Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Adebisi Olabode is the Oyo State commissioner for Trade, Industry, Investment and Cooperatives. He says that unemployment is the root cause of insecurity in the country and the reason for its underdevelopment development.
Nigeria turned 59 years recently, what is your assessment of the country?
We are not doing badly as a nation but the Federal Government has a lot to do in the areas of security, job creation, provision of infrastructural and power, all of which the federal government has failed to address. In the area of insecurity, it is very flaring that the high rate of youth unemployment affects the rate of crime because when people have no jobs or no means of legitimate income, what are they expected to do? It is unemployment that is making majority of them to go into crime. As long as we do not address the root cause of the problem which is unemployment, pumping billions of naira for security will just be a waste of time. Therefore we have to tackle the problems first; which is to provide jobs by revamping the economy and putting policies in place that will benefit micro, small and medium scale enterprises.
Another way is for the federal government to make funds available for every graduate of higher institution of learning in the country by giving each of them N500, 000 after their graduation under which they all must have been trained in entrepreneurship skills in the school which must be made compulsory for every student.
If this can be implemented, giving them freely without taking it back, at least 80 percent of them will utilise it well and become self employed or employers of labour and this will assist in no small measure at drastically reducing the crime rate in the country, while our economic potentials would also be boosted.
Also, we need stable power supply in this country. This is what can encourage foreign investors to come and invest and this will naturally boost our economy. After all, we have many small countries in Africa that do not have resources like us but they have stable electricity supply. We have dams that generate electricity, yet we are having epileptic power supply.
As for celebrating 59 years of independence, we should also celebrate the fact that we have had many years of uninterrupted democratic administration. So far, we have witnessed transition of governments from civilian to civilian without any military intervention.
Do you think the present administration in Oyo State can succeed with the enormous challenges confronting it?
The recent judgment of the Elections Petition Tribunal that validated the victory of Governor Seyi Makinde has proved that he has the support of God and the people of Oyo State. This has shown that our judiciary is now truly the last hope of the common man and the people of Oyo state should be rest assured that they won’t be disappointed that they voted for him because he is going to fulfill all his campaign promises.
To your question, the challenges are already over because everybody is ready to support the present administration to bring about the needed development and change that the people are yearning for.
As a commissioner, what are your plans for the development of the state?
I am ready to work with the Governor to ensure that the state is developed economically. Don’t forget that my ministry deals with investment and the Governor, being a reputable industrialist will use his personal influence to attract investors to the state. Also, Oyo State is a peaceful state and every investor would like to invest where there is peace and tranquility. This will boost the economy of the state and in turn generate employment opportunity for our youths.
My ministry will also work to ensure that we increase the Internally Generated Revenue of the state, so much that the state will be able to embark on many projects like construction of roads across all the local governments in the state. Our people should know that the PDP administration is all out to put a smile on the faces of the people through sound policies which the good people of Oyo State deserve.
How would you access the present administration in the state?
Governor Makinde has done well. Immediately he got into office, he abolished the payment of school fees in all public primary and secondary schools in the state. He made sure that workers salarries and allowances are being paid five days to the end of the month.
In the area of infrastructure, apart from trying to complete projects left behind by the immediate past administration, Governor Makinde has also started his own projects ranging from road tarring, construction of bridges, provision of drinkable water for the people, ensuring stable electricity supply by installing transformers in areas where there is epileptic power supply, encouragement of agricultural activities by providing financial aid and agricultural materials for farmers so as to boost food production in the state. In the health sector, Governor Makinde has started renovating all the dilapidated health centres in the state, while plans are on-going to construct more health centres where there is none so as to bring good health care delivery to the doorsteps of every home.
He has started wooing foreign investors into the state as many have shown interest in investing in the state and by implication this will assist in promoting the economic potentials of the state and as well create employment for our youths.
Also, market men and women, students, and artisans are not left out as Governor Makinde’s administration has assisted them financially to boost their work. So, with all these notable achievements within a short period of time, I want to believe that the Governor will turn Oyo State to another London in Nigeria before the end of his four years administration.
Governor Makinde as a person is a man of unquestionable character who always believes in transparency in whatever he is doing. He is a believer in the dignity and rights of other people and if he sets his mind on something, he sees it to the end.
How you intend to ensure unity between the state government and the organised labour in the state?
The simple answer to your question is dialogue. We shall engage the organised labour in dialogue from time to time and we will also ensure that we operate an open administration. The Governor has made it clear from the very first day that his government will be as open as possible. We will not make anything hidden from the people.
It is the duty of the government to provide for the welfare of the workers and the citizens and this we will prioritise by the grace of God. I want to use this medium to inform all the workers and the entire people of Oyo State that this administration is a listening one and our offices are open any time for dialogue.
How do you ensure peace among members of the various labour unions in the state, especially those of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW)?
We have made all necessary arrangements that will enhance peaceful coexistence among members of the labour unions. Our plan, as a government is to meet regularly with officials of the unions with a view to knowing the issues are from time to time. The present administration is a peaceful one and we all cherish peace and we will stop at nothing to ensure that the peace we are known for is sustained.
In the next few months, Oyo people should expect unprecedented development. We have started already and I assure you that we will not stop the good works. Oyo State will soon become a model for other states in the country.