I AM YET TO DECIDE ON 2015 – EX GOV ALAO AKALA

 

Sir, you were at Oyo recently  on political activities, can we conclude that the race towards 2015 has started as far as you are concerned?

We have started politicking and we have started to move around and we have started mobilization for 2015.                                  What is the state of things in the PDP at the state level now?

Let me tell you, when election is coming like this, there is no way you will not have this kind of conflict in a party and as such we are used to it, it happened in 2011, it happened in 2007, it happened in 2003. So, it will always be like that and it will continue to happen anytime we are approaching a general election, it will always happen.

Sir, it was reported in the media recently that Alhaji Yekini Adeojo is the PDP leader in Oyo state now, what is your reaction to this?

What do you mean by that?

Do you subscribe to his leadership?

What do you mean by that? Alhaji Adeojo is one of our leaders in Oyo state.

What is now your relationship with your former deputy, Alhaji Taofeeq Arapaja?

Very cordial and he is now an ambassador, he is enjoying himself in Jordan.

Sir you are one of those who always cry against marginalization in Oyo state, yet presently, Ibadan holds the two most prominent positions zoned to the state – the ministerial and ambassadorial positions, what is your reaction to this?

That was done in error and I am still talking loud for them to know that that ought not to have happened the way it happened but they also agreed that it was done in error and I know one way or the other we have started compensating other zones of the state on certain things we are getting from the Federal Government, so, we are trying to balance the equation but they agreed that it was done in error.

You have always dodged assessing the governor of Senator Abiola Ajimobi yet…

Don’t say I dodge, I don’t dodge, but there is nothing that will be coming from my mouth that will be looked at objectively, even if you are trying to be objective. So, why do you have to talk, they will just read meaning or insinuation into whatever I say, so why bothering myself. Let the electorate talk; let them assess him, let them be the judge, not me.

What is your view about their urban renewal programme?

I don’t know what you mean by urban renewal…

All this road construction

No, this is not a rural setting, if they want to do any urban renewal, whatever, let them go to Ikoyi-Ile, Ajaawa, Akanran, those places are better renewed.

Sir, some PDP governors just defected to the rival All Peoples Congress (APC), what is your reaction to this?

You see, they are aggrieved, anybody who thinks his views are not being looked into has the constitutional right to do whatever he likes, and any one who thinks his grievances are not properly being looked into has the right to do whatever he likes. But like I said sometimes ago, the party is well rooted and is too strong to be pulled out just like that. But let us be frank, it will affect the party but all the same, it will not inflict any serious damage on the structure of the party, no.

In view of what is happening in the country, all this agitation over who emerges president in 2015, what do you think the year holds for PDP and the President in particular?

Don’t let me deceive you things will work out when the time comes. It was worse than this in 2003, but the unity of Nigeria will not be compromised, the oneness of Nigeria is above any individual, I don’t think anything will happen by the time we go into the election, things would have straightened up but I don’t talk about North or South, let the best man be in office but for God’s sake the President is entitled to another term.

2015 is around the corner, personally sir, what song should your supporters start singing:Akala for governor or Akala for senate?

We should let them sing whatever song they want, and I will sing along with them, whatever song they want me to sing along with them is what I will sing too; whatever song my followers are singing, I will join them and chorus whatever they are singing, so, let us wait and hear the song they will sing.

On the issue of the teaching hospital that you built for the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, some people believe that the project was riddled with corruption and sharp practices yet others believe that you have accomplished a great thing, what answer do you have for the un-applauding camp.

Let’s leave that to history, history will judge perfectly, like I said the other time. History will judge all of us. Like I said if I do anything, I always go for the best, I like the best. Nobody was involved in any corruption, the person that led the project committee was Dr. Saka Balogun, he is not one that will condone such and I couldn’t have conspired with him to do any shady work, he will not be party to that, you can vouch for his integrity and if such a person was in charge, I don’t think anybody would have done anything else rather than to do the correct thing. So, those people are mischievous, let them continue to say what they like, people are enjoying it now, you know how little people are paying when they go to that hospital everyday. Like I told some people I met the other day, some people came to look at the hospital and they said they didn’t know this is what I did here, they looked at the state-of-the-art equipment we put there, you are here in Ogbomoso you know, people are very happy, some of them have been coming behind to express appreciation. I met one prominent professor going back to Abuja recently, we were discussing and I asked him where he was coming from, he said Ogbomoso, from the teaching hospital, he said he was doing something there, a veteran medical doctor, so don’t worry, they will soon realize what we have done.

Still on that, some people are of the view that the teaching hospital should have been built on a virgin land.

Why the hospital was not built on a virgin land is because of the proximity to where it’s supposed to serve, that is the college of health sciences. A teaching hospital is just like a laboratory to a college of health sciences and if it is very far, they will not be able to serve each other well. That is why we didn’t build it on a virgin land, and again we had land where we could build the college of health sciences so, why should we now take the teaching hospital to somewhere else, it is for easy movement of students.

Also, it is said that you re-built the town hall of Oyo and that of Ibadan, but you left that of Ogbomoso undone, what is your defence?

Did I build teaching hospital in Oyo, did I build teaching hospital in Ibadan? I was trying to ensure that there is even distribution of amenities in all areas, I was not governor of Ogbomoso, and I was governor of Oyo state for God ’s sake. So, it was to ensure even distribution of amenities, what I did in Ogbomoso, did I do it in other places? So, I did what was feasible, what was needed in each place, it was according to infrastructural needs of each place, even didn’t you think it is cheaper for me to build a town hall for Ogbomoso instead of a teaching hospital? It is cheaper and more convenient for me to build a town hall, of what use is a town hall to the people of Ogbomoso, compared to that teaching hospital?

People believe that one of the reasons you lost the 2011 election was because President Jonathan romanced with the opposition, so to say…

I don’t have evidence to prove that, it is hearsay but see, you don’t cry over spilt milk, don’t let us talk on that again, bygone is bygone, the only thing is that many lessons were learnt from the past to move on to the future, don’t let us go back again, forward ever, backward never.

Should we apply this same principle to the issue of some paramount traditional rulers in the state who were opposed to your re-election then?

They were not actually opposed to my re-election, I don’t think they were opposed to my re-election but if they were opposed to it, it is really unfortunate, that is how they perceived things as at that time but with due respect, I am a well brought up person, I don’t go confrontational with traditional rulers but if it happened that way it might have been because of certain things that we did during the course of our administration. You see, you hear all sorts of information, when you are on that seat, when you are inside, and you are not outside, there is no doubt about it, one or two mistakes must have been made but it is normal, we are not perfect, we are not perfect human beings.

Sir, if you have the opportunity again to rule the state, what will you do differently?

I will not do anything differently, the only thing is that it will be another opportunity to continue and I will still put the fear of God before me and I will still make sure that I try to do more than what I did in the past. Because of experience I know where and where not to touch and I know how to move things faster, experience counts, so that is it, I will focus attention particularly more on the downtrodden people, on the grassroots for them to benefit the dividends of democracy more than the elites.

Should we say that as governor you couldn’t manage the state’s workforce?

What do you mean by that?

That is the workers; you had a sour relationship with them.

Compare and contrast, which one is better now, don’t forget I was once a civil servant and I know how to deal with workers, I know what workers want and I know how to give them, to make them happy. But there is no way about it that I have to attend to the other sectors of the economy too, health workers wanted my attention, workers wanted my attention, local government workers wanted attention, so, I sat down, how do I go about it, I am not trying to boast but I think I am a very good manager of men.

What is your relationship with the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo?

Very cordial, very, very cordial.

Between 2007 and 2011, an Ogbomoso man (now Senator) Ayo Adeseun, was chairman of Appropriation Committee in the House of Representatives; some people opine that his performance, in terms of influencing projects to the town, is better than what Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, who is currently the House leader, has done so far, what is your reaction to this?

I think the person is better asked that question not me, that is number one.

But you are her godfather

I am not a godfather; I am a leader, number two, why not trying to hold brief for anybody, we are different, we are not the same in all we do but I think she will be in the best position to answer that question because I don’t know how they operate there, unfortunately I have never been in the legislature, I have been in the executive, so, the man you said performed magic, what he has done, how he did it because when you talk of someone who is the chairman of appropriation, you know what it means, he has access to some money and he has access to some projects, that gave him the opportunity, so , being in charge of money is different from being in charge of men, maybe because the man was in charge of money and the other one is not, if she is too, we would have asked her where she was putting money but I think she is doing well.

While waiting to conduct this interview, we noticed a lot of people milling around in your expansive compound, how come, after all you are no more in office

My passion is to make people happy, my passion is to put smiles on the faces of people, and if people know of someone’s passion, they will go there to look for succour; they believe if they come to me I will be able to solve their problems and if I couldn’t, the words of advice and the way I will talk to them will make them happy and where I can do it, I will do it for them, most of them are people of Oyo state, and the people of Oyo state have been kind to me in the past, so, why can’t I be kind to them if they come to me, the people of Ogbomoso especially, on any help I can render, and if I can’t do it I will say, may be that is why people are still here, and don’t forget in Ogbomoso at least I’m one of the community leaders and as a community leader I should take care of my community.

Your case with EFCC sir!

Which case, I don’t have case with the EFCC I have case in court, and when you have case in court, you don’t discuss it.

You are now a poultry farmer…

Not only that, not only poultry I have an integrated farm.

Can you tell us about it?

I have poultry, I am into fishery, I have heads of cow, I have piggery section, I have cashew plantation, I have maize plantation, which I use to feed the livestock, and we use the animals’ manure to fertilize the farmlands and the manure of the chicken for the fish to eat. I am an integrated farmer.

And how is it doing, the prospect…

You want to check my account?

How is it faring?

I am okay, so far, so good at least in the locality we provide jobs for the people, people buy and sell our products.                                                                     .

You are also investing in a radio station, not much is being heard about it again.

It is not an investment as such, I am just a promoter (let me use that word) of a radio station, it will soon be on air by the grace of God,

What other thing(s) should Ogbomoso people expect from your stable in terms of development?

Any opportunity, like I said earlier on that whatever I am doing in politics, it is Ogbomoso first, my party second, my pocket last in that order. Anything I am doing in politics is Ogbomoso first, so whatever comes my way will come to Ogbomoso first.  I said something the other time (while in reminiscence with some of my childhood friends before this interview) that when we were making money in those days in Lagos, we would bring it to Ogbomoso to spend, so it has been part of me, not now, it has been part to me, Ogbomoso first, I don’t know, I have passion, I have everything towards the interest of Ogbomoso, some of my friends said, this your Ogbomoso, you don’t even come to Lagos again, you don’t come to Ibadan again, I say if you want to see me, come to Ogbomoso. So this Ogbomoso thing has been in me for a very long time.

Lastly sir, what message do you have for your numerous supporters, followers and so on?

Yes, I want to tell them that we thank God, this year is coming to an end and by the grace of God we will see the end of this year, make the new year and by the grace of God too we will navigate our road through the new year too and I want to tell them they should remain steadfast and continue to support us so that we can also have opportunity to be able to help them because when we are supported and we are in position to help, that is when we can help. In most cases when you are in power you will be able to help and they should continue to pray for us so that everybody will be happy. Everybody will benefit, they should expect more. They should expect more goodies in the coming year; I wish them a prosperous new year and the Christians among them, merry Christmas and happy new year in advance.

On a final note, as a retired security officer what do you think can be the solution to the menace of Boko Haram in Nigeria that is the threatening the existence of the country?

 

If I want to talk about that it will take a whole day but let me tell you in a nutshell, what is happening is very, very unusual, it is the type of war they call a guerilla warfare, whereby you cannot pinpoint or not be able to locate where they have their headquarter. Don’t be surprised they may be in the mosque with other worshipers but in the night they will go and perpetrate this evil, see the way they attacked the airport. Nobody would have expected they would go and do such thing; they could be on motorcycle, bicycle, to go and perpetrate this evil, so it is very, very difficult. They employ element of surprise, it is a difficult fight, so as a security man, I know that guerilla warfare is very, very difficult to fight, except if in their own wisdom, they seize fire or if by chance, you get intelligence report and capture them, or get the leadership rounded up, perhaps the rank and file will not be able to think straight again, and they will also surrender, because if the leadership are still there, they continue to operate. Also, I will advise the Federal Government to officially close our borders with Niger and Chad, because many of the perpetrators run back to those countries, so it will be very difficult to differentiate them and Nigerians, so, if officially we can close the borders, it will help in identifying those who are passing through the unauthorized routes.

 

culled from  The Insight Ogbomoso

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