Ikare people not against Akeredolu – Kilani
Alhaji Ibrahim Kilani is a veteran Journalist, a councilor who represented Odo – Irun/Eshe/Afin ward of Akoko North West Local Government in 1998. He was the Chairman of Ondo State Pilgrim Welfare Board in 1991 and 1992, a member of National Hajj Commission and presently the National Organizing Secretary of Ansar-ud-deen Society of Nigeria (ADS).
He spoke with Jimoh Ahmed on the recently concluded House of Assembly election in Akoko North East Local government area of Ondo State and on other sundry issues.
Why did Akoko Northeast people vote against APC candidate in the last House of Assembly election?
I will give you a preamble. What happened in Akoko Northeast was a phenomenon. It happened not only here but all over Nigeria and it affected nearby all parties. Where you can see a sitting governor losing an election, where you can see a sitting governor sponsoring a candidate to replace him and failed, where you can see a Senate President losing his ward or losing his senatorial district, we are developing politically. That is, it is no more business as usual. It is now clear that you cannot say I will win election, this position, I can retain it. It is now about how you serve your people. It is about how you deliver the dividends of democracy to your people. That is why you see some relatively unknown people winning at the expense of incumbents in their constituencies, in their senatorial districts and in their states.
So, coming to the issue of Akoko Northeast Local government, the occupier of that seat is spending two terms of eight years and there is the idea of rotation in the area. Some people felt the person is almost spending eight years in that position and want another son to go there. Ordinarily, Akoko Northeast supposed to be two constituencies because in Akoko Northwest we have two constituencies and Akoko Northeast is bigger when you talk of the land mass, the population and so on. It is supposed to be two constituencies and instead they have only one and because of this the people who are not from where Fatai Olotu comes from felt they too want one of their own to go there. This is largely responsible for his failure in the election.
Another factor is this mantra going round, “Otoge” It is now everywhere. That is where you see a man being in position for several years and people want another man to go there.
In Akoko Northeast, some people said the incumbent did not connect with the people in the community. Maybe he is not a grassroots person . That one is a factor. If you are not a grassroots person in politics you may have problem. When we talk of grassroots politician, Adedayo Omolafe in Akure is a case study.
He was the chairman of Akure South Local Government and since he left that position he has been with his people. He has been involving himself in all what they do there. If they do Akure Day, you will see him there. If the market women are doing something, he will be there. Not only that, he has been taking part as committee member in all what Akure as a community is doing.
So when the election came, people who have been hearing about his name but did not know him voted for him. This factor is very very important if your people are doing anything you must be involved.
Another factor that is responsible for APC and Fatai Olotu losing that seat to the PDP was that he failed to execute any project throughout his eight years in office. The road leading to his house is bad and not motorable and nothing was done. There is nothing stopping a serving member of a House of Assembly to have a bore hole in his area, even in his house and make it available for people in that place to fetch without hindrance. If he has done that those people drinking that water will want to vote for him. But where you cannot point to one viable project that you do and people will benefit from, they may refuse to vote for you.
You mean the people voted against non – performance?
Yes, that is what I am saying. When you don’t do anything for the people they will vote against you and that is why the people are now telling the winner of the election to take a cue from the present occupier and try to amend his way.
But some are saying the people voted against Fatai Olotu of APC because of Dr. Olusegun Abraham?
This is not true, If this was to be true, the margin would have been too much. It is not Segun Abraham factor that made them voted against APC. If it has been the other candidate that APC picked earlier, I mean, Banji Adewumi, he would have won with a landslide. This is what the people were saying. The people never voted because Segun Abraham was contesting the result of the APC governorship primary with the Governor. If they don’t vote for APC and Abraham win that case, will he, Abraham, seat in a House controlled by the opposition? No, Abraham’s issue was not a factor at all. Even if it was a factor, it was never a serious factor. The personality and non – performance of Olotu was what people voted against.
So Akoko is not against Governor Akeredolu?
Yes, Yes, Akokos are never against the governor. See what is happening here, especially the Oke Alabojuto project. If people who have not come home for the past three years now come around and see what is going on here, they will marvel. There was a time, and with all modesty, there was a man in Ikare here which the people nicknamed “Sokedile”. When the man was in position, he said he would bring down the hill and they gave him the name “Sokedile” and he never did that. Tell me, as a reporter, you yourself have been in this town for over ten years and you know how many people have lost their lives due to accidents there. I could remember when we were in the mosque one Friday and an accident occurred and we could not pray that day. A lot of accidents had taken place there and claimed lives of many innocent people.
We thank God for what is happening in Ondo State now, particularly, what Akeredolu is doing. I am not a praise singer. He is a man that doesn’t want to know what happened in the last administration. He doesn’t witchhunt. If he is a man after vendetta he will be concerned with probing Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and won’t face what he is supposed to do. Mimiko awarded that contract and Akeredolu is doing it. Look at how many months they have been on that project. I know there will be evaluation every now and then. He will be reviewing the cost of the contract many times otherwise the contractor would have stopped.
Look at what he has achieved today. If this man doesn’t believe in continuity, the project would have ended up in the pipeline. Akeredolu believes in continuity. If it were to be another person, he will just be running after Mimiko, calling him names and leave things undone.
It is on record that no single project is abandoned by Akeredolu. This one alone is enough to say the governor is very serious about developing the state.
In the pipeline now are some rural roads, I am not campaigning for him. Look at what happened before, two bridges collapsed on the Iku/Oba road. Immediately I wrote that story, the following week, he Akeredolu, mobilized men of the Ministry of Works to the place and today the bridges had been completed and already in use. I was there during the last House of Assembly election and I can testify that it is now being used.
So, the people did not vote against Akeredolu in Ikare or any other place in Akoko. It was the wrong candidate APC presented they voted against.
In the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the APC lost many seats to the PDP in the state. Does this mean APC has lost the grip of Ondo State politics?
We cannot use that one as a parameter in our dear Sunshine State. Look at what I said. Akinyelure might have won in the Central Senatorial District because of Adebayo Omolafe factor in Akure. In that district Alasoadura of the APC came second. So it doesn’t mean.
A fortnight later you saw what happened. Things changed, ordinarily if APC has lost grip of Ondo State politics, PDP should have won automatically. PDP would have gotten twelve or thirteen seats. If you want to use the National Assembly and Presidential elections, PDP should have won convincingly. The party has two senators and four members of the House of Representatives, if that yardstick had worked, the party should be boasting of not less than twelve House of Assembly seats by now.
Look, it happened in 2015, when Buhari won in this state, Mimiko now went back to his political war chest and within a fortnight, he invited all stakeholders, he invited Obas, market women and the people that be, which Akeredolu also did, and appealed to them on the need to support him in the House of Assembly election. House of Assembly is the engine room for the governor and this is where the power of Ondo State government lies. So, that is the issue. The APC has not lost control of the state politics.
We are aware of Akeredolu exploits in infrastructural development, workers’ welfare and others. What do you think the governor is not doing well now and needs to do better?
Well, to be a governor is not an easy task. It is only when you are there that you will know that it is not easy. I am not a government worker or salary earner but I have children and relations who are in the state government pay roll. There was an arrears of unpaid salaries for up to seven months when he assumed office and he has paid six out of them. Similarly he promised not to owe workers any salary and he is keep that promise to date.
He has been paying as and when due. Where he cannot pay before the month ends, he will pay within a week of the following month. Civil servants cannot say he has reneged on that promise.
Anyway he should reshuffle his cabinet. He should bring together all party members. He needs to reshuffle his cabinet and put in some members of other camps in APC, Dr. Olusegun Abraham, Senator Ajayi Boroffice and whatever camp the party may have been divided into. He should bring them together.
To be precise sir, you are advising the governor to reconcile all aggrieved members of APC in the state.
Yes, he should bring together all aggrieved members, because that one affected the chances of the party in the last election in many states in the country. It affected Oyo, it affected Ogun, it affected Rochas Okorocha in Imo State and he needs to put this house in order before the next gubernatorial election in the state.
Leave a Reply