Interview

 

Moyosola Niran Oladunni is an aspirant of the All Progressives Congress in the 2016 gubernatorial election in Ondo State. He spoke to James Sowole on his vision for the sunshine state. Excerpts: 
 
Quite a number of aspirants in APC want to get the ticket of the party to contest the November 26 governorship election. What are your chances of picking the ticket?
I do not know of any aspirant in APC that you will ask such a question and he or she will tell you that he or she has no chances. We know why so many people are aspiring. I am not a stranger in political field of Ondo State and people that could have been following my political antecedents will attest to the fact that I have always been persistent in this struggle among the aspirants on the field.
We have looked at the aspirants on the field and we believe if we have to do appropriate analysis, I am in the best position to rescue this state from the present position. I have no doubt in my mind that we will be the choice of the majority of the people of this state. I think I am dynamic, young, and vibrant and I also think I am exposed to a level that could provide the visionary leadership that the people of this state have been yearning for over the years. We will do whatever we promise them and deliver appropriately.
 
Akoko leaders in APC are making moves that will ensure that the division produced a consensus candidate that will compete with others in the party’s primary. What is your take on this?
Yes, we are very much aware that there have been moves to unite all the aspirants from Akoko to agree on one person, so that we can work together and promote a candidate we think has the best chance of winning the election. It is a welcome idea and it is not alien to politics. In politics, I do not think there is any idea that is not worth consideration. The plan is okay but for us, we have to make sure that the sincerity of the leaders is not in doubt and we have to be clearly convinced of the criteria so that this idea does not backfire.
We also have to be clearly convinced that all the aspirants will have to buy into the idea. Having said that, I have not found in the constitution of the APC, where such power is vested in any group within the party except Electoral College that the party recognises to determine how it wants to nominate its candidate. I think it is still a welcome idea to unite all the aspirants as long as the fairness behind that could be proven and get the buy-in of all the aspirants and abide by whatever decision that is taken thereafter.
 
Is it true that the leaders in Akoko areas have chosen one of the aspirants as being rumoured?
That is far from the truth. The elders as far as I know about such plan have not picked any aspirant. I want to believe that the elders have no particular aspirant in mind. I have met with the elders at a meeting once. I am sure that a lot of people in Akoko including the elders understand my character and background. They know that the only thing we trade in is our integrity. In that meeting, I made it clear to the elders that the idea of settling for a consensus candidate is a welcome idea but we need to set the criteria very clear.
When you want to go by consensus, are you going to go by questionnaire, where criteria will be set? What is going to be the determining factor for arriving at a particular candidate? We are approaching the primary according to INEC’s Time table, which must be concluded before September ending. If the elders could be fast enough to take whatever decision they want to take, the better for all of us. The processes and procedure must be set in time to meet the INEC Timetable if not, we will all submit ourselves to primaries.
The most important of this is to get all the aspirants’ approval for such exercise. Many of us have been on the field spending money and using energy while most of these elders too have been directly or indirectly been involved in the campaigns of the aspirants. If at this late hour, the elders think we should have consensus candidate, it will mean that the elders have a lot of jobs to do. They must be able to prove their neutrality. If the elders fail in this aspect of neutrality, the whole move will divide the aspirants rather than unite them.
I know that many of the elders are very respectable. I know of many of them, who value his or her integrity and he or she would not want to be dragged in the mud. I am sure they will tread cautiously. Let me add that if you want to pick a consensus candidate among seven people, you will first bring the criteria out. All of us most unanimously agree to the criteria and later set up another committee that will use the criteria to appraise the aspirants.
The Committee must ask about the character, network ability, educational background, exposure, age, antecedents and financial capacity. You must have all these things set out clearly. All the aspirants will agree. An unbiased panel will then be set up to assess us. Those are the things that must be done. Anything other than this will not make the plan work. You cannot sit somewhere and believe that whoever brings the highest cash to you should be the consensus candidate. That is not going to work. The process must not only be fair, it must be seen to be fair and transparent.
 
What do you have different from other aspirants that can take the state out of its present economic doldrums?
 
I am not used to copying others because I believe in my ability to create enviable things that others would see and want to emulate. I believe that this state needs to be recreated. We are going to recreate a state that our people will be proud of. We are going to recreate a state that prosperity will be the lot of the people. We want to recreate a state that all other states will see and they will be envious of us. I am recreating selflessness, integrity and visionary leadership.
It is going to be political leadership that will not play lip service to the critical sectors of our economy. I am vibrant, young, exposed and I am a man of integrity. I am a man of unquestionable character. I am traceable and my antecedents are verifiable. We believe we possess the required qualification to provide the desired leadership. I know I am selfless. So, for me, I am looking beyond the primary of APC.
 
It presupposes to assume that the would-be governor should have deep political knowledge, characterised by a period of time that he has been exposed to governance at different levels of government.  What experiences have you?
I want to believe that your question is personal and relative because there is another school of thought that says we need new breed of young politicians as governor. The agitation is becoming popular now and fast gaining support. Experience in governance is relative. What you term as experience in governance maybe experience in corruption. I want to tell you that running a government is different from running a private liability company.
In private liability company, at the end of the financial year, you must declare profit. In governance, what you declare is social infrastructure to the people of your state. The people of the state are crying yet you have a governor that became a Commissioner between 1991 and 2008. He became an SSG and Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. What experience do you need again? What is the reward of that experience?
Leadership is leadership. If you will never be a good leader, when you go to the US for leadership training, you will never be one. Leadership is all about vision, empathy and selflessness. These are attributes that people who know us very well can attest to. I am sure that a person, who has these attributes can be a better leader. So, experience is relative. We have people who are experienced in the act of stealing, political deceit and corrupt practices. On the day of election, the people of this state shall determine the kind of experience they want from the would-be governor. I will provide leadership with vision to recreate Ondo State.