‘Why I want to govern Ondo’
INTERESTED aspirants in the 2016 Ondo State governorship elections are not leaving anything to chances at all. Many of them from different political parties are already out on the field seeking and working on strategies to make them emerge as governorship candidates of their various parties in the primaries expected to precede the election.
One of them Jamiu Ekungba, who is currently representing the state on the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), expressed confidence that he would clinch the party’s governorship ticket in a free, fair and credible primary.
On what motivated or challenged him to aspire to govern Ondo, the chartered accountant said his aspiration is propelled by two factors. According to him, “The people are on the look out for a man who can lay structure that will enable the state to take care of its citizens, a man who can lead them in the march and fight for reforms that can return the state to prosperity and reposition it politically.”
Ekungba noted that, “As a concerned citizen of Ondo, I have studied and examined each succeeding governor with increased ferocity, I can conclude that there is no reason, there is no rationale or any reason for the state to be poor in the light of the enormous resources that are at its disposal. I have an idea about what Ondo State should and could be.”
His assessment of governance in the state under the Labour Party (LP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last 12 years was with the conclusion that people in the state have been short-changed.
According to him, “One of the greatest evils of our time is the absence of people who are gifted in leadership; it is a pity that because of one man’s inadequacy, a generation of our people have wasted a period of 14 years of their lives.
In the days of former Governor Olusegun Agagu, there was this general belief that he was not doing well, despite the fact that the gentleman made some concerted efforts, but in the face of the resources that was available, what he did was palliative.
Now with the eight years of LP and now PDP or whatever it is, I think an average citizen of the state is now regretting changing Agagu that was said was not good.”
Buttressing his argument with the fact that Ondo is an oil producing state with only 18 local governments and about three million people, the APC BoT member averred that with what the state earns from the Federation Account, the Internal Revenue Generation (IGR) and all the loans “there is no reason why the state should lag behind in development.
Imagine, today the state cannot pay salary.” THE accountant-turned politician vowed to remain steadfast and committed to his party should the leadership of the APC decided to use consensus pick its candidate for the governorship election like it did in 2011, Ekungba said, “Let me put it this way, I am a party man to the core, I’m one of those people who will stick to my party once a decision is taken.
I have demonstrated that enough. In the progressive, there are certain things you cannot take from the leaders; they must have what I call input into who holds political position and by current development what we are sure of today is that there is going to be primary election and so everybody that will be aspiring now, must go and work and ensure the primary throws up a candidate that has the right temperament and the right pedigree; a candidate who will not compromise his integrity, a man that will make sure nothing will happen to Ondo State except the best within its best capacity; a candidate that can be trusted by the people just like President Muhammadu Buhari is by the people.”
Still on his chances of emerging as his party’s preferred candidate, he boasted, “I am a member of the BoT of the party, I was the only person representing Ondo State on the board until Alhaji Ali Olanusi, my friend and brother left the PDP and was also appointed into the board. “For the national leadership of APC to call me to the board, I am grateful because it saw my qualities and didn’t ignore them.
The national leaders trusted me and know what I am made of, a loyal and a discipline party man that will ensure that the manifesto of the party will be implemented to the letter.
I am also one of the men that have remained with the party through thick and thin and I don’t discriminate. In the last election I touched every candidate of the party and I campaigned for everyone in all localities, I was there as a party man and the party men there know me, our people know their own and so, in the primary I am very sure of clinching the ticket.”
He dismissed the fear that the incumbent governor, Segun Mimiko might use his position as incumbent to install his successor in 2016 like he did to retain power in 2012. “The candidate of the party in 2012, Rotimi Akeredolu, is not domesticated enough for the people and Mimiko played on the psyche of the people by ensuring that the votes were monetized.”
According to him, “In the last 16 years of democracy in Ondo State, the Mimiko led administration has successfully propagated and nurtured two types of poverty in the land, one is poverty of the brain and the other is poverty of the pocket.
Any land where poverty is propagated in all its forms, the development of the people is not the only thing that is suppressed, the citizens’ right to his own personality thinking and volition will also suffer. “An average person today in Ondo is penniless, helpless, hopeless and powerless, and where this is a reality, anyone who is not educated enough to know the quality of his personality and the effect of his sovereignty won’t mind expropriating his vote for two thousand naira only.
These are the things we are going to change. So that an average Ondo man will see himself as a human being rather than a product.” Ekungba also believes that zoning arrangements in Ondo politics is not going to affect him.
For me, whether there is zoning or not, if there is primary, a free and fair primary and the delegates vote the man with a big dream not the one with the big pocket; a man whose policies will rekindle their dreams not the one who will dash their hopes further, I think my chances are high.
If in the 2015 general election, we had over 55.3 per cent votes at the presidential election and in the House of Assembly, we had just five per cent, then what went wrong? Money was deployed physically and people were selling their votes.
So, if monetization is the issue, then the whole process becomes commercialized. Personally, I do not think I want to come and buy votes, I want to come and serve, serve in a manner and in a way that will restore the pride and the dignity of the people, anyone who wants to do that must lead by example.
So, why must I pay my people to vote for me? That looks arrogant right, most arrogant. “The point I am raising is this, if there is a fair, credible and un-monetized primary, zoning or no zoning, I am sure I am going to be the candidate of the party. But, if there is zoning, it is the turn of my zone absolutely, then I have an edge over others.
It is the turn of the Northern Senatorial district where I come from. In the Northern Senatorial district, the last governor that emerged was from Akoko. So it is the turn of Owo; I am from Owo. So, if it is zoning I am there.
Fortunately, I am not a candidate that the party should be afraid to put down, even if Mimiko himself is contesting let alone his proxy. By the time I get the party ticket, I will come and tell you.”