APC, PDP have nothing new to offer Osun, says AD guber aspirant
Ahead of the September 22 governorship election in Osun State, a governorship aspirant on the platform of the Alliance (AD), Mr. Femi Kehinde has called on electorate in the state to get their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and also ensure they participated fully in the election with the mindset to protect their votes.
Kehinde, a native of Ile Ogbo community and a legal practitioner, who represented Ayedire/Iwo/Olaoluwa Federal Constituency from 1999 to 2003, said it is necessary to introduce a fresh idea to the management of Osun State, come September 22, when another governorship election takes place.
The AD governorship aspirant said the present state of Osun’s economy, particularly in the last eight years, would require a genius to tackle.Speaking with The Guardian on why he chose to contest on the AD platform, Kehinde said he is endowed with the necessary mental faculty, political experience and knowledge of the politics and people of the state to transform it in few years.
On how he intends to transform Osun if elected as the governor in September, he said it is obvious anyone coming to succeed Governor Rauf Aregbesola, will inherit huge debts aside other administrative challenges. But as a lawyer, with professional experience spanning over three decades and in the course of my practice, I have handled the debt profile of some states. I have the capacity to bail the state out of its present debts challenges.
According to him, “I handled the debt profile of Oyo State. In 2007, my local firm and a foreign firm were given the opportunity to handle the debt profile of Oyo and we were able to realise that Oyo had a surplus of about N187 billion to recover from the Federal Government through the Paris Club, London Club and multinational agencies and they received the first tranche of about N117 billion in December 2017 after our exercise.”
Kehinde said one of the setbacks to development in Nigeria is due to the fact that many of the states run cap in hands to Abuja to get monthly Federal Allocation. This he intends to change by running a government that would be less dependent on allocation.
Said he, “We are going to galvanise the economy through agriculture. In Osogbo town, there are about 11 streams that can be used for vegetable farming. There are about 2,878 communities in Osun State and we are very cosmopolitan. If you enter Ikirun up to Otan Ayegbaju, you will see communities, but we are not leveraging on these advantages.”
The AD governorship aspirant is also banking on his grassroots political experience to transform Osun if elected, saying, “I have been a grassroots politician in the state since 1987 when I was elected as a councillor on the zero party platform into Iwo Local Government.
“I was a councillor in Iwo Local Government between December 12, 1987 and 1989 when Iwo was carved into Ayedire/Iwo and Olaoluwa. We went on to found Ayedire Local Government and I was a supervisory councillor for works briefly before the entire local government structure was dissolved by ex-military Head of State, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.”
To him, the cardinal programmes of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) founded by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, which bother on free education, free health, rural integration and gainful employment would be the bedrock of the administration he proposed for Osun if elected.
According to him, “I want to bring prosperity back to the state mainly through agriculture and mining. The Action Group (AG) left about eight farm settlements in Osun State, most especially in Ila Orangun, Osogbo, Ago Owu, Mokore axis, Esa Oke, Odo-Otin and host of others. All these are moribund. I want to resuscitate these farm settlements and improve on them. Those farm settlements were products of agricultural technology brought about by Chief Awolowo.”
He also promised to take Osun restive youths back to gainful employment, saying that the recent Offa robbery was tragic example of what unemployment and general bad state of the Nigerian economy has caused Nigerian youths.
Said he. “If we are able to address the challenge of unemployment, prosperity begins immediately because Osun is richly blessed through agriculture; cashew, which abounds in Iwo, Ejigbo axis sells for about $1,880 per tone now as against $300. Cocoa sells for about $2000 and cassava has about 14 derivatives part of which is ethanol. We want to leverage seriously on this and majorly we want to explore the mining potentials of Osun State.”
On the chances of the AD in an election where the two dominant parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are contesting, Kehinde said Nigerians are tired of APC and PDP and from the look of things the electorate are looking for something new and reliable, which we promise to offer.”
Although, the AD governorship contestant refused to assess the administration of the incumbent governor, saying it does not matter if we start making positive or negative assessment now. He stressed: “What is important is to set our priorities right and strategies on what to do to bail the state out of the present predicaments. We also need to improve on the lives of our citizens through effective policies.” He also expressed confidence that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will conduct free; fair and credible election to would eventually enable the people of Osun State to elect their choice candidate in the coming governorship election.