Ahead of the July 17th PDP primaries in the state of Osun, Engr. Ezekiel Olajide Adeniji has joined the long list of prominent Osun personalities who want to govern the state. On Thursday, 14th June, 2018, he picked his PDP governorship nomination form at the PDP national secretariat in Abuja.
Engineer Adeniji is a son of the soil from Ila-Orangun in Ila Local government area of Osun State and born on 11th June, 1961, to the family of the late Chief James Arinde and Madam Comfort Onaolapo Balogun Adeniji of blessed memory. He attended St. Matthew’s Anglican Primary School, Ila-Orangun, where he obtained his first school leaving certificate (FSLC) in 1974. He proceeded to the Ila Grammar School, Ila-Orangun in 1974 where he wrote and passed the West African School Certificate Examination in flying colours in 1979. He gained admission into the University of Ife, Ile-Ife now ObafemiAwolowo University (OAU) in 1980 and graduated in 1985 with a B.Sc (Hons) degree in Civil Engineering. He did his mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps Scheme in Benue State, where he was appointed the Project Engineer in the Task Force on the Face-lift of the General Hospital in Markurdi. He also, attended University of Lagos (2001 – 2003) for his Master’s Degree in Project Management (MPM), Nanjing Institute of Meteorology, Nanjing, China (2003), WMO Certificate in Instrument Fabrication Meteorology and St. Clement’s University, West Indies (2009 to 2012) for his PhD in Project Management.
He had a teaching stint at his alma mater – Ila Grammar School, Ila-Orangun where he taught Mathematics and Additional Mathematics immediately after he passed his WASCE as an Auxiliary Teacher. After completion of his NYSC in 1986, the Military Governor of the defunct Gongola State, Group Capt. Jonah David Jang (former Executive Governor of Plateau State and now Senator) made him the project Manager of the Task Force for the face-lift of the General Hospital in Markurdi, Benue State. The same Military Governor invited Engr. Jide to Adamawa State, after the carving out of Adamawa and Taraba State from Gongola State as the Project Manager on the Task Force on the General Hospital in Yola, Adamawa State. He remained the Project Engineer in the Task Force on the Specialist Hospital, Yola in Adamawa State where he rose to the position of Director of Civil Engineering. In 2002, he transferred his Civil Service Career to the Federal Civil Service, where he was appointed Director of Engineering and Technical Services at the newly established Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), an Agency under the Federal Ministry of Aviation, Abuja. In 2007, he was appointed acting Director-General/CEO of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency. He retired from the Federal Public Service after meritoriously serving his fatherland in August 2010. He also held various public service appointments. President Goodluck Jonathan appointed him Chairman of the Governing Board of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and he was sworn in on Friday, 6th July 2012.
He is a fellow of many engineering bodies. He is the founder of Ezekiel Jide Adeniji foundation. EJA, which had in the last decade given scholarships to thousands of Osun indigenes, mostly those from Ila. Asides that, it has also empowered youths and women in the community.
Recently, he spoke with City People’s Ondo/Ekiti Correspondent, Adeola Shittu, at his Abuja office where he opened up on his Guber ambition and why he is the best person for the Osun number 1 job. Enjoy.
The news in town is that Engineer JideAdeniji is eyeing the seat of power in Osun state, how true is it?
Yes. That is very, very true. Have obtained my nomination form at the party’s National headquarters in Abuja. Before now, my foot soldiers had been on the field, but from next week, my campaign team will be touring all the 30 local government areas in the state ahead of the primary election, don’t forget I said, I joined PDP in 2010, so this makes it my 8 years involvement in Osun State politics and Nigeria as a whole, so we have our structure in place and I know by the grace of God, I will emerge the party’s standard bearer come July 17th, 2018.
What influenced your decision to contest for the seat of power in Osun State?
Though I’m a politician, but I don’t do things the way others do them. For instance some people want to condemn others to elevate themselves, but in my own case, I will not condemn any government rather I will commend where they have done well, where they have not done reasonably well I will advise them to improve in that area, where they have not done at all I will keep that to myself and when I come in as the governor, I will do those things they suppose to do, but they have not done. Under the present government of Rauf Aregbesola, to me, they are doing their best even though their best may not be good enough, but they are doing their very best and the people believe that Osun State has a lot of problems. We don’t pay salaries, salaries have been held, it is only in my state that we are having half salary, all these kinds of things are not things human being should hear about.
The economy of the state is in the hands of a few people from Lagos, they have occupied Osun State, you see we have problem in the state but this problem is what we can solve collectively through mySHARE AGENDA, if I become the governor. My administration would focus on Security of lives and property of the citizenry, Housing scheme for workers, Agricultural revolution, Rural Development and Quantitative Education for all. When we talk of education, it is not just building houses and decorating them, it’s about solid education. Before now standard of Osun State education was high, we were in the 7 position in WAEC performance list,but now we are at number 29, which is not a good thing, you see building schools without qualified teachers amount to failure. I will use my wealth of experience in the civil service to tackle problems faced by the civil servants in the state, my administration if voted would restore the long lasting lost glory of the state and make the state’s economy viable.
I cannot personally eradicate poverty and unemployment from our state, being a global trend and self-inflicted by the people at the helms of affairs, but I have lofty ideas that would be meaningful and give stability to every single life in Osun as I intend to works with Osun best brains both at home and in diasporas to relieve us of burdens and redeem the future of the incoming generation.” My unwavering resolve and staunch commitment to work with the collective efforts of the entire people of the state irrespective of our political affiliation, to work in probity, stewardship and transparency to deliver dividends in tandem with true tenets of democracy and morality”.
We will make agriculture our priority, agriculture is our occupation in Osun, but today, people are running away from it, so we need to improve on our agriculture and encourage people to be seriously involved in agriculture, fishery, poultry, plantation, everywhere and not only in Oshogbo or Ife or Ila or Ede or Iwo or Ikire or Ilesha not in cities, but in rural areas and that is where, the next agenda comes in, which is rural Infrastructure. Thank God I’m an engineer and I know what it takes to construct road. So, all our towns and villages would be interconnected, so that the product of the farm will be taken to the city and the remaining ones by train, we export them to other people and make our gains.
In the last 8 years APC had ruled the state of Osun and going by the fact that they actually control the federal government, do you see your party winning the next Osun state governorship election?
Before APC came to power, PDP had rule the state of Osun. Again when PDP was at the helm of affairs at the federal level, we lost some states to the opposition because we were very honest and if government is honest, they won’t support rigging. Rigging is the worst form of corruption because when they rig election, they are stealing your conscience and stealing your sensibility, they are stealing our future.
So if the election is free and fair I will say PDP would reclaim its mandate in the state. Some state controlled by the APC have performed woefully, they would surely vote them out, but when you want to do (magomago) even if men cannot deal with you, heaven will deal with you. But as it is our people are tired of the APC government, so they want us again.
Sir many believe that your coming out to contest for the 2018 Osun state governorship election has to do with your relationship with the former president Goodluck Jonathan that he is ready to give you all the backing and support you need. How true is this?
You see, a lot of people can talk anything that will not remove me from being his friend, his brother and being very close to him. A lot of people believe that I cannot even urinate without him or Atiku Abubakar. But the questions are, are they coming to Osun State to vote. No doubt the former president and I have a relationship of over 25 years and he had given me his words and blessing and support for the race. But I am contesting this election, because I’m qualified for run I know that I would make positive change in my state, help will come first from God and from people that know my capacity including Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and other people.
Do you see any of the other aspirants in PDP as a threat to you winning the election and is there anything like zoning of governorship ticket in Osun, are they zoning?
Well, I don’t feel threatened or intimidated by anybody. All of us are useful, all of us are qualified for the race, but don’t forget that it is God who maketh a king and it is God himself that will decide who will be a king. A lot of people have been making noise that the governorship is going to the west, is going to the east senatorial district, is going to the north central. What we are talking about in Osun state is zoning or not God should give us someone who will better the state. We are not talking of zoning, for instance, speaker of the state House of Assembly has always come from one zone, the west; all the ministers we have produced in the state except minister of water resources, who comes from Ife it have always been from the same west. All the ministers and probably Erelu from Ilesha, so if you are saying that west, west, then we don’t know what we are doing.
The solution to the problem we have in Osun state today is for God to give us a God- fearing man, who will change the state for good not somebody who will come and steal our money, no we want somebody who will change the state for good no matter where the person comes from, to God be the glory. After all in Nigeria today only the North west has produced six presidents and they are still aspiring to be president in the next dispensation. North central produced only three times all are military, northwest produced three military and three civilian. South west produced two civilian and one military they produced three presidents.
South -south produced only one civilian president. South-east produced only one civilian president who was even ceremonial, north-east produced nothing up till today they have not produced any president, so if we are talking of zoning, there are some people who have not produced at all but in Nigeria today, most of thepeople who are aspiring to be president are all from North-west. We have more than seven persons from north-west, aspiring to be president even from PDP not to talk of APC that they have accepted that the president who is from the north-west would still continue, so people talking of zoning are just timid, go and compete in the field and let God give us a king who would not misrule us, that is my belief.
How have you been able to influence the lives of the people in your community in IlaOrangun?
I’m a typical Ila Oranganman, born and bred in Ila and our people’s adage which says (ila kin daran, emu niila n da) Ila does not cause trouble, our own is to tap palm wine and for people to feel fine so I had that consciousness that anywhere I find myself, I don’t want to mess up my life and that has been at the back of my mind. Before I joined politics, I had always render assistant to my people and when I had the opportunity to be in that position, I also put smile on my peoples faces.
In the last 8 years my foundation had giving scholarship to student from primary to secondary level while undergraduates and master’s degree students are not left out. I have done my best, but I believe my people are in best position to speak on how I have influence them.