitrant, they knew it is not possible, they cant fly, but they will continue saying they want to fly. So, there is no way you can talk to such a person, they will not listen to you. Look at the last APC presidential primary, the man that took a distance of less than 100 votes, in the night before the primary, he was equally bragging that he will be the winner. Then, he got less than 100 votes. So, it’s either the leaders will have to talk to the aspirants, but no aspirant can talk to each other, except somebody says, okay, from the look of things, I want to withdraw. I know three aspirants, not from Oke-Ogun anyway who have been saying when the chips are down, am withdrawing for you, some of the aspirants have been reaching out to me. I keep asking in all these aspirants, what do they do with the opportunities they have before, how have they used them to impact on the society.
’It is not enough to tell us what they will do if they become governor, they should tell the society before, their antecedents, do they have human face. The opportunity they have before, how do they use it.
‘Those are the pertinent questions; and I know the leaders will ask when you talk of Oke-Ogun, we want them to let the people know what they have contributed in the past 10 years either you are in the public service or private sector. How have you influenced development to Oke-Ogun. You were born as Oke-Ogun indigene, you have been around for over 50 years, then tell the people what impact have you made, or its simply because you what to be governor now, they are doing this and that. No,tell us what were you able to do to the society ten years ago, to your immediate environment, about 15years, or 20years ago. These are the things that will speak for you. For me, I can say the people of Oke-ogun know what I can do. The people of Ibadan, Ogbomoso, and Ibarapa know what I can do. I have one way or the other touched all the nooks and cranny of the state.
Disclosing what he would do differently if he becomes governor, he revealed that ‘You see, governance is not time bound, it is a continuous exercise. Even, if you start a road now and you complete that road, another road will sprout. If you are not able to complete it, then it will be completed by the next government. I used to tell people, that look take it or leave it, Ajimobi has tried. He has raised the bar of governance.’
Confirming that Ajimobi has raised the bar of governance, Olaniyan said ‘It is not by age, not by size but by intellect, and experience. I know what it takes to start from where he will stop. The shoe is very perfect for my feet. It is not oversisze, and it’s not too tight. It’s just well fitted for my leg. I know Ajimobi as a man that loves quality. He is fantastic as far as Oke-Ogun area is concerned because he is a man that loves quality, and he is passionate about anything he wants to do. Those are some of the attributes of a leader. He is ever determined to do what is required. He is determined to do what is required. He will close his eyes and damn’s its consequences. But, my own style of damning the consequence may be different. I may damn the consequence in my mind, I may be smiling, but I know this thing that needed to be done has to be done. That is why his achievements are these much. He was able to damn the consequence. He has a lion heart. So, we will exploit agric rigorously, and damn the consequence, say look after three years we should be less dependent on Abuja.’