Mr Adeniyi Adegbonmire (SAN), scion of late popular politician, Chief Wunmi Adegbonmire, speaks, in this interview with some journalists, on his aspiration to become the next governor of Ondo State. BOLA BADMUS brings excerpts:
What is your motivation for joining the race?
Quite apart from Lagos, the richest Southwestern state in terms of mineral resources, human capital and opportunities is Ondo. It has no basis not being able to pay salaries if its resources are properly managed and deployed. Unfortunately, we have not done that and my attitude to it is that government must be run like a business, but a business that does not make profit. This is because if you go into governance and say you want to make profit then, you are never going to do anything. But you must run it like a business; in other words, for every five kobo that you put into it, there is a goal to be achieved. Effectively, in the sense that you ensure that whatever you do is geared towards development.
Let’s take for example; I have looked at the state; what have we done in the last six, seven years? We have taken money from FAAC because we are an oil-producing state, so we rely heavily on derivation. That is what we have been spending. What is the IGR? It can’t even pay salaries. But does Ondo have the potential to do so? The answer is yes. We have got oil, bitumen, cocoa, timber, cashew, cassava; name any cash crop, it grows in the state. So, why has anybody not sat down to say how do I generate enough IGR so that at least from it, I am able to pay staff salaries? And what comes from FAAC is for development purposes and that is what Lagos State is doing! What you should be doing is to sit back and look for opportunities to increase revenue.
We have no fewer than 40 of you aspiring to be next governor of Ondo State. What gives you the confidence that you will secure APC ticket?
Even if in the APC we have 100 aspirants, there will just be one governor. And why does the APC have so many? It is because it is the platform that offers an alternative. For me, there are only two parties that can present candidates in Ondo State and they are the PDP and the APC. The PDP is shut. And why do I say so? It is because whoever will run on the platform of the PDP must have the backing of the present governor, except we are deceiving ourselves. The only platform that is open is the APC, so you have people coming to it. My duty is to sell myself to the delegates that I have what it takes to win victory for the party.
What then do your consider as you selling points?
I am in the APC not because of any personal gains but because I believe in the ideology that the APC preaches, which I have always subscribed to. Then, I will bring youths into governance. And like I said, governance must be run like an efficient company, but one that is not geared towards making profit and it is only people of my age that think government should be run that way.
What is your take on zoning as being projected by some aspirants?
My party has said several times that there will be no zoning, that everybody should go into the primary. This issue of zoning, I have always said, it’s a latter-day introduction into the political space of Ondo. If there was zoning in the state, some of the people who were governors would not have been governors. Even if there are people to agitate for it, it should be the South and the Central. But I don’t believe in that. My party said no zoning. Let the best person win!
Why do you think you can win the primary,?
Like I said before, I bring my youth, I don’t have a baggage and I come from an exceedingly respected political family. My father was a politician from 1952. You ask people who have interacted with me as a lawyer, I am a straightforward person and I am very honest, even if I say it myself. I have also gone round the state and I don’t know any aspirant that is not taking Adeniyi Adegbonmire serious.
What is your relationship with the leadership of the party and do you really trust the leadership to be menta in the whole issue?
I am sure all of you have followed the Republican primary. They say Donald Trump is the presumed party candidate, the party leaders say we don’t want Trump and they have been working against him openly. Any aspirant that says he is disengaging himself from the party leadership is not a party man and it is a dangerous trend because where you have a governor that doesn’t believe in party supremacy, it would be difficult to pull back such governor when errors are being committed. So, I subscribe to party leadership.