Hon. Ife Akinsoyinu is the Director-General of the Eddy Olafeso Campaign Organisation ahead of the Ondo State governorship election scheduled for October 10, 2020. In this interview with BIYI ADEGOROYE, he speaks on the programmes of the former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Vice Chairman and some recent political developments in the state
What are the programmes of Dr. Olafeso which, in your opinion, should buoy his emergence as PDP candidate and win the governorship election in Ondo State?
If you look at his programmes for the state entitled: “The New Deal,” he has broken them into six categories, covering human capital development, development and modernisation of agriculture, infrastructural development, security, job creation and power supply.
In the area of human capital development, he is giving extra-ordinary attention to free and qualitative primary and secondary education, subsidised tertiary education and strong bias for technological sciences, free maternal and childcare up to age six in all health institutions, free healthcare for the aged and the vulnerable as well as provision of quality and subsidised health care for the citizenry.
Under agricultural development and its modernisation, he is looking at provision of accessible interest-free credit facilities to farmers, encouraging youths to pursue enduring career in farming and livestock practices and promotion of mechanised livestock farming practices across the state.
He is also looking at massive road construction and regular maintenance of feeder roads, dredging and clearing of waterways and proactive management of sea incursion through governmental interventionist agencies and private sector participation.
And in view of centrality of security to every human development, Eddy Olafeso is giving great consideration to creation of community based security apparatus to make our communities free from criminals, run effective and efficient government through responsive and responsible leadership, and promote job creation through revival of moribund industries and creation of cottage industries across the three senatorial districts.
He has also spoken of empowerment in order to reduce unemployment and take care of the masses.
He said in the first six months of coming into office, he will release N3billion interest-free loans, one billion to each of the senatorial districts, for farmers, traders and the rest.
Apart from that he wants to empower the women, because he believes when women are empowered, you empower the whole family.
Youth empowerment is the nucleus of his development trajectory. Because the major issue facing Nigeria now is youth unemployment, not even Boko Haram.
The army of unemployed youths today may turn out to be something else tomorrow. The issue of unemployment in Nigeria today is a big nightmare for whoever wants to rule in the country or any state for that matter.
So he has factored in youths empowerment such that we can drastically reduce youths unemployment.
How do you see the entry of the Deputy Governor, Hon. Aboola Ajayi into the face?
He is welcome on board. He was a member of the party at a point in time before he defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Now that he is back to the PDP fold, it is a kind of homecoming. So he is welcome on board.
He came and he said he is interested in the governorship ticket of the party and I can tell you the field is open.
The political stage is big enough to accommodate every body’s aspiration. So it is a welcome development.
There was a protest over alleged manipulation of the PDP delegates’ list last week?
What is the latest development on the issue?
Yes, we appealed the injection of foreign names into the PDP delegates’ list submitted by the Governor of Zamfara State, His Excellency Bello Matawale. And I’m glad to tell you that the Appeal Committee headed
by the former Governor of Gombe State, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo has reversed the decision.
The current report represents the content of the original list, so I can tell you that Dankwambo did justice to the list because of the grand swell of protests that greeted the tinkering with the list by somebody I don’t want to mention here.
If the list submitted to by Matawale had been allowed to scale through, that would have amounted to subverting the will of the people and anyone should be able to hazard a guess as to what would have happened.
What is your impression about the development of the state under the leadership of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu?
We are all in this state. Let us start from education. Before this government came on board, students of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, were paying N25,000 as school fees, but now it has been increased to between N150,000 and N280,000.
For this reason, some of the students are out there getting involved in certain things the state cannot be proud of. Also, talk of taxation, the masses are groaning right now under this unfriendly
tax regime. In those two areas, I don’t think the government has fared very well.
Those two areas are in a terrible situation.
How effectively has the PDP played the role of opposition in Ondo State?
Recently, there was the issue of movement of N4.3billion, but the party was silent on it.
They said the sum of N4.3billion was starched somewhere and the House of Assembly decided to look into it, and as the case was going on, the defection and attempted impeachment of the Deputy Governor came up, hence the issues are in abeyance for now.
Until the House resumes legislative business, I think there nothing anyone can do about that.
So it is better to leave the House of Assembly to do their work before we say other things. We don’t want to pre-empt them.
The issue of zoning remains a vest matter in PDP along with the number of aspirants coming from the southern senatorial district.
To what extent is this going to favour the aspiration of Dr. Olafeso?
The number of aspirants coming out from a particular section of the state is a plus for whoever the delegates are interested in in the primaries. Let me call your attention to what happened in 2016 when the only aspirant that came out was Chief Olusola Oke.
But from the north we had a plethora of them like Rotimi Akeredolu; Tunji Abayomi and SegunAbraham, but Akeredolu still won. So the high number of aspirants from the south is an advantage and it underscores one point- that it is our turn.
It is this ‘our turn’ thing that made a lot of aspirants to come out and I can also tell you that among this huge figure, some of them cannot muster any vote. But among the crowd, I can say without any equivocation that Eddy Olafeso is the aspirant to beat, not only in the entire South Senatorial District specifically, but also in the entire state generally.
He has been a party man from his days as secretary of the party in the state, as Commissioner for Information and later as National Vice Chairman of the party in the South-West where he galvernised the party to victory in the last National Assembly and presidential polls.