Niyi Adeagbo is the Caretaker Chairman of Itesiwaju Local Government Area of Oyo State. In this interview with YEJIDE GBENGA-OGUNDARE, he speaks on what the people should hope for in 2018 and other issues.
What is the hope of the common man as the 2018 budget goes for debate?
The 2018 budget, according to President Mohammed Buhari while presenting the document to the National Assembly, is tagged Budget of Consolidation; this means the federal government is determined to build on the achievements it recorded since 2015. For this budget to have positive impact on the downtrodden masses, the next stage is for the National Assembly to quickly pass the budget for implementation. After the NASS scrutiny, debate and eventual passage of the budget, the FG should hit the ground running and must never lose focus during the implementation period. The central government must not get distracted by 2019 political games because it is one thing to make good proposals and it is another thing to follow through to the end.
So, as a stakeholder in the Nigeria project, better days are ahead of the Nigerian people. The hope of a better time is based on the contents of the 2018 budget and on the fact that economic indicators have improved. Crude oil price is rising and the naira exchange rate is stabilising; the future looks bright for the economy.
What do you envisage in 2019 considering the realignment, merger etc going on in the Oyo state political terrain?
It is a game of numbers. The APC in Oyo State is increasing in number everyday due to influx of political gladiators from the opposition parties. So we are confident of retaining power beyond 2019.
You seem too confident?
I am highly confident because we have the numerical strength and we are widely accepted by the people. I must say that the beauty of democracy is to enthrone good governance and qualitative leadership, which we have found in APC under the competent leadership of Governor Abiola Ajimobi. So, the governor’s performance will perform wonder in any election.
What has been your experience working with the present administration at the grassroots level?
Firstly, I must express my unreserved gratitude to His Excellency the Governor for choosing me to serve our people at the grassroots. Back to your question, my experience with him has been very palatable and I’m proud to serve in his government. I am always inspired by his desperation to positively impact on our people in the face of any daunting challenge. He challenges all of us working with him to be more proactive and innovative in the discharge our constitutional duties.
What differentiates Ajimobi’s administration from his predecessors?
To be fair to his predecessors, they tried their best. But what differentiates Senator Ajimobi from the former governors from 1999 is his aggressiveness to achieve not minding whose ox is gored. That tendency stands him out and his performance in almost seven years has been outstanding. The people love his positive-minded and undaunted approach to governance; that was why he was massively voted for second term in 2015. That 2015 mandate differentiates him from the rest because no governor has ruled beyond four years in the history of Oyo State.
What do you think Ajimobi will be remembered for?
He will be remembered for phasing out political terrorism, hooliganism, bank robbery and other forms of crimes in the state. The peace and security being enthroned by the administration of Sen. Ajimobi is giving ways for industrialisation and massive developments across the state. The present generation will tell the incoming generation that there was an architect of modern Oyo State and that person is Senator Ishaq Abiola Ajimobi.
With the recent appointment of caretaker committee members, there is the fear that there won’t be council elections anytime soon?
It is not the wish of Governor Ajimobi not to conduct council polls but for a series of legal battles restraining the state government and the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC). I am sure that the OYSIEC will soon announce a date for elections into our local government areas and the local council development areas because Oyo State Government has secured an order that will facilitate the conduct of local government election in the state. We are not afraid of going into elections; we will floor the opposition parties in a free, fair and credible election.
What message do you have for Governor Ajimobi on his 68th birthday?
My family and my good people of Itesiwaju LGA send congratulations and best wishes to our father and leader, His Excellency Governor Abiola Ajimobi as he clocks 68years. We are appreciative of all that he is doing to modernise our dear state and his contribution to democratic growth in Nigeria.
It is my prayer that Almighty Allah, who has richly prospered him and ordered his every step in the last 68years, will continue to preserve his life with sound health. I wish him many more fruitful years.
What’s your new season’s message for your people?
2017 has been a very busy year and has seen a lot of exciting developments not only in Itesiwaju LGA but also in Oyo State and Nigeria at large. I must thank my good people in Itesiwaju LGA, my leaders, members of APC, my political colleagues and the friends of Itesiwaju for their continued support and also to our staff in the council for their constructive inputs. All of them have worked extremely hard throughout the year, allowing Itesiwaju LGA to progress much more quickly than I could have imagined. We already have exciting plans for 2018 and I pray to Almighty Allah to preserve our lives beyond the coming year. With very best wishes to all of them for the coming Festive Season and I wish all of us sound health and happiness in 2018.
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