Jegede: In this Election, We are Confident Our Record Will Speak for Us

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Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the upcoming governorship election in Ondo State. In this interview with Tokunbo Adedoja, Jegede, who served as the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice for over seven years, says he is going into the election with a track record of achievements and bold new ideas to consolidate the gains recorded by the current administration and set the state on the path of rapid growth

How has it been campaigning for the topmost political office in the state?
It’s been interesting, it’s been very exciting, it’s been very educative in the sense that you see, first hand, the plight of our people. Because most of the time, the theory is different from the practical, and again you must match your vision against the reality on ground. In the last few months, I have had the opportunity to see our people first hand. I have visited all the local governments, I have visited the traditional rulers, most of the time I visited our religious leaders, I have met with our party leaders, I have met with the people, I have seen the market women, I have seen the artisans, those who control the life of our economy. I have seen those who are high there and those who are low and then this has sharpened my perception about what governance is all about and about what governance should be. I have seen and felt the emotions of our people and the sentiments they expressed. I have seen the needs to be focused and to do what one has to do not only for this period but also for the future, for generations that are not yet born. So it is very exciting, very educative, very interesting and it has again propelled my commitment to keep my hands on the plough and to keep my head up high and be focused and not be distracted. It’s been good.

For 7 years or so, you were a commissioner in the administration of Governor Mimiko, at what point did it occur to you that you would want to take the baton of leadership from him?
First, at the beginning of our second tenure, but it is not as if one did not have the idea, not about myself, but the idea to preserve those legacies that we were working on and were yielding results, and because, again you will not want to build a house and somebody will come and dismantle it. I am aware that it takes a lot of energy, strategy, deep thinking to build and it takes a lot of time to build, but it takes seconds to destroy. And that was the main reason why I believe that somebody who shares in the vision of Dr. Mimiko should succeed him, somebody who shares in the vision of making people the central focus of governance should be the person that would succeed. But then this idea crystalize into the next stage during the second tenure.

Because the motive was to serve, I did not go about it in a way that others would want to go about it. There was no drama about it and because I am a man under the authority of the law, I tried as much as possible not to breach the law even though I had an ambition, but my ambition was moderated by my deep sense of contentment. If you want to serve and the people have issues with you serving, then you should pull back. You shouldn’t insist that you want to serve. If you want to serve and the people know that you want to serve, they should also encourage you to say because of what you are bringing on board, you should prepare to serve.

And because I know that it is a thankless job, basically, the business of governance is a very tedious work, from experience. I have friends who have been governors, and I have friends who are still governors, I have worked with my boss, my leader for seven and half years, I have learnt one or two things in the process. I have very clear ideas about what I would want to do and I do know that all those ideas are centered basically on service and the need to develop our people and develop our state and offer prosperity to our people and consequently offer prosperity to the state and do some things in a way that will touch other sectors that have not been touched. And that is why I am in the business of campaigning for election.

You have had a successful legal practice and also a successful stay in government for 7years or thereabouts, why would you want to be a governor at a time when governors are unpopular because they cannot fulfill their electoral promises because of lack of resources caused by recession, and you are also making promises?
I have a fairly long experience in private practice, it was a life of struggle but we made a success out of it. I have a fairly long experience in public service, it was a period of service and I have also learnt from it. Now if I have learnt from these sectors and I cannot translate this experience into practical, of what use is it for me? Of what use is it for the people? That is why I think that at a period like this, we need dedicated hands, people who have very clear vision, people who are interested in governance and less in the politics of it to be in the saddle and that is why I have decided to take a shot a the highest office in the state, and that is the office of the governor because I believe I have a lot to offer. And again, these are challenging period and they say in Yoruba, Ibi to ba le lan ba omokunrin.

And again I believe this period demands and compels that we must come up with our best hands and I believe I am one of our best hands in terms of experience, in terms of training, in terms of commitment, in terms of integrity, in terms of dedication and in terms of service.

And I believe that even in this challenging period there are good sides to it and we must leverage on those good sides to develop our economy, to make our states more self-reliant to be able to provide resources for governance, to be able to change the fortunes of our farmers, to be able to provide the platforms for employments, to be able to go to those areas of our states that would need very daring and bold steps, and I am talking about the sourthern fringes of the state where there is need, absolute need for us to develop the deep sea port which this government has started in terms of obtaining the required licence but which we need a very bold step, a very daring step, a step that will be clearly focused on the objective of the commercial focus of that idea. And also the need to go to the northern side and talk about those very fine natural resources, minerals that they needed to be developed.

I was talking to somebody about the granite potential in our northern side called Supare and I was told that what we have there is one of the most qualitative granite you can find anywhere in the world. I know we have bitumen and I know a lot of our people have paid lip-service to the need to develop this potential and I believe that we can take a very bold step to develop it, maybe not for today but for tomorrow, and because I believe that there is need for us to leverage on our potential in cocoa production where Nigeria is the fourth largest producer of cocoa in the entire world, where ondo State produces about 30 per cent of the Nigerian products, where we do about 78,000 tonnes per annum out of the about 250,000 or thereabouts that Nigeria produces in a year.

We should be able to leverage on those potentials to develop our economy and that is why I believe that time has come to now look more on the side of developing economy of our state, creating an industry, ensuring that we provide jobs for our people and also providing the necessary protection and comfort for our farmers. We are coming with brand new bold ideas, not the normal one of providing equipment, providing seedlings, no.

We want to go further than that, we want to make the farmers our positive targets, we want to give them a life that they would be proud of, we want to make sure that at the end of the day, a farmer should be able to say that I am a farmer not because he represents poverty but because he represents wealth.

We want our farmers to be given the support that they need in terms of clearing the land for them, give them free seedlings, but more importantly ensure that they have immediate reward for their products. If today you are able to harvest your products and you need money, you should be able to approach a government agency and say, look I have five tonnes of maize and I need money, and government should be able to provide the funds for those maize for him and take in those maize, capture it, so that he can be able to go back to the farm, so that he can pay his bills, so that he can pay his health bills, so that he can pay his children’s school fees, he doesn’t have to go and put those crops on the street or in the market and wait endlessly for some shylock merchants who will come and take it away from them and sell it at a very high price and make money for themselves and keep the man in perpetual poverty.

We should be able to provide risk takers for them. A farmer who is producing his maize, who unfortunately will have interference, negative interference from either natural disaster or from human disaster or from cattle herders who will come and destroy it and once he does that, where do you leave him? We should not leave him in the cold.

We should be able to pay some small premium to some insurance companies so that in the event that this damage does occur please give this man some comfort so that he can take some money. If he cannot get that, then government should have a responsibility, the same way we provide roads, and provide free medical services for our people, we should be able to compensate the person that has genuinely put his sweat on the line and work so that he can feed us and give us food security, to be able to say, look you can’t lose out completely.

Those are some of the bold, daring ideas we want to bring on board. We want to ensure that even those farmers, genuine farmers, who have a small acreage to cultivate we provide larger acreage for them and insist that even if you are producing five tonnes and we are giving you additional 100 hectares cleared for you, you should be able to provide 200 tonnes for us and then our investment would be recouped at the end of the day but you are in charge. If we do that, I am sure that we would have provided food security, we would have provided employment, genuine one, because the farmers that we are bringing on board, he is going to employ other people, genuine ones, and those other people who will work for him and those that are coming are going to be genuine farmers and we will also have products to show for it.

We want to ensure that even cattle breeding is done here in a set up that provide example for others so that this idea of herding cattle in the night, destroying crops, is not given a place of prominence. And unless and until we are able to have some sense of self-sustenance in terms of our needs even for cattle, then there will be a problem because those cattle herders will always come in and create this security challenge that we are facing now. I believe that the potential that lies in the southern belt, Ilaje axis, is unimaginable.

There are ships that come into this country to berth but they cannot because it is not deep enough and they stay far (on the high sea) and discharge their cargoes with smaller ships going there to bring those cargoes to Lagos or Apapa ports, whereas we have along Ilaje/Ese-Odo axis our deep shore, deeper than the one you have in Calabar or Lagos. But because it is not developed, and because we’ve not invested as we should in that axis, you do not draw on the commercial potentials of that axis. Just close your eyes for a while and imagine a port, a deep sea port in Ondo axis and you can imagine the transformation that deep sea port will compel, in terms of rail, in terms of road, in terms of leisure, in terms of infrastructure, in terms of investment.

My belief is that some of these things are achievable and they can be done by a person that has a clear focus about the economy, not taking away the need to provide for the welfare of our people and make sure that nobody is denied medical service because of inability to pay and nobody is denied education just because he cannot afford tuition. Those are some of the things I want to marry together, but we need both and that is why I am in this business.

Having served under Mimiko, which in a way could be described as your learning process, how would you respond to the view in some quarters that you will be tied to his apron string as governor?
I will be tied to the apron string of the people and the apron string of God. And I tell you this, Dr. Mimiko is a person that has very good respect, deep respect for those who have ideas, and if along the line, people like me are given support, it is because they realize the potential that people like us have. And again, don’t forget that the governor will be the chief executive of the state, he takes responsibility, so he should be able to take responsibility for himself. And let me say this again, because I have attained the highest distinction possible in the legal profession, I am also a person that has paid his dues, I did not join this government while I was not a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, I joined this administration as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and while I was there, it was my responsibility most of the time to chair a sub committee meeting of the State Executive Council that deals basically with tenders in the state.

And again, even while I was still serving, it was my privilege to coordinate the activities, when I was there, of the Attorneys General of the 36 states of the federation. That is a position of responsibility. We are also bringing onboard integrity, we are bringing onboard clear focus, clear vision and those are the things that propel us. And let me allay the fears of those who insinuate this that for me, we will be clearly focused and we will draw ideas from everybody, even those who are complaining now, if they have very bright, beautiful ideas, bring those ideas on board, I will be tied to their apron strings once they have good ideas that can move our state forward, and we are going to run an open government, everything will be on the table, and we are going to develop a principle of access, that is one of the things that I learnt in this business. Let people know what you are doing, if you are going to criticize, yes, it doesn’t matter, but you will be rest assured that we will take the best decisions. Even their criticisms will also serve to sharpen our views about some of those things we do. Nobody can be perfect. So we will leave our options clearly open for everybody to access, and we will leave our position known to everybody.

Campaigns are based on two platforms – record and promise. Fortunately for you, the government in which you served is the incumbent and it has a record of achievements. Even though the governor is adjudged in several quarters to have performed well especially in the areas of roads, education, health and urban renewal, there are those who also feel there are other areas he has not lived up to expectation, particularly in the area of non-payment of workers’ salaries which ordinarily should be a routine administrative thing. How do you intend to capitalize on its achievements and explain its shortcomings?
Let me say this, that the challenges of delay, I don’t call it non-payment, I say delay in payment of salaries, is something that is global, it is affecting virtually all states of the federation, Ondo State is not an exception, federal government is also not an exception because it also borrows money to pay salaries. But the states cannot borrow because before you can borrow you need some form of assurance or guarantee from the federal government which has not been provided.

And secondly, if you are borrowing money, you are borrowing money from banks and banks also will want a fair assurance that you will pay the money back. And because state governments don’t have central bank, they don’t print money, they only run their economy within what is provided in the country, to that extent, the state government will have a lot of challenges and there is no need to downplay anything. Every worker deserves his wage, we should be able to compensate people who have worked, but faced with the reality of our economy, there would at some point be an understanding, the economy is in recession, there is no doubt about it, and that again is the reason why some of us are in this business, we are in this business so that we can bring new, refreshing ideas to meet these challenges, so that we can make preparations for what I call occasions like this, we can develop the economy that will be able to adjust itself, to be able to fill in the gap where federal government somehow is not coming in with the required funds and when the economy is failing.

And again, because there is need to have a self -sustaining economy, even though the money that is credited to the federal government actually is the money that belongs to the states, if for instance you have oil well in Bayelsa and you have in Ondo State, and those economic potentials are meant to develop the state and you have the entire funds taken away from here and given to the centre for redistribution, then you must have creative ideas to be able to maneuver your ways so that you can also develop your own independent economy where you have some level of independence to propel the economy and generate revenue. Now, there is going to be some form of restructuring in the economy of the state and draw in on those areas that will have bigger IGR.

We have 20 per cent of our land area in Ondo state, or about that, covered by forest reserves, so we have this potential there, and every day people go there to fell trees and take them out to run a private economy and government does not adequately benefit from this. Everyday we have our cocoa products being taken to neighbouring states and neighbouring states are collecting great levies on it, even though the cocoa is grown on our soil. Everyday you have our logs being taken through our waterways to other cosmopolitan states, I won’t mention their names and then we lose revenue. And then again, there are a lot of mineral resources deposited on our soil which we have not gotten investors to tap. All our efforts to date to bring investors have translated to some level of success and we have some things to show for it. Now, yesterday I was in Ese-odo and despite the high rate of piracy on the high sea, Ondo state coastal areas are still relatively very safe. Despite the fact that you have bunkering, Ondo State coastal areas are still relatively safe. Despite the fact that you have the people you call militants in other Delta areas, Ondo State is still relatively very safe, and this is because of our security partnership that we have with independent organisations, who are locals and who are able to provide a form of security that even our military cannot provide, that even our security forces cannot provide, but they are able to provide it. And they are security services that have locations and stations on top of the waters, I have seen it.

They have built what they call mini barracks in every measured distance along our coastal lines and you see them in uniforms. They cooperate with the police, and once in a while, you have the navy and the soldiers superintending over what they do, but they are physically there 24 hours and they are on guard to protect our coastal areas and protect our people. And these are areas of partnerships that will translate into economic gains because if our coastal areas are safe, then investors will come. Now, we have also done some other partnerships in terms of commerce. We have what we call the mall. I am aware Osun does not have a mall, I am aware Ibadan has about two, I am aware Ekiti does not have. I am aware Edo does not have. So we have created a small location here as a commerce centre through partnership, we didn’t have to spend money but then we are taking benefits from it. We have a power plant that is almost completed, we brought in the best equipment that you can think of. We are trying to use that to propel our economy and our industries and we have done it by bringing the best hands to come and do it.

My vision is that we need to get people who can run it. Government may not be able to do it but then the equipment that we provide, we must make sure that we keep it there and make it to serve our proposed industry around that axis and then get some revenue from it. Now, those things, if we have the mandate, and I believe the mandate will come, will serve as the platform to change a lot of things and bring in revenue and then close the gap that exists now in terms of salary payment. And there is something we call force majeure, some things happen because you have no control over it but as soon as its happens, you create revenue for you to overcome it or get around it, but it doesn’t stop it from happening. Our economy is in recession, what is happening to Ondo State now is something that is just there, it is not the fault of the state government, it is an occurrence, you can call it economic, you can call it natural, whatever name you want to call it, it is a reality that we must face, but we must find a way to navigate around it and still continue with our journey.

Your party, PDP at the national level, pioneered zoning as a political concept to deal with the fears of the minorities and ensure power goes round. The incumbent governor is from Ondo Central and you are also from Ondo Central. How does the political equation in the state benefit your aspiration?
Well, let me clear this. I have not seen anywhere where it is written that there is a zoning arrangement in Ondo State. I have not seen any contest before now that was contested on the basis of zoning arrangement, what I have seen is that at all times, Ondo State people want to put their best leg forward.

What I have seen is that at all times various individuals and actors have always contested from the various sections and zones and one of them will emerge. The last example was the election between Dr. Mimiko, from the Central, Akeredolu from the North, Sola Oke from the South. For God’s sake, if there was zoning, would they all come from different zones? And then come to think of it, why is this issue of zoning rearing its head up now? And I tell people, I say go to Ilaje and ask the fish seller there that he should give the names of the towns that are in the northern zone, he doesn’t know, central zone, he doesn’t know. This is a contraption of politicians who because they want to stop a particular candidate, not on the basis of merit but on the basis of their own primordial and emotional interests, and most of the times, those who propagate this interest do not mean well for the state. If you want to barb your hair you go to the best barber, if you want to see a doctor, you go to the best doctor, if you want to travel you look for the best driver, if you want to fly go to the best airline.

How come that when it comes to such things that touch other people you don’t look for the best for them, you look for a zoning arrangement. And I think it’s high time our people stopped this because they are not in the interest of our people. Of course, I want to concede to them, because most of them have nothing to offer in terms of merit, they want to go and take refuge under zoning. They know that under a plain platform where you look for your best hands, they may not be able to achieve it and the best way to achieve it is to develop a cleavage or develop a principle that will eliminate the best hands and let the people continue to suffer. I hope the people will realize the fallacy in this and be focused. And for God’s sake, if you don’t want a governor, stop him because there is no merit in his ambition.

But don’t stop him (because of zoning), even though he has something to offer, even though he is going to take our state forward and then you go for the last eleven when you have the best eleven that are aspiring for the office. I will give you example of some people who want to fly, you have two aircraft parked, you have two pilots, one is a trained pilot, who will take you to your destination, the other one is not a trained pilot but he is from your zone or from your town, will you enter the plane that is going to be piloted by a person that is not trained? That has no experience, but because he is from your town, will you enter that plane and allow him to fly you? Because somebody is going to take charge, the governor is going to pilot the plane, you must put in a well trained pilot.
Don’t put in a pilot who is from your village, he cannot make the plane to fly, he is going to crash everybody. I am not prepared to be crashed.

Normally when you have primary, you have pre and post primary issues. How are you resolving the post primary issues in your party?
God is resolvng it for us. The party is trying its best, I am also trying my best. The important thing is to extend hands of fellowship to those who feel genuinely aggrieved and hope that they will come back to the fold and also in the interest of the party and in the interest of the people join hands with the people that have been given the mandate. And then let me go a little bit spiritual, no person receives unless it is given from above and some of these things that happen, happen because the people believe in it. They said the voice of the people is the voice of God. But a lot of people also believe that because they have ambition, if it is not them that got it, that whoever got it got it because he got some support from one or two persons.

But you must have support from people before you can realize your ambition. People have said yes, may be somebody supported him, or some people have gone too negative to say imposed, and I said, look at them, if there is any imposition at all, it is the imposition of the delegates and the people. And we should all face reality, it is not the amount of noise that you make that determines your effectiveness, we are all in this business to offer service to our state and only one person will be governor, it can’t be two. So if you are not the governor, you can be something else. And there are other times that would come, if you don’t realize your ambition now, you can realize it later.

Ultimately, the people will decide who will rule them and I think that is one thing we must concede to the people. You see the arrogance of politics, I am sorry to use that word, is that people delude in themselves and believe in themselves and not believe in the people and there is this imaginary idea of people. Everybody believes that he is the most popular and that is one thing I have learnt in politics. There is no politician who does not believe that he is not the most popular person, but ultimately the people decide and once they decide, we should have the humility to allow the people have their way. And then we are working on bringing everybody onboard, everybody who is genuinely interested in ensuring the party forms the government come February.

Your party is having issues at the national level and I am aware that has created different political tendencies at the state level. How does this affect your aspiration?
On this I am clearly focused. Even those who are selling this idea of faction also believe there is no faction. They also know that these are distractions, but because we are all members of the same family and issues like this cannot but crop up, either from people who believe they have been wronged or those who believe that they must pull the house down or those who believe genuinely that they should be there instead of the person that is there.

But then the concept of inclusiveness demands that we make everybody see reason, and that is the step the party is taking and I do believe that these are minor domestic issues that will be resolved, we all know who the head of the family is, we all know who is the first born, we all know who is the last born, we all know those who are not members of the family. We all know we want everybody to work with us, even outside politics, and we all know that it will engender peace and harmony if we bring all on board, that is why the party is taking the steps to reconcile all the various differences and interests.

But for me, and you don’t need any advocacy on this, the leadership of PDP is known, we all know where the elected governors are, we all know where the elected senators or good number of them are, we all know where virtually all members of House of Reps elected on the platform of PDP are, we all know where the chairmen of PDP in 36 states of the federation are, we all know where INEC is, we all know again, that the party is one, indivisible but we are not oblivious of the fact that some people are dissatisfied but we are hoping that we will resolve the differences. And then that will not affect my aspiration of becoming governor, it has not affected my candidacy as candidate of PDP in the state, it has not stopped me or distracted me from campaigning, you would see that I have been everywhere, 18 local governments, and everywhere I have gone, they have addressed me and I have seen myself as the PDP candidate, I have obtained the form required, I have taken steps the law says I should take, and I have heard no difficulty on this journey. By God’s grace, I will reach the destination.

The way politics is played in this clime is that the candidate of the party that controls the Federal Government is always a strong candidate. The APC controls the federal government and incidentally its candidate has similar background with you – he is a lawyer, a senior advocate like you – but he has been a politician and had even contested election against the incumbent governor, an evidence that he is a veteran when it comes to election. How does this affect your chances?

Again, the people of our state will decide who will be their governor. The candidate of APC, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, is a legal practitioner, a senior one at that. You also mentioned that I am also a senior legal practitioner and you tried to do a comparison, and then the truth of it is that the people will vote for the person that they trust and this is also about election, a freewill election, I do not foresee any difficulty. My prayer is that we will run this campaign issues based, my prayer is that it will be peaceful, my prayer is that the best candidate will emerge, and I believe I am, and my prayer is that we will be able to offer service to the state. Again I have no fear about winning, I know I am going to win by the grace of God and that is what I can say for now. And again, as people would say, is about offering service to the people and about drawing on your experience acquired over the years.

It is not about constantly contesting for election. I think the issue is going to be what ideas do you have? And that is why I talked about issue-based politics. What are you bringing on board? What is it that you want to do? And how do you want to improve our economy? How do you want to provide opportunity of employment for our people? How do you want to bring more IGR? And are you in touch with the people? These are very critical things that the people will consider. Like I said, I won’t be able to be the judge for this and that is why I am convinced that clearly in this business of election, what we are bringing on board and what we have surpasses what anybody can bring onboard or what any other person has. Whichever way you look at it, we are confident that our records will speak for us.

If you have followed closely elections since last year, there is an alarming trend of inconclusive elections or elections which are subjects of litigations. The expectation is that election should be free and fair and a level playing field created for all aspirants. Are you worried by this trend?

Well, in respect of the conduct of elections that have in most cases proven to be inconclusive, I am worried like you. I am worried because one of the legacies that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan bestowed on the nation was free, fair and credible election. Election where the will of the people prevail. Unfortunately, and I am not trying to ascribe any blame to anybody, the negative trend is that the will of the people is not represented the way it should be either by some things that are happening or what I will now refer to as the inconclusiveness of virtually all elections.

And I am worried that it, perhaps, will affect and indeed has affected the credibility of elections because if a person emerges the winner and all you need to do is to summarise the votes that meet statutory obligations and guidelines imposed by the constitution or by the electoral act, once you clear that, then your duty as INEC is to declare result, and once the result is declared, whoever is dissatisfied, there are also grievance mechanism that has been set up. INEC cannot conduct elections and then proceed now to determine the legality of that election. That is not the power that is vested in INEC.

It is a power that is vested in the electoral tribunal set up. So when you do your own work and you believe that it does not meet with your expectation and you proceed to take on the garb or the role of some other constitutionally established body to now proceed to determine whether the election which you have conducted should terminate in a return, then there is a problem because all the law requires INEC to do is follow the guidelines, follow the statutes, add the votes and then make a return, where for governorship, the candidate had satisfied the requirement of a quarter of the votes in two-third of the state and he has the majority.

Once he has done that you are done. If there are issues, for God’s sake, let the established constitutional institution deal with the issue. You can’t deal with your own issue and then arrogate to yourself the power which you do not have by determining which election is conclusive and which is inconclusive. That I think is a major challenge that INEC must overcome and it needs a good leadership to overcome that challenge.

If elected, what will be your main priorities in the first 100 days?
I have said it over and over again that the global picture we are painting has to do with the economy of our state and encompassing that is the ability to provide immediate opportunity of employment for our people, the majority of our youths are not employed. And I am not saying that government will employ people, but I am saying that the opportunity of employment will be provided by drawing on those who have skills and who have investment and giving the state statutory supports that will create those platforms of enterprises that we intend to bring on board.

Secondly, we intend, God willing, to touch on very clear economic sector – the farmer and the product – and in doing that we will create comfort for our people, we will create more employment and then bring in food security and also bring in revenue, and the way to do this is what I have explained earlier on, in terms of giving security for our farmers, providing them with the incentives that have not been provided before and doing the unusual in protecting security of their earnings. Now again, I have said this before that we are going to leverage on those potentials that we have in terms of industries.

We are going to concentrate our efforts, and because we are going to work with the federal government on this in getting the required licences to build the deep sea port that would positively change the economy of the state, and also provide the infrastructure, create a state capital that we will all be proud of, create many business districts in Akure, which is the capital, and ensure that we bring in tourists and investors into various locations of our state, especially the state capital and then draw on the economic potentials of our people.

The immediate challenge that we face which is the issue of salaries will be quickly addressed because there is need for us to ensure that we close this gap of resources that are needed to provide the basic obligations of government and have new ways to deal with it, and the only way to deal with it is also about the economy so that we can now have a relative sense of independence in terms of fiscal structure of our state itself as against that of the federal government.

The potentials that are available in our areas of tourism would be explored to the maximum because we also believe that this is an area that will bring in revenue and serve as platform of employment for our people and make our state a destination of all those who desire to have good scenes and learn new ideas in the state. We will do that, God willing, and the people will see it and they will see the transparency that will also accompany it just like we have always done in the government I participated in, and then they will also see the results.