AKEREDOLU’S RE-ELECTION IS NON-NEGOTIABLE – Hon. Ifabiyi Olatunji Hon Olatunji Ifabiyi is the Special Adviser to the Governor of Ondo State
AKEREDOLU’S RE-ELECTION IS NON-NEGOTIABLE – Hon. Ifabiyi Olatunji
Hon Olatunji Ifabiyi is the Special Adviser to the Governor of Ondo State on Commerce, Industry and Coperative Services, The Odigbo born politician used to be the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters before his redeployment of which a lot of success were recorded under his watch.
In this interview with Olaseeni Oyesusi and Omotosho Samuel, Hon Fabiyi bares in mind on the efforts of the leaders of APC to make the re-election of Arakunrin Akeredolu possible especially at Odigbo Local Government.
Can you intimate us your activities so far at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry?
At first, I was appointed the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters for about two years before my deployment as the Special Adviser on Commerce, Industry and cooperative services last year July precisely. To God be the glory, since I was posted to oversee the financial activities of markets, small and medium scales investment and some of the moribund industries that are still existing in the state and yet to be taken over by investors, it has been wonderful. So, we are in charge of payments of salaries of the staff and maintenance of equipments and facilities so that they would not be carted away by hoodlums.
We also organize trainings for young graduate’s entrepreneur and we also open their eyes to various entrepreneurship opportunities especially finances. We thank God that some of them have acquired the skills and they are business owners and entrepreneurs.
As the Special Adviser to the Governor on political matters for 2 years, how would you describe the achievement of the Government under your watch?
The governor has performed extremely well in terms of providing opportunities for us to engage the youths by training them. This government has tried to improve the livelihood of the youths especially now that unemployment is very rampant in our society. We have trained about 425 youths through crystal entrepreneur at Alagbaka very close to Shoprite. The government has provided the financial recourses to train these people. The joy of it is that the beneficiaries are contented as they can now operate on their own.
We have been able to open their eyes to various opportunities to access loans and grants. For instance, they can access loans through the Central Bank of Nigeria. As we speak, some of them have started benefiting from these opportunities.
You are from Odigbo Local Government of the state. How would you describe the achievements of the current government in your Local Government?
It has been commendable. We have had different governments in the state, but in Odigbo Local Government, we have never had it so good. We used to be regarded as dumping ground even though we must have worked seriously for the advent of the government but yet, it has been little or nothing to show for it. However, Akeredolu has changed the narratives. He is a man that will talk less and do more. During his campaign, he said he was going to change the face of Ore in Odigbo Local Government but we thought it was one of the political languages of the politicians. But since it is our party, we thought we should just work for the party but by the time he came on board; to say that he surprised us is an understatement.
First of all, look at the industrial hub, there are different kinds of industries springing up there now. We have cassava to eternol, we have textile industry, and we have assembly plant where people will soon be able to buy their trucks without going to Kutonu or Lagos and so on.
More also, for a very long time, the forestry at Odigbo has been a shadow of itself but today, it is taking a new shape. There is well planned aforestation going on at the moment. You can take a look at the industrial pack at Ore where different trucks can be packed conveniently.
Let’s take a look at Ore Township. We have never had it so good. Successive governments have preferred to work at Araromi and Odigbo leaving Ore particular alone. But, this is a different case. Arakunrin has tarred some kilometers of road from Mobil filling station to old Benin road. Go and look at Idi Mangoro that has been a shamble of itself, during raining season like this whenever people are coming from the market on motorcycles, some of them would fall inside mud but today, the story has changed. Go to Ayeyemi and Iroju roads in Ore, you will see that the places are wearing a new look. Go to Araromi Obu, about 13 kilometers of road.
Let us now talk of the over head bridge which is the first of its kind in Ondo State constructed by Arakunrin Odunayo Akeredolu. Go to Araromi Obu and see Kamomi Aketi, the type that was constructed at Ogbese is going on in Araromi Obu now. So, honestly speaking, for us at Odigbo Local Government, Aketi has been very wonderful. He has done more than our expectation and I’m sure if the government continues, of which I know it would continue because I trust in God he will do more.
With all these aforementioned facilities and industries at Ore, how is the economic situation of the place at the moment?
Thank you so much. The economic situation of Ore is gradually improving. I’m only being economical with the detail facts. The Sea Port project that is about to take place, if it eventually takes off, it is going to be something to write home about. This is a project that will take about 4 or more years before it can be operational, yet Arakunring is doing it because he is futuristic in his dealings. For somebody that is almost rounding up his tenure and yet pursuing a 5 years project vigorously, we should know that he wants the best for this state. By the time the project becomes operational, the multiply effect to Odigbo and the state will be unimaginable.
So, patronage on sales of market products, buying and selling, access to good roads have all improved in Ore at the moment due to what Aketi is doing. People are now eager to have both landed properties and buildings at Ore now because of the transformation and the economic condition of the area courtesy, Arakunrin Akeredolu especially in the area of employment.
Odigbo Local Government is proud to have the Member Representing Ileoluji/Odigbo federal constituency, the members representing the 2 constituencies at the Ondo State House of Assembly including your humble self and other political office holders from the APC. What structure do you have on ground to aid the re election of Arakunrin Akeredolu?
Thank you for this good question. We have the member of the House of Representatives in person of Hon Mayowa Akinfolarin who is also the Chairman, House Committee on Road Safety who is a prominent member of our party and working for the reelection of Arakunrin Akeredolu. We also have RT. Hon Iroju Ogundeji , Deputy Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly representing constituency 1and RT. Hon Aderoboye, Member of Ondo State House of Assembly representing Consistuency2. We are so lucky to have all these eminent people from Odigbo Local Government from our party and we are all working together. We also have the man in charge of Boundary Commission, Alhaji Osho, Charles Meroyi, Hon Makinde, Hon Banji Akinibosun, Hon Ikumowoyi and a lot of other leaders from Odigbo Local Government that are on the same page with Governor Akeredolu.
In some other Local Governments, we may have some people working on the contrary, but in our own Local Government, all the party leaders that I have mentioned are all working together for Arakunrin Akeredolu. We hold meetings as and when due and all these leaders are always there. We have various committees for the reelection of our Governor. We shall harmonize every segment of people in Odigbo Local Government from units to the ward level because we are all going to vote en-mass for Arakunrin Akeredolu without looking back.
Still talking about your party the APC, have you ever experienced any leadership crisis among the leaders from your Local Government?
Well, in every twelve, there must be Judas but I want to tell you in a clear term that all the people that I have mentioned are on the same page. We don’t have any crisis. I also want to tell you that those that are not with us, it is either they are not existing or they are in the minority. We are the ones dictating the tune of event in the Local Government and we have the party structure.
As a Member of the State Executive Council, how would you react to the defection of the Deputy Governor His Excellency Agboola Ajayi from your party to the Peoples Democratic Party and the resignation of the Secretary to the State Government, Hon Ifedayo Abegunde?
Well, as far as I’m concerned, a tree does not make a forest. The Deputy Governor is no doubt a leader in the party but he is not the only political office holder from that area. For instance, we have a commissioner representing the Local Government; we have Special Adviser and Senior Special Assistant. We have Local Government Chairman and even Ambassador who is even a Governorship Aspirant and so on. So, Agboola Ajayi is not the only one there. I want to assure you that the exit of the Deputy Governor will not affect the portion of APC in Ese-Odo Local Government.
Let’s talk about Akure here. As the State capital, Akure belongs to everybody. People from all the 18 Local Governments of the state reside in Akure. We thank God, Ifedayo Abegunde left and another eminent personality in person of the former commissioner for Natural Resources, Hon Tayo Oluwatuyi has been sworn in as the new Secretary to the State Government. Another Akureman, Idowu Otetubi has been nominated for the commissioner post. A yoruba adage says “ti ilekun kan o ba ti, omiran o nii si”(if one door does not close another one will not open). The door that was locked has opened for another person. I want to assure you that Akure people are solidly behind this government. Look at the numbers of roads that Arakunrin has constructed in Akure alone. Do you want to talk of Gaga, Alamoye, Oke Ogba and so on? Even the road leading to the family house of the former SSG was constructed by this administration. The Governor has brought a face lift to Akure and the entire State at large. I’m so confident that Arakunrin Akeredolu will win both the Primary and the general election.
Does it mean that you are very optimistic that the Governor will clinch the Party ticket?
I’m very certain that he will carry the party flag in the next election
On a final note, what are your appeals to the members of your party especially from Odigbo Local Government?
Our people should come together with one voice. Unity we stand, divided we fall. We will never fail in Jesus name. I want them to know that they will benefit more in the second term of Arakunrin Akeredolu. I want their mutual cooperation and unity of purpose.