Wednesday, April 23, 2014 5:12 pm
Since the creation of Ondo State in 1976, the people of Ayede Ogbese have never had an indigene representing them in the state’s House of Assembly. But that may soon change. Kehinde Ojo Apata, Labour Party assistant coordinator in the United Kingdom, has returned to the state with an ambition to offer diligent service to them. In this interview with SEUN BISUGA and NKEM TAIYE-ULEBOR, he talks about his vision and plans for the state
What informed your ambition to contest in Ondo State?
My stay in the United Kingdom for many years opened my eyes to many things, especially governance. I observed the European and American systems of government and I see that Ondo State is moving forward, thanks to the present administration, which is doing a very good thing concerning the plight of the people. And I want to be just part of the people and I want to continuewith such programmes. If you take a look at where I come from, Ayede Ogbese is a town that has got no representation either in government or governance since the creation of Ondo State in 1976. With my being around, however, I see myself being able to do a lot of things for the betterment of the people if I am voted in come 2015; because I have the intention of vying for a seat in the House of Assembly, Ondo State. If I am voted in by the power of my people in Akure North Local Government, I want to improve the lives of the less-privileged; I want to improve education. Though the present administration is doing a lot of things concerning mega schools, I want to build upon these things. I want to work on empowering women and widows, like it is practised in the United Kingdom and United States. They have various policies regarding grants and benefits for the unemployed. Although the present administration in the state has not performed any less – they have been doing great in these areas – I know I can add my quota. I can build on these things.
I can actually let the government and my contemporaries in the House know some scientific methods we can use to address our problems. I have many ideas that I garnered in my stay in Europe and U.S. I have just talked about less privileged people, there are lots of ways in which all these things can happen; there are lots of modalities to be followed. I must state very clearly that Governor Olusegun Abayomi Mimiko has done a lot to alleviate the plight of the people and that is why I want to be a part of this government. I don’t associate with people or governments that don’t do things right but Ondo State government has been doing things the right way and I want to be a part of it. I want to continue in the same form, so, being a member of the House of Assembly come 2015 is going to be an opportunity for me.
What, specifically, are you planning for your constituency?
We are talking about magnification of idealism. In my local government, I’ll talk about agriculture. My dad was a farmer and my mom was a teacher but I was actually involved in farming before I left the country. I used to go to the farm with my dad and I know things that happen in the farming sector. But now I want to improve on that. I have been to Israel; I was in Tel-Aviv and several other places in Israel few years ago and I studied the system of agriculture in those places – the documentation, designing. I know exactly the way that things were done, have seen it, have looked at it properly. In short, I have been able to dissect the problems we have here and how they can be ameliorated using the way they did it over there. I have read some of their books, and I also noticed they have this amazing mechanised agricultural system. That is what I mentioned as magnification of idealism, so if I bring it upin the House, I know it can be acted upon; if I mention it in the state, I know it can be acted upon. Though, I acknowledge that the Mimiko administration is doing a lot for the state and the people.
What are you doing currently for the people?
When you talk about empowerment, enlightenment programmes, I have been going around telling my people about how the government of Olusegun Mimiko is doing a marvelous job. Some may have been jettisoning the government before but that is no longer happening. Ondo State is not a rich state at all but when you see a good administration you must admit it. I have been able to convince the people that the government of has to be given time to accomplish its objectives, hence patience is needed in order to reap the full dividends. In Ayede-Ogbese where I come from, we happen to have the largest township market that holds in the state every three days. The people need amenities to leverage on this event. Hopefully I hope to go a step further on what the present administration is doing. Sincerely speaking, Government can’t do everything for you and because I hail from the state, from a local government within the state, I am in a better position to tell our people the truth. I love this present administration and I hope to leverage on what it has done.
How would you use your wealth of experience to benefit the community?
Thank you very much. I have had some experience working in the United Kingdom under various capacities and also their system of economics is one of the strongest in the world market today, hence I have people I can liaise with to attract the right kind of investments. I can not do anything in isolation, hence I have to seek the backing of the state government in order to achieve my goals. Being in the state House of Assembly would be a good platform for me to implement my own ideas; my voice will also be heard in the right quarters.
What would you say are the achievements of the present administration?
The government of Olusegun Mimiko has done a lot in the state. In the dualisation of Ajakale road, and also the automat, that is, the trading of automobiles, which is innovative in approach. The governor was also a recipient of an award from the United Nations in recognition of his innovative approach to governance. I was on the tube in London and I was accosted by a foreigner who asked if I was from Nigeria. He said that our Prime Minister had just received an award. You know, calling my Governor a Prime Minister was funny. but that goes to show that it was a globally recognised event. Indeed, this administration is worthy of commendation and our governor is a visionary leader. I want to be part of his change agents. I want to revolutionise the state, especially Ayede-Ogbese.