Governorship candidates of four parties in Oyo state, on Friday, engaged in a debate with views divergent on their perception of politics and the need for political experience, as against their policies and focus of governance which were similar.
The debate organised by BBC News Yoruba, and held in Ibadan had in attendance candidates of National Interest Party (NIP), Mrs Bolanle Sarumi-Aliyu; All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Adebayo Adelabu; Action Democratic Party (ADP), Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala; African Democratic Party (ADC), Senator Olufemi Lanlehin.
Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Seyi Makinde was conspicuously absent as the lectern labelled for him remained empty for the two hours duration of the programme.
A contentious debate had been raised on the issue of age in politics and perceptions of some Nigerians that politics was dirty.
While Lanlehin and Alao Akala argued that politics was a venture to be proud of, a mix bag of good and bad people, and needed people who were of age and experienced, Adelabu and Sarumi-Aliyu posited that age was not a factor for good governance but experience in administration even outside occupying political offices.
Adelabu, particularly, bemoaned that politics overtime had not been a venture he was proud of, while the 40-year old Sarumi-Aliyu said she will surround herself with experienced persons.
In education, Sarumi-Aliyu and Lanlehin emphatically expressed commitment to free primary education while Alao Akala assured of awarding scholarship to deserving students.
They, however, all promised to renovate schools, give incentives to teachers and make available modern facilities to aid teaching and learning.
Meanwhile, all four candidates, in unison, said they will ensure that the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) is solely owned by Oyo state, with Alao Akala stating that the ownership will be got within 100 days of his being in office.
This is as they also all avowed their resolve to pay N30,000 as minimum wage.
Central in the policies of the four candidates was a focus on Health, Education, Agriculture, Empowerment, Workers Welfare and Security.
Speaking, Sarumi-Aliyu said she’ll reorientate thugs to shun thuggery and violence and provide employment, cut wastages and boost the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and partner with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to help bring the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS) to world-class standard.
On policies, Adelabu said his government will repair dispensaries and maternity centres to enhance Primary Health Care, adopt a preventive and combative approach to security, employ experts to manage BCOS and ensure payment of salaries by 25th of every month through an increase in IGR and stopping dependence on allocation from the federation account.
Alao Akala, on his agenda, said he will guarantee that pregnant women access free health care and equip all hospitals with drugs and equipment, provide employment through a focus on Agriculture, accord payment of salaries and pensions priority and have an office to attend to persons living with disabilities.
For Lanlehin, his focus will include embarking on project that directly touch peoples welfare, engaging local contractors for projects, revitalising farm settlements, awarding scholarship to brilliant disabled persons and conducting local government elections as soon as he assumes office so as to have a people-driven government.
Credit: Nigerian Tribune