•OSUN PDP Guber Aspirant Reveals His Plans
Below are excerpts of the interview.
What has been your experience so far with going around meeting people and what have you found back?
I will say there is a lot of Poverty in the land, unfortunately, the people at the helm of affairs are not doing anything to help. They focus only on Civil Servants who are not up to 2% of the Osun State population. What they are getting from the Federal Government is not enough. We have the pensioners, retirees that are not paid well. When I was going round, there were places where I had to cry because I wonder how our government live. Instead of making Osun an industrialised state. It has been turned to a Civil State.
Can you shed more light on the 3 categorisations of Osun State you gave in your speech earlier?
Osun State as it is today is a Civil Servant State, Teachers State and lastly Farmers State. This is not what Osun State is supposed to be. It is supposed to be an industrialised State. We have everything it takes for Osun to be an Industrial State. Osun has at least 4 mineral resources that can give the same output Oil gives in Nigeria. But how are they managing it? There are also challenges with Job Creation and Youth Unemployment.
What are the areas you plan to focus on in terms of your agenda?
First, I want to improve on the state of Education. Osun is an educated state but what is her position among the 36 states? Osun State came 33rd in the last 10 years using the WAEC standard. When we talk about Youth unemployment, it is criminal to have that problem with the Youth uneducated. I don’t know how Osun State cannot provide a good education for her indigenes. If the majority of our Youth are educated up to the Polytechnic, University and NCE levels, you don’t have to guarantee jobs for everyone. Education in itself is a mind liberator, so even if they are selling Pure Water, they will sell with a difference. That is why if students don’t cheat, they cannot be any success, it has gotten that bad. Even at that, Osun has over 21 Tertiary Institutions. That is why education will be my first priority.
Secondly, when people finish their education they go into Agriculture. Why? That is because Osun State is a Green State. There is a lot of farmland that you can cultivate and there is nothing like changing the winning formula. What stops us from going back to farming? There are Cash crops and Edible crops. First, if we have an Agricultural policy in place to the extent that you pick what the farmers produce, you are guaranteed heavy production for that year. I can re-introduce the Commodities Board system, if there are no standards, you put people there and create standards. I cultivated 200 hectares of Cassava by the time I was to sell they were already selling Cassava for 3,000 thousand naira per hectare and that ended up a waste. We wanted to do the Starch industry, there was no light. We can create an Agro-Allied industry. Parks that will be all-embracing. It will have light, milling equipment and all available to farmers at cheap rates. Then we have Mining, the Chinese are carting gold away from Osun State on a daily basis, and we are complaining that there are complexities with our Kabiyesi.
There are no policies on Mining in Osun, who is operating the policy and do they understand it? So, Mining is another area that can create noble employment opportunities. If the Federal Government allocation is not enough, you have to develop an IGR. Forget propaganda, we have key areas that can be developed for IGR to increase. But when you are not in charge and have access to all these truths, how do you operate it. The Chinese will rather prefer to settle, with the Nigerian Police as their security. That is why the country is like this. Our police protect the Chinese that are mining. All they need to do is settle whoever. You should have another source of security which will be another form of job opportunity for the youths. But the Federal Government will post Police to their private homes, sites and all that.
Are these shortcomings, the reason you are passionate about serving the people?
Yes, by the grace of God I am an Entrepreneur so I want to take this entrepreneurial spirit to Osun State. I am not looking for money. There are people who truly want to serve not for money. With my knowledge, I will put Osun State indigenes who are well trained. There are people who can bring resources to Osun State that can create employment.
How do you see the politics of the state of Osun?
Like I said, it is intriguing. I have never seen anywhere in the world where you want to succeed and you have so many likes just for immediate gains. People engage in Oathtaking for as little as 10 thousand naira. So, the Politics in Osun is so messy. I don’t know how God will do it because I have gone into it but I know that God has a plan for me and Osun State. I have a destiny. The politics of Osun State is so intriguing, it is so sad that even the so called leaders are not interested in anything just in immediate gain.
Irrespective of whatever anyone says about Lagos State, I believe anybody can govern Lagos State. This is because you have a Master plan in place and a Template you cannot operate outside. They said Lagos State is the most leverage, what is bad in borrowing money, so far as the cash flow from the project you put it into is good? So in Osun State, there is no template you are working with. Every year they organise their business summit that they will bring people from abroad and make quick money from. So, if I am in charge of Osun, we are going to have a Master plan. A 20-year long term plan and a 5-year short-term plan within that long term plan which everyone will relate to.
With your last experience in Politics, what are the lessons you learnt from that experience?
I have learnt a lot. These are things that have fortified me. I was cheated out of the primaries. It made me spend a fortune. When you want to serve your people, why do you have to spend billions? They made it so expensive. After everything was done, they said I was too educated, wealthy and all sort of. The experience was bad but it has toughened me. Like I said, I went to the nook and crannies of Osun State. The more I go round, the more convinced I am that Osun needs me.
When your retired from Mutual Benefits, you went into farming, how did that come about?
I have been doing farming while I was working. I have a farm in Ogun State, I bought 350 hectares of land where we planted Cowpeas, beans, cassava and maize. I have been doing this for 20 years. I also have a factory in Ogun State where we do Cassava conversion from the experience in Ogun State, I went to my village to acquire farmland, we applied for 2,000 hectares and we were given 800 hectares. I planted cash crops, and my Oil palm is maturing. We have done 5 years, so they are maturing. We raise seedlings in the farm that we sell to people. We call it first fruiting, after this you get the real thing. So, now we plan on doing the real thing by getting a mini mill. If I were in charge of the Osun government today, I will have industrial parks in all the federal constituencies. In Osun State, we have 3 constituencies. So, we would build industrial parks so you don’t need to start looking for equipment. When you get your seedlings you take it there for processing.
You have paid a lot of attention to the issue of Leadership in the course you studied. Why did you give special attention to Leadership?
By my training and what I do, I believe so much in Education. Every now and then after founding a company like Mutual Benefits, the only thing I can do is to train myself up in Leadership. Who is a Teacher? A teacher is a person who leads, who coordinates for results. In Mutual Benefits, I am proud to say I have various competencies from various individuals. As a leader, all I have to do is put those competencies together to produce results.
I don’t need to be the Accountant, Insurer or Auditor because we have so many. That is what is happening in this country. If you don’t have what it takes you cannot give. If you ask a School certificate dropout to co-ordinate, what will he co-ordinate? Like I said, Osun is blessed with so many professionals in different areas, so when you bring such people together what will be the outcome? So, a leader is someone who focuses on results and focusing on results you have to use people who have skills and competencies. So, that is why leadership is key and this is not just for Osun State because this is an issue in this country. God bless this country but has made sure that the right people don’t lead us.