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2011: It ‘ll be suicidal for Ladoja to challenge me – Gov Alao Akala

By Dayo Benson & Ola Ajayi

How has it been so far?

It has been good so far. We make sure that all our electioneering promises are fulfilled. We thank God that he has been on our side. We have enjoyed relative peace. What we are doing is to let the people of Oyo State know that they have a government which is different from what they used to have in the past. If I cannot make a difference, I should not be on this seat because I know what used to happen in the past. I don’t want to do it the same way they were done.

What exactly is this difference you have made?

Gov. Akala
Gov. Akala
A lot of differences. We have made impact in the area of health, education, provision of water, provision of schools. Take for instance, in the area of education, there is no where in all the local governments that we have not at least built a block of classroom. You see what happened this year. They wrote a letter to me from Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) that my state came second out of all the 36 states of the country. We didn’t know anything until we went for our prize. Can you believe it, we didn’t know the time they went to all the nooks and crannies of Oyo State to assess what we have done and took the video tapes of all we have done.

That is the type of award that I want, it is the type that makes me happy. I was surprised that we came second after Katsina. They gave us the prize for the second position which was N400m. They also gave me a Pick up van. You don’t need to influence this kind of award. I am very happy. At least, some people know that we are doing something. I did not know the time they went throughout the state. For coming second in the whole of Nigeria and coming first in the South West, I rest my case. I think I can go home, sleep on education and be meditating. After building schools, we made sure that we pay the WAEC and NECO fees of those ones who are serious among SS3 students. And they are enjoying free education up to JSS 3

In health, we have been able, through the MDGs, to build health centres in all the local governments in the state. Not only that, each ward in the state must have at least, a clinic where people with malaria or headache can get panadol or paracetamol. All these had not happened before.

In infrastructure too, there is place we have not linked together through construction of roads. For a very long time, the people of Oke-Ogun area did not enjoy the type of roads they are enjoying now. In fact, some of them said it was in 1955 that caterpillar touched their roads. If you see the road that links Ibadan to Ibarapa, it is many kilometers. Those who live there would tell you it is like an expressway.

What are the significant things you have done in this state? All you have mentioned are the things I expect you to do. So, what are the things you have actually done?

It is one thing to expect and it is another thing to do it. Expectations may not actually be what you are expected to do. These things are very significant. For instance, no government touched the roads of Oke_Ogun people for more than 33 years. They now have good roads. From Iseyin to Moniya, there is construction work going on. They have almost finished it. The same thing is happening from Iseyin –Saki. As a matter of fact, the current Minister of Transport wrote a letter to me two days ago. If you want, I can show it to you. He is happy that I have linked his town with others. Kwara State tarred its own roads from Ibarba to our boundary and left it. The minister was thanking me that I …..

How many kilometers of roads have you done?

Everything should be close to 400 kilometres.

You are the first man from Ogbomoso to become the governor of the state. Are you looking forward to a second term?

When we get to the river, we shall cross it.

We have got to the river.

Let me tell you one thing. If people tell you to come and do it, then you will be in better position to help people.

Are you a controversial person? Why are the elite in this state against you?

I’m a politician and a politician must be controversial. Why won’t I be controversial? Do you think it is everybody that wants me to be here? So, definitely I’m controversial.

Why are the elite against you?

Who are the elite?

The ones who have been talking in the newspapers.

They have been talking in the papers. Let them show you their voters’ cards. If I ask you where is your voter’s card now, you don’t have. Can you stay for 30minutes at the polling booth? What you are after is to make sure your stories are published in the Vanguard Newspaper. You see, we elite, including me are in minority. What type of elite are you. The first thing you have to do is that you come down to the level of those people whose vote you want and that is exactly what I’m trying to do. You come down to the level of those people that you want to rule over.

How has it been like without Adedibu your political backbone in the last one year?

Uuhn. I don’t know what you mean by him being a backbone. I did not contest with Adedibu. He had been a leader of our party.

But he installed you.

He did not install me. God installed me through PDP.

He was instrumental to how you became the governor.

I don’t know what you mean by being instrumental. He was a leader of our party. We were together. A lot of people were instrumental to my being here but he was one of our leaders in the party. I gave him that honour because he was a known man and he was old in the game of politics. So, I don’t know what you mean by being a backbone. We were associates and he was more experienced than I when it comes to the issue of politics. Listen to me. I missed him because there are lots of knotty political issues he would have helped me unravel.

Those issues are now being done by me. If he were to be alive I would not be having all these problems. When I was contesting elections, I was banking on so many things. Don’t forget that I did not win in Ibadan . And a lot of people know that I did not win in Ibadan What I was targeting then was to have my 25 per cent of the votes so that I could make the required twelve two_third of the whole state. I was not expecting to win but I did not want to score zero. The forces that wer
e against me then were so many that all I was looking for was my 25 per cent.

But you know you cannot discountenance Ibadan.

No. it is not possible.

And now that there is no garrison commander. Are you aspiring to be the new garrison commander here even though you are not from here?

No. I cannot be a garrison commander. We cannot have that kind of thing again.

Even being a policeman?

That has gone. That was an era that has passed. And that era cannot come again. It is past don’t let us discuss it.

How are you relating with other PDP leaders in the state?

They are relating well with me. Our relationship is very cordial. They are very good.,laughter.

You are talking as if you are the chairman of the party.

I’m not the chairman of the party but I’m the leader of the party.

We heard that the party is polarized.

Who polarized it? May be it is you. It is you the media. The PDP is one in the State . The problems we are having are the people who thought PDP would collapse. But, instead of it to collapse, it is waxing stronger and stronger everyday. Now, they want to come back to the PDP and they want to have the same position they had when they left the party. How is that possible? If the party had lost in the State , they would have said it was because they were not there. They were not there and we won. If they want to come back now, they would have to go back to their wards and join the party. We will recognize them. We know where they are coming from and what position to give them and we will even decide whether we need them or not because some people are political liabilities.

You have no right to exclude anybody.

Yes, I have no right to exclude any member of the party. But, I know the type of job we can give to a fellow. We will know the capabilities of everyone. Look, the point is we know those who are politically irrelevant and we know those who are electorally relevant. If you have to combine those two qualities together, we will have those who are strong politically. We will also know those who are follow_follow. So, if you know you are not strong, you would have to attach yourself to a strong man so that you will be recognized.

Let me tell you how I became the governor of Oyo State , it will interest you. In Ogbomoso, when we started, it was AD and PDP. But I contested on the platform of APP and I had landslide victory. When they saw the quality in me that this man can hold Ogbomoso very well, they called me to come and become the Deputy Governor. I didn’t bargain to be a deputy governor. I wanted to go for a local government chairman. They said instead of being a local government chairman, why don’t you come and be the deputy governor. That was what I did. They knew what I was worth politically. So, anybody you see me working with, we are just associates. I was able to carve a niche for myself not that I was just picked.

Don’t forget, you need 25 per cent votes of the people of Ibadan

Ibadan people are very important. All the people in Ibadan , are they all Ibadan indigenes? Ibadan is a cosmopolitan city.

Are you the new Adedibu of Oyo politics?

No, I am not.

From the way you are speaking, it seems you are the main figure now.

I am not. I don’t think I have the kind of experience he had. Like I told you, those people have gone and gone forever. I don’t think we will have another Adedibu.

Is the Adedibu camp still together?

Yes.

But some of them are complaining they are being alienated by your government?

No, it is not possible. Adedibu’s political family is very big. And in a big compound, where you have many children, you would have some that will deviate. But, we are still very much intact.

Who is the head of Adedibu political family?

As the governor I am the leader People thought that you and the former governor of the State, Alhaji Lam Adesina had a good relationship. What happens these days?

When I read what they quoted him to have said, I thought he was misquoted. I thought he would refute those things he said about me. But he did not. I think he is an expired politician. He can walk in here, and tell us what he feels about the government He shouldn’t let what he has for the government to be known publicly. He should behave like a statesman.

By the grace of God, when I reach the age of 70, if I have anything to contribute to governance, I would call that government and say it. I won’t allow these younger ones who cannot stand on their own to be using me. I know some of these younger ones who cannot stand on their own must be using him. I don’t think what he is saying are his thoughts. Lam is an elderly person and we want to be like him but by the time I expire like him, I will not talk against whoever is in power.

For a long time, there has been crisis between you and your former boss, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, there were probes and counter-probes. Will this war ever end? And secondly, there is misunderstanding between you and some leaders of the party. Is it that they are making a demand from you that you cannot meet?

I don’t have anything against my former boss. The point is this. You cannot reap where you did not sow. I don’t owe him anything politically. Yet, in politics, there are no permanent friends, there are no permanent enemies. My doors are open to whoever wants to join the PDP. Probe or no probe, you should know that it shouldn’t take me two years if I say I want to probe somebody. But it would be a disservice if I should see things that have gone wrong and I don’t ask questions. Like I said, it is not a matter of taking a pound of flesh. No, it is just to put the record straight. And he has gone to court. As for me, I would not pursue it more than that.

Like I was saying. Posterity would say, I started something but the court stopped it. I am not desperate about it. That is just it. I’m not trying to nail anybody. But, if such report is given to me and I do not look at it, if anyone else becomes the governor, he may wonder why I did not look into the issue. I would not be governor forever. He would know that I took action, but they went to court.

May be you will look for something to nail him when you know that he is contesting against you,

I have told you. Don’t you consider what I told you. It is politically unwise for him now to contest against me. You look at it this way. When he was on this seat, he could not contest against me. Now that he is out, is there any sense in that? It is against all commonsense. When he was on the seat, he had all the opportunities, he did not contest. Now, that I’m on the seat and he is outside, he wants to contest. Is it not tantamount to committing suicide?….laughs

Are you afraid of him?

Afraid of him? We know ourselves in this state. With due respect, I was one of the people that made him to be the governor. I was one of the people that helped him. You see, when you see some people on seat……

Cuts in. do you want it to be on record?

Yes.

Who are you afraid of in this state if you want to contest?

Ooh good God. I don’t know yet.

The person I am afraid of is God. Politically, I don’t know anyone I should be afraid of. I told you earlier that when one Chief Femi Lanlehin left the AD, he joined the PDP. He has left PDP now for AC. Is that whom I should afraid of

Tinubu is behind him and they are coming for you in this state.

Who?

Tinubu.

Look, Oyo State is not like any other state where they post people like they posted people to Ekiti and others. Ours is different….laughs

You have not answered the second leg of my question that may be some PDP leaders made a demand from you that you cannot meet?

Okay. They are not making any demand. Who are the leaders? All the leaders are with me. The leaders that you are saying are the ones who have seen that the rejected stone has now become the corner head of the corner. They thought we could not do anything and we are doing something. They went away thinking that we could not do anything and now that we are doing something, they now want to attract themselves to us.

But the national secretariat of the party is meeting them secretly?

No…(he said thoughtfully). They are not dealing with them secretly. The Ike Nwachukwu’s committee has invited me and those who are there would talk more than I would talk. They are the ones enjoying it. When they go to them to complain, definitely, they would listen to them. They must listen to them but I told them something that they should also not block the former Vice President from coming back to the PDP. That was what I told them because he is also qualified if those people are qualified. So, what happened is what I have always told you. They did not think we will get there. Now, they are envious of us because we are there. They want to come back, but I said go back and queue up.

But you are wicked?

Laughs…pause. In politics, people are more wicked than that. I was even talking to them, some people would not talk to them.

I thought you said there are no enemies in politics?

There are no permanent friends and there are no permanent enemies. There are enemies but…….they are trying to close their eyes to some things.

‘Returnees should join queue in Oyo PDP’

How has it been so far?

It has been good so far. We make sure that all our electioneering promises are fulfilled. We thank God that he has been on our side. We have enjoyed relative peace. What we are doing is to let the people of Oyo State know that they have a government which is different from what they used to have in the past. If I cannot make a difference, I should not be on this seat because I know what used to happen in the past. I don’t want to do it the same way they were done.

What exactly is this difference you have made?

A lot of differences. We have made impact in the area of health, education, provision of water, provision of schools. Take for instance, in the area of education, there is no where in all the local governments that we have not at least built a block of classroom. You see what happened this year. They wrote a letter to me from Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) that my state came second out of all the 36 states of the country. We didn’t know anything until we went for our prize. Can you believe it, we didn’t know the time they went to all the nooks and crannies of Oyo State to assess what we have done and took the video tapes of all we have done.

That is the type of award that I want, it is the type that makes me happy. I was surprised that we came second after Katsina. They gave us the prize for the second position which was N400m. They also gave me a Pick up van. You don’t need to influence this kind of award. I am very happy. At least, some people know that we are doing something.

I did not know the time they went throughout the state. For coming second in the whole of Nigeria and coming first in the South West, I rest my case. I think I can go home, sleep on education and be meditating. After building schools, we made sure that we pay the WAEC and NECO fees of those ones who are serious among SS3 students. And they are enjoying free education up to JSS 3

In health, we have been able, through the MDGs, to build health centres in all the local governments in the state. Not only that, each ward in the state must have at least, a clinic where people with malaria or headache can get panadol or paracetamol. All these had not happened before.

In infrastructure too, there is place we have not linked together through construction of roads. For a very long time, the people of Oke-Ogun area did not enjoy the type of roads they are enjoying now. In fact, some of them said it was in 1955 that caterpillar touched their roads. If you see the road that links Ibadan to Ibarapa, it is many kilometers. Those who live there would tell you it is like an expressway.

What are the significant things you have done in this state? All you have mentioned are the things I expect you to do. So, what are the things you have actually done?

It is one thing to expect and it is another thing to do it. Expectations may not actually be what you are expected to do. These things are very significant. For instance, no government touched the roads of Oke_Ogun people for more than 33 years. They now have good roads. From Iseyin to Moniya, there is construction work going on.

They have almost finished it. The same thing is happening from Iseyin –Saki. As a matter of fact, the current Minister of Transport wrote a letter to me two days ago. If you want, I can show it to you. He is happy that I have linked his town with others. Kwara State tarred its own roads from Ibarba to our boundary and left it. The minister was thanking me that I …..

How many kilometers of roads have you done?

Everything should be close to 400 kilometres.

You are the first man from Ogbomoso to become the governor of the state. Are you looking forward to a second term?

When we get to the river, we shall cross it.

We have got to the river.

Let me tell you one thing. If people tell you to come and do it, then you will be in better position to help people.

Are you a controversial person? Why are the elite in this state against you?

I’m a politician and a politician must be controversial. Why won’t I be controversial? Do you think it is everybody that wants me to be here? So, definitely I’m controversial.

Why are the elite against you?

Who are the elite?

The ones who have been talking in the newspapers.

They have been talking in the papers. Let them show you their voters’ cards. If I ask you where is your voter’s card now, you don’t have. Can you stay for 30minutes at the polling booth? What you are after is to make sure your stories are published in the Vanguard Newspaper. You see, we elite, including me are in minority. What type of elite are you. The first thing you have to do is that you come down to the level of those people whose vote you want and that is exactly what I’m trying to do. You come down to the level of those people that you want to rule over.

How has it been like without Adedibu your political backbone in the last one year?

Uuhn. I don’t know what you mean by him being a backbone. I did not contest with Adedibu. He had been a leader of our party.

But he installed you.

He did not install me. God installed me through PDP.

He was instrumental to how you became the governor.

I don’t know what you mean by being instrumental. He was a leader of our party. We were together. A lot of people were instrumental to my being here but he was one of our leaders in the party. I gave him that honour because he was a known man and he was old in the game of politics.

So, I don’t know what you mean by being a backbone. We were associates and he was more experienced than I when it comes to the issue of politics. Listen to me. I missed him because there are lots of knotty political issues he would have helped me unravel. Those issues are now being done by me. If he were to be alive I would not be having all these problems.

When I was contesting elections, I was banking on so many things. Don’t forget that I did not win in Ibadan . And a lot of people know that I did not win in Ibadan What I was targeting then was to have my 25 per cent of the votes so that I could make the required twelve two_third of the whole state. I was not expecting to win but I did not want to score zero. The forces that were against me then were so many that all I was looking for was my 25 per cent.

But you know you cannot discountenance Ibadan.

No. it is not possible.

And now that there is no garrison commander. Are you aspiring to be the new garrison commander here even though you are not from here?

No. I cannot be a garrison commander. We cannot have that kind of thing again.

Even being a policeman?

That has gone. That was an era that has passed. And that era cannot come again. It is past don’t let us discuss it.

How are you relating with other PDP leaders in the state?

They are relating well with me. Our relationship is very cordial. They are very good.,laughter.

You are talking as if you are the chairman of the party.

I’m not the chairman of the party but I’m the leader of the party.

We heard that the party is polarized.

Who polarized it? May be it is you. It is you the media. The PDP is one in the State . The problems we are having are the people who thought PDP would collapse. But, instead of it to collapse, it is waxing stronger and stronger everyday. Now, they want to come back to the PDP and they want to have the same position they had when they left the party. How is that possible? If the party had lost in the State , they would have said it was because they were not there.

They were not there and we won. If they want to come back now, they would have to go back to their wards and join the party. We will recognize them. We know where they are coming from and what position to give them and we will even decide whether we need them or not because some people are political liabilities.

You have no right to exclude anybody.

Yes, I have no right to exclude any member of the party. But, I know the type of job we can give to a fellow. We will know the capabilities of everyone. Look, the point is we know those who are politically irrelevant and we know those who are electorally relevant. If you have to combine those two qualities together, we will have those who are strong politically. We will also know those who are follow_follow. So, if you know you are not strong, you would have to attach yourself to a strong man so that you will be recognized.

Let me tell you how I became the governor of Oyo State , it will interest you. In Ogbomoso, when we started, it was AD and PDP. But I contested on the platform of APP and I had landslide victory. When they saw the quality in me that this man can hold Ogbomoso very well, they called me to come and become the Deputy Governor. I didn’t bargain to be a deputy governor.

I wanted to go for a local government chairman. They said instead of being a local government chairman, why don’t you come and be the deputy governor. That was what I did. They knew what I was worth politically. So, anybody you see me working with, we are just associates. I was able to carve a niche for myself not that I was just picked.

Don’t forget, you need 25 per cent votes of the people of Ibadan

Ibadan people are very important. All the people in Ibadan , are they all Ibadan indigenes? Ibadan is a cosmopolitan city.

Are you the new Adedibu of Oyo politics?

No, I am not.

From the way you are speaking, it seems you are the main figure now.

I am not. I don’t think I have the kind of experience he had. Like I told you, those people have gone and gone forever. I don’t think we will have another Adedibu.

Is the Adedibu camp still together?

Yes.

But some of them are complaining they are being alienated by your government?

No, it is not possible. Adedibu’s political family is very big. And in a big compound, where you have many children, you would have some that will deviate. But, we are still very much intact.

Who is the head of Adedibu political family?

As the governor I am the leader

People thought that you and the former governor of the State, Alhaji Lam Adesina had a good relationship. What happens these days?

When I read what they quoted him to have said, I thought he was misquoted. I thought he would refute those things he said about me. But he did not. I think he is an expired politician. He can walk in here, and tell us what he feels about the government He shouldn’t let what he has for the government to be known publicly.

He should behave like a statesman. By the grace of God, when I reach the age of 70, if I have anything to contribute to governance, I would call that government and say it. I won’t allow these younger ones who cannot stand on their own to be using me. I know some of these younger ones who cannot stand on their own must be using him. I don’t think what he is saying are his thoughts. Lam is an elderly person and we want to be like him but by the time I expire like him, I will not talk against whoever is in power.

For a long time, there has been crisis between you and your former boss, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, there were probes and counter-probes. Will this war ever end? And secondly, there is misunderstanding between you and some leaders of the party. Is it that they are making a demand from you that you cannot meet?

I don’t have anything against my former boss. The point is this. You cannot reap where you did not sow. I don’t owe him anything politically. Yet, in politics, there are no permanent friends, there are no permanent enemies. My doors are open to whoever wants to join the PDP. Probe or no probe, you should know that it shouldn’t take me two years if I say I want to probe somebody. But it would be a disservice if I should see things that have gone wrong and I don’t ask questions. Like I said, it is not a matter of taking a pound of flesh. No, it is just to put the record straight. And he has gone to court. As for me, I would not pursue it more than that.

Like I was saying. Posterity would say, I started something but the court stopped it. I am not desperate about it. That is just it. I’m not trying to nail anybody. But, if such report is given to me and I do not look at it, if anyone else becomes the governor, he may wonder why I did not look into the issue. I would not be governor forever. He would know that I took action, but they went to court.

May be you will look for something to nail him when you know that he is contesting against you,

I have told you. Don’t you consider what I told you. It is politically unwise for him now to contest against me. You look at it this way. When he was on this seat, he could not contest against me. Now that he is out, is there any sense in that? It is against all commonsense. When he was on the seat, he had all the opportunities, he did not contest. Now, that I’m on the seat and he is outside, he wants to contest. Is it not tantamount to committing suicide?….laughs

Are you afraid of him?

Afraid of him? We know ourselves in this state. With due respect, I was one of the people that made him to be the governor. I was one of the people that helped him. You see, when you see some people on seat……

Cuts in. do you want it to be on record?

Yes.

Who are you afraid of in this state if you want to contest?

Ooh good God. I don’t know yet.

The person I am afraid of is God. Politically, I don’t know anyone I should be afraid of. I told you earlier that when one Chief Femi Lanlehin left the AD, he joined the PDP. He has left PDP now for AC. Is that whom I should afraid of

Tinubu is behind him and they are coming for you in this state.

Who?

Tinubu.

Look, Oyo State is not like any other state where they post people like they posted people to Ekiti and others. Ours is different….laughs

You have not answered the second leg of my question that may be some PDP leaders made a demand from you that you cannot meet?

Okay. They are not making any demand. Who are the leaders? All the leaders are with me. The leaders that you are saying are the ones who have seen that the rejected stone has now become the corner head of the corner. They thought we could not do anything and we are doing something. They went away thinking that we could not do anything and now that we are doing something, they now want to attract themselves to us.

But the national secretariat of the party is meeting them secretly?

No…(he said thoughtfully). They are not dealing with them secretly. The Ike Nwachukwu’s committee has invited me and those who are there would talk more than I would talk. They are the ones enjoying it. When they go to them to complain, definitely, they would listen to them.

They must listen to them but I told them something that they should also not block the former Vice President from coming back to the PDP. That was what I told them because he is also qualified if those people are qualified. So, what happened is what I have always told you. They did not think we will get there. Now, they are envious of us because we are there. They want to come back, but I said go back and queue up.

But you are wicked?

Laughs…pause. In politics, people are more wicked than that. I was even talking to them, some people would not talk to them.

I thought you said there are no enemies in politics?

There are no permanent friends and there are no permanent enemies. There are enemies but…….they are trying to close their eyes to some things.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.