Ariyomo Won The Best Prize Across Engineering Disciplines, As Well As The Overall Best Prize In The Civil And Structural Engineering Category Of The Professional Examination Of The Nigerian Society Of Engineers In Ibadan In 2005. He Was One Of The 24 Governorship Aspirants That Contested The September 3, 2016 APC Primary Election In Ondo State. In This Interview ,he explains Why The APC Candidate Should Win The Coming Guber Election.
As an aspirant at the last guber primary and a stakeholder, how do you rank your party’s chances in November?
Our candidate, Barrister Rotimi Akeredolu is the next governor of Ondo State. You can note that somewhere for future reference. We have looked at the arithmetic and the dynamics of the 2016 election.
The suffering masses who are tired of career politicians will vote for Akeredolu. He will win. And of the lot in the field, Akeredolu is the only one that can be described as truly independent.
Supporters of Akeredolu within and outside the state are his peers, people who believe in his capacity to deliver. I must be frank; I don’t want another professional politician as governor of Ondo State.
Professional politicians will smooth-talk you and then rob you as we are presently experiencing in Ondo State.
The incumbent governor is fighting to install an Akure man as his successor, but you are supporting a candidate from Owo
That is because we know him very well. He wants a successor that can continue what he started. That would be a third term through the back door; a third term of zero industrialization. A third term of 1km of road for N2billion.
A third term of prioritising event centre construction over independent power plants. A third term of no salaries. A third term of opaque finances. A third term of 6 years being spent on 6 km of dual carriageway in Ondo town.
A third term of continued abandoning of the potential cash cow called Olokola and its OK LNG worth over $16.7billion with capacity to create 40,000 jobs for engineers alone.
If Mimiko truly loves Akures and wants us as governor, why didn’t he opt for Dr. Dare Bada, a brilliant lawyer with a fierce reputation for being independent?
They were in the same party. But more importantly, as at today, the lawfully recognized candidate of the PDP is from Igbotako. I have warned my people to be very cautious.
I support Akure agenda, but we should not mobilize the support of our people in Akure only to discover too late that we have simply worked for Igbotako.
But Akure people have argued that Akure agenda will bring development home
Sure. See, many people mouthing Akure agenda do not even know what that agenda stands for. Akure agenda is a rallying cry to halt the grave marginalization of Akure kingdom in the scheme of things.
If you consider the entire federation, you suddenly come to the realization that of all states created in 1976, it is only Akure as a state capital that has that rural feel to its existence.
It is also the only one without functional teaching hospital, pipe borne water and other basic infrastructure. It has no supporting industry and it mainly exists as a civil servants’ enclave.
I have been at the fore front of the struggle for the Akure agenda in a practical way. From the extension of the dual carriageway at Ilesha-garage to the scheme that frustrated a powerful man who intended to surreptitiously relocate a teaching hospital approved for Akure to his home town, you will see my handprints.
Without making noise, I have given more scholarships and bursary grants to students from both Akure North and South than any other person in our history.
Some of those kids now have PhDs. Kabiyesi Adesina recognized my contributions and honoured me. Kabiyesi Adebiyi appreciated me. Our present Olisa of Akure Kingdom, High Chief James Olusoga and Prince Wale Adesida know what my timely intervention did for us on the issue of our teaching hospital.
When God used me to establish SITDEC under Agagu, over 30 per cent of the first wave of employment was from Akure. Presently, my Think Tank caucus within the APC has come up with a multibillion dollar scheme mainly for Akure metropolitan area, with outposts to be fixed in Igbokoda, Okitipupa, Ore, Ondo, Owo and Ikare.
But we can only implement this if we vote an APC governor in November. We have embedded power generation systems planned for Akure metro to end years of epileptic electricity in all parts of Akure.
But we can never achieve this under folks who prioritised investment of nearly N11billion in the building of a fanciful event centre over electricity. Neither can we ever achieve that under a governor whose psyche has been wired to see such as a ‘federal government job’.
So I am not an Akure agenda proponent by mouth. I act it.
What is your advice to people of Ondo State?
They should come out in their large numbers on November 26 and vote for the APC and its candidate, Akeredolu. I was recently appointed as Coordinator of the Professionals for Change (P4C) caucus of the party and we will be playing key role in the APC election in Ondo State.
APC is made up of members within and outside Nigeria including none APC members so far they believe in rapid transformation and sustainable development.
We will be sponsoring the Akeredolu Support Organization across the 3009 units and 203 wards. We believe there are incredible opportunities for this state now that we have someone like President Buhari at the helms of affairs.
We seriously need the leverage of the governorship to rollout unprecedented development that our people can see, feel and benefit from. To my colleagues in the APC, the fire must keep burning.
Our candidate will win in November. He is the best for Ondo State. For those of us who contested the primary, we understood beforehand that the quality of the Nigerian democracy is still low.
We knew its imperfections could be unnerving. We however gave our words to the party that we would stand by the eventual winner. We signed undertakings that we would rally round the winner.
We should keep to that agreement. A man’s words should be his bond.
…… Excerpts of interview conducted by Babatope Okeowo.
Barrister Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.