By ADEDAYO AMINU, Chief Sub-Editor
*I invited him17 days to 2003 polls
*He is free to come back to PDP
*I never left a kobo debt
*Mimiko should give us schedule of the controversial N117bn debt
*Rift started when I said I would go for second term
*Contract review committee was set up to catch a thief
THEÂ MimikoÂ Administration in Ondo State says it inherited aÂ N117billion debt from you. Did you leave any suchÂ debt?
May be, the way to start, is to say right from the day Dr. Mimiko was announced governor, he had made pronouncements, he had taken some actions; and one common trend that has run through all these, is some kind of obsession to run me down. And he has done nothing except to look for a way to run down the administration that I left behind.
He was your secretary to state government, didnâ€™t you see this trait in him?
In all honesty, when I meet any person, the way I have trained my inter-personal relationship, is to take you as a 100 per cent good person. When we interact, based on your actions, it is you that would stay on the 100 percent or go to 50 per cent or 20 per cent. I have no way of reading peopleâ€™s mind. Dr. Mimiko, when he was with me showed the greatest love you could think of. He even spoke on television that it would be the first time that a politician would talk about development; and the way I had handled governance in Ondo State and if there were two governors that worked the way Agagu was working, in 10 years, Nigeria would be greater than many countries in Europe. He was on television and radio to say this. If a man tells you this almost on daily basis why should I be thinking he is going to be a different person.
So you had reason to suspect anything?
No, I treated him like any other person. Now that he has turned out to be what he is, to me, it does not matter at all. Legacies of my administration are there for people to see. The Yoruba say, if a lie travels for 20 years, one day, the truth will catch up with it. Very soon the truth will catch up with Mimiko.
With the trend of events in the state, you believe that that time is coming?
The time has come.
If the people in our society are prepared to be objective, what he has said so far is enough for anybody to stop believing him.
What about the controversy surrounding the contracts awarded by you?
He, himself said, when we awarded contracts in the first four years, we spent about N30billion; and in the last 20 months we spent, we rushed and awarded contracts, because we knew we were going, worth N51 billion. For the first batch of N30 billion, we paid 30 per cent mobilization and for the other one, we paid 50 per cent. If we paid 30 per cent of N30 billion from the first one, we would be owing N21 billion, assuming we didnâ€™t pay anything again when the jobs were completed over the first four years.
And for the second batch of N51 billion, we paid 50 per cent, we would be left with a debt of N26 billion. And by the time you add N21 billion plus N26 billion, it would give you N47 billion, assuming we did not pay one kobo again. And most of the projects of the first four years had been completed and fully paid for. They have even been commissioned and people are using them. How do you put N21 billion and N26 billion and get N117 billion. I did not owe any bank one kobo. I didnâ€™t go to any bank to borrow money. We were not owing any civil servant one kobo. Ours must be the only one where pensioners were not owed one kobo.
But the governor insisted you were owing in his broadcast?
Society should now ask him to give us a schedule as to how he arrived at N117 billion. We should ask him, moreso when he had said that the total contracts awarded were N85 billion.
What about this allegation on OPL 241 that your government bought?
Yes, he said, we bought OPL 241. We tried to bid for it and we lost. We bidded $12 million. We lost to Oil World Ltd, which bidded $20 million. We went and negotiated with them to sell 80 per cent of the business stake to us at $24 million.
As a state government, we didnâ€™t want to run an oil company. So we looked for a technical partner, which eventually bought 70 per cent of our 80 per cent hold for $37 million. We got $37 million for what the state paid ($24 million) with 10 per cent stake remaining. To me, this is still a good deal anywhere in the world.
Dr. Mimiko said the oil bloc was worth $1billion.
Yes, when we were in government, they said the oil block was worth $1 billion and they even called us all sorts of names. We have now left, they have the oil bloc, let them go and sell for $1 billion and give the money to Ondo State. If I made $37 million for the state and Mimiko says he can make $1 billion, we will clap for him. Where has Agagu done anything wrong?
If Dr. Mimiko is alleging all these, donâ€™t you think there is more to it than you think?
That is why I said Mimiko wants to be popular and leader of new Ondo State. The way he thinks this can be done is to run down anybody who has the potentials of being seen as somebody who has done well. I am not contesting leadership with anybody. I went into politics to see if I could improve the society. I am not contesting to be governor of Ondo State any more. I have had the opportunity to serve for five years and nine months. The legacies I have left, they are there. I have moved society forward.
In what way?
Water supply was just four per cent when I got there, it is over 50 percent now. So let somebody take it from 50 to 80 per cent.
But Dr. Mimiko is not giving up on you?
For six months now, he has been there, telling one thing after another.
He said that he would do in 100 days what you did in six years?
I think the 100 days is not completed yet? (laughs)
He has been in office for more than six months now?
Now, he has not tarred one kilometre of road. We tarred 1,200 kilometres in five and a half years. Mark you, between 1976 and 2003 when I got there, the total number of kilometers of roads tarred was 592 in 27 years. We tarred 1,200 in five and a half years. Now he wants to do more than us. He has spent more than six months in the saddle, he has not tarred one kilometre of road.
He is also contesting the contract of Owena Multi-purpose dam?
The only functioning borehole when I came was at Okeagbe in the North Senatorial District. Where we had the biggest problem was the Central Senatorial District, which happens to be Mimikoâ€™s. The biggest river there is Owena. You canâ€™t sink borehole there because it is hard rock. That is my profession. The best way to supply water to them is through the dam. The Owena Multi-purpose dam had been conceived since 1972.
It was passed to Ondo State in 1976 when the state was created. There was no money to build it. It was in 1989 when Babangida wanted to help Ondo State that the contract was awarded and the contractor was told to go and look for money. The contractor couldnâ€™t get the money. It was when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo got to government in 1999 that Chief Joseph Sanusi, former CBN governor and I pleaded with him to help us build the dam. He built it for about N4 billion. As he was about finishing the dam, I had become governor in Ondo State. I again pleaded with Chief Obasanjo to help build the water treatment plant. He agreed and built a water treatment for N7 billion. We agreed that after he had done this, the state should be able to transmit the water.
So that was the contract you awarded?
That is the N9 billion contract he has stopped, envisaged to even provide water for his own people.
But he sank one borehole which he commissioned on his 100th day in office?
The best borehole in Akure will produce 1,000 litres an hour. That is enough for a household, compared to a dam that would have served Akure, Ijare, Ondo, Igbara-Oke, Ita-Igbolu, etc. All these towns would be fed from that Owena dam. If you want boreholes for all of them, you will sink a million boreholes.
But his contention is that you awarded this contact even when you knew you would lose at the Appeal Court in Benin?
The project started in 1999. We started the design of this project in 2007, even before the election of 2007. We awarded the contract to Tahal Consulting Engineers, one of the best in this country.
So it is not correct to say that it was awarded after the lower tribunalâ€™s verdict?
It is not correct. Check the budget of 2007. Provision was made for the dam project; and in our budgets of 2007, 2008 and 2009. A project which started two years ago, how did that project become something that was rushed?
But he called them contracts bazaar and even set up a contract review committee?
Yes, he set up a contract review committee, specifically to catch a thief. We all know ourselves in Ondo State. He specifically went out to select people who had one grudge or the other against me or the government. One of them was a consultant to the state government when we were there. He designed a structure at Adekunle Ajasin University, which collapsed. We sacked him. You now ask this same man to probe me.
But the verdict still was that the contracts you awarded did not pass through due process?
How can anybody say we awarded contracts which didnâ€™t pass through due process? Dr. Mimiko himself knows that that is not possible. He was our secretary to government. The first thing I did when we got into office in 2003 was to employ a chartered accountant of about 20 years experience. He was sent to due process office in Abuja for better training. I got Segun Ogunkelu, who worked in the Cabinet Office, Abuja to write for us contractsâ€™ procedure, which we eventuallyÂ adopted for the state. And we have practised this from the beginning till the last day we left. Our prices were the lowest compared to any state government in this country.
Our contractors were given jobs at the lowest rate but they stayed because we ran an efficient financial system. We had a balanced budget for every year and perhaps one of the best performing budgets in this country. We achieved between 80 per cent and 90 per cent performance. Everything went through due process. We advertised in the newspapers for the best of consultants.
Did you do the same for the Owena Multi-purpose dam contract?
Of course, we did. The lowest bidder was SCC Nigeria Ltd. We expected SCC to bid the lowest because the company built the dam and the treatment plant. They were already fully mobilised in Ondo State. What was my business? What I wanted was the lowest rate. For the Owena contract, the 50 per cent down payment would have been N4.5 billion but all that we provided for in 2008 budget was N3.8 billion. Relying on due process procedure, we only paid N2.8 billion in 2008. We paid the balance of the 50 per cent in January, 2009, having appropriated it in the 2009 budget.
So that was what happened?
Exactly that was what happened. I stand to be faulted on this.
What about the controversy surrounding the university project in Okitipupa?
My brother, everything about the university project in Okitipupa was provided for in the budgets of 2007, 2008 and 2009. It is a long-drawn project.
So it was not new?
No, not at all. When the state was created, we had one university, which was in Ado-Ekiti. And when Chief Adebayo Adefarati came in 1999, he sited Ondo State University at Akungba-Akoko, his home town, which is in the North Senatorial District. People in Ondo South Senatorial District went up in arms that it was unfair that the North has a polytechnic in Owo, the Central has FUTA in Akure and Adeyemi in Ondo and that only the South had no tertiary institution. They even took Chief Adefarati to court. It was when I got there as governor in 2003 that I persuaded them to withdraw the case and that we would redress the situation. Though I am from the South and everybody expected that as soon as I got there, that would be the first thing that I would do. That is not wise and it is not me.
This is because the Ondo varsity established was a glorified secondary school. It was a secondary school (Ori-Oke Grammar School) converted into a university. No new building was added to it. When I got on board, the National Universities Commission, NUC, came for accreditation. Of the 27 courses offered then, only one, chemistry, was accredited. How can I have a university like that and then go and start another one? I then appealed to the people from the South to wait for me to upgrade Akungba; when I am happy we have done well, then we will consider you.
I went to NUC myself with Dr. Bode Olajumoke, the pro-chancellor, the vice chancellor, Professor Akere and all the heads of the faculties for a lecture on how to get the courses accredited. We were there for four hours and we took lectures. When we came back, we reduced the lecture to action plan and we went to work. And by the end of 2008, all the 27 courses had been accredited. To me, that was the time to now think of something else. I now set up a committee headed by Professor Elemubade. I asked he should work with his team to work out the type of tertiary institution that would assuage the people of the South.
So the issue of the university was not all that new?
No, Professor Elemubade and his team worked on it for over a year.
But the accusation is that you awarded that contract thinking that the Appeal Tribunal would order a re-run, so that you would use it to attract the votes ofÂ the people of the South?
That is not true, not true. They submitted their reports after six months and said they had looked round the state and concluded that the best thing for us was to have a University of Technology. I asked them to research on where it should be sited.
Type of faculties
They came back to say it was Iju-Odo, which is my town and I said no, gentlemen. And I asked them that when you stand before your God (ask Professor Elemubade this one), on the judgement day, what would you say?
They said well, there are people who are saying it would make me happy if they put it in my town.
In other words, you rejected it?
Yes. I told them to go back and let me know the best place. The committee picked Okitipupa, the present site. They thereafter hired a consultant to write the academic briefing – the type of faculties, etc. The consultant wrote for six months. After we got the academic brief, we gave it to a master planner. Then we hired architects who later designed each of the buildings in the master plan before we awarded the contract in 2008.
But Dr. Mimiko has stopped work there now?
Yes, he has stopped work there now. I never knew the judgement would go that way. Our plan was that the contractor would hand over the key to us on September 1, this year because students were supposed to resume this year.
And so because of this, you paid 50 per cent mobilisation to the contractor?
Yes, we wanted the first batch of students to come in in September. This explained why we paid that much. With this money, they had bought almost all their materials. And we had N38 billion left in the bank. We thought that any time the contractor raised certificate, money would not be a problem. There was provision of N5billion in the 2009 budget of the state for this project.
Dr. Mimiko claimed that the contract was a trap in that you knew he was not going to get money to finance the project?
In the budget of 2009, there is money to fund the entire project. He shouldnâ€™t say there is no money.
So the issue of no money doesnâ€™t arise.
My brother, when you calculate all the contracts that we have awarded, even if we did not pay a kobo, we left N38 billion. Is there any government in this country that has done this. Since Dr. Mimiko got there now, about N72 billion has come.
You are saying in all honesty that re-run had nothing to do with the university?
Absolutely no. The plan has been there. The academic brief is a book, is there. The master plan, a document is there. The advertisement for the job and the contract procedure are all there.
ItÂ appears that you and Dr. Mimiko are sworn enemies?
I am not his enemy. I am unhappy with the judgement that was given. I won that election, clean and clear. That is not the subject for now.
We have 18 local government areas, I won in 11. And some judgment was given that votes should be cancelled in my ownÂ Â 11. This is not fair in my own sense.
The areas where votes were cancelled, you believe, were your strongholds?
Yes, they cancelled votes in Ilaje, Okitipupa, Odigbo, Oke-Igbo, Ikare, Ifedore, etc. We won in all these areas. God is the ultimate judge. He will judge all of us one day. I have done my own and I have left the place now. I left N38 billion but he says N34 billion. Even if we take it to be his own N34 billion, I donâ€™t know of any governor that has left it in this country for a successor.
Dr. Mimiko claims he has not been able to perform because you didnâ€™t give him a hand-over note?
How can I give hand over note. Until that morning of February 24, I thought I was going to win. On that day, I had to pack my things and go home in a hurry. So how did they expect me to write hand over note? Our administration doesnâ€™t need hand over note. Look, we met every month to decide on how much came in and how much should be spent. People of integrity were members of the allocation committee, including the chief judge. At the end of the year, at the press of one button, all our income and expenditure would come out on the computer.
But the contention is that you left a financial mess?
My sadness is that, somebody who, through God, has been thrown into such an elevated position, should be thankful to God and face the job he is supposed to do. It still baffles me that he is behaving this way.
You worked with him for about 20 months and he said the Government House you stayedÂ was a pigsty?
Well, a few people know me. Those who know me physically or even from a distance, do I look like a filthy man? This is my personal house in Ibadan built in 1991, it is not gorgeous, but is it dirty? Everyone who came to Ondo Government House while I was there knew that it was a beautiful place.
But he says he wants to spend N1.9 billion to rehabilitate the place?
That is the border that I have. If Dr. Mimiko wants to spend N1.9 billion to refurbish that house, that is his business now and the people of the state. I spent N40 million in 2003. If he now wants to spend N1.9 billion, so be it, but he should leave me out of it.
So there is no basis for this N1.9 billion?
No. That house is a five-bedroom house. Assuming you want to build a brand new one in the jungle, do you need a N1.9 billion to build a five-bedroom house? Whatever he wants to do with the money of Ondo state, it is his business, that of the House of Assembly and the business of the people of Ondo State. He shouldnâ€™t say I left the place dirty. Everybody who came to the house and ate there, including Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; and all of them commended the place. When a man decides to take a society for a ride, he calls everybody a fool.
He worked with you, at what point did you disagree, so sharply?
The only one point of sharp disagreement that I had with Dr. Mimiko, which he tells people, was that he claimed I told him that I was only going to serve one term and that it was not right for me to change my mind to want to run two terms.
Did you tell him that?
I called him, the deputy governor, Chief Alasoadura, three of them in my cabinet who were struggling to become governor after me in 2006. I said to them, gentlemen I can see how the three of you are struggling to become governor after me. And when I look at the kind of programmes we now have, the kind of dream we want to dream and the way we want our government to be strong, I want to plead with you guys to be patient, I would want to run another term.
He was there, Alasoadura, my deputy then, Oluwateru; the chairman of PDP in Ondo who is now his deputy was there; even the secretary of the party, Kunlere was there.
So there was never a time you said to him you would only do one term?
I canâ€™t remember. Assuming, that I said so, I have the right to change my mind. I said this much at the meeting. Oluwateru got up and said, Oga if you want to run a second term, I drop my ambition now. Alasoadura, said, Sir, I will defer to you any day. Everybody agreed. Dr. Mimiko got up and said, Oga, me and you have to talk later. And I said, fine. Any time you are ready to talk with me, I am ready for you.
Were there any talks?
He has not said anything. (laughs).
Looking at his political antecedents, didnâ€™t you realise you couldnâ€™t really pin Dr. Mimiko down on his words?
Again, given the benefit of hindsight now, I ought to have known. That is what you are trying to say? That I was not able to see the type of person that he is.
That is not me. You could be a thief yesterday and if you come today and you say you have repented, who am I not to forgive? God forgives.
So you took him for granted?
Yes, I thought we all had the same kind of dream. What was most important was for the state to progress and our people to get emancipated. If you donâ€™t tell me you are against such a dream, it is wrong of me to keep assuming that you have a dirty mind. That is me for you. Though I am guilty. I agree.
The avalanche of attacks gives the impression that there is more to it than what we know?
Before God and man, to the best of my ability, I tried my best to be nice to all the people who worked with me.
He equally alleged that before he left, you were beginning to sideline him in the scheme of things.
God is the judge of everything. It is not correct. I made him the secretary to the government. I was the only person in favour of that decision in the whole party.
You mean, your party, PDP, disagreed with you?
Everybody disagreed with me.
And yet, you went ahead?
I went ahead because I was the person who went to Ondo town to meet Dr. Mimiko. He was frustrated, having rebelled against his boss, late Chief Adefarati. The AD people sidelined him. He wanted to run against Chief Adefarati and the AD zoned the governorship away from him. He was at home, dejected. And I said, you are a young man like me, let us work together.
So you were the one who went to him?
I was the one who went and called him in Ondo.
He was not the one who said with his supporters, you could win in 2003?
But they call him the Iroko of Ondo politics
Anybody can call himself any name. When I met him in Ondo, we sat down and he asked if I would make him Deputy Governor. I told him the position would go to Akure and I wonâ€™t flout the decision of the party. And he pleaded with me.
So all the positions had even been shared before he came?
It was 17 days to the governorship election in 2003.
You had concluded your campaigns?
It was 17 days to that election. Anybody who wants to win an election and doesnâ€™t know where he is 17 days to go, does not have any business running that election. So when we talked with him, he said Oga, make me deputy and I said we canâ€™t make you deputy. He pleaded that he was a commissioner under Olumilua, Adefarati and that it wouldnâ€™t be nice of him to be commissioner the third time; and I should please give him something else. I said that it would be tough for me but I would try to make you secretary to the government. With all the opposition, I persuaded party members and all others aligned.
It does appear that he has since forgotten all your efforts?
That is his own business. At this age, I am 61, going 62. I must have had thousands of relationships with human beings. I try to fulfil my own side of the bargain. If you fulfil yours, fine and if you donâ€™t, that is your business, I leave you to your God. You will win here and you will lose there. But when I look at the totality of it, the next value has been positive on my side. I thank my God and I am not going to change that attitude. It goes to business, politics and even regular friendship, cheat on me but I will never cheat on you.
Are you surprised at allegation of financial discoveries by his government?
I am surprised.
Well I am not too surprised that he decided to contest against me, so viciously. I have run for elections several times, I am not surprised. But I am surprised that having received the crown through whatever means that he would still want to ruin, run me down. I donâ€™t even know what he wants. I am not afraid of him. I marvel as to the kind of human being he is, honestly speaking.
Since he became the governor has he called you?
Call?Â No. Nothing like that.
You have not exchanged any form of visit?
No, nothing like that.
You were at the birthday of Chief Akinnola in Ondo recently. The minister of labour and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo were there. The governor was not there. Do you know why?
I didnâ€™t know why he did not show up. Chief Akinnola has been my big brother, big uncle. He was my teacher at Ibadan Grammar School. If the event were to hold in Dr. Mimikoâ€™s personal compound in Ondo, I would be there.
It has nothing to do with whether you are afraid of each other or trying to avoid each other for now?
Why should I be afraid of man. It is not possible, I am afraid of God and not man.
But there was this report that on the day you were leaving Government House, that people booed you?
Even Jesus Christ had people who were booing him. I did not expect, from the kind of government that I ran, there wouldnâ€™t be people who would hate me, many of them, including Dr. Mimiko. The quarrel I had with them was; Oga oje ka jeun (Oga does not allow us to eat). That is my quarrel with him and all of those people who are in Labour Party.
So they were former PDP members?
Not only PDP, they worked with me. They all said Oga o je ka jeun. And I said, if you want money, there is no problem, be a contractor. If you are qualified, we would give you a job. But I canâ€™t go into government purse and give you money. Some of them brought contractors and quoted for jobs; either the contractors couldnâ€™t perform, we did not give them job. Some of their contractors got jobs and they said, Oga, the rate at which you are giving these jobs is too low.
Including Dr. Mimikoâ€™s deputy?
Yes, I mean Alhaji Olanusi Ali.
But Alhaji Olanusi was said to have claimed that you gave him N30 million job only, which he considered very low?
It was not N30 million, it was in the hundreds of millions. N30 million ke, lai lai (No, no, not N30million). It was in the hundreds of millions. Anybody who wanted contract, we gave the contract to them. What I didnâ€™t do was to inflate contracts for them because they were my friends or a party chairman.
As a major player in the politics of Ondo State, what trend do you think this government is taking?
I do know yet. I keep praying for them and many people wonder why I am doing this. I keep praying for them that God should touch their heart so that they can appreciate the enormity of the task that has been placed before them. Anybody who wants to run Ondo state very well would have no time to look right or left. I slept between 4am and 5am every day for five and half years, so much work.
Are you saying, they donâ€™t understand the enormity of that task?
They donâ€™t understand it. I am praying for them that God should touch their heart, should open their eyes and teach them what to do. They also donâ€™t know what to do.
This is because if they do well, it is the people of the state that would benefit. And if they fail to do well, it is the people of the state that would suffer. If they are not doing well, I am not happy.
I am surprised that one of your aides in charge of Multilateral Relaitons Office, Obolo, operated a secret account without your knowledge. Why?
If there was any secret account, and I qualified it, I would be surprised because our administration didnâ€™t favour that.
What happened then?
What actually happened, I canâ€™t say now because I have not been able to get Obolo to speak with me since I left office but I never authorised anybody to open a secret account. Let the governor investigate whatever happened in the Multilateral Office. And if there is any officer who is culpable, under the law, deal with that officer. We had over a dozen of government officials paying government money into some accounts, which in most cases, they were signatories to. There would always be people who would do such a thing. And when we catch them, we investigate and hand them over to the police. What is wrong is to find such a case and you are now saying, it is Governor Agagu. I think that is wicked. It is wrong.
So you did not know of Oboloâ€™s case?
I didnâ€™t know such a thing happened. I was not a signatory to any account. I never signed any cheque. I warned all my officials about it when I got on board. The accounting officers are the permanent secretaries of ministries and government agencies. I told my officials that none of them must sign cheques. None of my political appointees signed any cheque. Obolo is a little bit different. He is not a PDP member. Obolo worked for the European Union, EU. He was very good to us in Ondo while he was in EU. Some people didnâ€™t like that in the EU system and he was sacked. Not to make him feel bad and being one of our sons, and having being good to us, I employed him to head the unit that would beÂ dealing with donor agencies. These accounts, I am suspecting and I am not holding brief for him, these are accounts he had opened with the donor agencies. So the real details of it, I donâ€™t know. It is not Agagu, or Oluwateru, or Femi Agagu or any of my commissioners doing that. And I know that Dr. Mimiko knows the truth. He is only trying to be mischievous by trying to make it look as if it was Agagu.
If Dr. Mimiko comes up with a Commission of Enquiry, will you be ready to appear?
If I am asked, I will answer to the best of my ability.
If you are summoned?
Any day, I would appear. But it has to be a properly and legally constituted committee.
There is this insinuation that he is trying to come back to PDP but only buying time. Would you want to accept him back, having dumped you once?
There is freedom of movement in this country. You can join or leave or migrate from one political party to another. If he wants to come to PDP tomorrow, he is welcome. But it has to be through the proper and formal way
Some have accused him of trying to come back through the back door?
I donâ€™t think PDP has a door at the back (laughs). Anybody who wants to join the party will so indicate. For me, I expect him to write to the national chairman. And then, he would go to his ward and register again because he has torn his PDP card and those who would follow would go to their different wards and register, and we would be moving like one family again. There is no back door in PDP, it is only one door that leads to PDP.
But there is air of hatred around you despite what you claimed to have done. Are you surprised?
No, there is no air of hatred. People who donâ€™t like me in that state are people who think they ought to have received something from me while I was the governor and were not able to receive it. They are in the small minority. The people of that state love me a lot. When I was at Chief Akinnolaâ€™s birthday and I was introduced in the church, the ovation was thunderous. Everywhere I go now, people mob me. The people of that state love me. People who would want business to continue as usual and didnâ€™t have that kind of opportunity are the ones who hate me.
What is the fate of PDP in the state now that you in the opposition?
Well, to be honest with you, the party is still growing. We are one family. I know of many Labour Party people that have come to join PDP after we left. I donâ€™t know of one notable PDP leader who has defected from the party.
Are you sure, you would win any future election, given the strength of the party?
Yes, if we mobilise well. In Ondo State, PDP party stalwarts who belong to the party and I donâ€™t think that the number of card carrying members of PDP are more than 600,000.
You think you have got what it takes to increase the number?
Yes, of course. We have 3.4 million people in Ondo State. What is important for us is to go out and market our party. And we have a lot to market. In the five years that the PDP government was there, we tarred 1,200 kilometres of road, increased water availability from four percent to 50 percent. We built 800 classroom blocks. Okitipupa Oil Mill was dead, we woke it up, ditto Ile-Oluji and numerous others. The other parties would now list what they have done.
In all this, do you see Governor Mimiko coming back into PDP?
Honestly, I donâ€™t know what is going on in Dr. Mimikoâ€™s mind. He is the only person who can say it. All I am worried about is that some of those things we have put on ground should not suffer too much set-back before we come back.
If he calls you on phone, will you be delighted to hear from him?
Depending on what he is calling me to do. But honestly, I have nothing to contest with him. I am a happy man here in Ibadan. My party leaders come always. I am contented.
What do you do now?
I am trying to interface between high wire political life and low wire political life, with a little bit of business added to it. Honestly speaking, I donâ€™t want to contest any election any more. I would still want to be member of the PDP and help to keep it waxing stronger. I am trying to put a few things together, not too much. I am an old man now. I am only talking about what will be enough to keep me busy. I have worked for 18 hours daily in the last six years now if you just go from 18 to zero, that would be dangerous. I am trying to put a few things together.