We had been on his trail for the past 4 years. The last time he granted a major press interview, it was to City People Magazine, in his house in Iperu-Remo, Ogun State. We joined him on a Coaster Bus ride, from a function in Abeokuta to his base. Once the bus took off, the interview commenced and by the time the 1-hour trip ended in Iperu, we had done half of the interview and the remaining half took place a few minutes later after he settled down in his political office. That was in 2018.
Since then, a lot has happened and his political profile has risen. Politically, he has remained consistently consistent as a valued member and leader of the PDP in Ogun State. He has fought many political battles and won all. Twice, he has been a federal lawmaker and he is seeking to be the next Governor of Ogun State. He is from the same home town as the incumbent governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun and he also has maternal links with Odogbolu. He is a man of the people and has been living in the midst of the people for over 30 years. He is never afraid to tell people that he is a rural dweller and a farmer.
Since the 2018 City People interview, it has been challenging getting this man they call Ladoooo to talk about his life and politics. Until a few days ago, when the signal came that he will be willing to grant City People an interview on Thursday, 9th August in Abeokuta where he was.
We quickly dashed down to Abeokuta to keep a date with this 60-year-old strongman of Ogun politics. Of course, there was the fear that he could change his mind because of his busy schedule of endless long meetings.
By the time we got to Abeokuta, he was the guest on a radio programme at Paramount FM, on the Hill-Top at Kobape. We rushed there and got in just as the 1-hour programme was starting. And from there we retired to the swimming side of the hotel to do a 2-hour interview with this humble and easy-going son of Chief Kesington Adebutu, who is running for governorship in Ogun State.
We got him to tell us his plans and appreciation of the task ahead. And we found him to be someone who has a deep knowledge of the political and social issues in Ogun State.
It was a no-holds-barred interview, as he took on those issues head-on.
Below are excerpts of the interview he granted City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE & Head of City People TV, SUNDAY ADIGUN.
Over the last few months, you have been travelling around all the communities in Ogun State, consulting with your constituents. What has been the feedback?
Well! It has been nice. It has been very refreshing because we’ve gone round a few times before and each time you do it again, the result is also a refreshing review. It is like you get to recharge. You get an opportunity to see where we are now and do a comparative analysis of where they were the last time you were there. Sometimes, they have faired better.
Sometimes, they have not done well.
So, that way, you get an opportunity to understand how your work is cut out for you. But by and large, it gives you recharge and gives you the determination to know where you go next.
In your own case, you have been involved in Politics for over 30 years, when you look back, have there been improvements or great improvements in the lives of the people since that time and now?
Hmmm! Haaaa! How do I answer this? First, I have to say the euphoria of June 12, 1993, brought me into Politics. The nature of the fact that your votes will count, it was an open ballot system and the ultimate feeling that when you do good to your people, you can be paid with their votes when you contest. That way you can actually see through it. It was that hope of Utopia, that we could achieve Utopia, that really brought me to Politics. All through these years, I have seen a lot and I am pained…I am pained by what I see. In some cases, some have been better of. Some have not. We wasted a lot of the opportunities we had. I don’t want to discourage the next generation. But sincerely, with the 30 years, I have put into this, we hope that the next generation will be better rewarded.
You are one of those contesting for the governorship of Ogun State. How prepared are you for the next gubernatorial elections?
Hmmm! How prepared can you be? I have learnt my ropes, I have been in Politics for over 30 years. I have learnt the intricacies of party politics as prescribed by our Constitution which states clearly that you must have a platform. I have learnt my ropes. I have gone through the tutelage under several masters. Some have been kind. Some have been unkind. Some pleasant. Some unpleasant. But any experience is a good experience. And I think it has made me a better person. I have learnt from their flaws and failures. I have learnt from their successes and I have been able to shape my own leadership style and I believe it has been a relatively successful leadership. As of today, Providence has put the running of PDP in my hands, today, I hold the baton. That is one stage of the preparation.
I have had 30 years to learn and understand the people of Ogun State. They are the electorate. I have lived here. During that period, I understood all the nuances. So, I understand the people, the electorate, I understand the dos and don’ts. I understand the institutions that surround the elections, the INEC, the security agencies, and others. We are prepared. I am prepared. But, as my upbringing as a Christian, and from the background from which I come, we have been taught to understand, that we plant, and it is God in his infinite mercy that waters what we plant. What God waters, ultimately comes from fruition.
So, all our efforts ultimately reside in the hands of God.
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