Ademola Ogunbanjo is the governorship candidate of Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN). The Ijebu-Igbo born politician speaks on his plans if he elected as governor next year, and why he declared on June 12 among other issues.
In your declaration speech, you highlighted some areas your administration will focus on if given the mandate to govern the state. With the reality on ground, don’t you feel your manifesto seems utopian?
The fundamental mistake that we sometime make in the public sector is to assume that all the developmental programmes we want to deploy must be funded by government. It is a wrong assumption. Government cannot solely fund developmental projects, there is a need, even more than ever before, to involve the private sector in the development of infrastructure and that of industry in any state, indeed across the nation. Yes, we will be able to do it because we have the resources. If we have anyone who wants to invest in bitumen refinery, we have bitumen deposit in Ogun Waterside. We also have gold in Ogun Waterside, we have rubber plantation there too, but we don’t have a single rubber processing plant. We have gas in Ogun Waterside, we have ocean front with enough draft there to be a functional port in that place.
In your own estimation, do you think the present government has lived up to people’s expectations, given the massive infrastructure development embarked upon by the incumbent governor of the state?
You see, honestly nobody can do better than he or she knows. The present government in the state has indeed tried its best, but its best is not good enough. It has performed according to its capacity, it is time to pass it on and let’s do more, because there is much more to be done. People are not still empowered as they can be, poverty is still quite deep in our state and we need to solve it, we need to think differently. We need to change the ways we do things. First, we change the way we think and then the way we do things.
What attracted you to the ANN political platform? Do you think you stand any chance against the dominant parties?
I am a new wine and I don’t think anybody pours new wine into old bottle. I am a new wine in ANN bottle. Like I always say, PDP is a big party because people support it, ditto for APC. But when people decide to support ANN, then PDP and APC will become history. It is where the people’s hearts are that they put their hopes, which determine which party is big or small. But we must de-emphasise the size of party; we must begin to look critically at the quality of the candidates that are stepping forward. We must begin to elect people, not party. That is when development can come to Nigeria to stay, when we begin to vote people instead of party. This is because there are so many incompetent people who hide under tent of mega party. So, PDP will bring you somebody who is half-baked, and then you vote PDP. But the candidate you are voting for has no idea and PDP will not run the government, the candidate will eventually run the government. And that is why we are where we are today. We should be voting for the people instead of party.
One other hurdle is the issue of zoning and the political arrangement in the state. Some people are clamouring for an Ogun West person and you are coming from Ogun East, how do you intend to strike the balance?
First, let us talk about the clamour. The clamour is false; it is based on false premise and perhaps, selfish, as a matter of fact. If we are to go in that direction, let us face it, it is the turn of Ogun East and not Ogun West. When in 1976, Ogun State was created; there were two provinces – Egba/Egbado and Ijebu/ Remo. And it was further split into four, no problem. Late Olabisi Onabanjo did it first in 1979 to 1983. Then Olusegun Osoba, an Egba man came, and after him, OGD (Gbenga Daniel), a Remo man governed. After him, it would have gone to the Yewa people, but injustice was done in 2011 and we should not be discussing that in 2018. And the person that actually led the injustice is now the one that is trying to compensate Ogun West with the turn of the Ijebu people. So, we will not sit back and allow Egba man rob us twice. That is if we want to talk about whose turn is it, there is no controversy about the fact that it is our turn in Ijebu to produce the governor. Now, it is not even about whose turn is it, it is about who is competent enough to do it. Who has the better plan? And who has the wherewithal to govern very well? Even for me, you cannot say for a fact that I will do everything I said I would do, but there is something called conviction.
You described yourself as a person without no label and godfather. How do you intend to actualise your dream of becoming a governor, given the peculiarity of Nigeria’s political system?
I am a simple man and home grown.
I grew up in Ijebu Igbo. I attended St. Joseph Primary School, Obada Station in the town and Abusi Edumare Academy in Oke Sopen, Ijebu Igbo. I left there and went to school outside Ijebu. I am a Christian and because of that, I don’t need a godfather. This is because I have God the Father. It sounds as a cliche but it is true. How do I intend to achieve my ambition in this tedious terrain? Well, I am yet to see that which is bigger than God. And because I believe strongly that He has mandated me to embark on this journey.