I'll Do What No One Has Done In My Ministry


 Chief Samuel Durojaiye Aiyedogbon is the Ogun State Commissioner for Community Development & Cooperatives. In this interview with our Ogun State Correspondent, ABIODUN ONAFUYE, the commissioner bares his mind on his ministry’s plan to boost the state’s revenue generation and his political antecedents. Excerpts.


Sir. Congratulations on your recent appointment as commissioner.

Thank you very much, this is a collective work, you people deserve the glory for all your struggle to liberate the state from the hands of monsters.

You retired from Julius Berger Plc as deputy chief accountant, can you compare your work then with your new appointment sir?

My career in Julius Berger was full of excitement. I was very young then, I started with them from the scrach and I rose through the ranks before going for further studies and got elevated to the position of senior accountant. I was later promoted to the post of assistant chief accountant before being seconded to a sister company as an accountant for seven years before I finally resigned to go into politics.

When did you join politics?

I have been into politics since when I was in Julius Berger. What really brought me into politics is this, you see this is Ado-Odo/ Ota Local Government, we were initially Ifo/Ota Local Government, we wanted a local government for the Awori, and that was why we came together, both men and women, to pursue the cause. We asked the Federal Government to cut off Ifo and merge the southern part of Egbado Local Government Area with us. That was done and we now have Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government.

Which position have you held since you joined politics?

You see, after getting the local government for our people, the elders among us then belonged to NRC which was then popular in this area and I was the local government chairmanship candidate of the party during the elections, but because of the sympathy our people had for Chief Awolowo, they decided not to vote for us and I lost the election. Then I went back to my work in Julius Berger; they transferred me to Abuja to prepare the ground for that young company. It is a multinational company with some Nigerians as directors. The chairman of the company was Chief Bamanga Tukur. They started business in May, 1991 and I prepared the eight months maiden account of the company from May to December, 1991. I worked in the company for about one year and joined another company as the accountant and administration manager before I finally retired.

How can you describe the past administration of Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government?

The area is dirty with out-dated infrastructure. Don’t forget that this is an urban local government and the likelihood of wastes that are generated will be there. We have a big market and the population is large, so definitely human wastes should make the area very dirty. You know our governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun is somebody who likes cleanness and will do anything to have the environment very clean. Immediately he got into office, he swung into action by mending our roads; you know Rome was not built in a day but he has to do something, he employed many people to take care of the environment. He is trying to make our environment clean. You cannot compare our administration with that of PDP and PPN. Tella was here God knows, Tella was with me, during the SIA era, I was his chairman, the coordinator of Ado-Odo Local Government before he eventually went to PDP. All he did in the local Government, I will not say he did it all alone, you will judge him with the type of governor he had then. So I will not say more than that about Tella, Tella was good when he was with us. His administration was bad.

What was your experience in 2007?

In 2007, we were in the ANPP. That time I also contested for the House of Representatives seat. In fact, I won that election, you know what really happened, everyone knows. The election was fraught with irregularities. Amosun also won the election, he went to the tribunal, I also went to tribunal, I will say the election of Ibikunle Amosun was annulled. I will not say he lost it; it was annulled. Immediately that was done to him, I abandoned my own case at the tribunal. The election was full of intrigues. First, the registration of voters was marred with irregularities. Because we were very popular in the state, we thought that one man, one vote would give us the votes, we did not know that it was going to be one man, one thousand votes. That was our experience.

There is this complaint by some people that their cooperative funds were mismanaged by the past administration. How does your ministry hope to correct this?

I will tell you something, if you advance money like that and you don’t provide security for it, definitely it will be mismanaged. Or you give money to politicians, you asked them to go and borrow, they will just say it is government money, they will not pay back. And the officials, I don’t know their role in it, because if I give money out I must know how to get it back, that was why the money was mismanaged.

How is your ministry planning to manage the cooperators’ money?

Recently, the governor gave us N25 million as loan to cooperators. I have asked the civil servants working with me, especially the permanent secretaries how we are going to secure the loan and we have identified about five cooperative societies saddled with the responsibilities of giving the money to would-be borrowers and we will hold them responsible for the repayment. If they don’t pay back, then, we will hold them responsible. I am an accountant and I know the value of money. We should know how to get the money back; definitely we will get the money back.

Assuming they are party members and they fail to pay back, what will you do?

I have told members of our party to get registered with the cooperative societies which will guarantee the repayment of the loan. Individuals will pay back to the cooperative societies. It will then be left to the societies to ensure that they pay back promptly as the guarantors.

There is this belief that ACN’s victory came as a result of the fight between the PDP and PPN, do you agree with that?

Do you also believe that, add the result of the election cast for both the PDP and PPN together, they are not up to that of Senator Ibikunle Amosun. Whether they come together or they stand as individuals, we will still win the election. People wanted change then and the only credible option left for them then was our party. That was why they all came out en masse to vote for us.

How do you see your new office as the Commissioner for Community Development & Cooperatives?

Well, serving the state in whatever capacity is a pride to me, though, the governor knows why he put me there. It may be that he saw something in me that will be useful for the progress of the state. I am a grassroots person; I played an active role during his electioneering. The governor may have noticed that and decided to put me in his cabinet to actually coordinate the communities. I think that was what he had in mind before putting me there and I promised not to let him down.

As Commissioner for Community Development and Cooperatives, what are your plans to ensure that cooperative societies in the state are stabilized?

The ministry is about coordinating the cooperative societies in the state and putting them together. Recently, we had an outing at the M.K.O Abiola Stadium in Kuto, Abeokuta, where we gathered our people to usher in the new administration, to let them know that there is a new administration in the state. The governor addressed the cooperators and they were happy, he offered them something they have never been offered before. He gave them N25 million as loan, which they applauded and appreciated.

How many of the cooperative societies were duly registered with the state government?

We have 465 cooperative societies and we had about 6,000 participants at the programme where we ushered in the new government. It is a great and well packaged programme which the cooperators in the state will forever remember.

What should we be expecting from this government and in particular your ministry?

I am looking for a way to make an impact. I will try to do something that is not expected of that ministry. Mind you, my ministry is not an internal revenue generating ministry; it is a social service ministry. I will see what I can do to make it a revenue generating ministry. My ministry is dependent on what the government will do for us and we are at the grassroots. Our governor is a hard working person. He is very strict with money and I am very sure he will not allow any money to be mismanaged. He will spend every kobo on what it is meant for and I think that by so doing, the lot of Ogun State people will be improved.

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