Prof. Adeolu Durotoye, the Provost of College of the Social and Management Science, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, is a governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State. He spoke on his ambition and agenda for the State of Living Spring.
Who is Professor Adeolu Durotoye?
Adeolu Durotoye is a Professor of Political Science and International Relations and is presently the Provost of College of Social and Management Sciences, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD). He is also the Chairman of Quality Assurance for ABUAD. I studied Political Science at the University of Lagos where I graduated with a 2nd Class Upper in 1990. I got my Master’s degree from the same university in 1992. I was a German scholar, having studied at the University of Leipzig between 1997 and 2001 where I got my PhD, graduating with Magna Cum Laude. I worked as a journalist with the Guardian newspaper and African Concord magazine. I equally taught politics at different times at the University of Ibadan, University of Toronto and Afe Babalola University. I am a recipient of the prestigious University of Lagos Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005 and Meritorious Service Award of Men’s Missionary Union of Osun Baptist Conference in 2017. I am also a recipient of Utility Teacher Award of Afe Babalola University in 2017. I had the privilege of serving as Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the 2017 edition of Afe Babalola Agricultural Expo as well as Chairman, ABUAD Convocation Committee in quick succession.
Where are you from? I mean your hometown, local government areas and senatorial district in Osun State?
I am from Osogbo in Osogbo Local Government Area, but I was born in Ede, in Aanu Olu Hospital some 48 years ago. I am from Osogbo, precisely from Ile Amugba, Ibokun Road, Osogbo in Osun Central Senatorial District.
Why are you running for the office of governor of Osun State?
I didn’t initially want to run for governor of Osun State. I run a Foundation with my wife called Adeolu and Jane Durotoye Foundation through which we give scholarships to indigent students, providing vocational training for people. We have been providing small business grants to people who are into small businesses, providing eye glasses. We have been doing all these and I thought that we are serving humanity already. But then, when people kept saying look, see the condition of our state, we believe you can help us based on your exposure, based on your experience, industry, hard work and contacts. They say to me that we believe you can bring all that one to bear; I have assessed the situation and I believe there was need to heed their call. Besides that, I have taken time to seek the face of God and God asked me to go ahead so that I will be able to run the state and take it to a better level. We shall bring industry back to Osun, motivate our teachers and the entire workforce to excel, engage our youth productively, rid our roads of potholes, create jobs in every local government area and our farmers will witness a new dawn.
What experience qualifies you for the job?
I have had the privilege of being part of the think-tank of many presidential candidates. I was part of Choice ’92 when Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi was running; I was part of the think-tank of Hope ’93, MKO Abiola Presidential Campaign. If we keep doing the same thing the same way, we will keep getting the same result.
People now know that if you cast your vote for the highest bidder, you have put yourself into the life of penury and poor performance for another four years. I believe that, if we fold our arms because of the cost, someone says what it takes evil to thrive is for good men to keep quiet, I believe those who are well-meaning should come out to know that we must contribute to the resuscitation of our nation.
When we see that things are not going the way we expect, we must all contribute our quota.
What are those things you plan to do to transform Osun?
When I was a student in University of Lagos in the 80s, anytime we came home during holidays, we had holiday jobs at Nigeria Machine Tools Limited (Osogbo), Osogbo Steel Rolling Mills, Obelawo Plastic Industries, Niyi Ibikunle Carpets, Cocoa Industries in Ede, but where are those industries today? And you can’t create jobs without putting industries in place and we are putting industries back into every local government area of Osun. We want to establish industries that can employ at least 5,000 people and we have 30 local government areas in Osun plus one area office, that will give us nothing less than 155,000 jobs in the first couple of months of our administration. We are bringing industries back. We are going to look for alternative source of energy s that these industries can generate energy on their own to run their own business. We are going to give them the technical know-how on how to generate their own energy because how do you run industries where there is no electricity. I was somewhere in Canada, I visited an industry that was generating electricity from cattle dung.
Why can’t we do that? We have wind-aided energy. I was in Germany a few weeks ago and they were begging people to put on their light because they were generating energy through wind they cannot consume. So, they had to tell their people that, even if you used energy, you will not pay for using it during that period, but in Nigeria, we used the same method of generating energy and here, electricity is a problem. Lack of electricity and infrastructure are some of the reasons why the ease of doing business is not favourable to us. We must create an enabling environment; investment will come in when we provide an enabling environment and as governor, I will create an enabling environment in terms of infrastructure, in terms of electricity, in terms of security. So, investors will come, each local government area will have a industry that is built around the area in which it has comparative advantage so that each local government area will be able to generate jobs for its people. Equally, let us look at agriculture; I am a farmer. When you plant perishable things and if you can’t sell in one week, it is gone because there are no storage facilities. In each local government area, we will create processing facilities in which people will preserve their products, facilities that can turn tomato to tomato paste, pepper to paste, turn orange to orange juice, turn banana to banana juice, turn mango to mango juice so that farmers will not lose their produce having worked so hard.
Equally, we will provide train services to assist our farmers to market whatever they cannot sell locally to sell in places like Lagos and other parts of the country where they can sell some of their products. In the area of education, unfortunately, Osun’s performance in WAEC, 29 out of 36 is unacceptable. I am an educationist and in that area, we must be able to ensure that we turn around the sector.
What about teachers?
What about the students? If teachers are not motivated, schools will not be schools; we will motivate our teachers, we will train them and ensure that they are paid on time and exposed to international standards if doing things. We will have unified exams, our students will prepare for WAEC from SS2; we will know where they are lacking so that we prepare them to perform well in WAEC and other public examinations. Salaries will be paid on time, workers will be motivated, they will be promoted when they are due for promotion.
Those whose employment have not been regularised, we will regularise it. What about pensioners? I was trained by pensioners; my father retired in 1984 and I was not even in the university when he retired.
My elder siblings were in higher institutions, but if pensioners were not paid as and when due at that time, how would I be able to go to school? Pensions will be paid on time and workers’ welfare are given priority. Our workers deserve more than what they are getting at present. Equally, we will encourage small businesses’ in the western world, small businesses make those environments thick. We will encourage small businesses to thrive.
How do you hope to generate revenue to depend less on allocations from the Federation Account to run the state and still meet the needs of the people?
Before you can talk of generating revenue, you need to open the economy to build industries and create jobs. Like I told you, we are going to create industries in our local government areas. I can tell you that presently, I work with Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD). ABUAD is the largest payer of tax in Ekiti State; so if you create jobs, definitely you will generate IGR but it is unfair to tell people to pay tax when they are not being paid or when there is no job. So, we will create jobs, bring industries to the state and generate money through that means. We have genuine strategies for generating funds, we will not let the cat out of the bag now.
We will raise funds in a way that is citizens friendly and won’t be a burden on people and we will be able to generate money to able to run government.
Do you believe that your party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has the capacity and wherewithal to dislodge the All Progressives Congress (APC) from government in the Osun 2018 governorship election?
I believe so absolutely that it is possible to sack the APC from the Okefia Government House. You saw what happened n the Osun West senatorial election; out of ten local government areas, APC barely won one and that tells you that people are yearning for a better change in the state. I can tell you that the next election is for PDP to take; once we out our house in order, I can assure you that the PDP will form the next government in Osun State and by the grace of God, I, Adeolu Durotoye, will be the next Governor of Osun State.
What are the other areas you hope to make the difference when you assume the reins of governance?
We will make difference in terms of how we treat our civil servants, they deserve their wage on time, they deserve more than what they are getting now, they deserve to be better exposed to global standards of doing things. In the western clime, teachers are well-paid. We will give that job the dignity it deserves when we train the trainers by exposing our teachers to global standards of teaching, we also ensure that we bring commerce back to the state. We will make Osun, the ICT headquarters of Nigeria; we will make Osun what Silicon Valley is to the United States. Silicon Valley in San Jose, California, you see a how knowledge is used to drive the economy through Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and the likes. Mark Zuckerberg, the Founder of Facebook, didn’t just come to Nigeria for fun. He knows that we have the potentials here and we will bring ICT to Osun and ensure that Osun becomes the headquarters of ICT in Nigeria. Our mission is to crate an enabling environment for everyone to excel; our vision is to make Osun what the state of California is to America.
What is you final message to the people of Osun State as the 2018 governorship election beckons?
The people of Osun State deserve more than what they are getting now; they must ensure that they vote wisely. Number one, they must get their voters’ cards because the exercise is still on. They must get their cards and must not sell their votes. If you sell your votes, you will impoverish yourselves for the next four years. Don’t sell your vote; vote for the candidate who has the exposure, who has the experience, the technical know-how, who has the education, who has the capacity, the youthfulness, the energy to get the job done and that candidate is Prof. Adeolu Durotoye.