23rd September, 2011
Mr. Abdulsalam Tajudeen Ademola, an educationist, computer engineer and Chairmanship aspirant for Ifo Local Government Area, Ogun State, southwest Nigeria, speaks with PAUL SANUSI, on the situation in the state and how he intends to transform the local government into a model one
How long have you been in politics?
I have been in politics for about ten years. I was in PDP and at the tail end of the Chief Olusegun Osoba’s regime when Ifo South LCDA was formed, we thought that the AD agenda would spill to the PDP that took over and I was to represent Alagbole/Akute ward at the proposed LCDA.
I am a pioneer member of PDP in this area and when we saw that the LCDA would not come to fruition, we were disappointed and I returned to my business but underground, I was still in PDP but not as active member. We thought Governor Gbenga Daniel will liberate us but never knew we were planning our misfortune. For the first and second years of his first term he actually did well but for the remaining six years it was a total waste and people of the state drifted into darkness and we thank God today I am in ACN.
How will you describe the eight years of Gbenga Daniel?
If we l are to judge it based on performance, there is nothing to write home about. Danielâ€™s administration embezzled our money and as at today the state is in debt to the tune of N46billion, but for God it would have been N146b. A group of people in the state House of Assembly, who have conscience resisted the attempt by his administration to source for N100b bond.
When did you join ACN?
At the tail-end of his first term, we realised that anyone that associated with him means such a person is associating with failure. And because we have our name, reputation and integrity to protect, and those in ACN came to invite me, my group honoured the invitation and joined Action Congress before the party became ACN.
Have you ever held any political office?
No, but as a technocrat, I have been actively involved in community work, contributing technically, financially and otherwise. I am a pioneer member of Association of Concerned Citizens of Border Towns in Ogun State. The association worked vigorously in the last general election for the emergence of Gov. Ibikunle Amosun.
Ogun State currently has 20 local government areas, do you think these number is okay to fast track the much yearning development?
The number of the local government is not enough, but when we talk about local government creation, it is a very cumbersome process which requires political manoeuvring at the federal level. We need local council development areas, as local governments in Ogun state are the size of some states, so if we want development to get to the people faster, the local government areas need to be broken to the minimum of three, so that there would be grassroots development.
What plans do you have for all categories of people in the local government?
I will start from the youth unemployment. Unemployment among the youths is higher in the country and local governments can only create jobs within the local government and this cannot be enough. There are strategies that I intend to use and that is empowerment. This empowerment strategy would be structured targeted at different categories of people. The empowerment programme for the educated would be different from those who did not go to school
What are your challenges in terms of your aspiration?
The type of politics we have been practising is money politics and this has not helped us. But money is not an indices to measure performance, and majority of people want us to distribute money to them. But the strategy we are using now is sensitizing them that if they want performance is not about giving you money and people now understand that and they know where they are going. We teach them how to fish instead of giving them fish to eat.
What are your chances against other contestants?
When we talk of popularity, with my little contribution in this local government, I think I have an edge over them. I am a grassroots man.
What are your words for other aspirants, the electorate and the people of the local government?
There is a gospel that we normally preach and that is they should stick to their conscience, they should not allow money to buy their conscience, they know the level that we are and they know what they want, that is the reason them must shun money politics. If they want development they should stick to their conscience. If any body should offer them money they should collect but they should vote according to their conscience. And to my co-aspirants, we should play the game according to the rules, eshew bitterness and not see politics as winner take all.