30 March 2010

Nigeria: Innovation Would Spur Development in Osun - Akinbade


Alhaji Fatai Akinade Akinbade is the immediate past Secretary to Osun State Government and one of 15 aspirants eyeing the governorship seat come 2011 on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Akinbade in this interview with CORRESPONDENT Gbenga Faturoti, speaks on his plans for people of the state if elected, stating that there is need to jerk up the state's revenue base if it must meet certain constitutional obligations. Excerpts:

WHO is your role model, so that this can give the people an insight into your governance?

I think one has to be very careful when you talk of role model. As a politician, you need to look at what is operative now. Let me tell you, when you talk of role model, there are so many things that you don't need to emulate, even from history. Some of our immediate past leaders have nobody ahead of them. But we need to continue to move, whatever anybody does last year shouldn't be business as usual, you have to bring in some kind of innovation.

But there is this claim that it is the turn of the Ife/Ijesha to present the next state governor. Don't you think this will halt your ambition?

Many people might think that way but we have the party's guideline that we will follow. As a party man, I cannot be foolish enough not to listen to the clarion call of my party, neither would I force myself to be governor. I was once the party chairman and know what party guidelines entail. Last July, the party trustees met in Okuku and reached an agreement. When the zoning issue was raised, they said if we want this thing to be going on smoothly, that all the three senatorial districts have enjoyed the governorship position in the past. Number One district had Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke who ruled for 20 months; District Two would have ruled for 12 years now by the end of this term in 2011, and Ife/Ijesha has enjoyed it with late Bola Ige who spent four years, regardless of the past. The late Ooni, Adesoji Aderemi, has once been the governor, same as Fadahunsi. Ife/Ijesha is an integral part of western region; the Oyo State and Osun State. As it is now, we have never produced deputy governor before Alhaji Adeleke. To avoid conflict, elders of the party said they should throw the contest open between senatorial district one and three. That is why party said we should obtain the form, only two of us have shown intention to contest for the governorship in senatorial one. About 13 aspirants have also squared up in senatorial three - that is Ife/Ijesha.

In case you are not picked as PDP candidate, what next? There are insinuations that you may decamp to the Labour Party, how true is this?

Who else do you think PDP would pick? Honestly, I believe the PDP are people of integrity, let them come out and tell me why I may not get picked. It is not a matter of pride, we know each other, if not hatred and hatred should not come in politics or I don't want to see somebody's face, and that is not politics because nobody has the monopoly of it, whoever that has made any input in politics must have made it through the collective responsibility. Nobody has ever won any election for me in my local government. Whoever is contesting against me should bring his results and I would bring mine, we will compare them. What I am saying is that for whatever it is, let me and that person face each other and talk issues such as politics, government, grassroots, what we are offering the people etc.

The only thing that would have put me off is if the party had shown interest in zoning, I would have been zoned out. May be that would have made it easy for me to tell my followers that as a party man I cannot do anything against it; I can't say no to my party. But now that the party has given us go ahead, I believe that party is going to toe the line of democracy which is to allow free and fair primaries.

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