Mr. Olawale Oladokun is a stalwart of the African Action Congress, (AAC) who is seeking to represent Ibarapa Central/North Federal Constituency of Oyo State. He speaks on his chances.
Why do you think the people will vote for you?
If my people are truly ready for a better lease of life, they know my pedigree, my roots and antecedents, so they should do the right thing by voting for the African Action Congress on February 16. But for the crumbs the other parties throw back at them, which the electorate themselves fail to consider as proceeds from the tax payers monies criminally gathered for the same purpose of being thrown out to them like grains in the air for fowls meant to be tricked into pots of soup, my election shouldn’t be in contest at all. Even my opponents acknowledge that fact. So I will categorically submit that my people now have the ball in their court to decide whether they want their son to represent them well judging by his pedigree and antecedents or are more interested in selling out their electoral birthright for mere pittance.
What is more true is that the APC and the PDP which are two sides of the same coin have been on the stage long enough and perpetuated their stay far beyond the enduring spirit of the populace, just as it is even more so that the people are fed up with their retrogressive trend of governance. Therefore, people’s minds are made to shop for the best alternative and the only available best alternative currently is the AAC party.
How would you describe the impact of nearly two decades of civil rule, especially in your immediate constituency?
Since the advent of civil rule in 1999, Ibarapa Central/North Federal Constituency has been subjected to ineffective, unproductive and non-beneficial representation at the green chamber owing largely to the deplorable standard of representation offered by those often handpicked by the godfathers of the parties in vogue at different dispensations. The best performance so far was the 2011-2015 representation whose key performance indicator falls below 40 percent, if generously rated. Their own KPIs revolved round settling the godfathers and a few stakeholders across the constituency by greasing their itchy palms with monies at the detriment of the commonwealth and common good of all. Those that were often handpicked were, at best, political traders. Their trades were people’s destinies in exchange for wealth and positions or ‘appointment slots.’ They specialise in rubbing the egos of political godfathers in cash and kind; the same godfathers who had, over the time, constituted themselves into hegemonic strongholds that dictate who deserve appointments (either career-based or political) in form of earmarked slots from the ‘top’ which, most times, go exclusively to their families and relatives or those who would sheepishly do their corruptible biddings. At best, our past representatives would hide under the fluidity of the over-abused term ‘empowerment’ which has assumed the status of a trending project common to almost every politician and which could be best described as ephemeral jamborees to dazzle the public and fizzle into thin air almost as soon as the jamboree ends.
What do you intend to do differently?
If I am elected, I want to ensure that, first and foremost, my people are genuinely and productively engaged by looking inward into the actual mainstay of my constituency’s economy, which is two-pronged: farming and trading. My people are highly known and regarded for farming and chief among the common crops planted is cassava, a huge proportion of which is converted to semi-finished products in Lagos and other urban centres for export. I will work with both local and foreign investors and NGOs to set up cassava processing plants across the constituency. Cashew is another cash crop that is money-spinning which we are going to invest in massively up to a stage of attracting foreign attention. However, for that to be achievable there is need to first facilitate the enthronement of an enabling environment for farming to thrive. This becomes expedient if considered against the backdrop of the havoc and bloodletting rampage and plundering acts of the beastly clans of herders we are surrounded with in our constituency. My own farm suffered untoward plundering in the hands of these beasts just very recently and the loss ran into almost a million naira. Faced with the menace of bloodletting and plundering herders on our daily sweats and farmlands, then, the nation’s policy on agriculture is not just anti-productive but a complete farce.
Therefore, I will work towards sponsoring a Farm Protection Bill (FPB) under which the modalities for setting up Farm Protection Tribunal (FPT) will be considered and administered. This will ensure checks and balances in the administration of the FPB and guarantee security of farms in a way that will be encouraging to farm investors.
I will facilitate and maintain an ICT-driven database for all unemployed graduates within my constituency via their registration within the first quarter of my assumption of office. This will give us an overview of the population, areas of specialization and other details of all unemployed graduates within the constituency in order to give us an idea of the task we are to face in combating unemployment.
Also, collaboration and MOUs will be entered into and signed with NGOs specializing in rural development projects, loans and funds administrators for SMEs both locally and globally. This will be administered towards nurturing trades and investments in form of SMEs across my constituency. Ibarapa is endowed with nature’s wealth in form of alluring sceneries of high hills and mountains. These will be converted into sources of Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) by turning them into beautiful tourists’ attraction centres via linkages that will be set up with some Chinese firms that specialise in establishment of tourist centres. With our rich cultural heritage and preserved natural endowments in Ibarapa, we would work with Nollywood to set up film’s villages in peculiar towns noted for the desired benchmarks for such start-ups within the constituency. I will work with cable television stations to showcase our rich cultural heritage, dialect and peculiarities.
My four focal point programme will thus serve as employment generation avenues for the teeming unemployed youths in my constituency. These avenues alone will create more than 5,000 job opportunities. This is apart from the jobs that will be created by the establishment of an NTA network service station plus the FRCN liaison office/network station in Ibarapa via the engagement of and collaboration with the federal ministry in charge. Private investors in broadcasting and electronic media services would also be wooed using both personal and official networks. In addition, I will ensure that employment opportunities, slots and allocations are sought for and are fairly and evenly applied across the constituency.