*‘Aregbesola is building a society everybody is proud of’
By Adeola Adenuga
All Progressive Congress (APC) chieftain in Osun State, Mr. Abiodun Oladejo (Atayese), formerly resident in Europe (Austria) returned home to contribute his quota to Nigeria’s democratic process. He was educated at the Polytechnic, Ibadan and Ogun State Polytechnic, Abeokuta (now Moshood Abiola Polytechnic) where he read mass communication. In this interview, Oladejo speaks on the forthcoming gubernatorial contest in Osun State.
At the outset of the Aregbesola administration in Osun State, expectation was high that the government would perform. More than three years later, opinions are divided as to whether the government has actually performed. Where do you stand?
Honestly speaking, I don’t praise sing. But I am proud to say that this is not a vuvuzela government. When you define democracy, how it operates in other climes, democracy is in action in the State of Osun. Ogbeni Aregbesola has the wisdom to govern, he is clairvoyant, he is a fighter; it is like he has an engine in his system to build a society one can be proud of.
In the State of Osun today, construction works are going on, on a gargantuan scale that even the blind can see that this is not a government of propaganda. The State of Osun has become one huge construction site. When you go to public schools, you see massive modern structures. The hospitals built by the administration are the envy of all. He started with the innovation, O’YES, that seeks to curb unemployment among our youths.
The innovation has now been replicated in many spheres of our lives so much so that you have about 25 O’s. Ogbeni Aregbesola is a billionaire when you talk about vision, ideas that can transform the society. A writer said it is not the size of the dog in the fight that matters but the size of the dog in the fight. Aregbesola is a fighter.
Despite all of these that you said, the opposition PDP says he must go. They say he doesn’t deserve re-election based on their assessment that he has not performed.
People hate you for three things. They see you as a threat, they hate themselves or they want to be like you. The cumulative effect of these three things is what is disturbing the PDP in Osun. According to Emma Robb, rumours are carried by haters, spread by fools and accepted by idiots. Aregbesola himself in an interview said that when you are prone to criminality, you get the odium.
This is the manifestation of what that party (PDP) is saying. I think they are just seeking relevance. Because they stole so much money while they were in power, they think they can go to the media and say anything that catches their fancy but false. But the Osun people know that the Aregbesola administration has effected a paradigm shift from the old order.
You can’t compare it with the former PDP government which was in power for almost eight years and had nothing to show. And this is to say that Ogbeni has been in government for less than four years. PDP is playing politics of mudslinging. An Ethiopian proverb says the wood can stay in the water for 10 years, that doesn’t make it a crocodile.
See what it happening at the centre where the PDP is in power! See the non-performance. In Osun State, the PDP is dead. The people confirmed it dead the moment it failed to meet their expectations when it was in power for nearly eight years. That is also what is happening at the centre. And that is the reason the PDP will never return to power in Osun.
So who is Abiodun Oladejo and what is he doing in politics?
I hail from Boripe LGA in the State of Osun. I attended the citadel of knowledge, the Ibadan Polytechnic where I read mass communication and later proceeded to Osun State Polytechnic, now MKO Abiola Polytechnic, for HND also in mass communication. I participated in NYSC in Calabar. Immediately thereafter, I traveled to Austria in search of greener pastures.
After some years in Europe, I found I could not stay permanently abroad. I came back home and plunged into politics in 2005 to add my international values to the political environment in Nigeria. Nigeria is an emerging political culture Many think politics is dirty, but we must join hands together to give good governance, and politics is the vehicle to achieve that.
Politics is a three-legged thing: Consultations, consensus-building and capacity-building. This is what I did when I came in, in 2005. I initially wanted to become a councillor because that is the way things are done in Europe but people were laughing at me. I made consultations. I felt I could contribute meaningfully in the House of Representatives on AD platform. I had three LGAs to vie in. It was an interesting experience.
It came with challenges. I was advised to represent my federal constituency. The party changed to ACN. The party opted for primaries which I won. But the party arrangement prevented me from participating in the 2007 polls. I met Ogbeni Aregbesola when he was works commissioner in Lagos and told him about my aspiration then to go to the House of Representatives and he supported me.
I saw Aregbesola as a matador and an instrument of change. The diadems he won gave me aspiration that this man is an institution. Since then, I have not left my constituency. I have been contributing meaningfully, financially and morally, and, with my vision, because when there is no vision, there is no provision. What I do is for the enthronement of an egalitarian society. Nigeria today is a distopian state instead of an utopian state.
This is uncalled for. It is egregorious, nauseating, anomie, even fatal to our collective survival as a people. My active participation in the political process has been challenging. It is like a graph but life goes on. And I know that the day would come when I would serve my people in the capacity that I want because I have the wherewithal to be of help to my community and even beyond.
Despite all the challenges, I remain resolute and committed because, in Osun, we have a government unusual where the people have a feel of government. I have been part of it and want to remain so.