By Gbenga Olarinoye
Hon Busayo Oluwole Oke, represented Ijesha North federal constituency in the House of Representatives between 2003 and 2011 and was for most of that period, chairman of the house committee on defence.
Oke is now one of a handful of aspirants in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP aspiring for the party’s ticket ahead of the 2014 gubernatorial election in Osun State. In this interview he asserts his credentials for the job and what makes him better qualified than most of those already in the race. Excerpts:
What is the driving force behind your ambition?
You cannot give what you don’t have. I am coming from a background that is very unique unlike other people who have governed the state. I am coming from the organized private sector coupled with very strong academic background.
So I am going to make a difference based on my wide experience. We are now in the world that the private sector has taken the lead, we are in a global economy that is private sector geared.
So coming from that sector, I have much to offer. I am an entrepreneur with over 1000 workers and with a minimum monthly wage of N50million. So I am prepared to serve Osun State and to tackle lot of problems confronting the state.
I have dissected the incumbent government’s policies and programmes. I am very pragmatic and I don’t criticise any how, the present administration has good intention but they are not well thought out, so the government is not a finisher. In my heart, the leader lacks capacity to finish the policies. So rather than moving Osun State forward, Osun state is being dragged behind in the comity of states and we cannot fold our hands.
Could you elaborate?
You see, the government of the day in Osun has no blue print. It has no manifesto. What you see the government doing is mere propaganda. Look at education for example. If the incumbent governor claims to be an Awoist, (and Awo) loved education and gave education to lots of our leaders and advocated that the distance between a school to the pupil’s home should not be more than a kilometer.
So why is the incumbent governor asking the students in Ipetu-Ile, Ira to attend school in Ipetu-Ijesa? Why should we be demolishing structures, school buildings that were put in place by appropriation act of the previous government?
You also look at a situation where mission schools are merged with Muslim dominated schools. You are merging Saint Margaret Girls School, Ilesa that has produced very successful people in the society; you want to erase our history. Most universities across the globe are named after successful people in the society.
So Babalola Girls School in Ilesa, you also want to merge and obliterate the name of that school from history. Fakunle Comprehensive High in Osogbo, the owner of the school is from Esa-Oke here, the old man was old time printer in Osogbo, he laboured and struggled to build that school, to provide education in those days, now you want erase the history, his achievement and turn it into motor-park in place of education institution. Is that history?
Are you not intimidated by the credentials of other PDP governorship aspirants like Senator Iyiola Omisore, Senator Olasunkanmi Akinlabi, Alhaji Fatai Akinbade?
I say it is the other way round. I think they are intimidated by my aspiration. Why? I have told you my background and where I am coming from and my pedigree. My father and mother are from Osun State. I am not saying it is a crime for somebody whose mother or father is not from Osun State, but I am proud to say that my father is an Ijesa man in Osun-East Senatorial District and my grand-mother is from Ile-Alawo in Osogbo and my mother is from Iree and I am a prince of Iree from my mother linage.
I have all it takes to do it. I cannot brag with any of them in terms of money but when it comes to competence in administration, I have the capacity and I think none of them can come close to me. That is the truth of the matter.
Secondly, it is only in this part of the world that you will see people in their sixties wanting to be governor. There is wisdom in age, there is wisdom in experience, but they should sit at the background as elders, as leaders and provide advice because nobody owns monopoly to knowledge. I do not know it all. So I will expect people like my brothers Senator Iyiola Omisore, my great leader, Alhaji Fatai Akinbade, brother Olasunkanmi Akinlabi to be at the background and send their aburo (junior brother) support. So if you give me ticket, I can tell you I will serve Governor Aregbesola a quit notice from Abere.
Could you please clarify the role you played in the removal of Mrs. Olubunmi Ette as speaker of the House of Representatives?
It has nothing to do with my gubernatorial ambition and the step I took then, I leave that between me and my God. I did not play any negative role and I leave that for posterity and if I have done anything negative towards the state as a whole, let God judge me.
The politics that was played around Mrs. Ette was simply national politics. Some people felt, particularly our brothers from the North who are predominantly Muslims, that they won’t subscribe to a woman’s leadership. Secondly, some people felt that Mrs. Ette was too close to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Mrs. Ette is my mother and the relationship between me and Mrs. Ette is not politics. She is my mother so let us leave politics out of my relationship with her.
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