Oyo State commissioner for information, culture and tourism, Toye Arulogun, has stated that he does not know whether or not his boss, Governor Abiola Ajimobi is planning to return to The Senate.
Ajimobi was in the upper legislative chambers between 2003 and 2007. He lost his governorship bid in 2007 before winning in 2011. He will be completing his second term in 2019 and rumours have it that Ajimobi, who vowed never to contest for anything in his life, intends to return to the red chamber after his tenure.
Arulogun, in an exclusive interview with Sunday Tribune, said he was not aware of that, “the man is a human being and he can change his mind. He is in the best position to answer that question,” Arulogun added.
He continued: “That is not to my knowledge. And I have not seen such move from him. This is politics; people peddle a lot of rumour and innuendos for different purposes. I have not read that in the governor’s body language. He has not told me and there is no reason for me to believe otherwise.”
Asked whether the number of governorship aspirants poses any threat to unity of the party, he said: “It typically starts like that. We should even credit Governor Ajimobi because this is an unprecedented number. It is still an extension of the Koseleri syndrome. He has made governance attractive to a lot more people. If you look at the quality of people coming up, it is changing. There are people with sound intellectual background among them. They see in Ajimobi the model for governance. No more amala and gbegiri politics. This is intellectual politics.
What is important is that anybody who is going to be the next governor, we must ensure is not someone who will take us back. We won’t allow the eight years of Governor Ajimobi to go to naught by allowing a misfit to me governor in 2019. We need a candidate who will continue from where Ajimobi will stop and not someone who will take us back. The candidate must come with certain characteristics and credentials. We are going to be sufficiently interested in who that person is. We won’t allow the state to go back to the doldrums. The next captain of the ship is very important. Everybody is talking about Lagos. It is because Lagos has enjoyed continuity. Whoever is coming must have the capacity to take Oyo to greater heights from where Ajimobi will leave it.
“Certainly, there are those who should not be mentioned as governorship contestants at all. Governor Ajimobi has given us a pedestal and we have an idea of what standards on which a governor should be operating. The DNA of the next governor is important. It is also not only about having intellectual bent, human relations are critical too. The political environment of the state requires someone whose attitude complements his intellectual endowment.
What about the zone from which the next governor should come from? This has been a subject of public discourse.
“When politicians sit down, they will address that. But zoning is also important. Population and other dynamics factor too. It is better for the state to choose someone that should take us higher and not the other way round. Left to me, I would say irrespective of zone. But it is not an easy as I have said it because the zone is also important. When I was head of state protocol, I realised through my interactions that politics is the vehicle for governace. When people came to see the governor without prior appointments, I would protest. But I was told that without politics there can’t be governance. If you are a fantastic technocrat, you will have to realise that politics is the root to governance. If you can’t play politics, even if you are fantastic, you won’t get there. There has to be a combination of both; that is why the issue of zoning is very important because it is a major factor. You must play politics to display your skills in governance.
“Ibadan will produce more aspirants because we are more in population. I don’t want to be caught up with if it is Ibadan or not. But we have a good idea of the description mentally and DNA-wise of who should be the next governor of Oyo State. This is important because we cannot come this far and then drive backwards. It will be a shame, a tragedy and a disaster and it will be unforgiveable. Part of the things happening is that a lot of technocrats who didn’t want to get involved, are now showing interest in the governance of the state. On several occasions, they heard the governor speak and they say ‘yes, this is the kind of man we should be calling our governor in terms of eloquence, logical presentation of issues, and logical presentations of ideas.’ We can’t go back to the days of asking ‘what is he saying.’
“For us as young people, we must queue behind a credible leader, someone with superior arguments and not the chop-chop type. He must have swagger too; it is important.
“Age should not even be the factor but the age of the ideas. I am passionate about this because I have invested in Oyo State. I am suffienctly interested in that person. A lot of young people talk about the Ibadan movement, new Oyo State movement. When we go around, the kind of joke people make of Ibadan people when they see someone weeing at the wrong place or doing some mess on the road and when asked they say they are from Ibadan. This is part of this mental shift that we need. We can’t go back to those days. We are pacesetters and it is very important. I am saying that there are a lot more technocrats that have got interested in what is happening in governance because Governor Ajimobi has given us the compass to be able to see the need for us to be sufficiently interested in what is happening. Governance determines everything, so we can’t let it go back to the dogs. We can’t.
When asked whether the governor will able to install a successor in 2019, given the factions and crisis in the party, he revealed: ”There will always be factions, even in your house there are factions. So there is nothing new about faction. People will have their own inclination, thoughts and ideas. They want to reason and look at things in their own ways. So, there will always be faction. But what I know is that a good manager or leader must also clone himself and any good leader must be interested in who succeeds him, because we should be bothered about what happens when we are no longer in the saddle.”