Oladimeji Jimoh Agbaoja hails from Balogun-Fulani I in Ilorin South Local Government Area and one of the aspirants for the forthcoming Local Government elections in Kwara State. In this interview with ACTING EDITOR, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM at the corporate headquarters of National Pilot along Asa Dam road, Ilorin, the former Personal Assistant (PA) to Hon Zakari Muhammed, immediate past Commissioner for Finance, Demola Banu and SA Political to former Speaker Ali Ahmad respectively, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hopeful opens up on his council ambition and what he intends to offer if elected among other issues of interest in the polity. Excerpts:
As one of the aspirants in the forthcoming Local Government election, what prompted your interest for the seat?
I believe as a youth, there is every need for us to think and be concerned about the improvement of the grassroots to develop the council now more than ever before.
What area are you looking at to improve your constituency if eventually elected?
We are looking at the massive development of schools in Ilorin South to compete and even better the private ones. This will promote healthy competition and positively impact the system. We want a situation whereby parents will prefer sending their wards to public schools as against the opposite narrative we have now by the time we finish. On the issue of health, our plan is to ensure we have a health centre each in every ward to bring healthcare very close to the people and limit loss of lives and worsening situation that pregnant women and the people usually experience when trying to access treatment. This will also cut down expenses. We will also replicate the same template for water through boreholes, provision of pipe borne water and other means of water supply to meet the everyday domestic needs of our people. For the youth which is my constituency, we are going to take special interest in that sector because of the critical and very important role they will occupy in our drive for development. We are very much aware of this and we have robust plans for their employment and empowerment through various aspects of farming, fishery and poultry to make them self reliant and employers of labour. Our administration will also keep the aged women engaged with soft loans to enable them trade and take them off the street to drastically reduce poverty in the street.
How do you intend to source for the required funding to actualise these projects bearing in mind the financial peculiarity of the councils this period?
If you follow the trend of current happenings across the country today, you will agree with me that the era of sitting down and waiting for allocation is detrimental to council administration and no longer fashionable. We must think out of the box to see how we can boast the council revenue in Ilorin South and block all the leakages. We will make substantial progress monthly in the provision of the dividends of democracy. Hopefully, we envisage improvement of allocation which will boast our developmental efforts. To succeed in this assignment if elected, we must no live beyond our means or embark on project that we lack capacity or intellectual resources to finish. If we maintain our lane, there will be not be any problem. We are not saying those that where there before did nothing but government is a continuum and we will build on the legacies left behind as a philosophy. We are going to be futuristic and rule with the fear of Almighty Allah. With all my experience working with leading Kwarans in various capacities since 2003 till date, the sky will be our starting point.
How do you fancy your chances contesting under the opposition platform?
Very bright because the ruling party with their woeful and unimpressive performance since assumption of office in the state is already campaigning for us, nothing is working in Kwara now. In fact, it has been massive failure and I know our people in Ilorin South and Kwarans generally are aware of what is going on. Everybody is crying and they have learnt from the mistake they made in the past.
How confident are you to emerge from the primary in your local government?
Everything is in the hands of Almighty Allah as nobody can predict destiny. Been wealthy, connected and influential is not a criteria for endorsement or appointment and we have seen cases where those we least expected emerge at the end of the day in fulfilment of Allah’s destiny. Our ambition is not a do or die affair and we believe everything is in the hands of Almighty Allah. Everything is not about money now but the candidates and how such person has impacted on his constituency. We are very optimistic of emerging from the primary but ready to work with any other person that gets the ticket. We strongly believe our supporters will rally round our ambition if we are favoured. It’s all about the people. I believe I am well known in Ilorin South and have the support of the necessary stakeholders when the time comes.
Don’t you think been identified with Dr Bukola Saraki might negatively affect your chances going by the last election in the state?
Saraki is our mentor and remain our political icon. What happened the last time was just a wind of change. Before then, he has led us to several electoral victories and there is no way such challenge as the last episode in 2019 will not come up pass at a point in time in one’s life. Its part of Allah’s way to elevate his servants. Why will identification with Saraki dynasty jeopardise our chances, what crime has he committed against us in Kwara State. The ruling APC succeeded with their propaganda last year laced with blatant lies and outright falsehood but got away with it because some Kwarans bought their deception. But also the misinformation that he follows allocation to Kwara, owns Kwara Diagnostic Centre, Shonga farms, Aviation College, collect state venue among other allegations have crumbled before the eyes of the electorate like a pack of cards now. Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq and his government have not been able to provide any proof whatsoever to substantiate all these allegations since inauguration which was the fulcrum of their campaign then. But now, Almighty Allah is vindicating Saraki from all the accusations which we can all see now. Anybody that wants to equal or surpass Saraki’s eight years achievements in Kwara has a long way to go compared to what he met on ground. All the modern Government House buildings, Deputy Governor’s Office, Banquet Hall, high quality roads, return of our airport to international status where we can now fly directly to Saudi Arabia for hajj, airport cargo terminal, Ilorin Aviation College, Kwara Diagnostic Centre, Kwara State University, Metropolitan Square, Shonga Farms farm, various housing estates, very impressive and quality renovation of Kwara Stadium, establishment of Kwara Football Academy, renovation of State Library, State Secretariat, various schools, Kwara Hotel and establishment of cashew farms in Ogbondoroko were all legacies of our great leader, not to talk of the people he lifted with employments, empowerment and appointments without any string attached and other personal and private assistance rendered to the people across the state among other intervention too numerous to mention. Why will it be difficult to identify with such personality? Saraki will even be the basis of our campaign and the people will listen to us this time around because they have seen the difference. What has this government done since over a year it found itself in government compared to all what I have listed? There is no basis for comparism whatsoever and there can never be in this context. Other states have started implementation of minimum wage but our government in Kwara is still using the 18,000 table left by former governor Abdulfatah Ahmed contrary to their promise. What Saraki and former Governor has left is still the basis for us in Kwara. I strongly believe PDP under Saraki’s leadership is poised to win the sixteen council seats in Kwara during the forthcoming council election in Kwara. Kwarans have seen now that there is no basis for comparism.