In this interview with OYO INSIGHT Publisher, Sikiru Akinola, Hon. Ayoade Rasheed Adegboyega, ARA, who contested the All Progressives Congress, APC, House of Representatives’ primaries for Oluyole federal constituency, reveals why he didn’t defect from the party and why he is mobilizing support for Oloye Adebayo Adelabu’s governorship bid through his Bayo Force Advocate. Excerpt:
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Ayoade Rasheed Adegboyega. I am a project manager and data privacy consultant for Philip Morris International, the largest tobacco industry in the world. I am based in the UK but returned home to take part in partisan politics because my heart resides here. I am passionate about youth development, I contested to fly the APC flag in the 2019 House of Representatives’ election for Oluyole federal constituency. I am also a sport enthusiast and a fan of Arsenal FC of London.
How did you feel losing the ticket?
Like other aspirants, I initially felt slightly disappointed and aggrieved but that was inconsequential because the party’s interest must supersede that of individuals. I was not oblivion of the fact that regardless of the number of aspirants, one person will become the eventual flagbearer. So, I took solace in that frank truth. What is more important is that we work fully with the party’s choice to ensure victory across all levels; constituency; state and federal level.
But some people would have defected to another party…?
Well, we have different dispositions towards politics. I see such as political prostitution and lack of focus. We want to serve. The capacity in which we serve might be determined by winning of party’s ticket or not. I have come to realize that if it’s not now, there’s still the opportunity to serve in the future in spite of my youthful vigor, zeal and passion especially for the development of the people of Oluyole federal constituency.
Do you think the imposition of candidate is better than conducting primary election?
(Laughs). I really wouldn’t want to described that as imposition of candidate. It’s rather civil to say consensus process. In APC, we have three means of selecting political candidates. It’s either by direct primary, indirect primary or by consensus – wherein the party’s leaders deliberate with aspirants contesting same positions and come up with an agreed candidate upon mutual understanding among all. While rancor and some irregularities in the process of either direct or indirect primaries may occur in spite of the party’s current circumstances, the party subscribed to consensus process which I personally believe is the best way to handle complicated political choices at some certain times.
Having contested side by side with some equally competent aspirants, your party’s gubernatorial candidate, Bayo Adelabu is arguably the youngest among major contenders. Background findings suggest that the ruling party is yet to settle reconcile some aggrieved aspirants. How do you think the party will survive the forthcoming election with this existing rift?
I can state categorically that there is no rancor within the party anymore. There’s been series of reconciliatory meetings and internal issues have been resolved. So, the party’s gubernatorial candidate’s chances in the poll are high.
Why do you think Adelabu is the best man for the job?
First, as a partisan politician, it’s expedient for me to support my party’s candidate. Another enviable attribute in him is that he is a youth who’s got the vigor to serve. I believe he has a lot of good agenda for Oyo people.
For the purpose of legacies’ protection, the APC candidate should be given the mandate for yet another tenure in Oyo State. Lagos state is today the most developed state in Nigeria because of continuity in governance since 1999. In about eight years down the lane, Governor Abiola Ajimobi has done a lot in terms of laying foundation for transformation, urban renewal and investment, now is the time to build on the legacy and more adequately, Adelabu is enriched with this competence and know-how of what the state needs next.
What do you intend to achieve with Bayo Force Advocate (BFA) which you initiated?
It’s time for youths to start inspiring and orientating themselves. Nigerian politics will in the next 20 – 30 years change the phase entirely and the youths will be at the forefronts of many trends. To get updated with these realties, make democracy work and eradicate godfatherism cum money politics, I feel it is imperative to start supporting our kinds like Bayo Adelabu. Our agenda are such of inclusiveness. We believe in his seven-point agenda.
We believe throwing in so much weight for his emergence without any financial inducement will give the moral grounds, an audacity to question any attempt to derail from his promises to the Oyo people. This also has a way of curbing money inducement to our parents who in the time past vote candidates in spite of stipends shared them. Principally, voting should be based on candidates’ track records and promises for the times in governance, not the money inducement which have been acquired illicitly.
BFA is a door-to-door campaign initiative where one registers online to join and you receive regular updates. It is devoid of any money inducement from the candidate, Bayo Adelabu. The target is to get at least 100 thousand members in the next 30 days to campaign throughout the 33 constituencies of the state before election.
Do you think you can achieve this in less than 2 months to the poll?
Of course! The youths are yearning for change in our local levels; on orientation – what politics should truly be like and devoid of money inducement. It’s rather quite simple. It’s about changing people’s orientation and psychology. We want development and the only way we can ensure that is to desist from asking politicians for money prior to election.
Oyo state has a a youthful population that depends on government’s employment even among graduates unlike Lagos where entrepreneurship is largely encouraged. If APC candidate’s emerges as governor and you are appointed as a member of the cabinet, how do you hope to change his age-long orientation?
There are many ways jobs can be created. First is to create enabling environment for youths to start something on their own. There are vocational trainings to be established. We used to have a whole lot of technical schools in the past.
(Cuts in) How can the youth be convinced to enroll for technical schools?
The reason people may be reluctant about going into technical school is their inability to see the opportunities that lie ahead after completion that is self-sponsored. But, if government had sponsored these studies and there’s a loan opportunity, this becomes attractive. That’s an enabling environment for small-scale business. These are the kind of programmes Bayo Adelabu promises to bring to the table.
An additional quality to his competence is his age. He is of youthful age of just 48 and has been in the banking sector for so long. He has also acquired a whole lot of knowledge in consultancy and has headed different organizations. He was the former head in First Bank and the immediate past deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. He is coming into politics because he feels he has to give back to the society having amassed some level of competence and capability as well as invest in the development of the youths of Oyo state. He feels so much comfortable with the youths. The past governors have laid a viable foundation for this growth and development. Adelabu is thrilled by the dire need not to waste the legacies of Governor Abiola Ajimobi; creating enabling environment for business, investment and entrepreneurship.
If Adelabu wins, which areas do you think he should improve on?
Governor Ajimobi has a master plan of how great he wants Oyo state should be in the minimum of 25 years. Having laid the fabulous foundation for this big vision, there’s an arrangement in place on how to foster the actualization of this vision for his succesor in the latter years ahead. What Adelabu needs to do is consolidation on past achievements. For examples: most of the major roads have been built by the outgoing government; if elected, Adelabu should stretch out road construction into inner roads. Urban regeneration is another thing the incoming government should work on. New residential houses should be built as well as construction of good edifices in places that were fornerly remote so as to open up such places for development. On farming – subsidies have been initiated for the farmers; he should consolidate on this too. This is just like the N-power programme at the federal level. The moment Buhari is voted out, that programme ceases to exist and basically our people do not want such laudbale projects to stop because the youths are benefitting immensely from them.
Meawhile, there are definitely new agenda Adelabu be will be introducing such as creating government silos where farmers can sell their goods to the government; encouraging start-ups and small businesses.
Is your support for Adelabu motivated by personal interest?
Not at all. If Adelabu is elected and feels my qualities and skill sets qualify me to be appointed into his cabinet, it’s all for the best. However, my support is fueled by my passion for the development of Oyo state and also to pave the way for youth participation in politics. My passion aligns with his interests in governance I figured out in the party’s candidate…I have only met Adelabu in just about 3 months and I haven’t been financially induced. I bought into his vision and he has come to earn my support because he honours his words. He has the energy to run the race and I am extremely proud of his achievement as a youth and an Ibadan indigene.
Do you have a role model in politics?
I really do not have a role model in politics because our current politics isn’t entirely clean but I still look up to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Abiola Ajimobi because of the development these two have been able to bring to Southwest, bringing our party into the centre having claimed the power from the PDP’s misrule for 16 years. This tells us these two leaders are great strategists if we rate their high-class achievements in terms of peace, security, economy in eight years at their respective states’ levels and just four years at the federal level.
On a final note, in spite of all these positive changes in a relatively short periods of time, I will implore my people to vote APC across all levels in the forthcoming elections for continued development in our state and national level.