In this interview with OYO INSIGHT publisher, Sikiru Akinola, Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s Principal Private Secretary for 8 years, who is now the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for AFIJIO state constituency, Barr. Seyi Adisa, speaks about his plans for 2019 and how he hopes to raise the bar of law-making in the state. Excerpts:
First of all, who is Seyi Adisa?
I am a lawyer and an administrator. I am also a politician and an active member of the All Progressives Congress, APC. I am currently seeking votes to represent AFIJIO state constituency in the Oyo State House of Assembly.
By the grace of God, we’ve been getting massive support and I’m confident of of getting more because this mandate is centered on bettering the face of governance in certain areas, introducing youthful vigor and creativity to play as a lawmaker in the state.
As regards my current political pursuit, our manifesto is focused on leveraging the strength of our constituency to empower the people and bring greater opportunities to our youths. As an example, AFIJIO is blessed with an abundance of arable land, and is regarded as a major food and fruit basket, such that maximizing this full agricultural chain around this will help in curbing unemployment and bring in new opportunities to the people. We also want to be able to provide basic infrastructure in AFIJIO state constituency, stable electricity, potable water and good road networks for our farmers to navigate their way in and out of the farms.
Not only these, I have a strong conviction that sound education is germane. Every child in AFIJIO local government must go to school. Our mothers and wives deserve good healthcare too. I hate to hear people die of hospital mishap. It is my intention to establish preventive healthcare. Above all, we want be able to ensure wealth creation for the people.
What is your motivation for this new political choice?
For about eight years, I have worked as a cabinet member under the outgoing government of Governor Abiola Ajimobi, where I bagged a master’s degree in public administration alongside. From what I could attribute as a school of politics and administration – learning the ropes of good governance via interactions with different people, I have acquired capacity cum requisite knowledge. It is now time to deliver quality representation for the betterment of AFIJIO local government.
Do you think politics, especially as it is being run in Oyo, is for someone of your calibre and refined repute?
I believe the purpose of politics is to make impacts. It goes beyond the biological make-up outspokenness or gentleness. It is basically about the mindset to help make positive difference regardless of your disposition as a person. You may like to regard me as competent for this because I have worked with both the elites and masses and my ability to adapt to their different personalities has placed me on this pedestrian to effect developmental polices, the fulcrum of what political ambition today.
If elected, you will be one of the first-timers in the 9th Oyo Assembly. How do you hope utilize your experiences as a lawyer and member of the executive in terms of lawmaking and people’s empowerment?
In working as an executive member, I interface with the lawmakers, understanding the synergy that must exist between the two tiers of government that is; gaining insights into the roles of the legislature and what executive is expected to do on the other hand. I have reviewed and given counsel on bills, which the governor would later submit to the legislature for passage. Suffice to say, I have a holistic view of working hand in hand between the two tiers.
I’m certain of having no issue in delivering qualitative representation with my position in the legislature that even transcends to the state level.
Politically, AFIJIO is always divided during election especially as it regards zoning of elective positions. If you win, how would you unite these people?
AFIJIO may be multi-faceted but not divided. We are one! A good leader must be able to maintain fairness in this kind of instance, if one must earn the trust and respect of the constituents. Even though I hail from Awe town, I am equally for the interest of Ilora, Fiditi, Iware, Akinmorin and Jobele. That’s why the traditional monarchs – the Akibio, Amorin, Alawe are all very happy to publicly endorse me. Once they see these leadership traits of sincerity and fairness, definitely they will work with me for the continued togetherness.
Working with arguably the best governor Oyo state ever had, do you think without a certain level of financial autonomy for the legislative arm, there can be separation of power? As a matter of fact, our lawmakers are at the mercy of the governor for funding before many of their legislative duties are performed.
There is an argument in both sides. Even the judiciary needs a level of autonomy from the legislature to lessen the number of times they come before the executive.
On the other hand, in order to ensure there are no power clashes and a challenge to the executive powers of the governor from the legislature, the governor will have to assent to the bills passed by the lawmakers. Invariably, there is check and balance within the institution that way.
However, the paramount principle is to ensure the interests of the people are often sought after. Bearing this in mind puts all everyone on track. Anything that may hinder this should be shunned.
Have you missed your law practice since you joined partisan politics in the last eight years?
Well, I have but I have still been made to cover up with that through my roles in the executive. I am not a barrister that appears before the judge for case but a solicitor and commercial lawyer that drafts out agreements. My skills and legal experiences come to bear by advising Governor Abiola Ajimobi on bills and agreement with private sectors. Another area I have played a critical role is on PPP project in the state and also in the bureau.
How do you hope to raise the bar of lawmaking in Oyo state, especially if you emerge the speaker?
In all honesty, I can strongly assert that the 8th assembly has done a good job in discharging their duties. Beyond making laws, it’s imperative to ensure that the three tiers of government work collaboratively, which the outgoing lawmakers made happen by achieving House of harmony despite the multi-party membership. They deserve our commendation. On your question, it’s a privilege to become a speaker not by election. My target for now is to be elected and that I will strive to fulfill my mandate and work with our blueprints regardless of any privileged position I may attain. Above all, as lawyer, this will give me a platform to make good laws such that will impact our societies… you see, the purpose of government is to create enabling environment for her citizens, creating laws that will make SMEs thrive and attract investors in the state.
I will harp for a participatory government that involves the private sectors, NGOs, civil societies; policies that are all inclusive. These are my specializations and I can assure that I will maximally promote them.
As a youth, how does it feel working with a governor in his sixties?
Governor Abiola Ajimobi believes and invests so much in the youths. He is supportive and a ready mentor. With his over 45 years experiences in the public sector, he has been a blessing where I abundantly learnt international managerial experience. Learning directly from someone of his status is a great privilege. I couldn’t have asked for a better training cutting across the spheres of politics, management and administration. Remarkably, Governor Ajimobi really knows how to succeed. It is someone to be studied of one must remain a topnotch leader.
Have you been a blessing to the people of AFIJIO?
(Laughs) Of course! Like you earlier attested to that I have been at the back-stage for about eight years, rightly so I was contributing my quota without no flamboyant intentions and in the community, we have empowered our youths with grants and loans for businesses. Recently, we empowered 100 AFIJIO youths in five different skills including shoemaking, textile, fishery and snail farming, paint making, catering. Apart from the basic training they earned, for the next one year, we will be training them with more technical skills on how to save, invest from their businesses in prospects and do marketing to prosper. They will be facilitated into forming a cooperative society so that they can access fund.
By extension, our dream is to make them employers on the long run. In this network, we are hoping that the 100 trained youths will in turn engage 1,000 AFIJIO youths as we will also empower them with tools for work.
But, I have to stress that these works are not politically-motivated but borne out of the genuine intention that with every privilege, comes responsibility. Such is my case!
In fact, my move to run for political office now was upon our people’s recommendations that have followed my past track records of reaching out to the grass-root people with my resources in the past years.