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Interview

Dele Alake: Knowledge, vision, courage stand Tinubu out

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Director of Strategic Communication for the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign and former Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy Mr Dele Alake was interviewed on a TVC programme, Journalists  Hangout,on Tuesday. He spoke on why Asiwaju Tinubu looks good to clinch the presidential race. He was hosted by BabajideOtitoju and Ayo Ozungbaku. Excerpts:

Preparations for the 2023 elections are in top gear and the campaign will start next month. How will you describe the tempo so far from the vibes you are getting?

I think it’s been a natural development. We have seen several election cycles in our time. Personally, there has been nothing spectacularly different from the previous build-up to campaigns that we have witnessed in Nigeria.

Of course, when elections or campaigns are near, passions are bound to erupt and then you see gravitation to the left, to the right and centre and all of that and vituperation of all kinds from all corners.

Of course, it’s natural because it is a competition for power. The election as in any election is a competition for power. Therefore, the various contending interests will be gathering their loins, preparing their arsenal and stockpiling their weapons and stuff like that for the campaign and then the eventual election. The tempo rising, to me, is a natural occurrence. It is something to be expected. I haven’t seen anything outside of the ordinary in the tempo so far

Which factors do you think will shape the 2023 presidential election?

The salient issues confronting Nigeria now are the factors and the variables that will shape the election in 2023.  From our side, we are not going to engage in rabble rousing.It is those who believe that they are going to lose or have nothing tangible, or quality product to market to show the public that will engage in rabble rousing or comedic tantrums and stuff like that.

No, that’s not for us.We have a truck full of products to dish out to the discerning public anyway. There is no gainsaying the fact that all the contending personalities in the political firmament of today, our product stands head and shoulder ahead of any other person in terms of track records, in terms of antecedents, in terms of all the attributes of leadership.

He is an embodiment of all the leadership of a progressive developing nation or a nation that is in a hurry to be developed and we have the example. Is it in social engineering?Is it in political development?Is it in infrastructural development? Is it in mental development?In any aspect of administration, public life, human life, human existence, our product, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT), stands ahead of any contender on the horizon as of today.

The factors that are going to shape and condition the minds of the electorate are the salient issues of security, economy and so on. As we go along, we will get to the nitty gritty and unveil so many of the details of his achievements and his vision for Nigeria

The candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, is gaining so much popularity on social media, even in the southern part of the country. Do you think this is the year of a third force? You know before, what we used to have predominantly are the APC and the PDP, but Peter Obi moving to the Labour party seems to have changed the narrative for the 2023 election.

I cannot sit down here and deny the fact that there is an amount of groundswell of frustration amongst the youth and among the cross section of the populace, which is actually the driving force behind what you term as the popularity of Peter Obi on social media.

However, I can tell you that it is natural(the feeling, the pent up anger of all of those that are venting their spleen through the symbol of Peter Obi).

The aggravation of all those pent up anger is being channeled toward Peter Obi on social media. However, social media is not going to determine the 2023 elections. It has never determined any election in Nigeria to a large extent and it is not going to determine the 2023 election. Neither is it going to determine our elections in several years to come.

You need to do a critical cold rational analysis of the political behaviour and the political environment in which we are; the political environment of our people.

Now all those people who are regarded as social media warriors or who are active on social media, if you take their population, you will discover that it is not going to sway the larger voters.

For instance, how many of our rural dwellers or farmers are on social media. Why we think social media is such a fuss now is because the elite (like you and I) are on social media.

However, when you aggregate the social media activists’ population, vis-à-vis the entire population of the country, you will discover that it is almost infinitesimal.

Therefore, whoever is basing his/her judgement on 2023 in terms of social media has missed it. We are experienced in this matter. We are not just smoking our fire on social media alone, we are moving on to all strata of the society, which we have always done.

How, let’s go into grade stacks, even amongst those who are on social media, what percentage of them are going to vote at the end of the day? What percentage of them are registered voters?

A large percentage of them are what the Nollywood people call waka pass. They are not committed voters. Statistics and empirical analysis support this.

In addition, those who are gravitating to Peter Obi are not analyzing his antecedents, especially in terms of performance. If that is put into consideration, Peter Obi will trail far behind and this is not in any way to denigrate him. These are facts.

Oh, he has been Governor, but our candidate Asiwaju has also been Governor for eight years. However, in terms of performance, the difference is clear like night and day. There is no basis for comparison.

Therefore, if the people who are emotionally or sentimentally attached to Peter Obi are educated or enlightened and are told to do rational analysis, they would not to make a mistake of their lifetime. They will discover a difference; they will discover that it is fluke and this is substance and our candidate is the substance.

What we need at this point is visioning.

What do we mean by visioning?

I will tell you; a leader must be able to think minimum of 25 years and conceptualize what that will entail for the next 25-30, 40-50 years, not just for today. Cash and Carry container economics people look at immediacy. A visionary leader must look at now, the immediate term, the long term and the next generation and plan accordingly. It is only Asiwaju who has the demonstrable capacity. He has done it, and I will give you an example.

Many people are gravitating to Lagos, the Atlantic City, which is an icon of Nigeria today, was water some years back. Bar beach used to overflow into Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island. At some point, in2000, the entire stretch of Ahmadu Bello was being submerged and the property value in Victoria Island dropped because people are moving out of fear.

In addition, what did the Federal Government at that time do? What were they doing? They were sand filling every year with billions of Naira. I am a witness and so are many.

I was in the cabinet at the time, so I knew exactly the A-Z of the visioning, conceptualization, monitoring and execution that translated into the Eko Atlantic today. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu insisted that sand filling would not solve the problem.

We shopped around, calling experts and they brought proposals. First, we went to South Africa, the Netherlands and almost everywhere, especially where there was water problem and ocean surges.

Eventually, Asiwaju maintained that a permanent city should come out of the place and that is what we have there today-Eko Atlantic City.

Today, the United States of America is proposing to build its largest embassy in the world on the same Eko Atlantic, which is a project and investment of about over $500 million. This is aside other investments that are going on at the place.

Let me also talk about the Lekki Free Trade Zone, which Asiwaju also conceptualized in the early days of his administration.

Current Governor of Lagos State Mr.Babajide Sanwo-Oluwas on the entourage that went to China when this policy was being conceptualized. Today, the Zone has become a phenomenal economic hub.

That isthe Asiwaju Midas Touch. If he can translateLagos from a mere N600 million per month IGR state into over N50 billion, then he can do wonders for the country.

Given the complexities of our country, can he replicate the success story that he recorded in Lagos on this bigger scale of Nigeria?

It is even easier, for whoever has the capacity. Nigeria is more endowed than Lagos in terms of human, material and natural resources. This is one of the greatest countries in the world.

For Asiwaju Tinubu to translate what he has done in Lagos into Nigeria is easy because in Lagos, I knew what we went through in terms of conceiving all of those things, in terms of the courage that it took to actually put these public policies, projects and programmes into place.

Now in Nigeria, as a whole, we have resources in every corner, including human resources. What is Asiwaju noted for, if not for the ability or capacity to spot talents. That is a no brainer.

Everybody knows that. Which of the other candidates has that capacity, antecedent or track record? Therefore,it’s easier for Asiwaju to be given a larger canvas as it were.

We had two recent off-season elections, in Ekiti and Osun. The APC won one and lost the other. Given that your preferred presidential candidate is contesting against a battle tested candidate of the PDP, someone that could be described as a serial contestant,do you really think that your candidate has what it takes to defeat an Atiku Abubakar?

The first part of your question concerns the last two elections. I do not see how those ones affect my principal’s ability. In fact, some of us, we just do not deal with hearsays, rumourand stuff like that.

If you go to Osun today and do a random survey on the presidential candidates, you’ll discover that Asiwaju is far ahead of everyone. In addition, you can replicate that in all the other states.

Asiwaju has demonstrated repeatedly his capacity to say something and deliver.  Asiwaju is the only one I know in the political firmament of Nigeria today that is a thinker and a performer.

It’s been a while since you served as the Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Bola Tinubu’s administration between 1999 and 2007. What can you tell us about that star-studded team?

That again speaks of the capacity of Asiwaju and his leadership quality. One of the greatest indicators of a good leader is the ability to source the right human materials, and put round pegs in round holes and not only that, you don’t just assemble a team and then throw up your hands;you must drive the team and I can tell you because I have ocular proof.

I was a participant in that cabinet for eight years. I saw the management style of Asiwaju, which is a rare attribute of leadership. This was possible because he has had extensive job experience in the corporate world. He has worked in the US and he has worked in Nigeria and in the corporate environment.

He has dealt with national companies. He has worked with many brilliant people, both within and outside the country,coupled with his own innate talent God gave him

Interview

How FG can attract Foreign Investors – CIS Boss

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A thoroughbred multi-dimensional professional with over three-decade experience in the Nigerian Financial Market and President and Chairman of Council , Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Mr Oluwole Adeosun, FCS, in this interview, X-rays the state of the Nigerian Capital Market and offers suggestions on how the Federal Government can make the market competitive through constructive engagement with the regulators and operators.

Can you comment on the historic rally on NGX after the swearing -in of President Bola Tinubu ?

The Stock Market has been a barometer to measure developments in any economy, and the conclusion of the electoral process in Nigeria encapsulated in the inauguration of a new government is a major milestone that will excite any securities market. It is therefore not unusual for our market to spontaneously react to the positive development by way of the spike in the prices of the securities. The policy pronouncements, on the day of the inauguration, were also seen as a silver bullet that raised the consciousness of the stakeholders to the opportunities in the securities market.

In his inaugural Speech, President Bola Tinubu said there would be unified exchange rate. How will this impact the activities in the capital market?

That is one of the urgent policy corrections that the Nigerian Capital Market has been canvassing for in recent years. The wide gap between the official and parallel market rates is an anomaly which creates room for so many market malpractices. By creating a more efficient and transparent foreign exchange management system, the unified rate policy will make the market more competitive, make the currencies more easilyaccessible to manufacturers and other end users, and improve the bottom line for our quoted companies.

The transparency that will evolve from determining the rate will boost the integrity of the exercise which is expected to excite foreign investors to make a return to our securities market. There cannot be a perfect unified rate. But if the margin between the official rate and other windows is within 3 per cent range, it is normal. But the supply side of the forex has to be addressed as a basis to ensure that forex scarcity will not hamper the success of exchange rate unification in the medium and long run.

How can the Federal Government deploy the market to achieve the 6 % projected growth of the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product (GDP)?

That question will be thoroughly discussed and answered at the forthcoming CIS National Workshop coming up in Abuja on July 27, 2023. Suffice to state, for now, that the capital market is a very effective tool for actualizing a broad based Public Private Partnership strategy which we recommend for President Bola Tinubu and the various State Governors.

As at May 29, 2023 the Market Capitalization in the Nigerian stock market was just a little fraction of the country’s GDP, but that is a paradox, because the market has actually shown over time, that with adequate institutional support, it can significantly contribute to the economic transformation of the country. The capital market was used to transform the Nigerian banking system into the multi trillion industry that it is today, and to provide critical liquidity for governments in the country. The market is effective at pooling long term capital in the economy. Listing on the stock exchanges also enable large multinationals and MSMEs alike to raise massive capital with long term payback and very low cost. The commodity ecosystem is another revenue centre that the Federal Government can exploit. This is why the government should engage the operators in the ecosystem to know that is required for them to operate optimally.

Are there policy measures that the government should put in place to encourage both foreign and domestic investors to participate more in the capital markets ?

The role of government in businesses worldwide is to provide an enabling environment that will allow productive enterprises to flourish. By enabling environment, we mean rule of law, provision of adequate infrastructure etc. The government must create a savings friendly economic environment, and then, continuously work towards improving the Ease of Doing Business ranking of the country, to make it a competitive investment destination.

Tax policies should be reviewed, to encourageinvestments and not the other way round. For example, the recently introduced Capital Gains Tax will discourage high volume investments, and should be removed for now, particularly in view of the fragile nature of our economy and capital market. We need to encourage more investments.

The government should listen to us more; have more consultations with the Capital market in policy formulation. Steps should be taken to extend trading liquidity to the stock market, as is done in the advanced countries. Our pension funds should, as a matter of national interest, invest a higher proportion of their funds in the equity market to provide a stable foundation that motivates other high net worths to invest over the long term; and the Central Bank of Nigeria should pay more attention to the stock market, allow bank stocks to be included in margin lending portfolios being the most active and liquid stocks and encourage banks to partner more with Stockbroking firms. We cannot still be living in the past and be looking forward to a better future.

Is there a deliberate plan by the Institute to attract youths into the financial market ?

The youths represent our topmost priority area. Tertiary institutions and schools generally represent the first point of our annual capital market literacy drive. We also have the Inter-School Capital Market Quiz competition and recently, Essay Competition. We undertake Career Talk programs in so many institutions every year. As a matter of fact, we have gone to the extent of awarding the CIS Diploma scholarship to quite a number of young, indigent Nigerian citizens and many of them have responded positively.

When will the e-library of the Institute become operational ?

Very soon. We are currently putting the finishing touches to the library room, having procured the necessary tools for its operation. The unveiling will be announced before the early in the third quarter.

How would you advise investors under the current business environment ?

This is an excellent time to invest, with the guarantee of democracy in the country. The market will grow as the policies of the new government take shape. Having said that, please ensure that you always consult a qualified and licensed Stockbroker to guide your investment decisions. You may visit the CIS or SEC websites for the lists of qualified operators, or the websites of the various securities trading platforms. Investors should contact their stockbrokers for effective investment advice. Investment is a trade off of risk and return. An investor can make money in all seasons with appropriate investment advice.

There is still a knowledge gap in understanding the benefits of investment through the capital market. What are plans in the pipeline to deepen investor education?

We have a lot of plans. However, it must be understood that Capital Market Literacy drive is expensive. That is the reason we continue to request for grants: From government, market regulators, quoted companies and the general public. As you are aware, we launched CIS Academy last year and in just a small space of time, they have done so much in imparting skills to the larger financial industry; an example being the recent joint training Programme with Lagos Business School on Board Leadership in the Securities and Investments industry. We have so much to do, but the financial capacity is limited.

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Interview

Online voting will promote democracy and civic engagement — Founder TECHmIT, Adepoju

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Oluwaseun David Adepoju is a creative technologist, the founder of TECHmIT Africa and a curator of a collective called ‘ghetto silience.’ The firm seeks to accelerate technological resilience in underserved communities in Africa. In an interview with MOYOSORE SALAMI, he speaks on the significant role technology played in shaping politics today

What are some of the most significant ways technology is shaping politics today?

Technology is fundamentally changing the way politics is done today. One of the most significant ways technology is shaping politics is through the use of social media platforms. Social media has become an integral part of political campaigns and a powerful tool for engaging with constituents. Additionally, data analytics and machine learning algorithms are being used to target specific voters and craft tailored messaging. This can lead to more effective campaigning but also raises concerns about manipulation and privacy.

What are some of the biggest challenges and concerns related to technology and politics?

One of the most significant challenges related to technology and politics is the issue of privacy. With the rise of big data and artificial intelligence, there is a growing concern about how personal data is being collected, used, and shared by political campaigns. There is also the issue of disinformation, where false or misleading information is spread through social media, leading to a polarised public discourse. Bias is another concern, as algorithms can perpetuate and amplify existing biases, resulting in discriminatory outcomes.

How can technology be used to promote democracy and civic engagement?

Technology can be used to promote democracy and civic engagement by facilitating access to information, enabling online voting, and fostering public discourse. Social media platforms can be used to promote political engagement and mobilise voters, while digital tools can make it easier for individuals to participate in the political process.

What are some potential solutions to the challenges posed by the intersection of tech and politics?

The intersection of technology and politics poses several challenges that require innovative solutions. One potential solution is increased transparency and accountability for tech companies, particularly in their handling of personal data and use of algorithms. This can be achieved through regulation, such as the GDPR in the EU, or through industry self-regulation. Another solution is to promote digital literacy and critical thinking skills among the public to combat disinformation and online manipulation.

What role should the government play in regulating social media and other tech platforms?

Regarding the role of government in regulating social media and other tech platforms, there is a need for balanced and informed policymaking. Governments should ensure that tech companies uphold ethical standards and protect users’ privacy and data, while also balancing free speech and innovation. It is crucial to strike a balance between protecting users and promoting innovation.

How do you see emerging technologies like AI and blockchain changing the way we live and work?

Emerging technologies like AI and blockchain have the potential to revolutionise the way we live and work. AI can automate repetitive tasks and enable more personalised experiences, while blockchain can enhance security and transparency in transactions. However, these technologies also raise concerns about job displacement, privacy, and ethical considerations around AI development and deployment. I believe we can get the best out of these technologies and understand how to regulate them better with time.

Cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly important concern for individuals and businesses alike. What are some of the most pressing cybersecurity issues that we need to be aware of?

Some of the most pressing cybersecurity issues we need to be aware of include data breaches, ransomware attacks, and phishing scams. These attacks can compromise personal data and financial information, causing significant harm to individuals and businesses alike. It is crucial to stay informed about cybersecurity threats and take proactive measures to protect ourselves and our organisations.

With the rise of remote work and the gig economy, how do you see technology shaping the future of work?

Technology is transforming the future of work by enabling remote work, freelancing, and the gig economy. With the rise of digital platforms, individuals can work from anywhere and take on projects that align with their skills and interests. Working in the future will be more of “experience” than “employment” with the rise of more distributed systems technologies. Global collaboration will continue to increase and distributed team systems at organisations will become mainstream. However, this also raises concerns about job security, income inequality, and the need for new policies and regulations to protect workers’ rights.

Do you think technology can be used to address some of the world’s challenges such as climate change, inequality?

Technology can certainly be used to address some of the world’s challenges, including climate change and inequality. For example, AI and machine learning can help optimise energy consumption and reduce waste, while blockchain can enable transparent and secure transactions in the fight against corruption and inequality. However, technology is not a silver bullet, and it needs to be complemented by broader policy and societal changes.

What is your advice for young people who are interested in pursuing a career in technology?

For young people interested in pursuing a career in technology, my advice would be to stay curious and keep learning. Technology is constantly evolving, and it is essential to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and trends. Building a strong foundation in computer science, mathematics, and critical thinking will provide a solid base for a career in technology. It is also crucial to develop soft skills, such as communication and teamwork, as technology often requires collaboration across different domains and disciplines.

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Interview

Opposition on wild goose chase, Gov. Abiodun’s reelection is a product of a heartwarming performance — Dennis Ogunnaike

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In this interview by Bankole Taiwo, the Special Assistant to Gov Dapo Abiodun on Technology Innovation and Strategy, Mr Dennis Akinwale Ogunnaike speaks on the second coming of Gov Abiodun, the commitment of the present administration to use ICT to revolutionise governance and empower the citizens among other topical issues trailing last governorship election in the state. Excerpts.

Let’s have a bit of yourself

I am Dennis Akinwale Ogunnaike, a native of Erinlu in Ward 2 of Odogbolu  Local Government Area  of Ogun State but I took my ancestral lineage from Mobalufon and my maternal roots from Iperu Akesan. I have been with Gov. Dapo Abiodun since 2013 handling communication and other ICT needs for him like database management and web development among others. I started with him as a volunteer and this year makes it a decade that this great lover of humanity whose commitment to empowering the youth remains irrevocable, that is, His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun has taken me in as one of his children and he has practically been everything and more to me; a good father, mentor and performance coach, just as he is to many of us around him.

During his campaign for Ogun East Senatorial seat in 2015, I was there helping with the communication aspect of the campaign but when it didn’t go through because God was actually preparing him for this present task of leading the state, Prince Dapo Abiodun brought me into his company, Heyden Petroleum where I worked on specialised projects  deploying surveillance solutions and managing key ICT infrastructure projects. Actually my journey into ICT started during my secondary school days at Adeola Odutola, Ijebu-Ode. I found out that I had keen interest in computers when we got our computer labs in the early 90s, it was a new phenomenon at that time and that attracted my interest so much. I was a school prefect so I had unfettered access to the Laboratory where I would spend hours with the college instructors.

While preparing for admission into the university where I intended to study medicine because I had great O’Level results and the thinking among my circle of friends with good results was to become Medical Doctors. However, it was at this point that there was this long strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), so I decided to enroll for Diploma programme in Computer Engineering organised by The Bespoke ICT Institute, an international organisation in the year 2002. The course covers ICT infrastructure management, Hardware Installation and maintenance, surveillance system, CCTV, fire alarms, quite extensive programme. I later went to University of Lagos, like I have said earlier, for me and my friends who were actually doing very fine in our studies at that time, we had As and high hopes and our dream was to study Medicine, unfortunately my JAMB scores was three marks less or so, so I eventually studied Biological sciences majoring in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Pollution Management at the University of Lagos. Alongside, I equally continued my training in ICT, I was taking the advanced courses covering web development and I worked part time on ICT projects for clients while in school, by the time I finished, I had developed keen interest in government probably because of my experience working with some senior colleagues on certain government owned projects.

Upon graduation, I had my NYSC done at Oke-Ila Orangun in Osun State with Oba Dokun Abolarin, the Orangun of Okeila whom we still maintain close contact after many years. Let me also add that I was the Overall Best Corp Member and Winner of State and National Honours for the Service Year during my NYSC.

I have had opportunities to work extensively on policy research and community relations and I was nominated for a development knowledge facilitation training organized by the United Nations Development Programme – UNDP.

Slightly before then I had been actively involved in campus politics as a member of Students Union and Students Representatives Council. I also convened the National Youth Economic Empowerment Summit in 2010 so with all that experience put together, I realised there is a place for technology use in governance if we must bridge so many gaps. So, I got so much involved in research of using ICT to better governance and help solve a number of challenges in public space. I was particular about using ICT to empower the youths, I attended further trainings at the FRCN Training school in 2013 and returned to Unilag for my Master Degree in Public and International Affairs Administration in 2013 and was working on some side projects with the Lagos State Government, I had done similar tasks with the Osun State Government during the tenure of Engr Rauf Aregbesola. So I have always kept my hands busy, It was in the course of all of these that I met my hardworking boss, Prince Dapo Abiodun in 2013 and he gave me his platform to further find expressions for my talents and interests. When God did it for us in 2019, the governor deemed it fit to appoint me as his Special Assistant in the Office of The Governor. I will eternally be grateful to him for the privilege to serve.

So, what has been the success story of this administration as far as ICT development is concerned?

Well, after the inauguration of the Governor in 2019, he told us he wanted to hit the ground running using ICT to revolutionise governance in the state and empower the teeming youthful population. He there and then said he wanted an implementable plan within his first 100 days in office. So, from the word go, Oga knew what he wanted and he wasn’t mincing words about the huge role of technology in his determined bid to enhance the prosperity of the state at all fronts. This was how we came up with the jobs portal which has been largely successful in giving the government an overview of job seekers vis a vis the available opportunities at any given time within the state. We also came up with the TechHub at Kobape, opposite the Judiciary Complex, essentially to save the moribund model school built but abandoned by the last administration from total decay, the Hub has played host to over 20,000 people who have been trained and they cut across all strata of the society. We have seen quite many who have been able to develop some apps there too, that place is playing a very huge role in empowering our youths. You see kids of 8 to 12 years coming to the TechHub learning coding, designing games, websites  and the likes. One thing the Governor is also doing exceedingly well is in the provision of ICT infrastructure across the length and breadth of the state, you can see the fibre optic cables being laid across the state, just look out of your window when traveling, you will see the men working, the Governor’s dream is to ensure that once you are in Ogun State, you have access to unhindered internet. The passion with which this is being done is first of its kind, these are parts of what the government of Gov Abiodun will be delivering in the second term. Plans are underway to have the TechHub at the remaining Senatorial districts of Ogun East and West, so our eyes have been on the ball so to say.

There are other ICT driven initiatives of Government like the DigiClass, which kept our students engaged during the ravaging Covid -19 pandemic, the OLAMS system deployed for Land Administration, Education Management Systems, The Courts Management Systems even in Health and Agriculture, there is not a single sector that has not received the digitisation injection of the Governor.

How do you see the last governorship in the state?

Well, I had a custom built feedback system where I aggregate information from the 236 Wards in the state that had given me a hint of what is likely to be the outcome of the governorship election. This has a lot to do with the research that I carried out between 2021-2022, I went across the 236 Wards, interacted with different focus groups so it is the aggregate of these views that formed the foundation of my report which tilted towards the governor coming back for the second term. Yes, the contest might be keen but the good works of the Governor in almost four years will stand him out and so it happened exactly that way. From my interactions with the media before the election, I have always maintained that the second term of Gov Abiodun was not in any way threatened. Of course we have reports of some set of people doing all soughts to undermine the last governorship election, engaging in vote buying and all that but the people still spoke with their votes affirming their support for the second term of the governor. So, there’s no case of stolen mandate anywhere, rather the opposition was rejected at the poll because of the sterling performance of Mr. Governor in his first term. As we speak in all 20 local government areas of the state, there is not a single one that has not recieved the good works of Gov. Dapo Abiodun, it’s either the projects there are ongoing or completed. This wasn’t the case under the immediate past government where development were visibly concentrated in certain areas of the state. The Governor has been very strategic in delivering good governance to the people of Ogun State, steadily implementing his ISEYA agenda cutting across road construction, qualitative healthcare, education, housing, agriculture, youth development among others.  He might not be someone given to standing on the rooftop and be shouting I have done this and done that because he believes that he was elected into office to do those things, so why the noise again?

So in a nutshell, what does the Governor’s second coming mean to Ogun people?

I must first of all thank the people of Ogun State for speaking in unison with their votes to have Gov Dapo Abiodun for another four years. It shows that they are quite intelligent and appreciate the good works of the governor in the last four years. Definitely, the second coming of Gov Abiodun means continuation of the good works across all the sectors. Look at the road from Ilishan to Ago Iwoye that passes through the Campus of the Olabisi Onabanjo University into Ago Iwoye that was completely abandoned and was endangering the lives of many of our students that have recieved the magic wand of the Governor, and the remarkable Agbara-Atan-Lusada main Arterial express way in Ogun West that are under construction, the 2nd Term of the Governor will certainly witness the completion of these projects. How about the world class International Agro-Cargo Airport which is capable of generating over 25,000 jobs. Recall that Mr Bayo Ogunlesi, son of the renowned first Professor of Medicine, Prof Theophilus Ogunlesi who was buried at almost 100 about two weeks ago, was briefly at the airport to see things for himself. Mr Bayo Ogunlesi is the owner of Gatwick Airport, London and many others in the world. He was so fascinated with the project that he bowed for the governor saying that he had not seen such a huge airport done within such a time frame. So, this huge project will begin to bear fruits in the second term couple with more houses, schools, roads, hospitals, so much more empowerment for our youths, so much consolidation on the good works of last four years because we have a governor that is not joking with the business of taking our dear state to greater heights.

Given all kinds of talks around Tinubu’s presidency, what do you think the incoming government at the centre will look like?

Fortunately, I served as the Co-ordinating Secretary of the Jagaban Army in the state, that is the APC National Youths Campaign Council foot soldiers. You see, I grew up in Lagos, I went to the University of Lagos and I am very aware of all the magic wands of our President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu when he was Governor of Lagos State between 1999 and 2007. Before his tenure, Lagos was a very chaotic environment to commute back then, but with strong political will and being a manager of resource par excellence, Lagos began to wear a new look. The hospitals and schools took new shapes, the security started improving, how about the environmental and waste management initiatives? There were places you can’t pass by then without your handkerchief covering your nose until Asiwaju came. I mean, we saw a new commitment to give Lagos the status of that mega city and centre of excellence. I can go on and on. There’s no doubting the fact that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu himself is the symbolism of modern governance that is solely committed to giving humanity the very best. Here is a master political strategist and astute administrator who knows how to get good brains to assist in delivering good governance to the people.

But some people say he is old?

Well, his age has nothing to do with what is on ground, ultimately because he would not govern alone, I have the confidence that he would assemble a competent team with whom he would implement his policies and programme. I tell you we have gotten a good opportunity to lift the country higher and expand its frontiers in the next four years, renewable by another four. I am optimistic that this is the best moment Nigerians have been waiting for and we shall all be living witnesses of a more prosperous, economically viable, stronger and united Nigeria under Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The opposition in the state, particularly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not convinced that your party won the last governorship election and had said that the victory party would be for a while, saying that they will soon reclaim the mandate before the tribunal, what did you say to this?

Talk is said to be cheap and you can see that I was just laughing when you asked this question because once you are sinking like the opposition in the state, you want to grab at anything and hold on to anything in sight. They are only giving their followers a false hope because the truth is that Gov Abiodun won the last governorship election squarely. It is the people’s mandate that will last another four years by the special grace of God.

I sincerely wish the opposition will cooperate with the Governor to further develop the state rather than embarking on another exercise in futility. The Governor has always thrown his arms wide open for the everyone with meaningful ideas to bring same forward for the greater good of our state, but if they choose to embark on another share waste of resources and productive time, goodluck to them but I am confident in God that this DA mandate of 2023 to 2027 remains unshakable! Though the election came with its own perculiarities, the truth will always remain the truth and books don’t lie, Gov Dapo Abiodun won the last governorship election by dint of hardwork, the gambling opposition people are only on a wild goose chase.

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