‘I am a bridge-builder’
By Victor ‘Tunde Oso
Chief Olayide Adelami, All Progressives Congress APC, gubernatorial aspirant in Ondo State, in this interview, maintains that his plan for agriculture and ‘unity plan’, make him the candidate to beat in the party primary.
Describe your experience as a former Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly and what would you consider your greatest legacy?
It was a good experience. You will agree with me that National Assembly is the hub of Nigerian politics. It is an institution that has truly impacted my life, because everything in the National Assembly is about the security and welfare of the people. That is where I received most of my trainings. It was a good learning ground for me. In terms of the legacy I left behind, I am bold to say good name. I left a good name and I made a lot of positive impacts in the lives of the people. As an institution itself, I started as an Accountant in Finance Department. I rose to become Director of Finance and as people-oriented person, I made sure all my staff were developed. Even when I moved to Procurement Department, I encouraged Human Resources development, almost 1/3 (one-third) of my staff became qualified Procurement Officers before I left. That singular act earned me an honorary fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Purchasing and Supplies. I encouraged trainings. I believe in their career advancement. I ensured that the entire staff of the Directorate were trained locally, while Level 10 and above of my Staff were also exposed to international training in addition to the local trainings.
What prompts you to run for the governorship position in Ondo State?
My interest is the people, because I have been a people oriented person and governance is all about the well-being of the people, especially the common man on the streets. You take care of the welfare of the people and that is what governance is all about. It also involves efficient management of the resources of the State to impact on the lives of the people positively. My aspiration to become Governor of my state is just like coming back to practice what I have learnt how to do best for over 35years to impact on the people. When I was in the National Assembly, I managed resources, managed materials and human beings, having worked in various departments, empowering people. In a nutshell, I would say that my burning desire to make impacts on the lives of the people remains my core credential to assume the governance of Ondo State and of course, through the mandate of the people.
How prepared are you for the top job?
The National Assembly is like a school, a learning ground, where my political ideals were incubated. I am also a community person and my people can attest to that. So, charity begins at home. I have done much for my community and its environs and I want to extend the gestures to other parts of Ondo State. Governance is about the people. We have to harness the resources of the State to impact and transform the State.
What other assets are you bringing on board to persuade Ondo people to accept and support you?
Although, I would like my prognosis to be issue-based, but let me say, without dragging anyone in the mud, that what we have seen so far in the state has not reflected the yearnings of the people. I, honestly, would not like to dwell much on personalities. I would rather want to talk about our political party. You know without the Party, there cannot be Governor. Party makes you the Governor and you work against the party and you also work against the people that worked for you. So, why are you there? My coming into governance is going to be a corrective regime, in terms of developing the people, relationship with the people and party men. I am coming to achieve Party cohesion. I am coming to make APC stronger than any other party in the State. And I am coming for real and sustainable development. The focus of the current government is just the rehabilitation of selected city roads. The rural roads are not touched. The projects are not really benefiting our teaming unemployed youths and people at the grass roots. The city roads have little or no synergetic effects on sustainable development in the State. I will rather prioritize the development of the rural roads spiced with urban renewal. Of what essence are the city roads that do not bring food to the table.
Ondo APC is factionalised, how do you close ranks before the poll?
I am indeed, a bridge builder of repute. As I have said earlier, I have used all my previous positions to unite people, impact their lives and create opportunities for them to excel. By the special grace of God, this is one of the inbuilt attributes I am bringing on-board. By the time we commence governance through the mandate of the people, and by grace of God, the State will witness a new era of development and party cohesion. It’s going to be a new era and I am prepared to make my mark within a single term of four years.
Are you saying, you won’t spend more than one term in office if voted in as the next governor of Ondo State?
I honestly believe that a single term of four years is enough for me to touch the lives of my people and leave the stage for another credible person. Besides, Ondo State was at a time a one-term State, rotating from one senatorial district to another. Agagu broke the jinx.
He spent one term and the people gave him another mandate of second term but midway to accomplishing his second term, the Court terminated it. It was not the people who terminated the term, it was the Court on technical grounds. Then, Dr. Mimiko from the Central Senatorial District came on board and spent two terms of eight (8) years. It’s now the turn of the North Senatorial Zone for 8 years, under a credible candidate.
Development of rural roads is very important to an agrarian state like Ondo. How do you intend to address the anomaly that previous efforts have been on cities?
In my manifestos, agriculture is one of the priorities, not just agriculture, but agribusinesses. Ondo State is known for agriculture, especially Cocoa production which used to be the mainstay. In the past, Ondo, by extension, Osun, Ekiti, Cocoa is the main source of economy sustenance servicing the whole of the old western region. Then, the value chain of agriculture was very high. Now, we are going to revive that feat to create employment for our people. We are going back to cash crops of cocoa revival and others to encourage our farmers, especially, the young farmers. The other area is agribusinesses with special focus on crops with short gestation period like rice, cassava, vegetables, and other cash crops with good value chain. We are going to partner with Agric- pruners and engage our youths on agribusinesses. We are going to take them out of the streets. We are going to develop Industrial Park in each of the 3 senatorial districts. We have one already at Ore. The others will be at the Central and the North. So the investors will be left with the choice of where to locate their industries.
There is the belief that aspirants without political pedigree cannot be trusted. Should Ondo people and APC members have confidence in you?
Absolutely yes. Yes, in the sense that my background speaks volume. I am a techno- politician. I combine two qualities, a technocrat, who attained a robust career in a legislative environment. I have systematically learnt the rope of loyalty to political leaders as well as maintain my integrity as a custodian of rules and regulations of the public service. I can always leverage on this experience in dealing with all the stakeholders in our political space. You know Civil Servants are technocrats that have attributes of keeping the rules and regulations. When you follow the rules, you are sure of the expected outcome. So, I will not promise what I cannot do. Even the kind of trainings I received in my career development, particularly at the Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies will help me, because it is not just about issuing out policies. Before you dish out a policy, you would have examined and know the right strategy to adopt for implementation. You should have done the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis of the expected outcome. When I open my mouth that this is what I will do, I would have subjected all those policies to analysis. Therefore, you know the common things in politics and with the politicians there are many broken promises and worse still, they don’t feel remorseful about it. They say, it is politics. That is not the best way. You don’t play politics with the lives of the people. So, I am not a typical politician, I am a techno- politician. I am more of a technocrat than a politician and I am bringing this to bear on governance in Ondo State.
In simple terms, what is your message to Ondo People on why they should vote for you
My message is simple. Ondo State People should look at the background of every contestant, including mine. This time around, they should not be carried away by some sweet talks. They should check the background and antecedents of the people who are yearning to lead them and make the right choice. Ondo people deserve better life and we are prepared to give them more than they expected.