Oyebisi Ilaka, a technocrat, is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidate for Oyo Central district. He expresses his passion for national reforms, especially on the need for restructuring to Kayode Fasua
How did you emerge unopposed as PDP senatorial flag bearer for Oyo Central District?
Our leaders called us and said why not come together and decide on a candidate. At that point in time, I had gone round the 11 local governments that make up the senatorial district. Some people left in the process to other parties but those of us that resolved to remain in the PDP promised to unite. We talked to each other. In order to avoid all forms of acrimony, we had to observe the principle of true internal democracy. The other aspirants reached an understanding with me and that was it.
What are your programmes for Oyo Central District, if elected senator?
We want to give people more money for their sweat, in the rural and urban areas. Creating wealth for these people would be something that I will pursue with all passion. We will also promote technological knowhow to the advantage of our teeming young population. People will vote on the basis of which party is presenting the best candidate. They know me very well, and have confidence in me. I will go the senate to legislate on things that will attract development to our teeming youth population, especially as we have in Oyo Central District. I will also push for the restructuring of the Nigerian state, in concert with people of like minds.
How do you intend to push for the restructuring of the country?
This presidential system in my own view is too expensive. The money we spend on both the executive arm and the national assembly can actually create a lot of schools, hospitals and the stuff. I won’t say I have a solution to the restructuring. But I will propose we go back to the regional system whereby we will have regional parliament and a national parliament. Those regions would have their own independent strategies for development, and grow at their own pace. A region can emerge as the food basket of the nation while another is the nation’s technological giant; it’s nobler than this idea of going cap-in-hand to the centre to collect monthly handouts.
What gives you the confidence that you can defeat Senator Teslim Folarin of the APC, who is a tested politician?
You need to bear in mind that, the last two elections, I scored double the votes the PDP candidate had scored on each outing. When Teslim Folarin contested
for governor on the platform of PDP in 2015, and I contested on the platform of Accord Party, I scored more votes than him. So these are facts that are available generally. The records of these two-the serving senator in the Oyo Central district and his predecessor are abysmal. And that will be put to scrutiny by the people of Oyo Central Senatorial district. I come to the poll with precisions and projections. I am connected to our people over a long period of time. My brand is stronger because I am with the people and it is what they want that they get.
So how about the general perception that people are unwilling to vote PDP again over accusations that the party largely performed woefully during its 16 years in power?
Post-2015, a lot of people felt the PDP which had challenges had been retooled. The problem had to do with internal democracy. But from the various primary elections we have had across the country, with little or no acrimony, you’ll be convinced that the party is back and stronger. The challenge we had was the issue of internal democracy, and that has been resolved. What do they mean by saying that for 15 years PDP didn’t do anything? Everybody knows that it is patent falsehood. One of the achievements of the PDP is that we brought up strong institutions. EFCC, ICPC came through PDP, and it goes on like that. The PDP brought to the fore, different mechanisms of running our economy. It is unlike APC that does not believe in the rule of law.