- OGUN Governorship Aspirant, Senator ADEOLA (Yayi)
The issue of Yewa Awori people endorsing Senator Adeola Olamilekan Solomon popularly known as Yayi as the candidate to contest for Governor of Ogun State come 2019, has caused a lot of chaos and disagreement. And the politician has come out to clear the air about the rumours that he bought his way to the heart of the parliament in Yewa.
Last week, the Isaga indigenes in Ogun State and beyond, unanimously cleared the air on the origin of Sen. Solomon Adeola and confirmed the gubernatorial aspirant in the state is their “true son”. The Isaga indigenes from 30 Isaga communities in Ogun and Lagos states, converged on Oba Asade Agunloye IV Pavilion, Ilaro in Yewa South Local Government area of the state, equally endorsed the aspiration of Sen. Adeola to take a shot at the governorship position come 2019.
In this interview with our Abeokuta Correspondent, Bunmi Mustapha, Yayi opens up on his plan to take Ogun State to the next level, his take on the Ijebu Agenda, amongst other things.
How did you manage to get the endorsement as the Consensus Candidate of the Yewa-Awori, which has now ignited controversy?
They asked us several questions bordering our aspiration for governorship. Like, what do you think Ogun West should do to ensure that come 2019, it succeeds in winning the governorship of Ogun State? What sacrifices are you ready to render in an eventuality that you are not picked as the candidate of Ogun West? That was what transpired. I was not awared they were going to endorse anybody, that is the gospel truth. I came after about four or five aspirants had been called upon. So, as any other aspirant, I attended. While I was going, all the who is who in my camp, the timber and the calibre, I carried them along. So, when the panel assessed and looked that I cut across the entire state, you did this and that, and I was given the opportunity that was given to all other aspirants, and at the end of the event, every aspirant is allowed to eat, wine and dine and leave.
Now, after the whole exercise, after feasting and relaxing with them, everybody just depart. I was in my office in Abuja when I was called that there was news circulating on the social media that I have been endorsed. I said who endorsed me. Before you know it, I was told that Ogun West Consultative Forum has endorsed me as the governorship candidate.
You know the question that I asked: is it only me that was endorsed? If it is an arrangement that I was aware, how could I be asking if it is only me that was endorsed. So, I don’t want to join issues with those people. I’ve seen a lot of write-ups in the newspapers that they (OWECOF) are sham, they are this and that. But today, you have had the opportunity of listening to me; you’ve had the opportunity of assessing me. And the question is: can this man rule Ogun State? Can he be our governor?
And you have had the opportunity of seeing other aspirants. I think that is enough for you to assess us. So, if the press in Iwe Irohin go out now and say if you are talking about Ogun West for governor, we in Iwe Irohin would tinker between Adeola Olamilekan and GNI, they would say I’ve given you money again. But you have listened to me; you know what to expect from a governor. You know what you want to govern expect from you. You know your assessment, you know how to put together your reports.
If I’ve not offered anything that is so important, you’d say this one cannot be a governor. So leaving here you have enough opportunity not only to assess me but to tell the whole world what you have seen. So, I don’t want to join the school of thought that says Adeola Olamilekan has induced those people, no. I want to be judged by my performance with whatsoever gathering I’m addressing or talking to as far as this process is concerned. So, there is no iota of truth there that I induced anybody with money. I was never part of the process. the process came up naturally and to the glory of God, I was given the opportunity.
And I want to strongly believe that, that was my least expectation because with that kind of massive endorsement, it has been able to clear the air regarding a lot of things. And that it’s not coming from one of the aspirants of the governor or so is a little bit shocking. Why? That why should it be Yayi.
Come 2019, if you don’t get the APC ticket to contest for governor, what will be your Plan B?
On the issue of Plan B, yes this is one question that has been bothering a lot of people. Yes, Yayi movement is everywhere but what I can assure you is this: come 2019 I would contest for the governorship of Ogun State. I’m not going to say anything other than that; by 2019 you will see Yayi! Whosoever is going to be contesting on the other side with Yayi, I don’t know. But 2019, it will be Yayi. So, whichever place they now want me – APC, ADP, or any party , can assure you that.
It’s a destiny that I have made up my mind that I want to contest for the governorship of Ogun State come 2019 and I believe that by the special grace of God, we shall all succeed. So, I don’t want you to look at alternative plan or Plan B. All those people that visited Amosun, the elders council, 70 percent of the elders are not with him. I’m telling you, 70 percent of them are not with him. Those that are with him you will know them. They say by their fruits, you shall know them. They will tell you we are the authentic APC leaders, where do they hold their meetings? Let them join us. After us, who else? We will see them. We are authentic APC. But there are leaders and there are leaders. So I don’t want to go into the nitty gritty of that.
What plans do you have to take the state to the next level?
You see in the real sense of it, we’re not looking at 8 years. You know part of the issue is this: Otunba Gbenga Daniel did something that is very unique for the state. There is a document that we have, it’s a 25-year document plan for Ogun State that was put together by the administration of Otunba Gbenga Daniel. Inside that particular document, there are a lot of items that by now if we have started putting all these things into play, I think the future of our state would be quite different.
And our father, Chief Olusegun Osoba started this. He started with the rural areas with the intention that when he returns for the second term he would face the urban areas which is a very solid plan for our state. Because either we like it or not, if we are agrarian state, then the rural roads must be very important to us; rural electrification must be on the front burner and he has done that.
And if he had returned for the second term, by now urban renewal, urban development, everything would have been a thing of the past. But Otunba Gbenga Daniel came on board and crystallised it into a document which is like 25-year ruling plan of Ogun State and I believe if that document is well harnessed, looked into, well analysed, well digested, by now Ogun State will be far ahead of so many other states. And the issue of IGR, development, regional, urban renewal would have been a thing of the past. But there is a reason why it is like this. So, it’s not that Yayi is looking at eight years.
We are looking at a sustainable development plan at least for the next 25 years that can work us as a state. That’s why I said I’m offering a government of participatory governance for a sustainable development. That is the key, that is the way out of the logjam, that is the only way we can reposition our state, that is the only way we can take our state to the next level.
What is your take on the Ijebu Agenda?
I have said it during the Oronna festival, I respect the wish and the aspiration of the Ijebus, they are our brothers. And don’t forget the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria allows for freedom of everything. So, if Ijebu say yes, they want to contest, Remo says why are we not contesting, Egba who is just finishing also say we want to contest, it’s not going to be about us (Yewa) because the number of politicians is about three to ten percent of the entire population of the state.
The real people that would decide or that would tell us this is the direction to go, they constitute more than 80 to 90 percent. These are the people that should be our focus rather than some clique. Five, six people would sit down promising themselves what is not. I’m telling you that only God Almighty and the good people of Ogun State, will make me the next governor come 2019.
Only God Almighty who is the Author and Finisher of my faith and the good people of Ogun State will make me the governor come 2019. And that is where I’m resting and placing my hope. So, only the good people of Ogun State can either accept me or reject me and I will not rely on a few cliques of ten, five, three, one, two, eight people to make me the governor but God Almighty and the good people of Ogun State. And that is why I said come 2019, it is sacrosanct, I’m contesting for the governorship of Ogun State.
Were the traditional rulers part of this endorsement?
I’m aware that before the Ogun West Consultative Forum embarked on this journey, consultations were made and I believe part of the consultations that were made was with the traditional rulers, elders of Ogun West senatorial district and other notable sons and daughters of Ogun West. It is aftermath of the consultation that was done here and there that the idea of invitation of aspirants came on board and as I’ve said, six of us were invited and it’s a programme that lasted for nine months.
It’s not something that they did within three or four weeks, nine months and none of us contributed anything to the programme, not a dime! They are not here but God is here. I was invited like any other aspirant, I was given the opportunity to speak and address those people for two hours. Can he rule, yes or no, you can mark it. I think that is what those people did and they misconstrued them. Maybe by the time they put all of us on the podium like this and the whole world is watching, maybe then it can be a different ball game. And if they want I challenge them to a debate; all the aspirants from Ogun West to a public debate and let us discuss and let’s tell the whole world what we are ready to do for our people. I challenge them.
I challenge Akinlade, I challenge Tolu, I challenge Suraj, I challenge GNI, I challenge them to a public debate. I challenge even Ashiru. If you are sure of yourself and you believe you have what it takes to govern our state and take Ogun State to the next level, come out for a public debate. Let Ogun State listen to us and let Ogun State take their decision and let everybody stop hiding under the finger of one individual. The media can be the observer, you can call for the debate, you can organise it and let all of us come and talk to you.
Let’s talk about the disagreement among Ogun West aspirants?
This disagreement will continue to come because this is the first time a Yewa man will be the governor of Ogun State and as such, a lot of people want to be governor for different reasons. Number one, some people want to be the governor because they want to be the first Yewa man to be governor; some people want to be governor because other people have been called governor. Some people want to become governor because they are passionate with what they are doing, either to add value to whatever thing they met on ground in terms of development, in terms of expansion, in terms of improvement, and as such contributing their own quota to the overall development of the state.
Well, some people want to become governor because they want to fly private jet, just enjoy themselves. But I want to become governor because I have what it takes to take Ogun State to the next level by the special grace of God. So, whosoever is in disagreement with Yayi, they would continue to disagree because the intention, the reasons why somebody wants to be governor is quite different from the other. So, there would be disagreement. So, I’m not bothered, I’m not perturbed about it. Whatsoever contestant that is not in agreement with me; but I’ve told you journalists, I challenge them to a public debate. At least, it would put rest once and for all into all this katakata that is happening now. Ogun State cannot afford not to put their best eleven in front.
This is the state that is well blessed. In the entire South West, it is the only state that has produced president more than one time. As small as we are, in terms of revenue sharing, we are about number 24 or 25 on the list. In terms of land mass, we have just 16,000 square kilometre of land mass. So, when you look at all these indices, you will not even give us opportunity. But here we are, we are one of those states that are well blessed, that has been well positioned in this country that we have seen other leaders of the world coming to greet us in Ogun State. It can only happen in Ogun State. So, for us to be looking for who will govern us in 2019, I believe we only deserve the best and only the best. So, as I’ve said, whosoever is not convinced about what Ogun West Consultative Forum has done, I challenge them to a public debate and let us for once settle the score.
The governor claimed that you have not notified him of your intention to contest for the governorship. If yes, why haven’t you?
He wants me to come and tell him; that’s the simple interpretation I would give to it and I’ve written him formally that my intention to run for the governorship seat of that state; when he mentioned to the Ogun West leaders that all of them have come and they have shown interest, what he is saying is that has not come yet, I would come, so don’t worry. And I’m assuring you maybe in the next two or three weeks, Yayi has come and he is telling the Governor that he wants to run for governorship of that state.