-OGUN APM GUBER CANDIDATE, HON. AKINLADE
What will be the priority of your government, if you are elected as the governor of the state?
If you understand
I am from Ipokia Local Government in Ogun West. And one of the challenges young people have over there is teenage pregnancy. We are going to focus on education and how to make them employable. Most of our graduates today are unemployable. I am a member of the House of Representatives.
Many times, I have had the opportunity to provide names for job opportunities at the National Assembly. But when they call them for interviews, they often discover that they cannot do the job. And many of them had second class upper or even first class. So, it is not just about going to school to get a degree, but being employable.
We have already mapped out strategies to work with some of these industries in Ogun State for internship programme so that our graduates can learn skills. Once they are able to get certain skills, they will become employable. For the ones that are not that educated, agriculture is one of the biggest means we are going to use in Ogun State. We are going to create 25,000 jobs within the first two years.
We have some of the best arable lands in the country, we have river streams that we can harness to achieve that goal. We can create more than 40,000 jobs for the state indigenes. Once people are able to get employment, it will be easier for us to come in. One area of my competence is IGR. We are having challenges of unpaid deductions from civil servants, teachers and all of that. It is only someone who can look inward and generate income to pay all these monies and salaries that can govern the state.
The greatest challenge of any government in Nigeria today is how to pay salaries and wages. I can do that because that is what I do for a living. And there is wealth everywhere; it is just for you to have the capacity to see it and convert it to revenue which is what I am going to do. We have the blueprint of what we are going to do already from day one. If people are able to make money, they will pay their taxes.
We will make sure that we create enabling environment for people to do their businesses so that there can be voluntary compliance. It is when you have money that you can talk of infrastructure. Once you create infrastructure, it is going to generate employment for our people. We are going to raise our IGR to N20 billion per month. I am not going to renovate school in your ward and bring somebody from Ibadan or Lagos to come and do it. It is the bricklayers and carpenters in those wards that will do it so that we can develop our economy. By so doing, the pressure on government will be reduced.
I am already speaking with some companies in Agbara to develop some of the abandoned estates we have everywhere to get more people to live in the state. And the tax law is very clear; you pay your tax where you live not where you work. Governor Amosun has already laid the foundation which I am going to build on. My job too is to build something for those that would come after me by God’s grace.
The Presidential and National Assembly elections have come and gone. Don’t you think that there may be bandwagon effect which could affect the fortune of your party as well as your chances of winning this election?
Not at all! The same people who voted for me overwhelmingly on the 2nd of October 2018 are the same people who voted for Mr President in the Presidential and National Assembly elections. Again, this is Ogun State, the memory of injustice done to the late MKO Abiola in the June 12, 1993 presidential election is still very much with us. When my own happened, I had to sit down with my people and tell them that what they did to Abiola was what they were trying to do for me too.
At that point, our people came to a conclusion that they would vote for me on any platform. The victory of Mr President in Ogun State didn’t happen by happenstance. Our people voted and they will vote again on the 9th of March and you will see that it will be bigger than what we recorded in the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
For example, if we had not campaigned for Mr President in Ado Odo Ota, it would have been difficult to win that election in Ogun State. For you to see clearly, our candidate lost in Ado-Odo Otin, our candidate lost in Yewa North, our candidate lost in Abeokuta North, our candidate lost in Ifo, our candidate lost in Shagamu.
Out of six of the House of Representatives candidates that we took out, it is only the one for Ipokia that won his election because my people voted for Mr President and also thumb printed massively on cassava, the symbol of APM. That is a sacrifice that I believe is worth it. None of those who won their elections actually went round to campaign the way we did to reach out to our people. I wish those who emerged the very best. What is important to us is the major election we have on Saturday March 9, and that is what we focus on.
What is your unique selling point as a candidate?
One, I will be the first governor of this state who actually served as an appointee in Ogun State as SSA Internal Revenue. I also served in the ministry of women affairs. That has endeared me to civil servants in the state because I interface with them. I paid a lot of roles in making sure that appointments of most of them are regularized when this administration came on board. Among other candidates, I stand a unique chance among Ogun State workers.
As a member of the House of Representatives, the committees I have served and those I have chaired have given me the leverage to understand the working of our dear state. I have interfaced with corporate institutions while I was SSA interval revenue. I was the Chairman, Committee on Steel and I interfaced with all the companies in Ogun State.
I was also the Chairman, Committee on Insurance through which I interfaced with all ministries and agencies over insurance matters. Nobody among all the candidates today has the wealth of experience that I have. I had worked in private sector before I came into government in 2011 and I had the privilege of working very closely with Senator Ibikunle Amosun and I share his vision from day one. My area of competence is revenue generation. Everywhere I turn, I see money. If you elect someone who doesn’t have these skills, he won’t be able to raise the revenue profile of the state.
Ogun State has a lot of benefits to derive from its proximity to Lagos State. What are you going to do to make it easy for people to work in Lagos and live in Ogun State?
The rail project of President Muhammadu Buhari has already laid the foundation for that, which is even why we all endorsed him for his second term. I lived in England for some time and I understand what rail can do as a means of transportation.
There are so many estates in Ajah where nobody is living. We will talk to these estate developers to come to our state because with the rail transport, people will not need to drive to Lagos any more. We will encourage public private partnership with investors to come in and invest in real estate, build of warehouses along the rail corridor. Once those warehouses spring up around the rail corridors, real estate will also spring up. Ours is to invite the right investors to come and invest around the rail corridor. You will see in the next five years, nobody will believe this is still the same Ogun State.