Ogunbiyi: I’m an authentic PDP member in Osun
Some are asking for how long you have been a member of the Peoples Democratic Party?
I am not a new comer in the PDP. I have associated with the PDP since 2003. And as a major stakeholder in Osun State, I actually became very active because of what I saw as injustice and bad governance. I consciously in 2015 joined the PDP to become an active and partisan member. And it is on record. You can check. As far as the state is concerned, I became more involved during the battle for supremacy that almost grounded the party. And I did everything within my reach; used my resources, contacts and goodwill to bring peace into the party and today, we have peace.
So what was the attraction for you in the PDP?
I am happy to be on the side of the majority. PDP is a party of ideology. Until our great party came to power and gave democracy a meaning, military dictators constantly intercepted Nigeria’s democracy. It was our credible party of ideology that gave democracy its true sense and brought stability, economic progress and lots more to the nation. I joined PDP because of my conviction that it is a credible platform for democratic governance.
What has been the attitude of Osun people to your aspiration?
This time around, Osun people are getting it right. They are supporting my ambition. Everywhere I have visited, as if it was more than a rally, people trooped out, showed love because they want true change that will bring positive development to Osun and give hope to the hopeless. These are what I have brought including quality leadership, service to my people and people-centred development. The Bible says when you have a righteous man in government, the people rejoice. So, I am not looking for wealth. I am not looking for money. I am just out here to serve and bring meaningful development to the state. The challenge of leadership is the same everywhere. Politics is not dirtier than business. They are both about problem solving. I have been a successful businessman for years. I am not coming into politics because I am chanced. For the past six to eight years, I have been preparing myself for this assignment of leading Osun. I retired from the corporate world to join politics. So I am ready to give quality deliverables that people can feel and touch.
What are your chances in Osun PDP?
Of course, any of the 11 of us cleared by the PDP for the race can lead. We are all qualified people who actually can lead given our respective profiles. But my chances are bright. If you conduct an opinion poll today, based on realistic and practical profiling of all the aspirants, you would know that Ogunbiyi comes first because people are looking with discerning eyes and are concerned about who has a practical demonstration of achievements.
Now moving beyond party primary, how do you see the election proper?
By the grace of God, I am going be the next governor of Osun. We are going to work with everybody. I am happy with the responses I am getting. Our party is blessed. I have reached out to every aspirant. We really need to work together, harness our skills and form a formidable team. We are going to optimise every available expertise within the party to give good governance, leadership and create value to make life better for the people of the state.
How do you see the Osun situation today?
The biggest challenge facing Osun is not debt. It is leadership. You can talk about unpaid salaries, the health sector, the education sector, debts burden, among others. But, above all, bad leadership is the greatest problem. Of all the states in Nigeria, Osun is highly endowed and blessed with resources. So, having good leadership who can identify, create and deploy values is crucial. Osun needs the right leadership, which I represent, and, by the grace of God, we will put everything in proper perspectives and the state will rise again and become a model for other states.
I know what it is for people to work or retire and not get paid. Even the Bible says the labourer deserves his wages. Recall my background, I am into insurance. So, I am going to ensure that pensioners get their entitlements when due. By the special grace of God, civil servants and other salary earners will also be paid when due. We will look at the debt profile and whatever needs to be done, will be done. I am an administrator to the core. The people of Osun will know that they have a governor.
Can you give insight into the man Akin Ogunbiyi?
I am a trueborn and a major stakeholder in Osun. I am not a foreigner, not Lagos based. I am a true son of Ile Ogbo. I was born in Ile Ogbo in Ayedire Local Government Area. I attended Ansarudeen Primary School (1969 – 1974). I went to Kuta, Ile Ogbo Modern School (1974 – 1975), Luther King’s College, Ile Ogbo (1975 – 1980) and proceeded to the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife (1980 – 1986). I am a village boy to the core and I live in my community. I am not just living in the community. I have impacted the community – scholarships to indigent people – talent hunt in my community and elsewhere to the tune of 50 million naira yearly- boreholes. I have 2, 000 hectares of farmland along Gbongan – Iwo Road that employs hundreds of indigenes. The little blessing God has blessed me with from my business exploits I have brought it back to benefit my community.
This is not something I did overnight. I have been doing it for the past fifteen years. My contributions to the community are there and I have lived in Ile Ogbo for the past ten years. More than 50% of my investment is in Osun. In fact, if you see me on my farm, you will not be able to distinguish between my workers and I.