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NNPP, the beautiful bride in waiting in Oyo

By Olawale Azeez
17 May 2022   |   3:20 am
As the drumbeats of 2023 politics begin to play, one of the states of the federation that will be interesting to watch is the titanic contest ahead for the governorship seat of Oyo State.

As the drumbeats of 2023 politics begin to play, one of the states of the federation that will be interesting to watch is the titanic contest ahead for the governorship seat of Oyo State.

Within the two main dominant parties – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC), the contest is already getting fierce and intense.
But as gladiators in the two main parties square out, not many people are giving a thought to or taking notice of the entrance of an emerging third force coming on strongly to tilt the political balance in the state. And that is the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP).
Political watchers in the state should be losing sleep now with the gale of defections from the ruling PDP to APC and NNPP. An incumbent governor losing the only Senator of his party in the state and deputy to a rival party less than a year to his reelection should really be worried.
Why political watchers should beam their lenses on NNPP is the groundswell of optimism and excitement the new party, spearheaded by former Kano State governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, is generating.
In a recent visit to Ibadan, Oyo State capital, where he was accompanied to the residence of the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Lekan Balogun, by the governorship aspirant of the party, Mr. Popoola Olukayode Joshua (POJ), he said the NNPP was ready to effect a change where every Nigerian would be treated based on merit and not ethnic or religious affiliation, adding that the party blessed with ideas and people to drive the agenda of a new Nigeria.

While hailing Oba Balogun for his contributions to the country’s political development since his entry into the game in 1983 when Oba Balogun contested the old Oyo State governorship election under the banner of the defunct Nigeria People’s Party after defecting from the Peoples Redemption Party, Kwankwaso said the coming into existence of the NNPP which is an off-shoot of the old NPP during the reign of Oba Balogun is a divine arrangement.

And the person to watch out for to actualise this dream change in Oyo State is Joshua, who some weeks back also defected from the PDP to join the race to occupy Agodi seat in 2023.

Joshua, a COREN Registered engineer, is a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineer (FNSE), Nigerian Institute of Highways and Transportation Engineers (FNIHTE), Nigerian Institute of Civil Engineer (FNICE), the current Mogaji of Ojo Ewena Compound, Oke Ofa Babasale, Ibadan and once a Secretary of bilateral meeting of Nigeria/Cameroon Joint Commission on boarder Roads. He was also awarded D.Sc Construction Engineering by the Commonwealth University, Dubai, United Arab Emirate (UAE) in the year 2011.

Immediately after his service year in 1988, he was employed by Federal Civil Service Commission and posted to Federal Ministry of Works and Housing as pupil Engineer. He later became the Chief Maintenance Engineer, Niger State, Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) – an Agency under Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, between the year 2005 and 2009.

By end of September 2011, POJ attained the position of Deputy Director Highways (South-South) where he was in charge of many Federal Roads projects in the zone. Following outstanding professionalism he exhibited in handling all works assigned to him, he was posted to Lagos State as the Federal Controller of Works to oversee many other important projects like Expansion/Rehabilitation of Lagos – Sagamu dual carriageway, Section I of the Lagos – Sagamu – Ibadan Expressway, Rehabilitation of Third Mainland Bridge among others.

Reeling out his programme where he intimated stakeholders in the state of his intention to put himself forward to serve, he said security will be the major plank of his service to Oyo people. As ancillary to tackling the problem of insecurity will be youths employment that will be enhanced.
He said: “There is going to be job opportunity, especially through agriculture and skills development. The key is to take as many people off the streets and get them engaged gainfully. That way, crime and vices will reduce.”

On his experience that qualifies him to serve, POJ said: “I have served this nation as an engineer working as a federal government engineer in the last 30 years working in many states and delivering projects, so, I know what people want…Definitely, when I become governor of Oyo State, I will reorganise the civil service first, nobody will lose job but there will be value and quality output from public service.”

Giving an insight into the intrigues within the PDP making many staunch party men leave in droves, he said the incumbent governor is running the party in the state like his private company.

“Politics can never be a one-man show. Today, whoever the governor wants is the person taking charge. If he says he will not give you form, you will not get it; the only people that are probably loyal to him are the ones that are collecting nomination forms but that is not supposed to be in a democracy. We should allow people to choose whoever they want, you allow people to show they are also party members, everybody should be given equal opportunity, if it now comes to where you have been voted out, you yourself will know that yes you have tried your best to convince party members.

“So, since PDP has turned out to be a one man business, dictatorship has taken over, I and other like-minded individuals had to look for where there is freedom, where we can exercise our rights, where there is progress, where there is equal opportunity, whether you are old or young.”
Azeez wrote from Ibadan.

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