In this interview with Bankole Taiwo, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State, Prince Adekunle Adebayo speaks on the party’s governorship primaries, drumming support for the second term bid of Gov. Dapo Abiodun as well as aspiration of Hon. Herman Hembe to lead the good people of Benue State come 2023. Excerpts:
In the next three days, your party, APC will gather to choose its governorship candidate for the 2023 elections, what are your expectations?
The pendulum will actually swing in favour of our hardworking governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun. I really want to believe that it is a done deal for him and this is not because he’s the sitting governor but because he had in the last three years justified the confidence reposed in him. The governor has raised the bar of good governance in the state having been working for the betterment of all since assuming office on May 29, 2019. However, beyond this, we still want to urge the party delegates to pitch their tent with the governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun during the primaries, so that he can continue his good works beyond 2023.
Most importantly, is the ongoing Agro-Cargo Airport at Ilisan Remo that will go a long way to boost agric-business and open up the state for more economic prosperity. This is also in tandem with the call for diversification from the reliance on oil as our major source of revenue. This project will help our farmers to market their farm produce to the world with so much ease. You will also remember that the governor is also busy with the long abandoned Ago Iwoye-Ilisan road which cuts across four local governments. The completion of that road and several other strategic ones across the state are really of great importance to enhancing the prosperity of the state.
If you are giving the governor these pass marks, why all these attacks against him?
I will be philosophical about this; when you see a mango tree with ripe fruits, definitely people won’t let such mango tree be, you will see people throwing stones and all sorts at the mango tree to have a bite. I think it is the scintillating performance of Gov. Dapo Abiodun that has attracted this needless attack. These people could not believe their eyes that a man who they said wasn’t prepared for the business of ruling the state is now doing it so brilliantly that people are already calling on him to continue the good work beyond 2023. Did they even expect him to be the governor with the stiff opposition they spearheaded during the build up to 2019 governorship election in the state and even after the victory at the polls? Despite COVID-19 pandemic and how it slowed down the global economy, the governor has successfully recorded giant strides in virtually all the sectors. So, the attack coming out of frustration and politics of bitterness and regret is understandable. Unfortunately for them, this governor that I am seeing is already coasting home for another term. I, therefore, urge our delegates to do the needful on Thursday when we shall all gather to handover the second term mandate to our governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun.
You are far away in Ogun State yet you are rallying support for Hon. Herman Hembe, one of the APC governorship aspirants in Benue State, can you tell why?
It is because as a true Nigerian who can make any part of this country to be my home, I want good governance replicated everywhere. Hon. Herman Hembe by extension is an adopted indigene of Ogun State; he did his one year mandatory service here in Ogun and married one of our beautiful daughters too. He is a third term federal lawmaker currently representing Konshisha/Vandeikya federal constituency, and here is a young man running so passionately with the vision for good governance. As a federal lawmaker, he has done so much building bridges, schools and a whole lot of interventions to make life more comfortable for his people. I have visited him several times. In fact, I just came back from Markurdi last week and one can see the good work of this young man all over the place. He has gotten a huge track record to the extent that the royal fathers in Igede land recently gave him their blessings and adopted him as their governorship candidate. I just want to urge my Benue people to shun the money bags and go for this young man who is really ready to take the state to higher height. Herman Hembe is the right man for the job in Benue State as we speak and I hope that the delegates will make this happen on Thursday.
What is your take on the multiple presidential aspirants in the Southwest APC?
To be candid, I am a bit worried and that is why I have always repeated it that the unity of the Southwest APC is very crucial to the desire of producing the next presidential candidate of our party. It’s against this background that I am appealing to all that are concerned, to all our leaders to please close rank and present a common front as we inch closer to the presidential primaries between May 29 to 30.
As far as 2023 is concerned, are you saying opposition parties have no chance in Ogun State?
Absolutely correct, the governor has been doing a yeoman job, he is not taking the people for granted, he has continued working for the betterment of the state and the people too are ready to return him for another term in 2023.
What is your advice to Nigerian youths in this season of politics and are you running for any elective post in 2023?
The youth should team up with APC to build a more virile Nigeria. They should please channel all those energies for BBN towards building a country that we can all be proud of. They should stay away from being willing tools in the hands of desperate politicians so that they do not become the very enemy of their tomorrow. As far as 2023 is concerned, I am not seeking for any elective office. My preoccupation is to ensure that Gov. Dapo Abiodun is returned for another term while our great party, APC also retains the presidential seat.