Boye Oyewunmi

Since joining the race for Ondo State governorship post on the All Progressives Congress platform, Mr. Boye Oyewunmi, whose campaign has been gathering momentum, spoke on his decision to become governor of the state. Shola Oyeyipo brings the excerpts:

You opted to join the race to succeed Governor Olusegun Mimiko on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, what is your motivation?
The truth is, I have always been a social democrat in orientation. When I was much younger, about half my age, I was a member of NADECO in the diaspora. I was probably the youngest member then. I was also a member of the late MKO Abiola Presidential Campaign Team way back in 1992 and that was where I cut my political teeth in terms of being interested in development of Nigeria. It is just that this occasion, I am specific on Ondo State but my look has always been more national and my contribution has always been at that level.

I have reached a stage in life, where I honestly believe that in the Nigerian perspective, we try the best of cars but we allow the worst of men to drive us and that I think is a national tragedy. When you have had opportunity to see how other civilised societies are run either by migration or by birth, you understand that life ought not to be as difficult as it is in Nigeria.

I am in the gubernatorial race not because I am looking for a job. I am not a political jobber. I am driven by a vision to be the difference that is possible. Am I alone in this race? The answer is no. The terrain in Nigeria is such that if you don’t have good people supporting you, if you don’t have conviction, if you are not driven by selfless ambition to be a change agent, you could very easily be discouraged. I intend to be a magnet that brings other like-minded people into governance.

But why did you join the race rather late?
There is a local proverb that says the masquerade that danced first would watch other dance for a longer time. That is number one. Two, leadership for me is not something that is a race in perpetuity. You occupy the space for a period of time, you do your best and you leave. Like I said, I am not just driven by an ambition of wanting to be governor, I have a vision and a vision is always for an appointed time.

This is the appointed time and we believe so. It is not that we woke up out of a deep slumber and said we want to be this, no. We are not looking for job. Number three, in every race there is always a David. We started about three or four months ago, if we check where we are in the poll now, then you would ask yourself how is it possible for somebody that started three, four months ago and he is a top runner in an election, where people have been spending resources two years before now?

To win the governorship election you must first win the party primary. Do you think you have what it takes to become the APC standard bearer in Ondo State?
One of the beauties of APC as we know it, especially in Ondo State is a level playing field. If we are not in a level playing field, we wouldn’t have any room at all. That has been said, that has been demonstrated and there is nothing the party has done to negate that. When something is a level playing field, it doesn’t matter when you get into the field. Why is it a level playing field? We have about 43 candidates, very vibrant men and ladies, who want to be governor and when you have a richness of candidates like that, the only way is to allow them go into the field.

The delegates are human beings, who are approachable. They are not commodities to be bought and they are people, whose conscience can be appealed to, whose conscience we have been appealing to. We don’t have any financial resources to acquire delegates because we don’t believe they should be bought. Everybody is showcasing what he can do and we have had cases in this country and in many other countries, where people who have expended the most resources turned up with the least delegates.

What would you say is your unique selling point?
I am bringing freshness to the table because anything fresh has life in it, anything dead is dead. I have never been at this junction before and I am not going to be there again because I am forward thinking. I have the freshness of ideas in understanding what the problem is and proffering solutions, because we are a rich country but one lacking in ideas.