Prince Adewale Adegoroye is a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He is from Ward Five, Igoba/Isinigbo, and is aspiring to represent Akure North Constituency at the 2023 Ondo State House of Assembly election.
In this interview with Banke Ogundayomi, he spoke on why he is delving into politics and his various plans to better the lives of his constituency, among other sundry issues. Excerpts:
What triggered your interest in politics, despite all your qualifications?
I started my Ph.D. in 2019 and began my business immediately, but unfortunately, my mother died, and her remains were brought to St. Catherine Group of Schools because she was the Proprietress of the school. After hearing so many compliments about my mother, I told myself that if my mother, who lacked my level of education, could employ nearly 50 workers, then I could tap into her encouragement and boldness, and I began to question myself: what is my purpose for the future, and what have I done for my community?
My mum’s great impact on the community as a community worker and the sacrifice she put in to affect lives positively triggered my desire to come back to Nigeria to start a business and emulate my mother’s noble gesture. I insisted that I must do something, and I know that the leaders, the government, and the people need somebody of my caliber to come up with a good platform that will benefit our children, youths, women, and even the general populace. Our people need someone that would bring to bear, policies that would favour the small, medium enterprises and policies that create jobs and provide security for the citizens of the state.
What are your plans for your people if elected?
What I have for my people is to encourage Agriculture in Akure North, a community that is blessed with vast expanse of lands, we are talking about fertile grazing lands. As an agrarian community, we have our own senior citizens who have done so much in their various farms. So, to complement their efforts, we need the younger ones to get into agriculture and my mission is to encourage them and let them know, that I have my PHD in Agriculture, so, if I can do it, they too can do it and see something great in Agriculture. Agriculture has gone beyond the previous practice, farming brings about industrialization, because without raw materials from the farm, you can’t have an industry.
For instance, if we can have a farm that will have about thousands of cows in the state, then we can start a Dairy industry that will generate good income. We can produce milk from cattle that will come at a cheaper price; indirectly, cutting down the high cost of milk. There are about 1001 dairy products can be generated through the industry. If there is a farm with a minimum of 1000 cattle in Akure North Local Government, that might generate about 200 employments – because not only will you have people working in the farm, but people working in other industries like advertisers, consultants, engineers. Others would be Veterinary Doctors including Microbiologists. All these people can be confident that they will have job from such farm and by so doing, many students of Microbiology from Adekunle Ajasin University can think of having a bright future.
These are some of the reasons we must present and support bills that will promote Agriculture; and not just to promote farming, but to create an enabling environment whereby whoever has minimum experience in farms may get support from their constituencies and the government. If they need grants, they can now look up to us. It is one thing to have business plans and another to have enough of wisdom to go through with them. Some people have the talent, but they don’t know how to translate it into wealth.
Also, I have plans for mentorship programme for different wards across the Local Government, which will also stand as a platform to give encouragement to the youths. If you want to start your own business or want to go for white-collar jobs, you’ll get someone who can be your mentor, someone who can put you on the right footing.
For instance, as a hairdresser apprentice, how do you generate money from the trade? You need a job. How do you generate a proper Curriculum Vitae (CV) that will be marketable, out of those people we have seen carrying credentials about, some of them may just have little problem of better Curriculum Vitae, when you see their CVs, you will be sad, their problem is just that they only need someone who could put them right and you will see them becoming successful.
At least, I have two or three people who are now masters on their own, those I trained three years ago, have now become bosses on their own and some of them have about five people who are working for them as tailors.
However, I am not a tailor, but I love fashion, a guy came with an idea but got lost because, he doesn’t know what to do, he came to me and said Oga, I have N10,000 with me, I am aiming to do tailoring, but I don’t have enough resources to actualize it. I asked him where do you want to do the training, I went there and negotiated on his behalf and the guy accepted my negotiation. He started and I have this small sewing machine which I brought from the UK, I gave it to him to practice the trade and as well, gave him jobs, thereafter i gave him about five of my clothes, I told him that, ‘if you make mistakes, I am going to punish you. That really encouraged and boost his confidence, knowing that someone he trusted had so much confidence in what he can do.
Adegoroye felling tree in the farm
At last, he disappointed me, but I wore the clothes to keep on encouraging him, then I gave him another and threatened to be cross with him if he disappoints me this time. I kept encouraging him without giving him any money, I could remember the time when he trekked from Ilesa Garage down to Alagbaka and to Arakale, But the only thing that gave him courage was that he saw someone that he respected, believes in him and in his dreams with that small machine I gave to him and then showed him a direction, that is how you will market it, this is what you will do as a market strategy, I made him a logo to be used on social media, guide him on how to sell his markets on the internet, not just to use it for fashion, before you know what is going on, he has already gone viral through his good designs.
After about years of struggling with it, he replaced the sewing machine I gave him with about four industrial sewing machines he bought.
This same thing happened to a lady who was a graduate. She came to me and said she wanted to go into makeover business, and I encouraged her, as I speak with you, she is her own boss as well, training other people.
It is important, to let our youths know, that as graduates, they still need a vocation, they should be encouraged, that without white collar jobs, they can be their own bosses, but what we see today is that word, carpenter ni “kole s’oyinbo”, “he is a carpenter and fluent in English language”, before you know what is happening, you beat the person down.
We need policies that will encourage the youth make them realize that small businesses are the backbone of this community, because without those small tailors, vulcanisers, even though you drive Ferrari, you are not going anywhere even though you have billions and if there is anything COVID 19 thought us, it is the fact that we need grassroots people, we need small scale businesses to survive.
As political leaders, it is expected of us to make policies that will be favourable to the small scale business owners and failure to do this may compel them to abandon their businesses and become hooligans that would become a threat to the society and when this happens, people’s security will be undermined.
Government’s failure to provide jobs for its teeming unemployed youths and its inability to come up with friendly policies that would assist their businesses thrive have forced most of them into ungodly acts of quick wealth and that accounts for the growing number of yahoo boys and ritualists dominating the country.
Another focus is on education. Our standard of education is nothing to write home about. It is not by going to the university that matters, but what we are impacting in them matters a lot.
We should encourage our youths not just to study computer in the university, but that they should go further for Web Engineering, Computer Engineering, Business Analyst, Enterprise Development among others. We are in a mobile age; how many students can tell you that he is studying BSc in Project Management or studying to become a project manager, but we have so many Professors studying PhD including myself, which is where I stopped anyway, yet we remain one of the poorest countries,
What education are we giving these same people, someone that graduated as an accounting student that does not know how to use a mobile phone but decides to carry paper up and down for employment and bankers are saying we need ICT guys. If they graduate and cannot use an application or just create an application for the bank, that automatically means back to square one then we are going to have so many people queue up,
To me as a leader, we are the one contributing to the students’ failure and it is affecting us indirectly. Honestly, we are the one training them to be who they are today.
What is your advice to government at all levels?
For any government to succeed, there is a need for them to run an inclusive government. Those that understand this, are those that see the citizens as part of their administration and show that they need them as much as they need such government.
Also, there is a need to find a way of bringing in businesses through investors that would build factories in Ondo State, not just in one location, we have so many lands in Akure North Local Government Area. They can bring in factories as many as they want, not just Akure alone, though my focus is the development of Akure North for my people. Meanwhile, I have been discussing with some potential investors in Nigeria and in other countries to come and invest in agrobusiness. We could invite our local fabricators to tell us what they can produce and offer. There is no way we could have a company producing alloy rims in Akure North without staff that will work there; and with good fabricating machines, there will be a production of 2 or 3 Alloy rims every 20 minutes.
Apart from that, we could also have companies in Akure producing large quantity of Garri for exportation to other countries, not to talk of poultry produce. It will even bring people across and encourage them to start business here. While the negotiation may not be favourable to the government, the decision might be the best for the citizens and to the economy of the State if embraced.
What is your advice for Nigerians as regards the coming elections?
I want to admonish Nigerians to get their voters cards which would serve as their power to elect candidates of their choice. For the youth, they should endeavour to join a Political Party.
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