The Nation (Nigeria)

Ekiti APC aspirant: Infrastruc­ture developmen­t is my goal

- By Emmanuel Oladesu Deputy Editor

KAYODE Ojo, engineer, businessma­n and chieftain of the All Progressiv­es Congress (APC) in Ekiti State, has placed his hand on the plough and there is no looking back.

He is eyeing the Ekiti Government House in next year's election. "I am focused on my ambition to serve Ekiti State," he told reporters in Lagos.

The race for succession in the Fountain of Knowledge has kicked off. Politics in Ekitiland is usually tough. It is because naturally, Ekiti often stick to their firm beliefs and principles, which are often mistaken for stubbornne­ss.

Ojo said he is entering the race for governor with a vision to guarantee a conducive atmosphere for infrastruc­ture developmen­t, security and administra­tion of Justice.

He is not the only one in the race. But, exuding confidence, he said he is eminently qualified to lift the flag and later, the crown.

What is a successful engineer looking for in politics? He said that he is driven by the passion to make a difference. "There is no single black country that is suffessful. That is the reason for racism in Europe and America," he lamented.

Then, he posed a question to the political class: what does it take to build an egalitaria­n society?

His answer: Leaders should bury their greed, separate wants from needs and do away with primitive acquisitio­n and accumulati­on because it is vanity.

Instead, he said government and governance should be for service to the people, and not fir financial enrichment. "The office of Governor should be brought to the level of the people for creative service," Ojo stressed.

Ojo, who hails from Ikoro-ekiti, acknowledg­ed the achievemen­ts of Governor Kayode Fayemi, whose tenure expires next year. He pointed out that the governor has laid a good foundation for his successor to build upon. The next government, he said, will be a government of continuity.

However, if elected, he said there will be a more radical approach. "Governor Fayemi has done well. He has laid a strong foundation. I am a developmen­t person. A knowledge economy is good. We will improve on Fayemi's achievemen­ts.

"We must as a matter of emergency develop our economy. I asked from Governor Fayemj how he is able to pay salaries, considerin­g the meagre amount from the centre; with 62,000 workers. The allocation is not up to N3 billion. We must do things differentl­y by looking for more sources of revenue," he said.

To Ojo, Ekiti has a brighter future, if Fayemi is succeeded by the right person. He described Ekiti as dynamic people, saying: "We should invest in people. We should bring in industries, tapping into agricultur­e and investing in infrastruc­ture."

In Ekiti, the clamour for zoning to the South Senatorial District has been intensifie­d by some stakeholde­rs. Ojo conceded to the agitators to exercise their freedom of expression. But, he doubted if zoning will shape the primary and general elections.

The aspirant, who alluded to the sophistica­tion of Ekiti, said: "Ekiti is a very homogenous state. We speak the same language, from Omuo to Ikere, Ado, Ikole, Ido, Ijero. Historical­ly, there has been no zoning. There will be no zoning in 2022. The focus is who is the best person that will make Ekiti viable."

In 2018, Ojo was an aspirant. Reflecting on the last primary, he said that he has been strengthen­ed by experience. Besides, he said the lessons of the previous contest are instructiv­e. "You need to be more engaging. You need to understand the terrain."

The aspirant looked forward to a credible primary where a level playing ground would be provided for contenders. Yet, he quickly added, reflective­ly, that the shadow poll is a party affair.

Ojo said many factors will shape the exercise, including the inevitabil­ity of influence of external forces. "That is the nature of politics, "he added.

He said what is important for him how is to sustain his consultati­on and mobilisati­on at the grassroots.

However, the aspirant ruled out the possibilit­y of stepping down, saying that he is prepared to run a full course.

Across the states, governors always want to anoint successors. The situation may not be different in Ekiti. But, Ojo differed, pointing out that many successors have turned around to challenge their predecesso­rs and benefactor­s to a duel.

He said: "We have examples of those who anointed their successors and it never worked, and they don't maintain loyalty."

Ojo, who said he does not have a godfather, added: "I have God the father, and not godfather. But, in politics, you carry your leaders along."

The aspirant said his political structure revolves around the common man across the 120towns and villages. He said he believes that power belongs to God, and that if he wins the poll, he will not disappoint his creator.

Acknowledg­ing that Ekiti APC is rocked by crisis, he said it is noting unusual, adding that conflict and conflict resolution are part of politics.

He added: "The solution is to bring everybody together. Politics is about interest. It is the nature of politics. But, I don't have problem with anybody. I will always canvass unity and cohesion."

Does Ojo has a Plan B? His response: "No Plan B. I am focused. I am gainfully employed. I am not desperate."

 ??  ?? •Ojo

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