Just as he made history on this day (May 29) in 2015 by becoming the first civilian governor of Oyo State to be sworn in for a second term, Senator Abiola Ajimobi will make another history same day in 2019.
Asked what will be special in 2019, especially as the governor will only be completing his two terms, Hon. Dada Abiodun Awoleye, House of Representative member representing Ibadan North Federal Constituency, said Ajimobi would be the first Oyo governor in the present democratic dispensation to hand over power in person to a new governor
Hon. Awoleye said this on Monday in a Special Democracy Day edition of a monthly breakfast media chat organised by the South West Group of Online Publishers (SWEGOP).
The lawmaker elucidated that former Governor Lam Adesina did not appear in person to hand over to Rashidi Ladoja in 2003; Ladoja too did not appear in person to hand over to Alao Akala in 2007 while Akala was also not on ground to handover to Ajimobi in 2011. They all sent representatives because of political difference with who was taking over.
Continuing, Awoleye said he is the most qualified to be the one taking over from Ajimobi owing to his track record, plans for the state and closeness to the grassroots.
He said other big name in the race can not match him in terms of acceptance and feasible programmes. He queried the intention of some of the aspirants from his party, saying a good number of them do not know the party’s ideology and history.
His words: “I don’t know the big names you are talking about. Some of them cannot rate at par with me in terms of acceptability and relationship with the grassroots. I was with the governor in ANPP when the decision to move to then Action Congress was taken. I moved with him so I am part of the initial struggle to form the APC for a platform to deliver dividends of democracy to our people.
“I think people should ask questions from those showing interest because some of them are actually coming to arm-twist the people, cajole them with money and pursue their own personal interest”.
Plans for Oyo State
Awoleye, who was a member of the Oyo State House of Assembly before moving up to the House of Representatives in 2011, stated that his focus as governor would be Agriculture, Health and Vocational training because these would create and sustain small businesses that will run the state economy and make it depend less on federal allocation.
He also said he would focus more on the rural and less developed parts of the state.
Oke-Ogun agitation for governorship seat
The lawmaker stressed that the sentiments and agitations from Oke-Ogun zone to become governor was normal even though the constitution of the country or party does not give room for zoning. He however said that the agitation would not be necessary if all the zones in the state get fair and equal share of political dividends.
“I enjoy great acceptance from Oke Ogun so getting them on my side is not an issue. Like I said, a lot of focus would be given to other zones in my administration.
Ajimobi’s six years in office
“Ajimobi has performed better than any other governor in the state. He has opened up the state through road construction and investment drive”, Awoleye said.
He explained that Ajimobi’s second term has been challenging and the governor has been doing his best in the presence of inadequate financial resources. He however stated that the challenges of Ajimobi’s second term is what the next governor should address.
“That is why the next governor should come in with the right ideas to improve the state’s revenue. Just taxing the people is not enough”, he concluded.