Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in next month’s governorship election in Oyo State, Oloye Adebayo Adelabu, has reacted to rumours that he bribed the governor with ten million dollars to secure the ticket.
In an exclusive interview with Premium Times, Adelabu said “we live in an environment where rumour mongering thrives. But before I react to any rumour, I also expect right thinking people to also evaluate how sensible the rumour is. You are in my house now, do I look like someone who can buy governorship primary ticket with ten million dollars? We are talking about N3.6 billion, for what? Do I look like someone that has such money?
The 48-year old also reacted to insinuations that he was the richest among the contenders.
According to him, it is relative. “I have worked for about 27 years and I have occupied top positions in all my career. And you know what it means to occupy top positions in the largest bank in Nigeria; as Executive Director of First bank for over five years? As General Manager of Chartered Bank, within and outside the country for three years and as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria for over four years. And as an accountant, I also know how to add one naira to another one naira and make it three naira. But I can say I am just comfortable. You said I am the richest? That is just insinuation, nobody sees the other’s account balance. I am comfortable. Number two, do you think the governor looks like someone that is so lowly in terms of integrity that he would want to sell the ticket of gubernatorial candidature of our party? On the field that day when my name was announced as the preferred candidate, you were there as a pressman, you saw the loud ovation that welcomed my announcement as the preferred candidate. That means I must have given all of them, all the party members, money as well. So, I think it is a distraction that we should just avoid.
On how he has been coping with political demands, he said that “l have been funding my electioneering campaign by myself. The only thing is that I will not stress myself beyond what I can afford. I have my budget for this particular process and I am trying as much as possible not to exceed my budget so that I don’t regret my actions afterwards.”
On the post-primary challenges in his party, he said: “I am going to be frank. Our party being a political party in government, attracted a lot of aspirants wanting to occupy various positions. However, we are happy at the calibre of people that showed interests in aspiring for offices. For example, the gubernatorial aspirants we had then were about 22 that showed interest. At the end of the day, eight people bought the nomination and expression of interest forms. If you look at the calibre of these eight people, they are all competent people that have made their marks in their various careers. But the position is reserved for just one person. The expectation of the general public is that our primary election was going to be turbulent; was going to be tough. But we disappointed them by having the best and most peaceful primary election throughout the country. It was devoid of complaint, protests, you understand? And on the field that day, you would see that majority of the aspirants stepped down and the delegates were happy.
“That goes to tell you that the person they stepped down for was quite acceptable to the majority of the people, if not all the people. Immediately after the primary, we set up reconciliation committees that called all these aspirants, and we appealed to them that now that we are done with the primary election, our party remains as one, and that everybody should try as much as possible to contribute to the success of party at the general election. Everybody agreed and they were all happy with the reconciliation process. Beyond the governor talking to them, I also did, the party chairman and the party excos also intervened in the reconciliation process. At my level as the candidate, I have called a lot of people to let them know that the party must not be divided and that it is the unity of the party that can give us electoral victory. And I can tell you that everybody is working with us now. All the major aspirants are working with me, we talk to ourselves every day. Eruobodo, that’s Olusola Ayandele; Chief Niyi Akintola SAN; Joseph Tegbe and Dr. Owolabi Babalola. I can tell you that APC in Oyo State today is one at all levels.”