Chief Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala was former deputy governor and later governor of Oyo State. The 68-year-old politician is running for the Agodi Government House for a second term on the platform of the African Democratic Party (ADP). In this interview with SOLA ADEYEMO, he speaks on his plans for the state if he wins the poll. Excerpts:
You were once a governor of Oyo State. Why do you still want to govern after leaving government about eight years ago?
It is my inalienable constitutional right to spend two terms of eight years. But aside that, my coming out again is not out of my own volition, people came and asked me to come back because they are not getting good governance they expected from the present government. They said they need somebody who can correct all those things that the present government is doing, which they are not happy with.
And to put smile on the faces of people in the state, we have to get somebody who knows how to deal with the people and how to govern Oyo State very well. I have done it before, and because they know what I did, is the same reason they say I must come back.
For this purpose, I have to succumb to their calling that I should come back to govern.
What should the people of the state expect from you if you succeed in winning the election?
First, I will make sure that workers get their salaries as and when due. Two, I will make sure that I have zero tolerance for strike in the tertiary institutions by taking care of all the tertiary institutions.
Number three, immediately I get to the office, I will severe our relationship with Osun State as regards to Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) in Ogbomoso.
That is of great concern to me. That is one of the things I will do again. My number four concern is making sure that I stop all those levies in our educational sector.
Presently, they are charging some levies in primary and secondary schools. Education will be totally free. And as a matter of fact, I will declare state of emergency on the education sector. We are almost number 30 on the ranking of states.
That is unacceptable. There is nothing stopping us from being within the first nine because we call ourselves the Pacesetter State, and as the Pacesetter State, we must set the pace.
Were you not able to do this during your administration?
A lot of things were done when I was in office. If I had not performed very well, it would have been difficult for me to tell people that I want to come back. They would have asked me what I did when I was there. Nobody can ask me that type of question. I have been going round the state but nobody has ever asked me such a question.
I have since been walking tall, moving round Oyo State because the record is there for me to show. And the record of four years, compared to the record of eight years, is not a joke.
Are you saying that your administration performed better than the present government in the state?
That question should not be for me to answer. I will want you to ask the people of Oyo State that question, then you will understand what is happening. If I had not performed the way I was supposed to have performed when I had the opportunity, I will not have the audacity to say that I want to go back to the government house. But because the man there has not performed, people could not ask such a question. That is why I have the audacity to say I want to come back.
You were once with Governor Abiola Ajimobi and you know the structure he has on ground. With that and the power of incumbency, do you still think you can beat the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election?
Let me tell you that we are more enlightened now in Oyo State and we know what to do. Don’t forget that I was an incumbent before I was outsmarted. I mean I was outsmarted. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan had all the power when he was an incumbent, but Muhammadu Buhari booted him out. So, power of incumbency as you said is immaterial to winning election.
Your administration was known for the crises associated with members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). How are you going to prevent a repeat of such in case you emerge as the winner in the forthcoming election?
What many people do not know is that whenever the NURTW members want to change their guard, there is always tension. Presently, there is tension in that sector. Whenever people want to change the guard of NURTW or their administration, there is always tension all over the place and what they always do is killing themselves.
They don’t kill the citizens, but themselves. This is because they know themselves. Look at what happened in Lagos State. The poor man was just doing his campaign and the NURTW men went there to disrupt it. See what they did to Mc Oluomo because they want to change guard in Lagos State NURTW. So, it is their stock in trade to fight whenever they want to change their guard.
What happened that time was just that I was there when they wanted to change guard and don’t forget that before I left office, I proscribed them. I did that and I made sure that they did not exist before I left office. I asked the local governments to take charge of the motor parks. Was there no fight during the eight years of this man in government? Didn’t you hear of One Million Boys, who were razing the whole place? During my time, they were not coming to the town, but in only their areas where they were controlling their motor parks.
What do you say about the mantra of the APC, which says that the party is taking the country to the next level?
Which next level; Next level of poverty? May God forbid Next level of poverty and hunger! What next level are they talking about? You see, it is when you enjoy something that you talk about next level. Nigerians have to find an alternative and we in the ADP are the alternatives.
What is your advice to the other candidates contesting against you to occupy the Agodi Government House?
My candid advice is that we should play the game according to the rules. That’s the only advice I have for them. Let us play the game according to the rule and see whoever emerges. The most important thing is that whoever emerges should be the person that will take care of the people of Oyo State. But, I must tell you that people are suffering in this state. There is hunger in the land, but all of us play the game according to the rule.
What can you say stands you out among the other contestants?
It is experience. You see, if you don’t have experience, you can’t rule Oyo State. You don’t just come and you don’t have anything about governance and you say you want to get there. I am really talking about people who have been involved in governance; who have been involved in making people happy. I am talking of people who have been managing human beings and not people are just involved in routines. Whether you were a deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, or you are a businessman, what you do is mere routine job. That’s not what I am saying. How to manage people is not easy.
Those people they have been talked about have been managing small groups of people. There are laid down rules of doing all those things if you know what to do to make your job profitable. But government is not a business that you have to run to get profit. You are not looking for profit in governance. What you are looking for is how to make life more abundant for the people of the state. I have what it takes to do that more than the other contestants.