•The OGUN PDP Guber Candidate, Insists
Over the last few weeks, the image of Hon. Ladi Adebutu, the Ogun PDP Governorship candidate has been on the rise. He has stepped up his visibility. Last week, he was the guest of Paramount FM Radio Station, in Abeokuta where he spoke about his plans for the 2023 elections. He also revealed a lot about his life that many don’t know.
He introduced himself as a rural dweller and a successful farmer who has over the years encouraged many to go into farming. “I came back to Ogun State in 1991 and I can tell you that since then, unless when I am outside the country, I don’t stay elsewhere, other than Iperu Remo, in Ogun State. Some people always refer to me as a Village man because I don’t stay in places like Banana Island and other places in Lagos, but I don’t mind it, because I feel at home in Ogun State. I am a Farmer, I am into Piggery and Cattle rearing, so some people always say I am old-fashioned, but they are still coming back to settle with us that are living in the rural area because wherever there is no Agriculture, there will be food insecurity and this will lead to problems. There is this popular saying that a hungry man is an angry man. This is why I am proud to be a farmer and a servant of the people of Nigeria”.
As an expert in the Agric business, what has been his experience, especially in the face of biting economic challenges, he was asked.
“The main problem of Agriculture in Nigeria is the lack of Capital. To be honest, I have been successful as a farmer because I have resources from other businesses to promote my Agricultural establishment. You can’t do Agriculture by borrowing or sourcing funds with high-interest rates. I have succeeded because I have funds from other enterprises. The Government must make necessary loans available to subsidise funding for Agriculture, which will bring in young investors. Without this cushion, the farmer will labour and labour. He will plant an extensive parcel of land with Cassava but the man will never see his Cassava grow to harvest. Towards the end of the cycle, the man would have become short of money, after one or two weeks of doing some clearing of weeds. I experienced it from an old farmer I know. He would always come to me to buy the Cassava off him because he is short of funds. But as a farmer and in good conscience I cannot do that. Instead, I will say: Baba how much do you need for the clearing? When you sell the crops return my own money. In essence, I was funding him to complete that process.”
“This is what a typical cassava farmer goes through. They plant and others support with funds to complete the process.”
There is another example. I know some people that are into fishery but they can’t raise the fish to completion. Before three months or ten weeks, they are short of funds. So they will decide to sell the fish that is not up to 1kg or thereabout. Seeing this, they have just laboured for nothing, unless there is funding to complete the process. As a government of a state, you must provide those funds at a unit interest rate to help the people. By doing that, you get to provide a database for yourself you will tell them, to come and register your small enterprises. We will provide funding and support for you, but you must provide your savings due to the government and set aside some funds to subsidize the cost of doing business. You will be surprised that there will be jobs and food by doing that.”
Being a successful businessman and farmer, how did he get into Politics?
“Entering into Politics is just a decision, but the following should be in place for anybody who wants to go into Politics. First, anybody that wants to go into Politics must have a Conscience. The first challenge is not to have a peaceful mind when others are starving.”
“Imagine how you feel when your neighbour’s children can’t resume school when the holiday is over. How will you feel when you are satisfied but your neighbours are really starving? Staying around my people, I have seen all these and an upright man can never be comfortable seeing his people suffering.”
“Living in a very secured house away from people only makes us prisoners ourselves. Treating our workers with stipends as salary when there is family at home is bad. This is why I have always wanted to create a humane system of government and a government of reality. It has been the zeal to provide for my people and that is where we are today.”
Since his political career started, what are the achievements he has made so far?
“I am so happy to have lived here for 30 years now, and my childhood friends, that we lived together are now doing well too, with the influence of our friendship. I have invested in Medicals, Education and in many social amenities. The Governor of Ogun State and I are from the same town, but the Transformer I bought for them is better than the one the governor bought. This is about Conscience and the desire to serve people. I have invested in Ogun State with my personal resources than the present or any past governor of the state. My name is Ladi Adebutu and I can say it anywhere that I have provided for the people in my state more than any governor of the state. Can you help me thank God?
Despite the fact that he is proudly associated with the rural areas, recent developments in the state are concentrated at the city centres.
How does he think we can get the dividends of democracy to the grassroot that he has always been associating with?
“In my sojourn at the 8th National Assembly, I was a Chairman of the Committee of Rural Development and I chose that committee because I truly believe that as a country, we have rural dwellers, as the majority while the minority lives in the city and there is a tendency for an urban drift where people in rural areas will want to come to urban areas. This shouldn’t be so because a continued urban drift will diminish our capacity for agriculture and it will ultimately affect our food security. To save ourselves from this Urban drift, we must see attractions that bring people from rural areas to the urban areas and must provide them in the rural area. People will stay. Electricity, Water, schools, and other things.”
“As the Chairman of that committee, I went to Rural Basin Authority in the East and I found all the land military government gave them, they are planting rice and it is still in existence till today and those communities that plant rice are still residents till today.”
“They are farming rice and they are living happily there. If there is necessary infrastructure in the rural area, people will love to stay. If there are good roads, and markets, we will do our farming.”
“We go by these roads to farms and also transport our goods to other places like Ibadan, Lagos and others. Nigeria will be better for us to live in. We must provide essential needs for rural development.”
What does he think the rural dwellers can do to save themselves from fake promises?
“The Freedom is here! What did I say? Freedom is here! It is because of the Electoral Act that was just signed that we are enjoying today. You can see, what happened in Osun State, that is, what you sow, you will reap. The rural dwellers are not fools anymore. Everywhere that I have provided boreholes are with our party now and also the places, I have provided Transformers. The most interesting part is that the rural dwellers can have a say with the Electoral Act, which makes it possible for your vote to be counted. The system is not like before when there was stealing ballot boxes and other electoral malpractices. This is the only way that rural dwellers can save themselves from fake promises.”
As a former legislator, and in view of the just concluded election in Ekiti and Osun State, what does he have to say about the current Electoral Law, especially, as we look forward to the 2023 election?
“The Electoral Law, to be sincere, is a big improvement to curb some terrible politicians. From the last election in Osun State, some people are not aware of the changes that have occurred and they wanted to take the ballot box away but they were shocked as people reluctantly gave the box out to them since the votes have been counted already.”
There have been changes and Nigeria is now getting better. Unfortunately, there is still a big hindrance with Vote buying and we should not sell our votes because if we sell our votes, we are giving ourselves to people that will mismanage and misgovern us. Let us remember that it is not everyone that can behave as “Ladi” who can give people Transformers and build boreholes in the community without expecting a payback.”
“Some people are doing their own to expect a return, so the implication of vote buying is that you are going to suffer for 4 years. Ekiti people are regretting their decision because they sold their votes and they had spent the money given to them waiting to suffer for the next four years. They can now witness what happened in Osun State but the case is irreversible. I know Ogun State cannot be like that because my people are now wise.”
Some say the elites don’t vote and this encourages vote buying. With the current changes in the electoral law, does he think the elites in the country will be encouraged to vote?
“I believe there will be a tendency for the elites to vote now. Generally speaking, I feel the elites feel that the system has been so corrupt because, in the previous system, vagabonds were taking control. You see motor boys becoming our political leaders. In the South-West, at least now, some intelligent people are the faces we see at Yoruba establishments.”
So, what is the solution to vote buying in Nigeria?
“The problem that is making vote buying inevitable is Hunger. A hungry man is angry. No matter what you say to a hungry man it will not have an effect or make him listen unless there is the provision of food.”
“A popular church once organised a retreat with free food and we saw the stampede in the place. The church knew what it is when a man is satisfied, he will listen to what you have to say.”
“A hungry man can’t vote without collecting money. The solution to it is that the voting has to be by Secret balloting, so this will help the citizens to vote for their candidate and if there is any politician with Nigerian money, that time will be for him to vomit whatever he has gathered to himself by buying votes. The secret ballot will not give anybody access to know who we vote for.”
“Can you tell a Nigerian that it is bad to accept money to sell their votes? Can you tell a hungry man not to collect money to eat?
“Imagine how much they are paying their delegates in Dollars at the expense of others. Nigerians are now wise. So it is up to them if they want to collect the money and vote for the wrong person or collect the money and still vote for the right person.”