AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE CARETAKER CHAIRMAN OF ITESIWAJU LGA, HON. ADENIYI ADEAGBO.
2017 was a year of accolades for you from some non-governmental organisations. How has it affected you?
There is no smoke without fire. I received some awards only because I was graciously appointed by Governor Abiola Ajimobi as the Caretaker Chairman and God helped us to positively affects the lives of our people. I am very happy with the awards, but sincerely speaking, I am scared. I’m seriously scared because tow hom much is given, much is expected. Now all I think about is how to deliver on my long term agenda for the council area and her people when elected in the much anticipated council elections.
Looking at the composition of your local government, how do you carry everybody along?
You are absolutely correct about the makeup of the council area. We have Babaode, Igbojaye, Ipapo, Komu, Okeamu, Okaka and Otu as the headquarters. Besides, it is a LGA where you can find people of different ethnic groups living together. As a leader of the government at grassroots, I treat all of them as one family, though it is not an easy task. Since I was appointed, none of the towns, the tribes and the religious bodies is marginalised in terms of developments and participation in the governance; and that is what is going to continue when elected as an executive chairman comes May 12, 2018. Giving everybody sense of belonging and equal treatments are the only ways we can have peace and progress.
How will you rate the Governor Ajimobi administration in Oyo state so far?
My assessment is very clear. I want to thank God that we have a credible governor in the person of Sen. Abiola Ajimobi. The achievements of Governor Ajimobi are unprecedented ranging from infrastructures, industrialisation, security, employment, workers’ welfare as well as impactful policies and programmes that are bringing great relief to our people.
One of the security challenges confronting the nation today is the menace of rampaging herdsmen; do you think the governments are doing enough to address this?
The situation is tensed and sensitive to judge who is right or wrong. Frankly speaking, the federal government needs to do more to address the situation. It is true that the state governors are the chief security officers of their states but the constitutional provision that places the control of the constituted security agencies under the federal government, this setting really needs an urgent attention, we will all have a better security results when States and even Local governments police them selves. As for us in Itesiwaju LGA, we regularly hold peace and security meeting with a view to ensure adequate security of lives and property of the people living in the council area.
Bokoharam is on rampage again and the latest is the kidnapping of 110 schoolgirls in Yobe. Do you still believe that the terrorist group has been technically defeated?
The current spate of the insurgent attacks and the abduction of the innocent schoolgirls of Technical College Dapchi in Yobe State is very saddening and highly condemnable. I share grieves of the concerned parents and guardians of the missing schoolgirls. Now back to your question, I want to say without fear or favour that no country in this world has ever defeated terrorism but can only proclaim to substantially subdue their activities. Therefore, I do not subscribe to the claim that Bokoharam has been defeated but the government of President Buhari is aggressively engaging different approaches to significantly diminish the terrorism activities. I enjoin all the people to support the government.
What is the solution to these myriad of security challenges?
Apart from our usual community policing, state police is the panacea.
Is Senator Bola Tinubu in for another supremacy battle with the National Chairman of the ruling party in the country over his presidential assignment to reunite APC?
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu will never engage in a supremacy battle with anybody especially the national chairman of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). The two leaders have different political antecedents and their roles in the birth of APC are unarguably not on the same scale. Asiwaju is a national leader of the APC and his appointment by President Buhari to see to the reconciliation of warring members of the party is a right step in the right direction. The former governor of Lagos State is a true leader in all ramifications and he undoubtedly knows where the shoe pinches the party. We do not need soothsayers to tell us that all is not completely well in some quarters but with the appointment of Asiwaju Tinubu, the APC will surely experience cohesion again. There is no alternative to APC ahead of 2019; by the time he completes the given task, our party will be stronger and unbeatable in any elections in the country.
May 12 of this year is the council elections, how did the announcement of Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission meet you?
The OYSIEC announcement met me prepared because the council elections are very much anticipated. Having obtained the APC’s council chairmanship nomination form, we are in the next phase of the electoral process, which is to be exclusively handled by the OYSIEC. I am ready for a free, fair and credible election as promised by the electoral body.
Can you intimate us with your latest main achievements that will boost your chance in the forthcoming polls?
God has been helping us to run a responsible and responsive government in the council area. I am confident to say that we are recording verifiable achievements in the areas of agriculture, compulsory and qualitative basic education, excellent primary health care, security of lives and property, grading of local roads, sinking and rehabilitation of boreholes, adequate welfare of workers, recommendation of our women and youths for employment and empowerment opportunities, conflicts and crises resolutions and among others. So far this year, we have some works in progress, which include equipping of our basic schools with furniture; improved community policing; monthly stocking of all our Primary Health centers with drugs as well as equipping same with medical equipment; free distribution of exercise books to students, free distribution of packaged core subjects for our senior secondary school students preparing to write WAEC, NECO and other relevant examinations as well as support towards the completion of a Divisional Police Headquarters in Otu. Any outsider that visits any part of Itesiwaju LG will confess that we have turned the whole council to a construction site as we are currently embarking on comprehensive upgrading of the Primary Health Center in Otu; rehabilitation of bad roads and construction of new roads across the seven towns of the council; opening of a connecting road from Ofiki bridge in Atisbo South LCDA to Igbojaye in Itesiwaju LGA; constructions of a block of 3-classroom, an administrative block and a toilet room that will kick-off the first-ever government basic school at Abuja Leather – Kusa in Komu town; support for the completion of self-help block of classrooms at Community Primary School, Gbonkan -Ipapo; and electrification extension of our seven towns including Alaga Village. Based on my vision and mission for the council, we are not near we dream to be but we are never where we used to be.
What are your cardinal campaign promises to the people of Itesiwaju?
We have four cardinal points on which we have based our agenda for our people. We called it 4D’s: Developing in unity of purpose, Developing our infrastructure, Developing our economy and Developing our human capacity. These 4D’s have its short and long term plans. As a Caretaker Chairman, I mainly focus on executing my short term plans; by the time we are given 3years mandate by my people, our government will simultaneously deal with both the short and the long term plans.
Could you please tell us your youth empowerment efforts as a council boss?
My own philosophy of youth and women empowerments is categorised into two; first, is by encouraging and supporting self-sustaining talents and skills. Chief among the significant progress we have made in this category include support for one of our youths who is skillful in designing and making of footwear; he is now making standard shoes in large quantity with encouraging patronages. Another one is heavy supports for our talented youths who want to choose football as careers; they are currently sharpening their talents under a football club named Itesiwaju Rangers FC. The team have successfully participated in various football competitions, and the club are the current champions of 2017 Oyo State Speaker Cup. I am happy to say that one of them has been picked for a trial with the Shooting Stars International football club.
The second category is by giving very useful training to our unemployed youth and women instead on depending on government for survivals. Our two major marks in this category include first degree scholarships to from five of our students to study at Oyo State’s newly established Technical University Ibadan; and a move to establish skills acquisitions and entrepreneurship school. It is no more a news that Itesiwaju LGA is partnering with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to resuscitate and upgrade of our moribund skills acquisition centre in Okaka into a world-class Vocational & Enterpreneuship Training School that will mainly focus on tailoring, cosmetology, agriculture, technology, shoe making, building technology and computer technology. It is my strong believe that if our youths and women are engaged in positive economic activities, it will go a long in reducing incidences of crimes in the country. We have allocated more than 120,000 hectares of arable land suitable for agriculture as this will enable them go into food production to ensure food security for the masses.
What are your expectations on the forthcoming local government election in the state?
Putting my chairmanship ambition aside, the All Progressives Congress (APC) will record landslide victory because other political parties are technically dead in the state. I do not want to say more than that.
Advice for the electorates?
As we head into the polls on May 12, my candid advice for the electorates is for them to vote based on candidates’ manifesto, integrity and antecedent. I cannot speak for anybody but for myself alone, I have good plans for my people and with my short period as the Caretaker Chairman, I am making meaningful impacts on our people. Besides, no election should be a do or die affair, therefore I enjoin them to maintain peace and order in exercising their civic right.
Recently, Gov. Ajimobi again charged the people of Oke-Ogun to queue behind one of their bests as his possible successor; what is your take?
First of all, I want to thank our executive governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, for his deep love for the people of Oke-Ogun. As a son of Oke-Ogun, I am happy for the consistency of the governor in his desire to have one of us as his successor. The ball is now in the court of our traditional rulers, the religious leaders, the political leaders, the opinion leaders and other stakeholders to put forward a credible person that will fight for the gubernatorial ticket of our great party. If our consensus aspirant wins the party primaries, I am very sure other zones will rally round Oke-Ogun in 2019 elections.
Your comment on the Senator Buhari 2018 empowerment programme?
The Oyo North Senatorial district is very fortunate to have a worthy representative in the nation’s red chambers in the person of Senator Buhari Abdulfatai. The 2016 and 2018 editions of his empowerment programmes were fantastic and unprecedented in Nigeria. I charge our senator to keep up the good work.