ENGINEER Raufu Aderemi Olaniyan, a prominent Accord Party chieftain and retired civil servant in Oyo state who recently dumped the party for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in an interactive session with members of South West Group of Online Publishers (SWEGOP) in Ibadan, talks extensively on Oyo politics, why he joined the ruling party and his relationship with Senator Rashidi Ladoja. Excerpts:
You recently left the Accord Party (AP), where you were a key member to join the All Progressives Congress (APC). There are feelers that you want to be governor; wouldn’t your recent move amount to adding to the already over-bloated number of governorship aspirants in the APC? And let’s also ask what transpired between you and Senator Ladoja that made you leave the party?
Life is a continuum! Nothing is static. I was formerly in Accord Party but now I am in APC. So many people may insinuate different things but the key reason is that my people want me in APC. I was in Accord Party and when I came back, I don’t know how they managed to know, the representatives of APC and their leaders in Oorelope Local Government came to my office. They said ‘we want you in APC’.
It was my first day in office after I came back. They have been able to monitor my trip. I can say I mix freely with people, the leaders of APC used to come to my house. Some of them even accused others of anti-party activities. The Chairman of APC would come to my house with APC branded vehicle and park it in my compound for as long as five hours sometimes. So it is not that I just woke overnight and decided.
When you are in a political system, who do you need? You need your people. So it is not as if it is from the top or anything. It is my people in Oorelope that said ‘we need you in APC.’ All their exco, including the party leaders came. Some people are going home to lobby to join parties and they will say no. I did not lobby. I did what my people wanted; they were the ones that said enough is enough in Accord.
You are asking if my going to APC will swell the number of aspirants. To what? Is it up to 1,000 already? So it doesn’t make any difference. The political space is wide enough for 1,001 aspirants to come out but there will be some yardsticks through which they will be decreasing by elimination.
If you want to look at the aspirants, there is no way three parameters will not be considered, you want to know if that aspirant is sellable, is he a reliable person, is he a credible person, among other parameters. So you can see that if there are 1,001, one will eventually emerge.
You were with Senator Ladoja, you were the de – facto backbone of that party. Now that you are no longer there, the powers that be will not be too happy with you. Maybe you felt they used you or they were not giving you value for what you were doing for them. But now that you are in APC, do you think you won’t be treated the same way?
Let me quickly correct that. I was not the de – facto backbone. As far as I am concerned, I am Mr. Nobody. I didn’t aspire for any position; nobody can say it was because he wanted to be this and he didn’t get it that he left. Like I said earlier, my people said enough is enough in Accord, we need you somewhere else. I remember one day, just after the morning prayer, around 10 minutes past six, four elderly men came to my house. Two of them incidentally were my bosses between 1973 and 1975, they were NTC farmers, I was working with them as a labourer so I still look at them as my bosses. They said ‘we want you in APC, we need somebody to be our arrow head’. That was more than a year ago. My reply then was that when we get to the river, we will know how to cross it.
So it is not that I have any problem with anybody.
Your relationship with Senator Rashidi Ladoja, what is it like now?
It’s okay. In my office, I remember I drove one lady out of the compound because she used a derogatory word against Senator Ladoja. I told the gateman never to allow her enter the compound again. So it is up to that level.
You are swimming in the pool of APC presently, assuming in the near future, you find yourself in the same party with Senator Ladoja, how would you feel?
I have told you Senator Ladoja and I have no acrimony at all. If he enters into this room now, as a younger man, I will prostrate for him.
You are aspiring for the number one seat of this state. What is your driving force? Why do you want to be in that position? And APC seems not to be on ground in your constituency. The last election, it was Labour Party that won, the rerun election, it was Labour Party and you said you joined APC because your people want you to. Isn’t it because they want to use you to achieve certain aims or they want to use your financial strength?
Now you are trying to tell me what to do. Aspiring for the number one position of this state is not for me as a person, I come from a bloc, I come from Oke Ogun. When the chips are down, from time back, whether in the Western Region, Old Oyo, New Oyo, they always say Oke Ogun has abundant resources, abundant land for agriculture, no one ever talks of abundant human resources. So if I see myself as part of that abundant human resource, what stops me?
And anytime they pick any governor, they start looking for who can be deputy governor in Oke Ogun. I can tell you that I have been called severally to be deputy governor, but I will not mention anyone. But I always wondered what for?
Why did you refuse those offers?
I didn’t have time. My people had different responsibilities for me. I have made my mark, without being immodest; I thank God, what am I created for? It is not just to put on agbada but for people to feel me. If not because my religion does not allow trumpeting, and even in Christianity it is taught that when the left hand gives, the right should not know. My people want me, they know me and I am dancing to their tune.
And talking about Labour Party winning the election, the politics of Igboho is more than what you are looking at. Even when Accord did not win the election, the day we met the APC Chairman, he said it, he believed I was a problem to the APC in Oke Ogun. When all their permutation and calculation showed that they were going to get 13, at the end of the day, they might get 9 and when they ask, they will say it is Engineer Olaniyan.
They came during the last election which you spoke about, the party organ moved to Igboho, they stayed for 9 days. I was not in Nigeria, I came back to Nigeria on Thursday, got to Ibadan that night, the following morning, I moved to Igboho. The Chairman told me all the beautiful permutation and arrangement they had made on ground, Olaniyan just came in overnight and scattered it.
The Honourable that eventually won came to my office to thank me. He said he knew that if I had not moved, he wouldn’t have won. We are all in Igboho, and we are all related one way or the other. The last Honourable was assassinated, that alone gave room for sympathy or consolatory votes for that party.
I decamped in Igboho, I registered in Ward 9, the first meeting of that Ward 9, apart from various Accord Party members that registered, we had 15 members of PDP. This is no longer Olaniyan from Accord, Olaniyan has joined APC and I have my supporters all over the state. In Oluyole Local Government, it was massive decamping from Accord to APC. It will happen in North West very soon, it will happen in Saki very soon, I think May 12 or so. It will happen all over the state but we don’t have to make noise. We don’t have to abuse anybody.
You moved from Accord to APC. It is general knowledge that Accord Party does not have tolerance for internal democracy, APC is equally guilty. Won’t you be like an outsider in this system? How do you plan to make it when there are many big names in this contest, especially from Oke Ogun?
When you take your dictionary, try and see the meaning of the word ‘underdog’. There is always an underdog in any setting. Even when you line up football teams in the World Cup, you will find out that there will be an underdog that will spring surprises.
So you are banking on surprise?
Don’t worry. If you are going for a competition, do you want to eliminate yourself?
But your party, APC does not hold primaries, so how do you want to jump from being a member of the party to the candidate? How do you want to challenge the status quo?
You keep saying in APC, in APC, has APC not been producing candidates? They have been producing candidates and they have been winning elections.
There is also this trend in APC that by the time the candidate emerges, it leaves a lot of people disgruntled and leads to an exodus from the party.
Are you a member of APC? (General laughter). There is no way in any political setting where they want to pick a governor, where 92 showed interest, and one person must emerge, internal wrangling is bound to occur but there has to be a mechanism to resolve issues. Through which you will tell members to take it easy. If they have not been taking it easy, they will not be winning.
‘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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