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‘President Buhari’s ‘body language’ could reduce graft’

By Niyi Bello
25 June 2015   |   1:30 am
THE chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) in Ondo State, Chief Olumuyiwa Ogunleye has expressed optimism that the war against corruption embarked upon by the Muhammadu Buhari administration would be won “mainly because of the personality of the president.”

OgunleyeTHE chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) in Ondo State, Chief Olumuyiwa Ogunleye has expressed optimism that the war against corruption embarked upon by the Muhammadu Buhari administration would be won “mainly because of the personality of the president.”

Ogunleye, a chieftain of the All Progressive congress (APC) who is also the National Chairman of the Muhammadu Buhari Legacy Foundation, told The Guardian yesterday that the victory of Buhari in the March 28 presidential poll was the best thing to have happened to Nigeria in the country’s search for development.

Speaking at a time that President Buhari lamented meeting a near-empty treasury and a huge debt overhang, Ogunleye urged all Nigerians, particularly his fellow politicians and members of the APC, “to recognise the historical role they have to play in getting Nigeria back on the right tracks.”

According to him, politicians who are committed to the advancement of positive change are the ones that are needed around the president “and it is good that the president himself, being a person with zero tolerance for corruption, is very much committed to this.

“President Buhari is not going to run a ‘come-and-eat’ government because a lot of us that supported him did not do so because of food. We did it because he is a man of integrity who is going to pass the trait down the ladder of his administration.

“Those who wanted bread and butter supported the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate because they wanted business to continue as usual and you can see how much money they ere throwing around during the campaigns. On the contrary, Buhari didn’t spend any money and he won.

“In fact the president is addressed as Mai Gaskiyya, which means ‘the trusted one’ among our Hausa/Fulani compatriots, to underscore the fact of his honesty. One of his friends in the Military School said of him that even when Buhari jokes, he doesn’t lie.”

Ogunleye, a businessman and former president of Ondo State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (OSCCIMA), said in the kind of disciplined regime that Buhari would put in place ‘there will be security, infrastructural development, investment growth and provision of good things for Nigerians. “What an investor needs for his business to grow is a conducive atmosphere, peaceful environment and supportive economic policy.

All these are sure to be provided by a disciplined government. That is why we in the private sector know that Buhari is the best for Nigeria.” Speaking on his expectations of the political direction Ondo State should take as preparations are being made for next year’s governorship elections, Ogunleye who disclosed that he would throw his hat into the ring said it is the turn of Akure to produce the governor.

According to him, “out of the original five divisions that made up Ondo State, it is only Akure that has not produced a governor since the creation of the state.

“We have the Akoko and Owo divisions in Ondo North Senatorial District, Akure and Ondo divisions in the Central while Okitipupa division is in the South. “In 1979, Owo division produced Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin and in 1999, Akoko division produced Chief Adebayo Adefarati who handed over to Olusegun Agagu from the Okitipupa division.

The incumbent governor Mimiko is from Ondo division leaving only Akure, out of the whole lot, as the division that has not produced a governor.” When reminded that Ajasin ruled over the old Ondo State that included the present Ekiti State and that it was not in the current dispensation, Ogunleye said, “even at that, it means that Owo and Akure should be considered now. “

And with the electoral strength of Akure division’s three local councils, Akure North and South and Ifedore, which is more than the votes of the entire north, no political party worth its salt would want to pick its candidate out of the area. “Even if you revolve the argument around the three senatorial zones Akure is still the recurring decimal.

Let us agree that all the three zones have tasted it one time or the other in this dispensation, the best we could do now is to start all over again. And with the strength of Akure, the area has the right of first refusal.”

Ogunleye who has been involved in Ondo politics prior to 1999, said other groups should not attempt to take the ticket from Akure, “in fact they should be grateful to Akure people because they all got their strength from the area. “In 1999, it was the turn of Akure and Chief Reuben Fasoranti was to become the governor but he put forward Adefarati.

Mimiko got his second term by the grace of God and with the votes of Akure. So it is pay back time and I am sure they will not be ungrateful. If we have been giving all these while, it is time we should be given.”

On the claim by the oil-producing Ilaje sub-ethnic group that it should get the governorship ticket because it is the area that produces the economic backbone of the country and has not produced a governor before, Ogunleye said “the Ilajes have more than their fair share of democracy dividends already.

“They are the ones getting exclusively, all the money accruable to the state from the Mineral Derivation Fund. In other oil-producing states, this money is spread across all their areas but it is not so in Ondo. They have the highest access to government money. That should be enough for them.

And in terms of votes, we are more than them.” Speaking on what Ondo needs as a state to grow, Ogunleye, a large-scale farmer said, “there should be massive investment in the agriculture potentials of this state. With that we don’t have to go to Abuja, cap in hand to look for doles from the Federal Government and our youths would be gainfully engaged.”