Dr. Ayoade Adewopo, one of the governorship aspirants in Osun State under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is seeking to succeed Rauf Aregbesola as governor of Osun state come 2018. He is a legal practitioner. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, who holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the Indiana University, Indiana, U.S.A, is from Ile-Ife. He once served as President of the Marion County Bar Association in Indiana. In this interview, he opens up on the real reason he wants to be next governor of the state. According to him, he is in the race to banish poverty in the state. Excerpt.
YOU can conveniently be described as a technocrat. What is the attraction in politics for you?
When you appreciate the fact that you are enjoying some level of grace and certain opportunities others don’t have in a society like ours, I believe naturally, one should develop a heart of giving back to that society. My belief is that it is not anybody’s making to lack basic necessities of life. So, those who have should be able to share with others to make our society better. That’s the heart behind my aspiration. If politics is an avenue to create a better atmosphere and an enabling environment for people to thrive, if politics is all about the people, I mean, if politics is the call to service of the people, I don’t see anything wrong in venturing into it. Unfortunately, due to situations in our polity over time, the word politics have been reduced to a sort of evil, many people tend to have lost faith in politics and politicians. Osun state is my heritage, before Nigeria in a nationalistic sense. Osun state, therefore, is close to my heart. Politics to me is not a game but an engagement with the people. It’s about leading the people to success and helping them to live in a better environment and condition than before. Politics is about leadership. It is poor leadership that has given politics a derisive meaning. I am passionate about my people, my community and their development.
Did you ever think you’ll one day become a politician and seek to govern your state of birth?
I never thought I will be doing this, I mean politics. I have always served, given the background of my families, both paternal in Ile-Ife and maternal in Ede, both in Osun state. But politics was never part of my agenda. But watching the seriousness of the need for men of good intentions to come into politics and help the people of Osun state live a better life, I saw myself yielding to the call to serve my people. We can’t continue to fold our hands as a people. The paramount mission behind my aspiration is to make Osun the model state where poverty is eradicated through human capital development, building success stories through youth empowerment and developing aggressive agricultural programs to bring about meat and milk sufficiency leading to food abundance. Our people yearn for a fair and just society where everyone is accorded the same opportunities to succeed, not one that provides jobs and opportunities for a few. These are the things encouraging me to seek to govern the state.
And what informed your choice of PDP as the party to use in actualizing your desire?
I am a member of the PDP. And as a loyal party man, it is natural that I will seek the ticket of my party for the actualization of my ambition. PDP is a democratic party where I hope to get a fair chance to compete with other aspirants without imposition or undue intervention. Every politics is local; I joined PDP because that is the party of the people of Osun today. The people of Osun state have had the opportunity of tasting what both eh PDP and the APC have to offer them. They have made their choice and I can tell you that choice is PDP. I cannot ask our people to vote for APC again since they now want the PDP back in government. So, with PDP, I am also following the desire of our people.
So you think PDP defeat APC in Osun come 2018?
PDP will win the next governorship election in Osun state. The people want change once again. We asked for change some years back and we got APC. Now we are clamoring for change again. The people want the PDP to come back and they have the final decision when it comes to election. If the votes of the people are to determine who wins, then I am sure PDP will win. And you think with the array of political heavyweights in PDP, you can get the ticket of the party? I am very optimistic. This is because I am the new face of PDP in Osun state. I am the reason why many progressives are today looking up to the party to take them to the promise land. I represent the freshness in Osun PDP today. And everybody knows that at a time like this, PDP must go to the governorship election with a fresh candidate with fresh ideas. To win the election by defeating the ruling APC, the PDP must go into the much awaited election with fresh ideas and an untainted candidate. We require a candidate with experience and international exposure. These are what I represent. We no longer need to recycle candidates who have been waiting for their turn for so many years. They have tried for the party. They have given their best to win in the past. But their best is not enough. We need freshness to defeat Aregbesola and APC. I have served as special advisor and counsel to foreign government entities and several multi-national corporations on diverse transactions, including commodity hedging, mergers, acquisitions, global or cross-border joint ventures, Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPOs), global security issues, global trade ethics and compliance policies. I am an expert in corporate governance and anti-money laundering matters and serves as counsel to corporate and government entities on such matters. These are the experiences and international exposure I am bringing to bear on my governance of Osun state if elected. These are the selling points I believe PDP must take advantage of as we hope to remove APC from power in Osun state. And to show our readiness for the job at hand, we have what we have tagged the ‘HEART” agenda as our plan for the people of Osun state if we are given the opportunity to govern the state. Our 5-point HEART agenda covers key areas like health, education, agriculture, restoration of the lost glories of the state and tourism. We strongly believe that once we tackle the problems in these five areas, Osun will bounce back on track. In doing all these, we will lay serious emphasis on ensuring that the welfare of our people is given adequate attention. Salaries will be paid as at when due and our debt profile will be re-examined, re-negotiated and re-structured to ensure that we have the money needed to put smile on the faces of the good people of our dear state.
What has been the response of the people to your aspiration?
I will say the people are excited about Ayombo campaign. That is the name on every lips in Osun today. I am not new to them. I speak their language and I feel what they feel. They are happy something new is coming to Osun state and they are ready to go with us all the way. Before now, we have been silently impacting the lives of Osun indigenes through the Johnson Adedoja Adewopo Foundation. This is a foundation that is currently catering to the needs of Osun State indigenes in various areas of human capital and infrastructural development. I established it years back in honor of my late father. With what we have been able to do through the foundation with personal resources, the people are convoked that if given the opportunity to govern the state, we will do more.