THE game is continuity, as the political class in the pacesetter state scheme and manoeuvre amidst suspicion and skin deep intrigues. Politics of preservation manifests in Oyo State, as political gladiators realign to protect and further hiding interests.
Political barriers were broken; politicians were united. Very recently, the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi held a meeting with his predecessor, Adebayo Alao Akala and the former senate leader, Teslim Folarin at Alao Akala’s residence in London.
No doubt, the meeting which served as a political realignment ahead of 2019 election in the state has yielded positive fruit.
Also, the Executive Assistant to Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Political Matters, Dr. Morohunkola Thomas has described the arrival of these bigwigs from other political parties as part of the governor’s overhaul strategy, a strategy of accommodation and ability to headhunt skillful strikers.
With the array of political bigwigs that have joined APC, Dr. Thomas, in a chat with Mega Icon Magazine while analysing political permutations asserted that the party (APC) has been repositioned to win future elections. Excerpts
With the influx of some political bigwigs into the APC in Oyo state, of what importance do you think this will have on the party especially as 2019 election beckons?
Well, 2019 is quite far because we are still in 2017 and I do know that electoral contest is a short distance race. We are very busy with governance. Although, on a daily basis we are strategizing with regards, not just to the general elections but to the coming local government elections that will certainly take place in Oyo state.
Regards arrival of some bigwigs from other political parties, I think its part of our overhaul strategy, a strategy of accommodation, a strategy of enlarging our scope, a strategy of our being broadminded and our ability to headhunt skillful strikers and people that are also good in defence. We are bringing them on board and these are people that have done very well in terms of electoral contests in the past. They are not people who came into office on the basis of sentiments or some spiritual helps so to say.
They are people that have demonstrated their worth in the political space in recent past in the state. For us, it shows that we are team like Manchester United or Manchester City that is ever looking forward to winning. Our goal is to develop Oyo State and at the same time looking for allies who believe in our philosophy, who believe in our principles, and who can work with us to make sure that we are the dominant force in Oyo state.
We are very conscious of the existence of an ultrawin conservative elements in group in Oyo state as represented by the leader of Accord. They don’t look at anything positively, very negative in their approaches, very deceitful and they have never undertaken policies in favour of the people in the past when you x-ray their performances in government. The people that are coming on board now are people that people speak well of their glorious days. So, we cleverly search for people that can buy into our philosophy so that we can remain the dominant political force in the state.
If you look at it now, in the last elections in Ibadan less city, we won only in two local governments – Oluyole and Ido. We are now bringing in Teslim Folarin who is from that area so that we can do better in that place. And Teslim Folarin has followers in many of the local governments in Oyo state. If you look at Ogbomoso, we have never done too well in all our electoral appearances, so former governor Akala has come on board very strongly.
If Ogbomoso is secured and we can still have our strong hold in Oke -Ogun, Ibadan votes, we will split it. That means that we will carry the day. We don’t run our elections based on sentiments but purely scientific and we are constantly doing our studies. We know where we are weak, we know where we are strong. Where we are weak, we are trying to get people to come on board and be with us.
But, these people are coming with various ambitions.
Every politician is ambitious and the major ambition of any politician is to seize power, to get hold of power so that he can use that power to execute his programmes. So, every politician has a reason for being in politics. You just don’t get into politics for nothing. If they are coming with ambitions, may be they want to be governor, senators, strong members, executive members of the party, it is legitimate.
In the old ACN, people like us joined and because of our backgrounds we got our ways. So, it is also legitimate for people to come. A number of ex-PDP elements joined in forming the APC, people like Kwankwaso, Rotimi Ameachi, Bukola Saraki. They all came with ambitions and some people scaled through with their ambitions and some didn’t. The ambition of the founding fathers of the APC is to form a coalition between the North and the Southwest for the purpose of getting to power because we found out that no single region of the country can get power on its own. So, if these people come into the APC in Oyo State with ambitions, they are free to pursue it legitimately, if they get through, fine, if they don’t get through there are machineries in the party that is organized not in the same way with the PDP.
If you don’t get it, you don’t get it, you wait for another time . Here we have some people who didn’t scaled through with their ambitions, they are accommodated elsewhere.
Some of these celebrated politicians were elements that led to the destruction of PDP in Oyo state. Are you sure their coming would not also contaminate the APC?
In the case of destruction of PDP, the PDP has a different history. The PDP was unfortunate to have a man whose intellectual credibility is questioned as its national leader at that time. When Obasanjo was the leader of the PDP, the then PDP didn’t suffered this destruction in spite of the third term agenda. As soon as Jonathan came, we see what happened. Any organization that is run on the basis of laissez-faire leadership will go into extinction like PDP, they are just gathering the pieces.
I can tell you, even among them, those of them that have not shown their faces now are still coming on board.
It would be recalled that scarcity of cards hits Oyo PDP one day after membership registration began. Are you not threatened with the encouraging registration enjoyed by the PDP?
How can we be threatened? We have about close to 700,000 members of APC in Oyo State, so what can 200,000 do? In Ibadan Northwest/Southwest alone APC is looking about over 70,000 members in the two local governments. Now with the coming of Alao Akala, Teslim Folarin, coming of Taofeek Arapaja and their members, I can tell you that we are going to have over 1million members of the APC.
‘In today’s Christianity, we are religious, not spiritual’
Prophet Olumayowa Ayobami Gbadero is the visionary of the Sanctuary of God for Salvation and Fruitfulness Ministries. In this interview with OLAIDE SOKOYA, he speaks on passion for the liberation of the country and his vision for Christianity in the country.
What is your take on the many challenges facing the country?
Going by the many challenges in the country and concurrent calamities in the society, no one can claim he or she is satisfied. I think the main issue is the problem of leadership; our leadership system is bad. Many that are in the leadership position of the country don’t have the mind of God. They are not doing things as if they will give account to God. They would say different things when they were aspiring for positions and act differently when they are in power and this has caused a serious problem, especially for the younger generation.
What can the church do to make things right in the country?
Recently, I was on my social media handle to charge all church leaders to act like the bold prophets in the Bible, prophets including Nathan and Joshua, among others, who didn’t talk to individuals excepts the government and leaders. So, I am also using this medium to once again call on all ministers of God to say the heart of God to our leaders and everyone holding sensitive positions in the country. It is important clerics speak the truth and stay by it irrespective of what it may cost. What the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, did and stood for in his days is still a reference point today. This is our main responsibility and God will be delighted and have mercy on the nation if truth is yielded to.
With your experience in the vineyard, how would you assess Christianity in the country?
In today’s Christianity, we are religious and not spiritual. There is a difference between spirituality and religiosity. Many people now pretend to be genuine Christians so as to appear so to others and even their pastors. They go to church and do all sorts in the church premises as camouflage, but deep down, they know they are not for Christ. They only go to church as a cover up. Some now even pray without any purpose because they see people pray and prayer is not just said by what you feel. When you are spiritual, the Holy Spirit will give you a hint on how to make prayers that would be answered.
Why did you choose to be a pastor?
I didn’t pick this as a profession, God called me and the call has been on before my birth. My late grandfather was a man of God. He was the first seer of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Murtala, Ilorin, Kwara State. I learnt that my grandfather prophesied that one of his grandchildren would take after him. The same revelation came forth to my parent when I was born. I grew up loving to be in the house of God and I joined virtually all the societies in our church. Then I did not know I was going to be called. It was after my graduation at The Polytechnic Ibadan where I studied Public Administration that God told me I had left what I was supposed to do. Many men of God I came across, including Prophet Timothy Obadare, confirmed and urged me to heed the call. I eventually heeded the call and the experience has been awesome.
The country will clock 59 in a few days.What message do you have for Nigerians?
It is only about giving a message of hope to Nigerians I have taken up the responsibility to intercede for the country and citizens. The programme, which has become an annual event tagged: “Bethel Encounter 2019,” has a lot to do with our Independence Day. This is where we seek the face of God on behalf of the country. God told me that I should do exactly what Jacob did that changed his name to Israel on Nigeria’s Independence Day. I am confident Nigeria and the citizens will have a new experience as a result of this year’s programme, which will hold on September 30 to the dawn of October 1. Nigeria is in the hands of both leaders and citizens, so, we cannot afford to fold our arms without making efforts to liberate the nation.
Uses WhatsApp the most, has eight hours of sleep… here’s how Barkindo spends his time off
Mohammed Barkindo, secretary-general of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), says WhatsApp is the most used mobile application on his phone.
In an interview with Bloomberg’s Francine Lacqua, Barkindo also said he is an evening person.
Here’s how OPEC’s secretary-general who recently began his second term in office spends time away from the work.
How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
Normally between seven and eight.
What time do you set your alarm to wake up?
For 6 a.m. to pray al-Fajr.
Are you a morning or evening person?
Do you have an essential morning ritual?
My prayers. And a glass of water.
What’s your typical workout?
It is more a mental workout for me.
What’s your favourite sport or sports team?
Football. The Nigerian national football team, the Super Eagles.
Which app is in heavy rotation on your phone?
What’s your go-to lunch spot?
Le Couscous in Vienna.
Who is your favourite author?
I have always loved reading Shakespeare. And the great poet and scholar Rumi.
What’s your favourite place to go on vacation?
It has to be returning to my home city of Yola. It’s where I can see family, relax, recharge, and reconnect with my roots.
What living or historical person do you truly admire?
Dr Rilwanu Lukman, the former OPEC secretary-general. The most decent person I have ever met.
If you had to take a year off, what would you do?
I think I would go back to university. To research and write.
What is your biggest fear?
The breakdown of international institutions and the global order.
If you were 20, what business would you get into?
It would be the oil and gas sector, with a focus on technologies that can help reduce emissions.
Do you ever expect to retire?
Yes, but to return to academia.
SGB Rejuvenates Education In Oyo State, Says Bamgbose
Reverend Muyiwa Bamgbose, an educationist, and the Proprietor, Education Advancement Centre (EAC), Ibadan was a member of Education Committee set up by Oyo state government under the leadership of former Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
In this interview, he told the story of the School Governing Board (SGB) , how it was birthed and successes recorded
As an Educationist and one time member of Education Reform Committee set up by Oyo State Government, how will you tell the story of School Governing Board (SGB)?
The story of Oyo State School Governing Board is the story of the birthing of a renaissance! It is a story of turning disadvantage to advantage through resourcefulness. Where there is is a will, there is always a way!
I had the privilege of serving on the committee that birthed the concept and can talk about the feeling of fulfilment that comes with achieving purpose. Everywhere I have had the opportunity of interacting with representatives of the SGB, the feedback has been exciting.
Before the advent of the SGB, the public education system was plagued with decay and lopsided distribution of resources die to the fact there was ‘no ownership’ of the provided resources. We went round this state and saw unbelievable deplorable situations. What was more pathetic was the attitude of the people and students themselves. Everyone looked up to government for provision, direction and implementation while government looked up to the federal government.
The fact of the situation is that the resources abounded among the people , to help secure the future of their community , alma mater or institution, but there was no sense of belonging. Business mist not continue as usual if we are to avert a looming disaster worse than the failures in WAEC.
What makes the School Governing Board system unique in Oyo state?
While the School Based Management System is not new, the Oyo State SGB is a variant with a significant difference with the adoption of a subtle but powerful innovation that recognised the role of core- stakeholders. It sounded alien to the known schemes , and I can say there were fears and mistrust about the intentions. Some notable groups fought against it but thank God at the end, everyone saw reason and embraced ‘true change’.
In the short period of operation, we thank God for notable testimonies of development. I want to say without any doubt in my heart that what we see is just a tip of the ice-berg. The success of the SGB is much more than these facilities, and resources. It is the impact it will have on our future, collectively.
The positive competitive spirit among the SGBs will lead to greater manifestation of the wealth of this state and even this region.
In a simple word, what is your advise to your constituency on the new face of education in Oyo state?
Like Malcolm X said, “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today”.
The best is yet to come.
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