Femi Ogbonnikan in Abeokuta
The governorship candidate of Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Ogun State, Mr. Rotimi Paseda at the weekend promised to return all missionary schools to the original owners if elected the governor of the state on March 2, 2019.
Paseda, also, promised to take governance to the doorstep of the people of the state, which according to him, require the input of all citizens in various projects and programmes his administration would initiate if eventually elected the governor.
He made the pledge during an interview with THISDAY, reeling out different programmes of action his administration would painstakingly pursue and various policy issues he would focus on within the first-six month in office.
Speaking on his plan for Ogun people, Paseda said townhill meetings “will be held before any decision will be taken. The people should be able to make up their minds, whether things are being down the way they are expected or not.
“So, I am an Awoist. I am not an Awoist by lip service. But I am an Awoist by action. I have been consistent with that since 2014 when I ventured into partisan-politics. I will remain an Awoist completely. I remain the most qualified governorship candidate that is being accepted and liked by the people of the state.”
Paseda noted that the last local government election in Ogun State “is the litmus tests to check my acceptance in Ogun State. I single-handedly challenged the incumbent governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who happens to be my brother.
“Now, elections are coming. My jingles are out. I am very well known and the people know me that I am a different political actor. I am a Christian politician who believes faith must come into whatever I do. It is what I believe in, while others are busy killing themselves or fighting themselves over whatever it is.”
Reeling out his programmes of action, Paseda said he was involved in politics because he “believes education must be free at all levels. Education must be free at all levels, so that our people would have a choice of being educated or not.”
He promised to declare education free on his first day in office and ensure financial re-engineering, taking steps to research as to how to fund it to cut cost and how much to out into it.
According to him, I plan to return all missionary schools to their original owners, be it Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist or Muslim schools. It is a sickness that we are experiencing in my state. That is one of the target points for me as a governor.
“While I was growing up, I went to Baptist School. It is a missionary school, Baptist Academy, Obanikoro, Lagos, that is where I went to. I believe it put me in good stead. At a point, there were state schools. There were missionary schools. There were private schools. You can coose whichever you wanted.
“If I return the missionary schools, I mean the religious schools, as a whole, regardless of whatever religion, and the burden of maintaining them would then ease the state and we can now concentrate on our own state establishments.
“We took over the schools from them. We cannot manage them. It is an unwarranted move that is an excessive burden that we cannot ill-afford. So, if we return the schools to them we will have a limited number of responsibilities, in terms of maintaining them. I do not believe in building new schools.
“I am not going to build new schools in my eight years in office. What we have is what is what I am going to maintain. I am going to refurbish where it is needed, cosmetically, nothing elaborate. Just to make the schools functional, just make them acceptable and they do not have to be fully air-conditioned.”