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Why I don’t fly first class – Adeolu Akande

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A POLITICAL SCIENTIST, Professor Adeolu Akande, is one of the leading governorship aspirants in Oyo APC . In  this interview with our reporter reveals his background and other things many didn’t know about him.

 

Background

I was born in Idi-Arere, Ibadan on Jully 3, 1965. My parents moved to Lagos in 1970 where I started my primary education in Fadeyi, then at Ansar ud Deen Primary School, Itire but I was soon back in Oyo State when I was enrolled at Anwar ul Islam High School, Iseyin in 1976.From there, I went to Oyo State College of Arts and Science, Ile Ife before coming to the University of Ibadan where I did my Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees in Political Science.

Can you recall particular school experiences that you cannot forget?

Of course, I can. I remember an experience in form four. I lived with my uncle and guardian who shared same building with some corpers. One weekend when my uncle had travelled, the corpers organised a party and sent me to the girls’ hostel to invite some girls. I think I was 14 years old then and because of my small stature, I had unfettered access to the girls’ hostel.

The girls attended the party but somehow the principal got to know. Mr Babajide Disu of blessed memory was our principal and also English Literature teacher. In the Literature class on Monday, he asked a question and I raised my hand to answer. Then, he called out the name “Baba Eto”. No one bore that name in the class so everyone was at a loss. Then he said, “Adeolu Baba Eto. Are you not the one organising girls for the corpers”. From that day, Baba Eto became my nickname in the school. Mr Disu was a disciplinarian. The corpers were reprimanded, the girls were withdrawn from the hostel and I received very strong six strokes of the cane on the torso as my punishment.

Why are you showing interest in partisan politics?

When I had my first political appointment in 2001, my conviction was that technocrats could stay at the backside and work with politicians to provide best services for the people drawing from the experience and knowledge of best practices around the world. But I found out that such technocrats are disadvantaged because you could only play advisory role.

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Besides, they are in such minority that their ideas about good governance are easily drown in the cacophony of political discussions. Finally, I believe anyone who believes our society could be better governed should descend into the arena and be part of the process. If we keep saying politics is a dirty game and we stand aloof, the murky water  of politics will eventually drench us in whichever safe corner we think we are hiding. We all owe it a duty to our society to be part of efforts to make it better.

What in your view are the most pressing problems of Oyo State?

The first is generating money to run the government. The second is addressing the problem of youth unemployment that is a time bomb. You see able bodied men in every corner of the street idling away from morning till evening. The society owes these youths a responsibility for gainful employment.

We need to bring in skill acquisition and vocational training into the education system. The National Conference on Curriculum envisaged this crisis as far back as 1969 when it recommended skill acquisition and vocational training as the bulwark to future youth unemployment. The dismissal of this recommendation has resulted in the time tomb of youth unemployment. We need to train our youths in entrepreneurship so that we can promote small and medium scale enterprises which employs about 65 percent of labour force in developed economies. We need a vibrant entrepreneurship support programme to encourage and support youths with business ideas. We need to confront the problem of youth unemployment from so many fronts if it will not consume us.

Your CV shows many job changes, why?

Most of the job changes were evidence of the hazard of journalism. I joined The Punch Newspapers as Regional Editor for the South West in February, 1993 but by June, the June 12 crisis started. In 1994, the government of General Sani Abacha shut down and eventually proscribed Punch newspapers. I went back to Nigerian Tribune and by February 1997, four of us that were dubbed “NADECO Reporters” were sacked. The four of us went ahead to set up a pro-democracy magazine, Omega Weekly, with finances from people like Chief Bola Ige and Chief Olu Onagoruwa.  The military government came after us and we operated the newspaper underground for  two years until we could no longer cope. Our leader, Pastor (Dr) Segun Olatunji went back to become Editor and eventually the Managing Director/Editor in Chief of Nigerian Tribune. Bode Opeseitan, who was Executive Editor at Omega Weekly went back to become Editor of Saturday Tribune while the Managing Editor,‎ Wale Adebanwi who is now first African Rhodes Professor in Race Relations in the University of Oxford and myself took up teaching appointments in the Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan.

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Can you recall some of your classmates from primary through the university level?

I lost contact with most of my primary school mates most probably because my family moved away from Itire a long time ago, I think in 1983 even though my relocation to Iseyin for secondary education explains that loss of contact more. My secondary school mates include Alhaji Ahmed Raji (SAN), Chief Biodun Owonikoko (SAN), Alhaji Wasiu Oladimeji, the present Commissioner for Works in Oyo State and Professor Taofik Azeez of the Department of English Studies, University of Abuja. At the University of Ibadan, my undergraduate mates include Sen. Teslim Folarin, former Senate Leader of the Federal Republic and Mr Olu Daramola SAN. At the post graduate level, my mates included Professor Wale Olaitan, former Vice Chancellor of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye and Professor Said Adejumobi, of the Economic Commission for Africa.

Why I don’t fly first class or Business Class

I used to covet flying first class or business class until I met Mr Tulsi Chanrai, the Indian billionaire promoter of Tulsi Chanrai Foundation. He said he flies economy because what he saves flying economy on a 10-hour flight enables him provide eye glasses for at least 1000 people through the Tulsi Chanrai Foundation. I found it instructive that the sacrifice of comfort for only 10 hours could provide a lifeline for a whopping 1,000 people. I felt I should copy this in my own little way.

What Adeolu Akande Foundation does

I think it is safe to assume that no one can grow up in our society without doing some form of philanthropy. In our individual capacities, we have to assist people around us. I am also a beneficiary of such philanthropy by others. The Adeolu Akande Foundation is only a formalisation of what one has been doing over the years. The focal points are youth development and empowerment through which we give assistance to keep children and youths in school or in learning some vocation, assistance in getting job placement, training for gainful economic engagement and mentoring for business. The second focal point is provision of free health services which we take all over Oyo State. Finally, we offer financial assistance to traders and artisans.

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What is your attitude to religion?

I am at home with people of different religious backgrounds. I went to a Muslim primary school, Ansar ud deen Primary School, Itire, Lagos and a Muslim secondary school, Anwar ul Islam High School, Iseyin. The best man at my wedding who remains one of my closest friends is a Muslim from Ilorin, Kwara State and like many Yoruba families, I have relatives who are muslims.

What is your take on the restructuring debate?

If you follow the debate closely, you will conclude that no part of Nigeria is happy with the terms on which Nigeria operates now. Yet, there is no doubt that Nigeria is stronger as one entity. The whole idea of restructuring is that we need to sit down, discuss and agree on the terms on which to operate Nigeria as a country. I support the clamour for restructuring. The present system where 28 state governments cannot pay workers’ salaries is not sustainable. We need to collectively look at it, grant more powers and resources to the states and agree on terms that promote justice, equity and fairness in our national life.

 

 

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Interviews

‘In today’s Christianity, we are religious, not spiritual’

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Interviews

Uses WhatsApp the most, has eight hours of sleep… here’s how Barkindo spends his time off

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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?

Evening.

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?

WhatsApp.

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?

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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.

 

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Interviews

SGB Rejuvenates Education In Oyo State, Says Bamgbose

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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

Excerpts: 

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.

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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.

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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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