The governorship candidates of leading political parties that will participate in the March 2 governorship election in Oyo state on Friday disagreed on whether one needs political experience to run the office of governor and whether Nigerian political system is one to be proud of.
The candidates expressed their different views at a governorship debate organised by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Yoruba service at the Theophilus Ogunlesi Hall, University College Hospital, Ibadan.
Four out of the five invited candidates were present at the debate. The candidates present were Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Chief Adebayo Adelabu of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Senator Olufemi Lanlehin of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Princess Bola Sarumi-Aliyu of the National Interest Party (NIP). Engr Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was absent.
Adelabu and Sarumi-Aliyu were unanimous that politics in Nigeria is currently nothing to be proud of and tht experience is not necessary to succeed as a governor while Alao-Akala and Lanlehin on their part agreed that Nigerian politics was still something to be proud of if politicians are committed and God fearing. Both of them also said political experience is required to run the office of a governor.
Alao-Akala stated that political experience is important to become the governor of Oyo state at this point in time, adding that things have gone bad and beyond the state of putting people that will learn on the job in the office of the governor in the state.
“I am not too old to become the governor I’m not going to be the oldest governor in Nigeria. Politics is something to be proud of if we do it with the fear of God. You can be proud of politics in Nigeria,” Alao-Akala said.
Lanlehin also expressed the belief that one can be proud of Nigeria politics, adding that not all politicians are bad. He also stated that the place of political experience cannot be overlooked in selecting a governor for Oyo state.
“Experience is not an issue that can be thrown out for a governor. Nigerian politics is something you can be proud of. I am proud of what I have done and I won’t spoil my name if given a chance to use my political experience to rule Oyo state,” Lanlehin said.
However, Adelabu said there is no need for experience and that he is not impressed with the Nigerian political experience.
“I am not sorry that I have no experience because the Nigerian political experience is nothing to be proud of.
“What is done by political parties is singing and activities that have nothing to do with governance. Governance is what I want to do with little politics because politics is just a vehicle. When we do too much politics, we miss the purpose of governance. The way things are now is wrong and we will change things,” he said
Sarumi-Aliyu, speaking on Nigerian politics, said: “There’s nothing to be proud of in Nigerian politics and you need no political experience. The only experience you need is fear of God, avoiding corrupt godfathers and not collecting money from cabal for election.”
All the candidates promised to pay workers N30,000 as minimum wage, look into the issue of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) and ensure that education is absolutely free by eradicating the N1000 termly fee.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) governorship candidate, Engr Seyi Makinde, has cited earlier commitments as the reason for his absence at the debate today.
In a statement by his campaign organisation and signed by Prince Dotun Oyelade, he said he had agreed with the people of Ibadan South East that he will kick off his campaign early enough and he was unwilling to change the sequence that will take him to Oranyan, Orita Aperin, Felele, Bere, Odinjo and a host of other places.