As the year 2019 approaches, the political turf in Nigeria is set for action with political gladiators, electorates and even electoral commission oiling their tools in preparation to another general election.
However, before the 2019 big show comes in, there are opportunities for various parties to straighten political curves. One of such opportunities is the gubernatorial election in Ekiti state which is scheduled for June this year.
In an interactive session with journalists recently in Lagos, Egnr Kayode Ojo, a governorship aspirant under the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the forthcoming elections, who boasts of over 26 years experience serving in numerous capacities for various Oil and Gas companies in Nigeria and USA talks about the Ekiti brand of politics, his vision for the state, chances within the APC and other issues.
Why I joined the the race to be governor of Ekiti
We have seen Nigeria as a whole, how we has not utilised our potentials, we are such a potentially great nation but unfortunately the style that we are running is a style that cannot build a country, if you juxtapose that with Ekiti state where I come from.
Ekiti is a state that is doldrum, while others are at least having some sort of progress, we are basically doing nothing in our state and we have a army of youths that graduate from higher institutions yearly, some half educated and even unschooled once with no jobs.
Everyone just want to become politician, in Ekiti, even before you come out of school you are a politician, the line between voters and politicians in Ekiti is so tiny that you might not see it. Everybody is a politician and we can’t run a state like that, people simply lash on what they can lay their hands on and for many the only thing is politics.
How to create money to run Ekiti
Even Aliko’s money won’t be enough, what we have to do is to be creative, launch into initiatives that can be more rewarding for the state, the federal allocation is too little, by the time you remove salaries and other statutory expenses there is almost nothing left to run the state.
It means that for anyone to do well you have the to create the money, and we have lots of ideas on how to get this fixed. One of the ways is to get into many service providing futures which would serve as opportunity to improve welfare and revenue for the state. This businesses can then be handed over to private the sector with government doing due diligence in her monitoring role.
There is money in Ekiti but it takes a working government to maximise the opportunities. For instance, Gossy Water which is natural (from the spring) and from geo thermal reaction can be transformed into a multi billionaire investment for the state if the state can manage things well. These are part of ways we can look inward to make things better. And there are so many like that.
Ekiti politics, and my chance within APC
Politically, in Nigeria, truly you have to know people, I have strong relationship with most of the leaders of the All Progressive Congress (APC), I have a strong political network but I am not tied to the apron spring of anybody, my focus is the people and I believe that the election in Ekiti will be one man one vote so in the end it’s going to be who the delegates want. Hence, issue of whether you are Buhari man or whoever is out of it since ours is a party with internal democracy.
You know our people are very critical, you can’t just show up thinking because you have the backing of whoever you can cruise over them, no you can’t. Particularly given the kind of suffering that they have been through since Kayode Fayemi left office, the suffering is so much and the stake so high that no one wants to risk another four years of bad governance.
My political strength locally
I have been meeting with the people, trying to connect with them, trying to let them know that we are in the same boat, I have gone round local governments, met stakeholders and majority of the delegate. And my message to them has that I can be trusted with the future of the state given my antecedents and background. I have never been in government whether by election or appointment but to the glory of God, I am an entrepreneur, I have businesses since I was a young guy.
I try to let them see is the compassion, I believe compassion is one key thing in leadership in this country, otherwise no leader would see a man who can’t afford shows and yet misappropriate funds that belong to them. Basically what I have done is to go round and try convince them on what I have to offer.
Another chunk of empty promises?
My answer to that is very simple, those who fail on campaign promises usually have done nothing successfully in that past to merit entrance into leadership positions.
Where are they coming from? What business do they run? What have they done? What is their personal achievement? If you have in your personal life signed cheque of about five hundred million Naira, or the highest you have done is a business of five hundred thousand Naira, there is high probability that such person would be overwhelm when he sees billions in government are very high but if you have handled money in millions, even beyond the Naira you are not shocked about seeing money in government because you don’t begin to jump around looking for houses to buy in Cape Town, American, Abuja, here and there. To the glory of God, I have that, I got my first house in London at the age of 29, I got my first house in Nigeria at Akure at the age of 24, God has immensely blessed me, what I am doing now is to give back.
Would pressure and influences clip my feathers?
No way! That’s part of the experience I spoke about earlier. Even in the private sector, there is no way you won’t have pressure from different angles and interests, it is left to you to aggregate the interests, analyze it and then see if it fits into the goals at hand. There would be external internal interest, from the civil servants to the protocol people, aides, media and even family members but as much you are driven with compassion for the people, whatever decisions you are taking would override externalities and would be in the interest of the people. Governance is about the people so the questions that should guide policies would be how is it going to affect the people, how would the people react to this, as long as you continue to ask yourself these questions and put yourself in the shoes of the people, their interests will always overcome.
What does the Ekiti people want?
Someone fresh, with an entrepreneur background, who has something in his life, I know it takes time but we to start somewhere by giving a roadmap so that incoming administration can build on that.
For example, in Ekiti, we don’t have a master plan, no developmental plan, you can’t build a house without a plan. So the first thing we will do is to put an integrated master plan in place for the whole state. With this is we would understand the nature and peculiarities of each area in the state and this will help us know what kind of ventures we can put in place there that can be a catalyst to the development of the areas. So we need to sit down and put these things in place such that even local governments chairmen key into the plan and local administration is channel towards the plan.