•OGUN APM GOVERNORSHIP CANDIDATE, HON. AKINLADE
The governorship candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Hon. Adekunle Abdulkabir Akinladehas revealed that his party would spring a big surprise at this weekend’s governorship election in the state.Below are excerpts of his recent dialogue with the Media a few days ago.
The governorship election is few days away. How ready is your party, APM?
I want to look at it from the 3 senatorial districts.
What we did from January 22 was the commencement of the ward-to-ward tour, and that is one of those things, which I learnt from the political structure in the state, to penetrate people at the ward level.
We went around the 236 wards and in the process we were able to sell the APM brand.
Picking cassava as our logo was strategic;-one, because most of our communities are rural and two; because cassava is a produce that is more accessible, which our people are more conversant with regardless of their zone, whether West, East or Central and that has worked very well for our people.
We are doing well at present.
For those who might not really understand what happened during the Presidential and National Assembly Polls, we got to a point where we realised as a party, when I said as a party I mean both All Progressives Congress (APC) and APM, needed to reach out to our people to vote APC, in order to ensure the President’s re-election.
We got to a point where we realised that if we proceeded the way we were going, Mr. President might lose the election in the state. That is how grounded APM has become in the state in the last two months.
At that point we had to agree within ourselves-the stakeholders that it was important the president wins in the state, especially because of the rail project, which we want him to complete.
Majority of our candidates who vie for the National Assembly Elections lost and this was because three days to the poll, I came out to campaign openly for the President, telling our people to vote APC and the President in the first election.
It was important for us to do that because of the ongoing projects in the state.
We realised that if the President doesn’t complete the projects-the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway, the rail project and other projects around the state, it will be difficult for me to increase the state revenue from N7b to about N15 or N20b that I want to take the state revenue to.
Thank God he won and I am very happy about this.
Where we are today, the Governor has said it very clearly that if we come out openly and work with him and the President wins, they will in turn work with us to deliver APM come March 9.
It is painful to us that our candidates lost, but if I look at what we stand to gain, I think that was strategic for us and like we said, we have reached out to everybody now and everyone is charged, Ogun West is ready to go for APM.
For Ogun Central, you need to go out and see what is happening; in Ogun East, I am confident that we will not get less than 40 per cent. So, if you look at where we are today, majority of those that voted for Mr. President in APC and APM are all ready to vote for me.
The same people who voted for me on October 2, 2018 during the governorship primary will also make up their minds to vote again this weekend and we’ll win this election
By God’s grace, it is going to be a landslide for me and I am confident that that is what is going to happen.
All I am praying is that my vote should count and that my vote is protected. That has to do with the election umpire and security agencies.
Your godfather, Governor Ibikunle Amosun was in the eye of the storm during the presidential rally of APC, would this not have negative implications on your campaign?
I am a member of APM and I wouldn’t be able to speak on what transpired in APC because I am not a member of the party.
We went there to show solidarity for President Muhammadu Buhari, who is also our presidential candidate and whatever transpired at that point in time, I believe the security agencies are looking at it.
I am not part of the security agencies and I don’t have access to that. What I will just say basically is that it hasn’t affected me in any way, I wasn’t in the crowd.
The people saw clearly where I sat and when I was leaving the stadium they saw clearly that I continued to enjoy the full support of my people.
You said majority of those who voted APC during the Presidential and Legislative Polls are APM members. Are you saying without APM Buhari wouldn’t have won?
I have said it clearly and severally, based on where we are coming from, the people who voted for us during the October 2, 2018 governorship primary, are people of the state and members of the APC, who have remained resolute that the injustice meted out to me will not stand and that the wrong will be made right on March 9 gubernatorial election.
I have said it many times, with all sense of responsibility that the President will not require Prince Dapo Abiodun, the flag bearer of APC to win election in the state, that we in APM will come out en masse and vote for the President, to the extent that we sacrificed chances of our party during the last election. Take Ado-Odo/Ota for example, if we had not campaigned openly for Mr. President it would have been difficult for APC and our House Representatives candidate would have won.
But because we said everybody should vote for the President, our candidate lost in Ado-Odo/Ota, our candidate lost in Yewa North, our candidate lost in Abeokuta North, our candidate lost in Ifo, our candidate lost in Sagamu. Out of the six House of Representatives candidates we presented, only the one from Ipokia won and that is because it is my home front, where I voted, that tells you very clearly that it is a sacrifice that was worth it.
Most of those in the race with you are eminently qualified. What is your strategy of winning?
Let me put it this way; I will be the first governor of this state who actually served as an appointee in the state. I was Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Taxation & Revenue, between July 2011 and January 2014, and I served in the ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development as well, between January 2014 and October 2014, and that endeared me into the hearts of the civil servants because I interfaced with them, also those I served with in the Ministry know me well. So, among the candidates, I have the unique chance among Ogun workers. I am from Ipokia Local Government; I am a current member of the House of Representatives.The committees that I have served in and those that I have chaired have given me the leverage to understand the workings of our dear state.
I have interfaced with competent institutions and corporate organisations while I was SSA Taxation and Revenue. At the National Assembly, I interfaced with the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), almost all the Managing Directors and Chief Executive Officers I interfaced with.
I was also chairman, Committee on Steel, I was Chairman ad hoc committee on Insurance, which means I interfaced with all ministries and agencies of government over insurance matters, defence, upstream downstream, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), everybody. None of the other candidates have the wealth of experience that I have, coming into this, both at the state and national level.
I have the rare privilege of working with the governor; I shared his vision from day one when he started.
Look around the state and see what he’s been able to do. Though no man is perfect, he’s done the best he could and I believe very strongly that it is the same drum that will be beating.
Every administration beats its own drum, but how we interpret and how we dance to the rhythm will be different. Amosun interpreted his drum the way he knows best he could. I have a very clear mind, a very clear vision of what I am going to achieve.We are well positioned appropriately to Lagos, to the West coast of Africa, and I am ready to explore this to generate more income for the state.
How has your party, Allied People’s Movement (APM), fared in its preparation for the coming governorship election?
I want to believe that every one of us understands how APM came into being after the primaries of the 2nd of October, 2018 which I won. But as they say, that is now history. Since it came into being, we have been able to move round the state. And in the process of doing that, we have been able to sell the APM brand. It got to a point where we realized as a party; I mean APC and APM, that if we proceeded at the pace we were going, Mr President might lose election in Ogun State. That is how grounded APM has become in the last two months. At this point, we had to resolve within ourselves as stakeholders that we must give Mr President all the supports he needed to win election in Ogun State. We want the rail project he has started to be completed. Yes, we lost some of our candidates who would have won with a landslide in their various constituencies, but they lost this election because we had to come out openly to campaign for Mr President three days to the presidential and National Assembly elections. We know that if that rail is completed, most of the companies in Lagos, especially those in Apapa will want to build their warehouses around the railway corridor which will bring a lot of commerce to the state. So, it is important to me that Mr President wins and thank God he won. Ogun West is ready to go for APM; Ogun Central is ready to go with us, Ogun East, I am confident we will not do less than 40 per cent. If you look at where we are today; and the numbers are there to show very clearly, majority of those that voted for Mr President are APM members. Also, the remnants from the APC are coming back to APM. By God’s grace, it is going to be a landslide for us.
There have been a lot of accusations and counter accusations about the disruption of presidential rally in Ogun State. How has that affected your campaign for this election?
One, I am a member of APM; I won’t be able to speak on what transpired in the APC. We went there that day to show our solidarity with Mr President who was our presidential candidate whom we endorsed and I came out openly to support. Whatever transpired at that point in time I believe it is something the security agencies will be looking into. What I want to say basically is that it has not affected me in any way. People saw me clearly where I sat, and when I was leaving the stadium, people saw very clearly that I still continued to enjoy the support of our people.