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‘Ekiti 2022 is not about rotation, but good governance’

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Engr Kayode Olubunmi Ojo

Engr. Kayode Olubunmi Ojo, is one of the leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State. In this interview he dismissed insinuations that history of political party winning election in the state back to back will repeat itself in 2022.

Since 1999, Ekiti has always alternated between APC and PDP. PDP leaders are confident they are going to produce the next governor. What is your take on this?
To be frank with you, I have done extensive consultations and I can tell you that truly, some people have this idea that this time around, it will be PDP’s turn.  That of course encourages some people in the opposition to think that it is their time. But the fact is that we have gone beyond that this time. Everybody have realised that the only way for their lives to be better is to vote for an individual who will come to improve on their lives. That is the feedback we have from the people. It is not about alternating parties. What is the party going to do for them? It is the person that helps the party. But, I want to assure you that APC in Ekiti is now good and formidable to rotate power with PDP.

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What is your solution to the crisis rocking Ekiti APC?
The solution is very simple and it is to bring everybody together. In Ekiti, we are an indivisible family but you know politics is all about interests. And every politician who is trying to vie for an office will always want to create an atmosphere of advantage for him to get the position.  It always happens in politics whereby people will say I am this and that. But at the end of the day, everybody will come together. For someone like me, I don’t have any issues with anybody. So, I can approach anybody to discuss with them and tell them ‘look, what we are doing is greater than our individual matter. Hence, we have to come together to make sure that we win the next election. APC winning the governorship election is important so that Ekiti can actually start that cycle of continuing where we left it. Ekiti always rotates from one party to another since we started. So, it is very important that we work together to win the next governorship election.

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Stomach infrastructure introduced by former Governor Ayo Fayose into Ekiti politics was popular but not much is being heard about that now. If you become the governor, which policy will you adopt?
People’s welfare is better attended to now than when some opposition leaders were mouthing stomach infrastructure. The APC government in Ekiti has a fantastic program for the elderly, there is conditional cash transfer and many others. We intend to do more. I understand Ekiti because I have spent some time there. I believe that we have these three measures that we have to follow.  There is the urgent measure that requires immediate attention; then we have the short-term measures and then, the medium-term measures and then the long-term measure. That is the way to deal with the Ekiti situation right now. It is not only in Ekiti. All of us know the prices of goods and services now have gone through the roof.  So, there is hunger in the land. If you have N1, 000 now, the value has gone to almost nothing. So, the economic situation is not peculiar to Ekiti alone, it is all over the country. Even in Lagos here, you can’t really get much value for money.  As a result of that, we need to have a programme that addresses the immediate needs of the people, to at least give them things that will cushion their pains before you now move to the short term measures and then medium and long-term measures, which involves getting industries and getting people to be integrated into the new economic system that we are going to build in Ekiti state. That is the way we are going to do it. But even the stomach infrastructure that you mentioned is just a slogan. Did Ayo Fayose go to streets and share money to the people while he was governor? He never did that. But if you look at Fayemi’s government, he is focused on building the foundation that was not there. What he built when he left that was scattered is now being rearranged. You can see him bringing back Ikogosi Warm Spring, which was shut down during Fayose’s time. Fayemi built it in his first term but when Fayose came into office, he shut down the place. The same thing with Ire Bricks; they are trying to give it to core investors to bring in money.  That Ire Bricks alone can give us a lot of money if they diversify and improve on the product that they make.

Are you confident that governorship primary will be free and fair?
I can only tell you that when you talk of ‘free and fair’, Nigeria has a factor in everything. There is nothing we do in this life, that Nigeria’s case is not largely different. It is peculiar. Free and fair in Nigerian language is the peculiarity of our system. So, I believe in line with the Nigerian peculiarity, it will be free and fair.

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Governors are powerful and they like to anoint successors. What is your perception about the governor of Ekiti state and your ambition to succeed him?
I will tell you that the state of my programme right now is that as at today, we are reaching out to feeling the pulse of the people generally.  We are asking the people on the ground, what do you really want? That consultation is ongoing. It is after we get the feedback from the people that we will take it to the next level to go and talk to our leaders like the governor, ministers, former ministers, elders and other stakeholders.  At that level, when we talk to them, we will be able to see what their line of thoughts is. They all know me very well. But fact of the matter is, there is this issue that everybody wants to anoint his successor. But if you look at it historically, it has really never worked. We have examples of people that have anointed their men as successors with the belief that the person will be loyal to them but it doesn’t work. At the end of the day, the man that is in the office always wants to have his independence and it brings a clash.

I have a very cordial and civil relationship with Governor Fayemi. As a matter of fact, I see him as my senior brother. As for the case of having a godfather, I only have God the Father. I only rely on Almighty God, not humans. But the fact is that in politics, there is no way you want to do something without carrying along your leaders and your elders, except you want to go and start your own political party. It is not only in Ekiti. Even at the federal and regional levels, you must interact with all those leaders. There are only a few people in this life that will be governors because it is a unique position. So, it is not just a position whereby any or everybody can attain. So therefore, you must relate with your leaders and carry them along. Whether they want to support you or not, you must relate with them and at the end of the day, even if you win the ticket, you need them to support you to win the general elections. Even if the people want you, your leaders must also be part of the process. So, my own point is that Governor Fayemi is a very intelligent individual and I believe that there will be a level playing field for everybody.

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