•What He Told City People 24 Yrs Ago About His Life
“Let me start by specially recognising our royal fathers who have come to grace this occasion. The Chairman in HRM Oba Saburee Babajide Bakre, here represented by our own Honourable Chief Sabar Adesina Aroyeun, Kabiyesi the Ebumawe of Ago-Iwoye. I greet you with respect. Then the Kabiyesi of the governor, the Alaperu of Iperu I bow and I tremble. Then the brand new Kabiyesi who has been a wonderful Permanent Secretary, Chief Oyeti, I recognise you. And all other royals, I recognize you and all the other royals that are here.
Our own Chief Bode Mustapha, the Osi of Egbaland you have my respect. Earlier on, I encountered someone who was described as a multitalented philanthropist but what I couldn’t put together is how such a beautiful lady would be an engineer and I can see that your lovely husband is here with you to protect you from the Hawks in the Banquet Hall. You are most welcome and I congratulate you. All the eminent personalities in the house, I welcome you specially to Egba-Land. To the Publisher Of All Time, our own Seye Gbenga Kehinde, I did not know that we are name sakes and now I can begin to understand where he is coming from and how he has managed. I appreciate all of you for coming to ensure we have a good time today. Seye Kehinde, from what we have seen started City People some 25 years ago. I remember that as at that time many other magazines started and I cannot see them again. So it means that there is something unique about Seye Kehinde and don’t forget I also tried my hand on Publishing but I ran away because I just could not cope. So there is something about Seye Kehinde that we must continue to applaud. I have been trying to do some research about his secret but one little experience that I had when I wanted to discover his secret was when I was Governor in 2003. I started jumping up and down trying to see what I can do to turn around Ogun State and of course before that time I had many friends in the media, one of them in particular was running a very important weekly tabloid and after 2 years while we were facing different things I spoke to my friend and asked him why I do not see myself on the Cover of his magazine. Then he replied telling me that he doesn’t pray for me to be on the front page of his magazine because his magazine’s front cover doesn’t carry good news. So, I went to pick many copies of his magazine and truly his front page was filled with bad news. But there is one magazine that always speaks well of people even if the news is bad City People will try to find the positive in that news, that is the secret of City People Magazine. I therefore want to use that as the theme of the short discussion that I want to have today as today is not the day for theoretical speeches.
Therefore, my recommendation is that people in the media should try very hard to focus on the good side of the society other than the bad side. City People has given me 3 to 4 awards such as Governor of the Year and the likes. I have not had the chance to really thank you. But Seye, I thank you because those awards that you gave me were the major drive and it gave me the encouragement to do more. I want to therefore encourage you to continue to see the good side of our people, especially when you look at our country today, there is rarely good news and if care is not taken we will soon become a country that is the known for bad news and this is not good for us because everything in this world that we live in is Perception. It is said that Perception is Reality. The biggest challenge we have in our country today is Unemployment. There is a large number of youths that are qualified with the right degrees but are still seated at home for years without work. During my time as governor, I saw that the total of population of the Civil Service, Teaching Service and the Local Government Service was having less than 50,000 people who are employed in the state, so I did my best and doubled all of that but that was more like a drop in the ocean. You can imagine when we have not less than 20 universities and polytechnics in Ogun State and every year there is a turnout of approximately 100,000 graduates. With this total imagine we have turned out 800,000 in my 8 years as governor, and then we have not less than 100,000 employees in all civil services in Ogun State. So what we should do with this army of well educated and unemployed graduates is to try to encourage private companies to come and establish their companies here by writing good things about our country. I felt very unhappy when I heard that Twitter had moved their headquarters to Ghana. This is not the first time this is happening, I remember when Nestle wanted to build their biggest factory, and it was going to be the biggest factory in the world and they wanted o take it to Cote’ de Voire. Luckily, the Chairman of Nestle in the person of Chief Osunkeye who was an indigene of Egbaland and was someone I know in person. So I called him and asked him why he did not want it build in Nigeria. His complain was Security. I assured him and asked him to erect the factory in Ogun State. I then asked him to pick a land where he wanted the factory. At first he did not believe me, so he picked a land at Inter Change, we had a lot of challenge, but right now it is one of the most efficient factories in Nigeria. Asides that, there are many other things that have come up, such as real estate and the likes. This has made that area one of the best industrial estates in Nigeria and this has made Ogun State the industrial capital of Nigeria. This means that the media needs to help us by deliberately playing down negative news and playing up positive news and this is typically the Seye Kehinde brand. With my experience in politics, I can assure you that Nigeria has great potentials. For example, we are presently in Abeokuta the land of rocks, but when I was travelling around Ekiti State, I realized that that there are more rocks on the road side than we have here in Abeokuta.
Then I thought, all the Italian marbles and granites are gotten from rocks so if we get someone to blast and polish them, you will be shocked that Nigeria has the capability to supply the world all the granite that is needed. I therefore will continue to appeal to the media to do what is right and that is why at any point in time, Seye Kehinde’s City People will have my kudos because even when you are sad and you pick City People every weekend there is always a ray of hope and that is what you have done. 25 years is not small in the life of big organizations, not all of them have survived it and you have people applauding you, that means you are very unique.