By Demola Akinyemi, Ilorin
Hon Ben Duntoye, 36, is Kwara State Commissioner for Information and Communications. In an interview with Saturday Vanguard, he spoke on several issues the achievements of Governor Saraki and why Kwaran will not allow opportunist to take over from the governor. Excerpts
How did you get this far? is there a correlation between politics and youth activism?
Not really, clearly I have not been into activeÂ politics and the major reason is that I used to be veryÂ busy with my youth activism but there is somebody thatÂ endeared me into politics, and that is his Excellency, DrÂ Bukola Saraki who has been somebody I hold in a very high esteem, I learn a lot of things from him, he is my mentor.
I feel so honoured joining him to move the stateÂ forward. IÂ feel very happy and privileged working with him.
What are your challenges on the job?
First and foremost I want to thank God and thank his Excellency for the confidence reposed in me to be theÂ chief spokesman of the state, this is a position that is very challenging like you say, you need to know what is happening in government every minute, every second,
I have to be on top of all issues either political or not, I need to get the people of the state adequately informed aboutÂ government programs and activities and I must also get feedback from the people to the government because the kind of government we have want to know whether or not his programs and activities are in line with the peoples expectations so, I am the link between the people and the government.
And because this is a new terrain which I am not very familiar with, I have conducted media tour within the state to the media organizations we have in the state both print and electronic, I have also gone out to visit some media houses at their headquarters. These have greatly exposed me to a lot of things.
So far, how has it been dealing with journalists?
Journalists are a group of people that are veryÂ special, I see them always on the move, they just want to get their things done quick which I think is a challenge to me, I have enjoyed working with them with the little periodÂ we have been together, they are people that want you to carry them along, they loved to be communicated with, theyÂ love to be respected, they are not difficult people like so many people want to make us believe.
How far has the government gone in solving the problems of unemployment and poverty inÂ the state?
Along the years, there has been error, people used to see government as a major employer of labor, those who used to thrive in the state are government contractors, what the governor has done is to change the face of Kwara, that is to empower and support the private sector to take over the economy of the state, that has been successfully done now.
The enabling environment is here, Kwara State is now consuming electricity more that ever before.Â It is far more stable, now you can do your business in a more conducive environment and make more profit ever far than a place like Lagos,18, 19 hours electricity are now stable more than before, now businesses are booming, industries are coming up, today employers of labor are coming to Kwara, government has done all these to generating massive employments, create wealth in the state and make Kwara attractive to more national and international investors to always want to come and do business here. Almost everybody now feel the governor in his house.
Today, we have more expatriates in the state more that before and they are trooping in by the day. With the cargo shed, goods are being directly received in Ilorin from overseas country, all these have greatly caused the explosion of commercial activities in the State.
How do you think these developments can be sustained when another person takes over the baton of leadership?
Before now I used to nurse great fear, but in the recent time I have been strengthened by hopes and the greatÂ understanding of the people about politics based onÂ its peculiarities with respect to transition long beforeÂ now.
You agree with me that all powers belong to God, itâ€™s God that giveth power. And one thing I have been able to realize is that the people of the state have now been able to appreciate and experience good leadership, good governance, transparency, accountability. All these have been shown to them in no small measure by his excellency, Governor Saraki. Now, I know that Kwarans will not close their eyes and allow people who are opportunists to take over government and mess up all that the governor has labored for.
In 2003, I could say that it was just a trial election, becauseÂ about two years into government people were already calling him that the way he was going, he just had to continue.
So by 2007, the votes the governorÂ had were so massive almost twice what he recorded at the first election.
That confidence had been built in the minds of the people since then. I am very sure that the people of the State will stand by Governor Bukola Saraki when the time comes.