I May Probe Mimiko If… Akeredolu
The governor elect of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu in this chat with State House Correspondents, said he has no interest in probing his predecessor, Olusegun Mimiko unless a semblance of Dasukigate is uncovered. He also spoke on his relationship with the National Leader of the party, Bola Tinubu and other issues. JONATHAN NDA- ISAIAH was there.
On why he didn’t mention Tinubu in his victory speech
On the names that were mentioned in my speech when expressing gratitude and that I didn’t specifically thank Bola Ahmed Tinubu: I thanked the president of the federal republic of Nigeria and the leader of our party profusely for the leadership which he showed leading to this election. I also thanked our indefatigable chairman for standing by the truth and for his position on this matter that led to this election. I have no reason to do otherwise.
You see, party structures, to the best of my knowledge are very clear. You have the leadership of the party and that is represented by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. And after the election, a chief executive emerges, he becomes a leader of the party, you don’t have to personalise and be looking for leaders all over the place. If we have to do that, then I will have to mention 36 or 37 leaders. So I believe the leadership, as represented by the president, covers all leaders and that tells me it would include Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it would include even Baba Akande, Onu, so many leaders. But President Buhari is the leader of the party so that is my position there.
How are you going to amend your strained relationship with Tinubu?
The relationship with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has always been the same. I don’t think we have any strained relationship. For me as a person, I believe he is one of the leaders of the party and I don’t see any strained relationship between us. And you would observe that he has sent in his congratulatory message after the election, so what else do you expect? I mean all of us see this as victory for the APC, not for Akeredolu, not for as an individual but for the party as a whole. I believe he is a member of the party. Mr Femi Adesina had issued a release but you journalists just want to put words into our mouths.
What do you have to say about the defection of a PDP senator to APC today?
When you say a defection, Senator Yele Omogunwa even joined us in the campaign right there in Ondo State, he had joined the APC. He only just formalised it on the Senate floor today. I mean, when you have a party that is already balkanised like the PDP, from bottom to the top they have two candidates, they have two chairmen now. So you don’t have to be sneaking between one chairman and another, you make up your mind to go to a place that is stable. I believe that he thinks that the APC is stable and he has come to a place where he thinks his fortune will be better served and I am sure he took the right decision to join the party of the day.
You were quoted as saying you will not probe the government of Mimiko, is that not contrary to the position of the government at the centre that believes that you must look back to really move forward?
At the centre, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari said we must look back in order to move forward, he has been there for over a year now, has he instituted a probe? Looking bad is not a probe and I maintain that I will not probe any regime. This is responsible leadership, I’m elected to lead the people. The task ahead of us is enormous than for us to start instituting probes. My own is not to institute any probe of last regime and that is what President Buhari has done. But if we find out that wrongs were committed, we have enough laws of the land to take care of people who have committed wrongs. As we start our work, as we go ahead, if there is any semblance of Dasukigate at the state, the law will take its course, which is different from probing. We will follow what Mr President is doing at the centre.
Will you also be thinking of reviewing your campaign promises when met with stake realities on ground?
You see, as a candidate, it is expected of you to have a fore knowledge of the position, for example, of the finances for the number of things we need to do and what it will take to do. Now it is quite possible and I don’t rule out the fact that, you might set out in your campaign promises to achieve 10 things at a time. But because there is no way you can know everything that is in government, when faced with realities, it might not be possible to achieve those 10 things at a go. But it is not to say that you will still not go for that 10. When you talk of review, if you find a few things that are not in the right places, there is nothing wrong if you try to review your campaign promises when faced with such stake realities.
But for us in Ondo State, we have come up with five cardinal points and it is so clear to us. We have decided that we will embark on job creation through agriculture, industrialisation and entrepreneurship and what is it going to cost government. We need machinery because it is not going to be agriculture through hoes and cutlasses but a mechanised one. It is given that we must go back to the basics. On entrepreneurship, we are going to encourage our state people to be self-employed and employ others. We are talking about public private partnership and there are a lot of people who want to come and build industries in our state because our state is a viable one.
We are going to have enabling environment for industrial growth. What is the cost? Maybe land. And then when you talk of functional education and technical growth, when you talk of infrastructure, there are schools that are already dilapidated and we believe that rather than spend money on a mega school, that money can repair and put several schools in a better form. How much will it cost us? It is the same money that we are spending. We don’t want to talk our people to civilisation, we want to talk civilisation to our people. We want to ensure that the schools within their vicinities are good enough for them to be interested in those schools. Yes, it is going to be cost intensive because we will develop our rural areas. We have told our people we are not going to build tarred roads but we are going to provide accessible roads and when we have done our little bit, people will do it for some time.
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