Interview

AKEREDOLU’S CABINET: NOTHING IS WRONG WITH BABAJIDE’S APPOINTMENT AS DG- Benji

... Says Ondo Govt, Army Checkpoints Face-off ll Soon Be Resolved

By Collins Dupson, 15 January, 2022

Otunba Benji Oloye is a community leader and advocate of good governance in Ondo State. While chatting on the state of the nation, the Owo born business man speaks with the PATH on security situation, gains of 2021, withdrawal of Army from check points in Ondo State among other issues.

Amotekun was birthed in South West due to high rate of insecurity; how effective is the Corps in Ondo State?

Amotekun is one of the good things that have happened in the South Western Nigeria. In selecting who should head the security corps in Ondo State, Governor Akeredolu appointed the right man, Chief Adetunji Adeleye to oversee the affairs of the Network. Amotekun is recording huge success every day because a round peg in a round hole was wisely appointed by the governor. The Corps has been effective and doing a wonderful job in collaboration with other security agencies in the state.

Some critics condemned the mode of operation of the security agency, how comfortable are you with the agency module operandi?

The security agency in question doesn’t matter; whether it is Amotekun, Army, Police, whenever there is high crime rate, it is expected of any of these security agencies to beef up its’ security architecture. Criminals seem to be wary when they see the level of security arrangement put in in place by security agencies. If Amotekun is seen all over the town, cities and villages, positioned in strategic locations, it is simply a way of telling the criminal elements that they are on ground to check mate their nefarious activities. The leadership of Amotekun has done a good job that need to be commended because Ondo State is safer and calm when compare to other parts of the country.

What is your position on the withdrawal of the Army from check points in Ondo State by the military authority?

Withdrawal of the Army from the check points and gateway to the state has no doubt generated some level of controversy between the government of Ondo State and the 32 Artillery Brigade. For peace to reign, two or more must agree on certain terms. Military personnel ordinarily are supposed to stay inside the barracks but if any governor applied for soldiers for a Special Task Force or similar purpose and the approval granted, all the expenses and running cost of such personnel become the responsibility of the governor (allowances and logistics). If the military in the state are working as Special Force, government should be ready to see to their needs. The primary responsibilities to the military are to secure the country against external attack and face enemy of the State. Though, a lot of rumors are flying around as regards the withdrawal but I know the state government and military formation are working out modalities on how to resolve the issues; the differences between the two leaders should not degenerate to the level where it will affect the security of lives and property of the residents of the state.

In spite of the huge investment in security, Nigerians government is not getting it right; in your own opinion, what is responsible?

Nigeria government reacted late before setting up its counter insurgency. The step being taken by government now ought to have been considered several years before now. Our leaders were toying with it and the Service Chiefs were not doing enough; this lackadaisical attitude resulted to the nefarious activities of the insurgent and Nigerians are left at their mercy. The proactive effort of the government is yielding little or nothing as the terrorist have taken over some part of the North East and other part of the country. With the change in the leadership of Nigerian military formation, the new Service Chiefs are doing their best for now.

From your own assessment, are there any gains from Governor Akeredolu to the governed in 2021?

Within the available resources, Akeredolu is trying his best but looking at the Nigeria context where states depend on the Federal Government for survival, little could state achieve in terms of service delivery. Most of the states in Nigeria lack industry and poor IGR; the few industries are folding up every day due to harsh government policies and power failure. The economy of Nigeria state is very bad and it affects development across the federation. In spite of the challenges, Ondo State is not doing bad because the man at the helms of affairs, Governor Akeredolu is very prudent in spending and determined to provide good governance to the citizens of the state no matter the situation.

On the propose increase in pump price of fuel, what is your reaction to this?

For now, I don’t think FG should increase the price of petrol for whatever reason. The hardship in the country is badly affecting the living condition of the people. If President Buhari led administration remain adamant and increase the pump price, it is a suicidal mission. Nigerians are complaining of hardship and government increment will further make life unbearable to the poor. So, the implication is like telling Nigerians to go and die, forgetting that not everyone is a politician that steal and feed fat on our collective resources. They have our resources at their disposal and can afford any price. Nigerians must stand up and say no to increment on petrol price; new price regime in fuel shouldn’t be a New Year gift to Nigerians who are living from hands to mouth.

Governor Akeredolu is being praised by some stakeholders in education sector; do you share the same accolades with them?

If Governor Akeredolu has done less in education sector, personally, I will be disappointed because this is a man that knows the value of education and will definitely do everything to improve this sector and promote the standard of education in Ondo State. Recently, Mr. Governor paid over N500M as WAEC fees for SSS 3 students; this is not the first time Arakunrin will be paying such money. To redeem the loss glory of education in the state, Governor Akeredolu is determined to revamp the sector. Some people criticize the governor over percentage salary, forgetting that the population of the state’s workforce is less than 20 percent of the state populations and no responsible government will use all the state allocation and revenue to pay workers and leave out physical development. Arakunrin needs to be commended not only in education sector but in other areas and we should all support him as a form of encouragement.

The appointment of Babajide Akeredolu into the governor’s cabinet was greeted with criticism from the opposition; is anything wrong with this appointment in your own opinion?

The pertinent question we need to ask the critics is that, is Akeredolu son not a bona-fide indigene of Ondo State? If anyone from the state can be appointed into political position by the governor, then, what is stopping Babajide from being appointed into any office so desire by the governor? Is it a crime to be governor’s son? Whether they like it or not, Babajide has become a politician; this is a man that worked tirelessly for APC during the governorship election and just because his father is the governor, he shouldn’t be considered for appointment, no it shouldn’t be. The critics may be crying wolves, nothing is wrong with the appointment.

In which area of governance do you think Akeredolu should shift more attention to in this New Year?

He should focus more on industrialization; the state needs to be industrialized. In the last four years, the governor has wooed several investors into the state but there is need for improvement and more of these investors. The more the industries, the more of job opportunities and high IGR to the government coffer. Mr. Governor should be proactive in wooing both local and foreign investors to the state.

What is your message to the residents of Ondo State as they begin a new year?

They should be patient with the governor and be prayerful. We all have roles to play if Ondo State must move to the next level of economy prosperity and development. Let’s us be patriotic and always pray for our leaders to lead us right. Critics are only good in one thing- criticizing every policy of government but give them responsibility, they will mess up. Governance is not a Tea Party but for serious minded people. In this year 2022, let’s us contribute our own quota and support the government of the day to have a better society.

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