Mr Paul Adeboye Omotosho is the Governorship aspirants under theumbrella of the Coalition for Change (C4C) in Oyo State. Inthis exclusive interview with our reporters, Kunle Omoniyi andVictor Alagogooko, he laid bare his mind on the intendedprograms for the development of the state on other germane issues inthe state.
Ibcity Announcer: As the aspirant under Coalition for Change, what can we know about you?
C4C Candidate: I am Paul Adeboye Omotosho. I was born in 1965 in Ibadan here. I am married with three kids. I had my primary and secondary education in Oshogbo. I attended my primary and secondary school in Osogbo, and proceeded to attend Government technical college Oyo, I have a diploma in Computer science, I have certificates in Animal Husbandry, I have another diploma in Religious Studies. I run an NGO for teenagers and youth, ‘Teens and Youths’ Welfare Association’ which is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and another which is not registered ‘Global Network of Kingdom Administrators.
I joined politics about 7 years ago then in Peoples’ DemocraticParty. I pulled out of PDP to join the Coalition for Change (C4C).While in PDP, I was the sole administrator of our ward. Till the dayI left PDPI was the ward secretary. I joined Coalition for Change toafford me the opportunity to contribute my quota to the developmentof Oyo state.
Ibcity Announcer: Why did you decide to contest under this platform?
C4C Candidate: I believe that there are giants in the PDP that will not allow you to perform, except you take them as your Godfather. I don’t believe in godfatherism. The problem most politicians have is that the godfathers don’t give breathing space for the candidate to perform; they eat more than they should. I envisioned that joining Coalition for Change will give me opportunity to perform without the baggage of godfatherism. I brought the party to Oyo state.
So I happen to be the first state chairman of the party in the state. A number of people ask me that I should look for people that will sponsor the party,. But looking for sponsor s for the party will be like putting a rope on the party’s neck and handling the rope to the sponsors. But in this party our forms for all the elective offices came out as almost free, that gave me and other aspirants the grace to purchase the form to contest the governorship election. Every Nigerian is eligible to run for any office. I discover that I have what it takes to run the state. The present government is doing well and has done its best. But I have the ability to perform better. I will not denigrate the present government officials but I believe I can do better.
Ibcity Announcer: What essentially makes Coalition for Change different from other political parties?
C4C Candidate: In this party we strongly believe in the strength of the youth as the builders of the nation. All our aspirants are young minds. I am about the oldest. In the party we believe that common man can run and we have this believe that it is not only the likes of the big names that can rule us. There are people that don’t have the money but they have the mind and the wisdom to govern well. So what we have they don’t have, they have the money but we know how to rule better. Coalition for Change is the coming together of people of great minds to bring about change in the society. When the current government came into power, they promised us change but they did not specify the kind of change they are bringing only to see that the change was a bad one. So Coalition for Change is a platform for reasonable Nigerians to run for governance.
Ibcity Announcer: Where are you from in Oyo state?
C4C Candidate: Well my parents are from Ire in Osun state, but I was born in Ibadan, bred in Ibadan have my children in Ibadan and make my living in Ibadan. I have been in Ibadan for more than 50 years.
Ibcity Announcer: What motivated you towards seeking the state governorship seat?
C4C Candidate: Oyo is not what Oyo supposed to be. There are wonderful things that should happen in Oyo. The first thing is to identify problem and proffer solutions. In our study we discovered that there are solutions to virtually all the problems that we have in the state. So that is why we decided to run.
Ibcity Announcer: What programs do you intend to implement in Government?
C4C Candidate: Our major goal is that all our programs must bring smile to the face of people in Oyo state. For instance in education, we want to upgrade the standard of the public schools to the quality of the private ones or even better. We are going to extend hand of service to all capable teachers and engage them to work in the public school.
Wewant to reduce the cost of education for primary and secondaryschool. Nowadays it is difficult for a student to use a textbook thatwas used by his brother in previous class. The government keepsapproving new books every year which create a burden on parents.
We want to reduce the cost of education. Why is it difficult for our government to do something about free education? Even if it can’t be free as in the Awolowo era, it should be made affordable.
The various school structures are going to be revamped and renovated to be more accommodating and modern. The teachers will be well motivated and encouraged to give their best for the students.
We are also looking into technical education. No countries can survive without technical know-how. We are going to look seriously into that and bring out the best for our state and country from the technical school. I attended a technical school and i know what it means to attend one and the immensity of knowledge and know-how that such knowledge affords.
On Agriculture, as at 1987, the Ministry of Agric in Monatan has a poultry section that was very large which is now Kolapo Isola estate. I know Oyo state has the capacity to become the food basket of Nigeria. Now, that accolade is given to Benue state. The land mass of Oyo State is big enough to feed the state and environs. We are going to map out 15 local government in which we are going to have big companies in Agro- allied business. For instance, we are looking into having a mango processing factory at Ogbomosho. Every year tons of mangoes waste away due to the lack of preservation techniques and system to conserve the produce for subsequent use.
Do you know palm kernel shells are being used for the production of Brake- pads? The crushed palm kernel shells are crushed into fine dust and exported to the US for the production of brake pads.
We are going to look into preservation issues so that our food produces will not continue to waste away.
On sports, we are looking into revamping the stadia in the state. It is unfortunate that the n Lekan salami stadium, the swimming pool is nonfunctional.
We will also help to create sports and football academy in the state.
On health, we have the plan that from age 0-12 and from age 50-1000, health will be free. Any case of emergency will be treated irrespective of who the person is. Human life will be tr4eated with dignity.
Ibcity Announcer: How do you intend to revive the fortunes of the primary and secondary education in Oyo state?
C4C Candidate: The reality of the rot in the education system is alarming with the spate of dilapidated structures. This is because many of our political office holder are not interested in the education in the state. They prefer sending their children to schools outside the country and big private schools within the country and state. Infact the present Commissioner of Education in Oyo state has about three ICT driven schools in Ido local government. Do we have such facilities in Public schools? A friend of mine was interested in enrolling his child in the public school from a private school and one of the teachers said the father intend to spoil the life of the child as the child was already fluent in English. This is because; they themselves are not proficient in English language. It is unfortunate that we see a dilapidated public school located side by side with the well-built and well-furnished private school. It is such an Irony and some parents sent their children to such schools.
Though the state is bedeviled with many problems, I believe we have the capacity to solve them. We are going to bring fresh minds into government. We believe working with the right minds is possible, some of the success of America can be attributed to Nigerians who are breaking grounds in all sectors, amidst all these achievements abroad they all want to come home, their green card doesn’t make them Americans, we need to make Nigeria a home again,
I believe Nigeria is the richest country under the sun, mismanagement is our problem
Ibcity Announvcer: A very peculiar problem in which Governor Ajimobi’s government set out to take care of is the issue of waste management, but now everything seems to be falling apart, Ibadan is supposed to be a beautiful city. What are you going to do to ensure we have an effective waste management system?
C4C Candidate: When you asked this question, you noticed I was smiling because this is one of the major things we plan on looking into, our regime wants to see how to have a company that recycles waste, in different forms in aluminum, nylon, plastic etc. I was at Uncle Joe in Mokola one afternoon as it was raining, I saw people throwing their waste inside the drains, I laughed and was asked why I was laughing by a man, and I told him that someone warned me about a year or two ago, he said “you have a good heart and you have a good plan to make Nigeria a better place but most of your plans, you must not say them out, because they won’t let you get there”,
On the issue of this waste management, let’s say for instance we have four streets in a vicinity, on every street I’m going to appoint JPs (Justice of the Peace), we’d have three JPs per street, and they would be scheduled to meet monthly. They’ll be on stipends from the government, and they’ll be paid more incentives at the end of the year. I wouldn’t want to see anyone throw waste in any street if not one of them will be jailed for two months, they would be authorized to take snapshots of people that would throw waste, if we send two people from Mokola, one from Dugbe, one from Ogbomosho to jail for two months, no one will ever throw waste inappropriately again in Oyo state, no one wants to go to jail moreover before the government lays down these policies, we have to ensure we have made provision for where they will throw their waste. We would create avenues whereby if you’re able to bring all your waste nylons or plastic for recycling, you’d be paid a token or an incentive in order to make people comply and that goes on until it becomes a culture whereby people do this willingly even when they are not given any incentive.
Let me also say that to make the economy more vibrant, by the special grace of God salaries would be paid by 27th and 28th of every month.
Ibcity Announcer: This brings us to our question on the dwindling revenues in the state, how are you going to generate revenues to achieve these goals as from every available statistic… Lagos is the only self-sufficient state, where other states struggle to generate revenue?
C4C Candidate: As long as the federal government is meeting its quota of paying allocation we would not default on paying of salaries. We have programs that we intend to implement, they are very much capital intensive but I believe if you make life worth living for people they will pay their taxes. within the first three months of coming to office, Oyo state is going to have its own print, that print is going to carry government programs, so if we plan to have a particular company carry out a contract, with the Qs and estimates, the company would have to deliver on this project and every details of the contract would be published so we can be 100% transparent with the populace, therefore we can challenge the citizens of Oyo state to pay their taxes. Every contractor is going to sign an undertaken for the project that he has received stating the particular amount he received, with no bribe involved, and we would also ensure all the projects would be money generating ventures, most of our projects would not be government funded, we are looking at getting the private sector and developers involved, they run the company for 5 years and return it to the state government, five years is not far off, it’s just a year after my term in office, Lekan Salami stadium has not generated any tangible funds since its inception, the swimming pool isn’t functional, we have so many other plans to generate money without putting chains on people’s necks, to round up your question, we are focusing on an important sector which is the media, I was discussing with a particular set of people this morning and I told them that as soon as I assume office, BCOS wouldn’t be state owned, anybody can be brought to the station, any critic could be brought to talk on air.
Let’s be frank with ourselves, must you be governor before you can help Nigeria, we have some people that can spend 11billion under one year for campaign, some can even pay the bill of the state, why do they need to govern?. If God says yes to our aspiration, then I believe everyone will have will still have free access to me, I have always asked when would we have a government that would come watch football matches with the people. Fayose was someone that did something close to that, I mean if you do the right thing you don’t have to be afraid; your enemies would guard you.
Ibcity Announcer: What Social Welfare Agenda do you have for the less privileged. What plan do you have to take care and reintegrate the street kids (Almajiris) back into the system?
C4C Candidate: The general name for those children are street children, there are two types of street children; community based street children and street born children. the community based sleep at home but get up as early as 5am to go hustle sell water, food, newspaper etc, they come back late in the night sneak in and sleep and are up and first thing in the morning they are back on the street, but we have some whom are born on the street, eat on the street, procreate on the street and die on the street, all of them are Nigerians, even those walking full nude are Nigerians those whom we call mad people are Nigerians, they also have the right to vote, like I tell people as easy as it is to cure headache with paracetamol that’s the same ease those people have that could be taken care of if the government pays attention to them. What do we have for them? You have to get as many as possible to rehabilitate them and also reintegrate them, because rehabilitation without reintegration is zero. If you rehabilitate people and you don’t reintegrate them, there is a problem, for example someone learns how to sew clothes during rehabilitation, and gets back home, no one would give him their clothes, the community needs to absorb him and see him as part of them, they can also be rehabilitated on the farm, we would like them to have access to good life.
Ibcity Announcer: How have people accepted your candidacy and how much of support do you have?
Mr P. Omotosho: The support has been overwhelming people call me from different places to ask for my posters and even invite me to come and meet with them even among the Hausa community at Mokola there you’ll see my posters around, they called me and say they know me and want to vouch for my candidacy, they heard I was running and went to meet their leaders whom asked for my presence, I told them I didn’t have money they just asked for my poster and even requested for a big banner, people have called me from different places, I had a radio program recently, someone called me from Dubai and asked if I was the one running, he says I should expect to see him this December, though I am not as rich as the money bags who are also campaigning but by the grace of God, people are supporting my Ambition. I don’t want to ask someone to sponsor me because they won’t give me breathing space, someone that gives me ten million would tell me out of your 15 commissioners, I want ten and it is those 10 that would destroy my regime. I’m not willing to mortgage my children’s freedom for my ambition. You must have heard of the Omotosho name, go and trace my parents from the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, whatever you hear, that’s my identity, my father always tells us, “Mi oni ki oruko Omotosho ma baje o, sugbon ko gbudo je lowo nkan nkan ninu yin. (None of you should be responsible for tarnishing the Omotosho name)
Ibcity Announcer: Your campaign started on December 1st. How has it been?
C4C Candidate: I’m doing my campaign here already, I’ll continue to tell God, father I’m your son, if my coming in would spoil your name, let your will be done, but if you permit me I’ll make this nation know that you rule and not man.
Ibcity Annoiuncer: Thank you very much sir for this opportunity to share in your views and opinions about Oyo state?
C4C Candidate: The saying goes “Ki Oyo le da, Ajumose gbogbo wa ni”, we are all stakeholders in this business of making Oyo state a better place, thank you for this opportunity,