By Daniel Gumm & Etop Ekanem

TWO-TIME member of the House of Representatives, representing Oshodi-Isolo Federal Constituency II in Lagos State, Chief Jaiyeola Ajatta, is now a gubernatorial aspirant on the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State. In this interview,  Ajatta speaks on how his party, ACN will take over in Ondo State at the 2012 governorship election as well as his programmes for the state. Excerpts:

You are aspiring for the gubernatorial seat of Ondo State, what will you do that the Labour Party has not done in the state?

Labour Party has been there for three years. Looking at the amount of money that is coming from the federation account and internally generated revenue to the state, coupled with the fact that LP inherited about N38 billion, what has been done in Ondo State is not commiserate with the amount of money they have received. So ACN can do much more better.
Unemployment is very high.

When ACN takes over the state, we will definitely do something about it. We can say that for the past three years, there has been no employment for teachers and promises are left unfulfilled. There is no single industry in the state. The Labour Party promised to revive some of the ailing companies, like Oluwa Glass, up till now nothing has been done.

Our roads are very bad. If the government is not able to construct new ones, it should be able to rehabilitate the ones we have. If you go to Akoko in the North, where I hail from, the roads are so bad. The government is not constructing any new road but just to beautify them.

Chief Ajatta

This is not what we want. The schools which they are now building called mega schools, are not enough and are far away from the students. You don’t expect children to walk about seven or more kilometres before attending school. That is why we say the old schools which are nearer to the pupils should be put right. Because of what we have seen done in Lagos, Ekiti, Osun, Ogun and Edo States, we cannot allow Ondo State to be doing something else. ACN must take over Ondo State.

We have asked the governor to join the Odua group so that we can join hands to construct better roads, have joint thinking and progress that way, but he said no. He wants to be alone, we know what is going on in our state and others, we know what we are receiving from the Federation Account. Ours is much more better than what some others are receiving. Productivity in Ondo is low, that is why we say there must be a change.

Could you please list your achievements in the House of Representatives during the eight-year stint?
The NNPC road at Ejigbo Local Council Development Area which was very bad, I moved a motion that the road should be rehabilitated. I thank God that my motion was accepted in the House. NNPC was asked to rehabilitate the road but they said it was not their responsibility.

So we took the matter to the Federal Ministry of Works and through my efforts, the Ministry of works rehabilitated the road at the cost of about N1.4 billion. I also moved a motion for a bridge to be built at Ilasa area of Lagos. I concentrated more on what I can do for my constituency. I was able to execute more than 50 projects for my constituency.

Your party is noted for selection of candidates instead of real primaries, how can you muster enough resources to clinch the candidacy in Ondo considering the number of aspirants already?

That is not true. There is no election that is being conducted in Nigeria by ACN that does not fulfill the conduct of primaries. What we know is that every party has to screen every candidate that wants to contest for any position. If someone comes up and says he wants to contest the position of a governor and this person has just been released from the prison, will they allow such a person to go through this election?

You assess the aspirants, allow them to go through the primaries, because the primaries are even done openly. So, I will say that ACN allows primaries because no party allows people to come and take position without assessing the type of people they are. ACN has principles guiding it. That means it is progressive.

Like now, we have a lot of people who want to contest. When I got there, there were only few aspiring for the governorship position but today we have about 30 aspirants. We have resolved that we will rally around anybody who will be elected to represent the party. All of us will work together to win the governorship election.

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