Mr. Adewale Omoniyi, a data analyst, is the governorship candidate of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) in Ogun State. In this interview, the former special adviser in the state speaks on his aspiration, absence of good governance in the state, among others. WALE ELEGBEDE reports
Why are you in the race for the 2019 Ogun governorship election?
First, I am in the race for the governorship of our beloved Ogun State because I know I have the wherewithal to be the next governor of the state. Secondly, I believe that in terms of my exposure, experience, academic qualification, knowledge of the state and most importantly my vision for the state. I believe my vision for Ogun State is totally different from the usual norm of what people call agenda for the state. Another thing is that Ogun West, where I come from and by extension Ogun State in general, we are used to a system whereby most of our candidates for governorship are not totally independent. We have a situation whereby majority of them not all of them anyway, are not prepared for the job, but they only have the opportunity because they were singlehandedly handpicked or being pushed for a task that were not really ready for. Tying all these together, I believe I am coming into the race because I have everything sorted out about the job and I am totally independent of any interest, but committed to improve the lots of the people.
What new are you bringing to the table for the people of state?
The truth is that the people of Ogun State have never enjoyed good governance for so many years and that shouldn’t be. When people vote for a government they want to see the dividends of democracy. But for those of us who have a comprehensive grasp of what that the issues are and the solution, mere looking at some of these candidates we know that the programme template they presents before elections cannot really handle some of these challenges. If you look at my manifesto, you will see that it is totally different from the usual manifestos you see on the streets. It is a manifesto that goes down to the grassroots and addressed the issues from the perspective of the people and this is a plus for me and my party.
Why did you choose ANRP ahead of the other bigger parties like the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)?
I have a mission to redefine governance to the taste of the people and I we needed to identify a viable platform. I can tell you that we foresaw some of the crisis we are seeing now in the so-called bigger parties. Part of what we were looking for is a platform that will give us the opportunity to do what we promised the people. If you look at some other bigger political parties, you will find out that the difference between them is just like six and half a dozen. They don’t have any ideology. If some of us join these bigger political parties it will just be like a good wine in bad container. The wine will still be contaminated nonetheless. We just want to be different in touching the lives of the people. The ANRP is the party of the people and it is founded on certain ideologies that are sacrosanct to all and sundry. We are building trust with the people and we don’t want anything that will breach that sense of trust with the people.
Who are those backing your aspiration and what are the terms of political godfathers to you?
Firstly, the good thing about our political party is that we don’t have anything like godfatherism. What gives someone the prerogative to be a godfather is predominantly his funding of either a party or candidate but in ANRP, we are self-sustaining. The party and the people fund itself though crowd funding. Yes, we need money but we don’t go about asking people for money. At the rate we are going, I think we are doing well and we don’t want to contaminate the process with counter-productive association.
So, how do you intend to fund your election given the monetized system of politics in the country?
If we are talking about change and we are serious about it, we have to start from somewhere. What we do in ANRP is crowd fund. We come together and drop our different widow’s mite. Thankfully, we have a transparent and accountable system in the party. We have a plan and we are looking for people who will be interested in what we are doing. We are not desperate for support but we are keen on changing the lives of the people.
Do you see yourself upstaging the APC and PDP at the next governorship election in Ogun State?
Yes! When we started this process we didn’t envisage the level of support and goodwill we are getting now especially in the light of the fact that we are not a spending party like others. Some people who even thought we were joking then are already hopping on the plane with us. The people believe in us and we won’t disappoint them. We are happy that the card reader is in place for the election and we believe that will reflect on the credibility of the electoral process.
You are from a zone that has not produced governor in Ogun State. Do you think your candidature can shoulder the aspiration of the people of Ogun West to have one of their own as governor of the state?
I think we must first see ourselves as the citizens of Ogun State before we start talking about zonal attachments. I am not contesting because I am from Ogun West, but because I am one of the best in the race. The most important thing is that we are looking for the best and I am one of the best. I can compete anywhere. Politics is all about numbers and Ogun West has the second largest number of voting population in the state. It’s not a case of voting for someone because he is from a particular area but voting for the best. How suitable is the candidate should be a major factor. If you pitch me with anybody from Ogun West, East or Central, I am a match for any other candidate.
What critical issues are you going to take up in the first 100 days in office if elected as governor?
The first 100 days is to give our people in Ogun State identity. This is so because without identity there is no way we can talk about accountability, planning, transparency and development. How many are we in Ogun State as we talk? We don’t even know. The needs are different and we can only identify them through identity. Also, in the first 100 days of our administration, we will ensure that we resolve all unpaid salaries and allowances and this will be done before we embark on any capital project. It is sad that people work and they don’t get paid. Salaries are not gifts from the employer but they are entitlement and rights of workers.
What are the issues that you seek to address as governor of Ogun State?
I am not new to Ogun State and Ogun State politics. You see, the problem we have in Ogun State is that this state is not built on solid foundation. There is a need to rebuild Ogun State. To build a system that works; a system that will automatically eradicate corruption, and improve our security; a system that will provide jobs to our youths irrespective of their background or family affiliation. What we are trying to do is to touch every citizen of Ogun State. Individually, everybody must have this impact on government. We need to identify our problem from the source so that we can proffer the right solutions. You can’t identify the people’s needs without knowing them. You can only know the people by having their data. This is what our government intends to do. How much do we know about Ogun State? It is not about knowing, we are just talking of 7.2 million people.
Somebody cannot just sit down in an office and determine the fate of the people without knowing them individually? How do you know people individually? It is by having their information. Where are they located? What do they do? That is why we keep talking about data. Data is very important. On that basis, that is where we are going to build our government on. There should be a system that should take care of these things. We need to identify our problems from the source, so that we can proffer the right solutions. You can’t identify the people’s needs without knowing them. You can only know the people by having their data. This is what our government intends to do.
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