Everyeveryng had an exclusive phone interview with one of the politicians who are hopeful of securing the ticket for the seat of the first citizen in Ondo state, Banji Okunomo.
Okunomo spoke extensively about how some Governors abuse the constitutional provision for 2nd term in office.
What is your view about the constitutional provision for 2nd term in office?
You will observe that in Nigeria, many Governors after their first term in office, some of them managed to perform, some underperformed, and they will seek the second term in office because the constitution permits it.
After getting to the office for the 2nd term, they will not perform and not be responsible to the people, to prove this point, let us take stock of all the Governors across the country.
So, hiding under the constitutional provision for second term in office at the detriment of the people is equivalent to returning the people to Egypt, I condemn it outrightly, and it is time for the electorates to be more conscious, we have been having stable democracy since 1999, it is obvious that all second term Governors did not perform while they were in power, that is why I will like to be a Governor for four years, it is enough, and when the Governor is seeking second term, let it be by people’s choice not through inducement.
How do you think the voices of the people can be heard if they are not in support of a Governor seeking second term?
The bible says, when the righteous rule, the people rejoice, take for instance, if you go round Ondo state, there is a public outcry, there is poverty everywhere, the economy is truncated, development is nothing to write home about, even, years before now when people say the previous governments did not perform, if you go round the eighteen local Government, you will feel the presence of the Government, but today, in Ondo state, you can only see a minimal presence of Government in three local Government, the rest are groaning in pain.
However, I will not like to mention the local Government, but aside from these three local governments, the remaining fifteen local governments in the state are in a quandary.
Would the Lawmakers support the move to scrap the constitutional provisions for 2nd term in office?
The constitutional provisions should not be scrapped, it is there as an opportunity for anyone who performs to return, the philosophy of that provision is to give room for continuity of performance, but where it is observed that the government underperforms, the people should be allowed to decide the fate of such a Governor, and that is why electorates must now know that the power to return a Governor lies with them, where the Governor has failed, the electorates should move out in mass to reject such Government so that an incoming Government would have no option than to perform.
In a situation where Governors refer to payment of salaries and construction of roads as achievement, how can the electorates measure performing Governors?
Payment of salaries is a one of the statutory obligations of the government and it has to be done, the electorate need to consider the level of job creation, the state’s economy, the people’s welfare, what is the poverty line, how many people are living below or above the poverty lines, these are the parameters to be used as indexes in deciding the performance of the Governor, in terms of physical development, infrastructures, construction of roads, provision of water, all these are important, it is not enough for a Governor to embark on cosmetics projects so that strangers that come to the state will assume that he has performed, that is not sufficient.
There are many small towns in Akure that are disconnected, the people living in those places are facing difficulties moving from point to point, but the present government in Ondo state is not putting that into consideration, they are only constructing Arakale road, Health Tech roads, if you want to work, why restricting yourself to a particular area, if you want to work, work around the state, people should be able to come into Ondo state and see that things are being done better than before, go to Ore town and Akoko local government, you will see that many roads are bad, what is the Ondo state government doing, why are they not using the money meant for those projects, imagine the present Government that is not performing asking electorates to return them, who will return them?
Do you believe that the people of Ondo state will choose you over the incumbent Governor?
The best way to know a man is to study his handiwork, to assess his antecedents, where was he, what has he done before now and what is he likely to do, a leopard does not change its color, if a man has been known with underperformance, it is expected not to perform if given another opportunity, considering what I did as the Ilaje local Government Chairman with the available resources, I know that I will do well with an enabling environment and opportunity to serve the people, I am a young man, by the reason of my age, I have future, and I will not destroy my future because I know that whatever I do today would serve as legacies for my children and generations to come, even in Nigeria today, the Governor that the people see working is one of the youngest Governors in the country, and that is Seyi Makinde, we don’t need people that do not have an understanding of what development is all about.
In the meantime, the Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, has announced his preparedness to contest the forthcoming governorship election slated for October 2020.
Akerodolu said he had accepted the calls from the people of the state to seek a second term in office on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.
He said this at a dinner organized by the state government as part of the activities marking the third-year anniversary of his administration, held at the International Culture and Event Centre, Akure, the state capital.