Chief Babatunde Onakoya, an All Progressives Congress chieftain in Ogun State, in this
interview with bayo alade, speaks on new local council development areas and why he is supporting Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s government. Excerpts:
You have been a notable political figure in the politics of Ogun state for several years now. But before joining politics what were you doing?
I have been in business all through even till now. I am into automobile business and estate management with branches in Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, including my home town, Atiba. I also have investment in hospitality and agriculture, just to mention a few.
What then brought you into politics?
Service. It is simply the desire to serve. When you have it in mind to help people of your community, you can do so on personal basis. But for greater impact and coverage, it is better to join politics because there is no amount of personal effort that can be put in place that will be more effective than being in government to assist the people.
Local council Development Areas are springing up in states across the country at a time that people feel the existing local government areas are not performing well. What is your view on this?
I believe in LCDAs. They take the local councils nearer to the people. Some local governments are big, such that many communities are still far away from the people. We need more so that our people can feel government impact in their communities.
Are you not saying this because you are a beneficiary of the recent creation of LCDAs in Ogun because some of the chairmen are from your group?
Well we thank God for that, but most importantly, as I told you, government must be brought nearer to the people. Go to the developed parts of the world, you will see what I mean. If people had been useful to their community even before joining politics, they would do better in politics which was what I told you earlier. Consistency and loyalty are the qualities that brought those candidates to emerge as chairmen. And that is very important in politics. Yes, some are from my group and that is because we are capable and serious-minded people and the governor recognises that. In nutshell, our governor deserves our appreciation because he also appreciates people.
Your group is devoted to working for Governor Amosun. Why is this so?
Senator Amosun is a hardworking man and I have known him for over 30 years. After serving as a senator, he aspired to be the governor of the state and I called my people together to support him. We started with Operation Light up Ogun State in 2011 and we spread the message to all nook and cranny of Ogun East Senatorial district. Thank God he won the election. After his first tenure, we did a review of his achievements and compared it with the past administrations and we saw that they were too numerous to count. We then decided to start campaigning for his second term in 2015. That was how the journey began. Immediately after the ban on politics was lifted, we began to mobilise potential voters, more than 50,000 of them and we had meetings every week for almost two years and distributed gift every week.
You are the chairman mobilisation committee of the Senator Ibikunle Amosun Campaign Committee (SIACO). Who is sponsoring the group?
God Almighty. He only puts me in charge because when myself and the executive of the group counted the gifts that we shared, only God could have done that. We are also happy that God did not disappoints us.
Talking about the present administration under Amosun, how would you rate it?
He is a wonderful governor. I’m telling you that no other administrator has performed like him since the creation of this state. We are lucky to have Amosun as the governor of Ogun and he has been able to put a lot of things in place. There is no conflict in the House of Assembly, if we want to talk about projects; there are many completed ones and there are ongoing projects also. Go and see what is going on in the model schools project embarked upon by his administration, including a lot of business opportunities coming up in the state. The sky is the limit. If the federal allocation had remained stable, we could even have achieved more.
What advice do you have for the politicians?
Well, my advice is we should keep to our words and promises to the people
Have you kept yours?
I want you to visit my secretariat. You will have that answer. I try my best possible and I make sure that I keep to my words.