Ex- council chair, Ebiseni, joins Ondo guber race
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…Says Ondo cannot afford to commercialize education

By Dirisu Yakubu

Former chairman, Ilaje Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo state, Barrister Shola Ebiseni yesterday, joined the Ondo governorship election race on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Ebiseni, also a former Commissioner of Environment thronged the Wadata Plaza, headquarters of the PDP in Abuja on Monday, accompanied with an army of supporters and political associates.

Addressing newsmen shortly obtaining the Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms, Ebiseni noted that having learnt under “the feet of giants,” he decided to join the race to bail the state out of its current civil service status.

He said: “I have learned at the feet of giants. In my political history, I have learned when I was local government chairman, at the feet of the likes of late Ambassador Bamidele Olumiluwa as our governor and Dr Olusegun Agangu.  I was an inner cabinet member in the government of late Adebayo Adefarati and my brother Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.

“In all of these, I have garnered more than enough experience and knowledge of governance, understanding the nitty-gritty of Ondo state from its territorial configuration and its sub-ethnic relationship.

“If you look at us geographically, we stand on the atlantic, having one of our feet at the Lekki Peninsula and the other at the Benni River in our coastal bandwidth between Lagos, Ogun in the southwest and Delta in the East. It is perhaps the only state in Nigeria that stretches from the atlantic into the Savannah, the only state in Nigeria that starts from the atlantic from the coast and moves uninterruptedly.

According to him, this geography gives Ondo state the unique opportunity of having virtually all the mineral resources imaginable.

“As a matter of fact, we are the fifth largest oil-producing state in Nigeria, apart from having the second largest deposit of bitumen in the world.

“We have acquired enough knowledge and experience to be able to transform this naturally given resources for the benefit of our people, Ondo state in particular and Nigeria in general.

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On what he would do differently as governor, the legal practitioner said he would not disappoint but work in the interest of the people at all times.

He said: “Governance is a continuum and like every aspect of our social existence, we will make our contributions. I will move the state economically from a civil service state, in terms of economic status. Not withstanding the fact that we are an oil-producing state, that does not reflect in the economy of the state. How then do we intend to take advantage of our God-given natural resources? We must enlarge the economy and diversify opportunities for our people.

“Yes, the government in the past have made proposals, which we were part of and which we intend to take advantage of. Incidentally, I was born in Ogun state, and I do know that when you talk of Ogun state, the economy of the state benefits from the economic spillover of Lagos state which makes it more resilient than other states in the South-West.

“Ondo state is just about 30 kilometres from Lekki along the coast. The government has proposed construction of the road to link Ondo state along the coast with Lagos. So if you are coming to even the northern part of Nigeria, you can just drive from Lekki and go through Ore and come to other parts of Nigeria. The advantage of that is to open up the economy of the state to the centre of economic development in Nigeria.”

On what makes his aspiration different from others, Ebiseyi maintained that his profile and credentials set him apart, saying, “I have been commissioner thrice in the state; I represented the state in the national confab, I have headed different boards of parastatals. I have represented the state on the boards of companies. So this to me gives me some requisite advantage over others who do not have such opportunities.”

He chided the Governor Rotimi Akeredolu-led government particularly in the area of education and health care delivery.

“If there was nothing wrong with the old testament, there will be no need for the new testament. I will tell you frankly, that one of the problems of the incumbent governor of Ondo state, is that he is completely detached from the people. The leadership of the government are not ordinary players in the politics of the state. They do not have much knowledge of the people.

“I am a product of different governments in Ondo state. In the South-West, there are certain things we take for granted. We take free education for granted, we take free health services for granted, we take some social welfare program for granted.

“Before this administration came on board, Ondo state university charged the least, even less than the federal government, but this government increased fees beyond the affordability and capability of the ordinary parents.

“We are virtually a peasant state as it were and there are so many things we cherish. We can not afford to commercialize education in our state. We cannot afford to consign women to a death sentence because they want to deliver babies.

What this administration inherited was a mother and child care. When a woman walks into the hospital, even with caesarean operation, she would deliver freely, without paying a dime.  All of these have been commercialized and our women are now made to patronized quacks with unnecessary fatalities,” he added.

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