“My vision for Ogun is to lead her on the path towards self-sufficiency while prioritising the welfare of every resident. My core programme is called ‘PHETTHA’…”
Prince John Adegbola is the governorship candidate of the Advanced Alliance Party (AAP) for Ogun State in next year’s election. He speaks on his plans for each sector of the state and also pledges on prompt payment of workers’ salaries.
Ogun State has never risen above the 15th position in WAEC ranking for a few years now. If you are elected governor, what would your plans to revamp the education sector be?
We have a robust and sound plan for education. We would start a turnaround of the sector by increasing education funding in the budget, then provide more infrastructure development and build capacity. We would also incorporate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools into the learning process across board and improve on course content so that our graduates will no longer be liabilities on the system but can contribute their quota as soon as they become graduates.
Specifically, I would commit to the increase of the education budget to UNESCO’s minimum standard of 26 percent of the annual budget in my first year in office. As the years go by, I would increase it progressively. This year’s budget allocation for education is 22.9 percent, which is insufficient.
On the WAEC ranking of the state, we shall review the existing system with all stakeholders and fashion out a mutually beneficial way to make substantial progress. We didn’t get here in a day, and it will definitely take conscious effort and little time to improve.
In Lagos State, there is a programme where a student who wins spelling competition is made a governor for one day as an incentive for students to do better. Do you plan of having such programmes if you are elected?
Everyone government has its own plan. While there is no harm in emulating what is good in other states, this does not mean we should copy all their ways hook, line and sinker. I do not have such plans for now but we have plans to domesticate other programmes that would benefit hardworking students. I can boldly say that free education is feasible up to secondary school level devoid of back charges. This is one of the things that we plan to do. We shall also equip and fund our tertiary institutions and reposition them to meet global standards in practice and delivery.
Besides education, what is your vision for other sectors of the state?
My vision for Ogun is to lead her on the path towards self-sufficiency while prioritising the welfare of every resident. My core programme is called ‘PHETTHA’, which means Power, Health, Education, Technology, Tourism and Housing. For the youths, we plan to carry out intense capacity building and encourage more participation in governance.
In what aspects of governance do you think the current administration has failed the people?
In economics, we are taught that human wants and desires are insatiable, hence the needs for a scale of preference. I believe the government of Ibikunle Amosun has done its bit with resources available to him but there is much room for improvement. However, my government will ensure equitable and fair distribution of the state’s resources and ensure that government’s presence is felt everywhere.
How would your government incorporate the culture of Ogun people into governance?
You cannot separate the people from their culture. As a matter of fact, our present state of decadence is largely as a result of the erosion of societal values, culture and norms. We have plans to promote our heritage and culture, especially through tourism development. Our educational institutions will also be prompted to teach and promote our societal values. The state government will partner with organisations especially the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in public education on our values and culture.
What is your take on the controversy over the proposed new minimum wage of N30, 000?
Ogun State is blessed and should be able to pay salary as may be agreed nationwide without much hassle as we’re presently number five on the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) table and we can perform better.
Our major focus is driving the state on the path towards self sufficiency which means exponential economic growth such that wages shouldn’t be an issue. However, when financial constraints arise, we shall prioritise the payment of wages and the welfare of our workforce. I believe in the biblical injunction that a labourer is worthy of his wages and his sweat must not dry before his wages are paid.
There have been lots of complaints even from opposition parties that the government is insincere in fighting corruption. Do you agree?
It is obvious that the Federal Government is insincere in the fight against corruption. This fight has been selective over the years and sometimes as a tool of political vendetta.
Which state would you consider as the best role model in terms of governance?
I don’t consider anyone a role model but we will be a hybrid, taking positive aspects from within and outside the state. I envision an Ogun that will be the cynosure of all eyes within and outside the African continent.