Governor Makinde mismanaged  the success of his first term - Prof Olowofela 
Professor  Joseph Adeniyi Olowofela

Professor Joseph Adeniyi Olowofela is not new to the politics of Oyo State and Nigeria. He was one of the think -tank of the then, All Nigerians  Peoples Party (ANPP)  at both the local and National levels of the party.

He later became the chairman of Ido Local Government  in Oyo State, during which he was named the overall  best performed  local government  chairman in Nigeria, on Works and education at the 10th Edition of all local governments  merit award in 2012. 

Also,  as the chairman  of Ido local government, he got the National  award for excellence  in Grassroots leadership. During his tenure as the Commissioner for Education in Oyo State, the state witnessed  a tremendous improvement  in education and it was his idea  that brought about the establishment  of the Technical University under Governor Abiola Ajimobi.

In this interview with  Business  Hallmark  Olusesan Laoye,  he talked about the last general elections as it affects the governorship in Oyo State and the presidential elections. He also highlighted  the mistakes,  which Gov. Makinde did in his first term that nearly  cost him his second term. He said such made him to run from pillar to post  to win  a re-election.


The Oyo  State  governorship election has been held and surprisingly  the incumbent  Governor  Seyi Makinde emerged the winner when he was not given  a chance.  How come?

Well,  the opposition, the All Progressives  Congress  (APC) did well but the the winner’s  emergence  was in the  hands of God. Honestly, Senator Teslim Folarin from all odds was favoured in that election and like I said, everything is in the hands of the Almighty. But let me say this, from all  indications  and calculations, Senator Folarin  was to win the election based on the fact that the ability of the incumbent to govern  and his best have been seen. The notion is that there should be someone else, who should be allowed  to govern and who  would do better and that person, of all the candidates in the election, is Teslim Folarin.

Whatever  the case may be, I can applaud  Governor Makinde for  the fact that he was able to solve the problem  of the inner crisis in  Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) on the educational  sector and was able  to complete  the on- going projects of Governor Abiola  Ajimobi, so I do applaud  him for that.

However, I have something  against him because the legacy  that we put in place  for our secondary  education  in Oyo State,  he failed to maintain  it.

During the tenure of late Governor  Ajimobi when I was the commissioner  for education, we insisted  that  time  and  followed the policy of no automatic  promotion and that pupils  should prove themselves worthy of being promoted. But Makinde abolished it, which gave the state a serious set back in secondary education.

I do agree that ability defers  but  there is nobody  who can’t  learn  one thing or the other. The cases of  schools caught for cheating during the period of Governor Seyi Makinde, was a sad development. These schools were good schools in the past and this I believed  is  a big minus on the part of Makinde’s  government. Again the people were not happy with him on the issue of security and we all know that.

There is what we called body language  in any system and putting  Auxiliary as the chairman of Motor Parks, has shown that the government of Seyi Makinde is  encouraging  hooliganism.  That is why the state has returned  to the era of  crisis that we always had in the time past.
During his first term, through the porous security  system of the government, many people lost their lives.

Secondly,  the government of Engineer  Seyi Makinde has  completely destroyed  the  Local Government  administration,  which is the closest to the people at the grassroots. People of the state have not forgotten  his usual statements  that he did not believe  in the autonomy  of the Local Government.

To me, this statement is far reaching  and that is why he rendered the local government impotent.  He gives stipends to them to just pay salaries and without executing  any project. This is not what we had in our time when we were free to carry out projects, which made us to be closer to the people  in our respective  local governments.

His policy  has made local  government  chairmen unpopular  in his first term in office. To me, I think we have seen the best of Seyi Makinde and  we may not expect much from him in his second term. We still have the belief  that the APC candidate Teslim Folarin could do better. But our tomorrow  is in the hands of God.

What do you have to say about the performance of  the Independent  National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the last election generally and the apathy of Nigerians?

As far as I am concerned,  I think there should be  a law to punish  people,  who refused to vote, because  it is their civic responsibility  to do so. Let us look at this scenario. In a situation  where you have 10 registered voters, so to speak and you now have only four of them that voted, that means that somebody  must win out of those four, which now determines  the lives  of those who refused to come out to vote. But if all the 10 had voted, then  the result may be different. On the day of the election, people should be  enforced  to do their civil rights….

What if they say as well, that it is their fundamental rights claiming,   they are free to choose whether to vote or not?

They have to understand that  freedom is limited.  For instance,  if you say you have liberty, your  liberty  must not infringe on the  liberty of others. Let us look at it this way, I can’t  say that  I have liberty  and slap you,  I would have assaulted you even with my liberty. You can as well say that I have the liberty to vote  or not  to vote but  if it becomes  a law, then it means it must be obeyed  and it is an indication to show, who you will want to  lead for the next four years.

As a matter  of fact,  this would help to encourage large turn out  of  accredited  voters and it would have greater reflection on votes cast that would determine, who  the people  actually  wants to leads them.

When you go further  the  issue of BEVAS actually  helped in the last election  and  to a large  extent, it eliminated  the problems  of people hijacking ballot boxes which was rampant in the past.

On the candidate of the APC in the governorship election, in person of Senator Teslim Folarin, it was believed that  throughout  his position as the Senate leader, he was accused of not bringing any meaningful  project  to Oyo State, what is your take on this?

Anybody can say  anything, it is just a matter of perception. Most of the time when you don’t  carry the press to commission projects and make noise about it  to showcase  your activities, it is believed  that  you have done nothing.  People think whatever  is not reported, is not an achievement  and they see it as if  you have not done anything. It is not everybody that  likes to show off and make noise about their  activities.

In recent past during and when he was out of the Senate, Senator Folarin  carried  out many tangible projects and facilitated many  as well. It is not possible to be in that kind of position  as a Senate leader, and not to have facilitated  or carried out  any project in your constituency….

You were saying something about Governor Makinde which you did not complete, can you shed light on this?

You see, I told you that one of the problems of  Governor  Makinde in his first term was lack of  previous  experience in political  positions.
People who supported him to  become governor  the other time were  neglected. How come he could not manage them. Don’t  forget  that Barrister  Sarafadeen Ali, who is now Senator-elect under the platform  of the APC for Oyo South  Senatorial District, was with him, Chief Femi Lanlehin  was with him;  they both left  him.

Getting to the peak and becoming  successful  is  one thing  and managing  the success  is another  thing.  He was unable to manage  those prominent, great and highly  respected politicians, who stood by him to win the first term. Otherwise, his campaign for second  term would have been  a clean and clear overall for him. But because of his attitude  towards those people, he had to keep running helter skelter. This also would not have been necessary.

Again the fact remains that nobody can become the governor or win any election   by his own popularity,  one needs people,  who would stand by   you. That was what Governor Makinde realised  at the last minutes  and he had to run back to  people like Olopoeyan and others he had offended at the last minute  for assistance before the day of the election.

Honestly no one expected that he would bury  his pride and what we expected was that he would say I have arrived and called the bluff of everybody. I just hope he must have realised his mistakes,  learnt  his lessons in dealing with people and not misbehave the way he did last time,   to those he had appeased and now back with him again.

Those people would keep a close watch on him now. I believe  that those people will be more careful  now as well and not  put absolute  trust in him  as they did earlier.

What do you say about the agitation and cry  that the President- Elect Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu rigged  the Presidential election?

As far as I am concerned, that election  was perfect, free and fair.Though nothing in this world can be 100% perfect. If you say a candidate rigged the election and has the ability  to rig, to me, that candidate  must be  a fool not to rig in his  domain, which is Lagos. Everybody  is aware  that   Lagos has been his domain all this while and if there is that tendency  to rig, he would have rigged about 1.5mllion votes  in Lagos  and people would have agreed that it was normal that Lagos has been his strong hold.

He lost Lagos to the Labour party,  which nobody expected. Again to prove that the election was free  and fair, the incumbent  President Muhammadu  Buhari lost  his Katsina  base, Mallam El-Rufai, who is the most vociferous  among the  Northern leaders, lost. his Kaduna base  as well. So if  there were opportunities  to rig,  you would have to rig in places, where nobody  would suspect  and that must be your base and strong hold.
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For those  people to have lost in their strong holds in this last election, shows that INEC chairman  did his best  and I would say he is courageous. It is a common thing here  in Nigeria that when you lose an election  you blame it on something. Let me say that the Obedient movement if they actually won and had the results, they would have published it. At least, every  political party had agents in pooling units across the country.

They ought to have by now, compiled it and show the world that  this is the score card of so and so. We are all politicians and in order  not to lose their followers, I think the gimmick that they are going to court is a tactics  to keep their  followers..We all accept that Peter Obi for the first time tried but his followers  should be careful  not to paint his first outing with ethnicity, capable of spoiling the inroad he has made into the presidential journey of Nigeria, which is not easy.

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